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Babylon Girls: Black Women Performers and the Shaping of the Modern
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Babylon Girls: Black Women Performers and the Shaping of the Modern

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  43 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Babylon Girls is a groundbreaking cultural history of the African American women who performed in variety shows—chorus lines, burlesque revues, cabaret acts, and the like—between 1890 and 1945. Through a consideration of the gestures, costuming, vocal techniques, and stagecraft developed by African American singers and dancers, Jayna Brown explains how these women shaped t ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published September 19th 2008 by Duke University Press Books (first published August 29th 2008)
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Although the focus of Jayna Brown's Babylon Girls is on the shaping of the modern by Black women performers, as it is so titled, Brown leaves it impossible to not think critically about the many psychosocial aspects that she uses as foundation for her work. Brown does more than simply provide us with a historical context in which to learn about the development and progression of African American women performers in the United States and Europe. She gifts us with a cathartic evaluation of an audi ...more
Rebekkah
Feb 17, 2015 Rebekkah rated it really liked it
Great read, an exploration of transnationalism, race, and gender as it pertains to black women performers who carved out spaces on domestic and international stages. They used these spaces to resist oppression and racism while subverting stereotypes such as Mammy and Jezebel.
Garrett Hoffman
Jun 08, 2015 Garrett Hoffman rated it liked it
Not a lot for someone like me to hold on to (REALLY uneducated about the content she covers) but it has given me a lot to think about re: my viewing of black performances.
Casey
Nov 20, 2012 Casey rated it really liked it
Dense (as you would expect from a dissertation), but chock full of interesting information very useful to my own research on the lives and work of 20th century chorus girls. Although I wouldn't claim to have an educated argument against her, her (at the most general level) post-modern analysis is not always my cup of tea. Worth the purchase, nonetheless!
Jessica Myers
Aug 25, 2013 Jessica Myers rated it really liked it
Great, very rich storytelling of an often superficially observed time in history.
Kristin
Aug 29, 2012 Kristin rated it really liked it
A smart discussion of performance, subversion, diaspora, and gender.
Leigh
Aug 17, 2008 Leigh marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
yay Jayna!
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