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The Familiar Other: Blackface Performance in Creole Works from 1780s Saint-Domingue

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter analyses an overlooked tradition of blackface performance that emerged in the French colony of Saint-Domingue in the 1780s. All extant references to blackface performance in Saint-Domingue are in relation to four locally-composed works set in the colony, including the popular Creole-language comedy, Jeannot et Thérèse. Whereas blackface in contemporary European works denoted alterity in something unfamiliar, it is argued that blackface in Saint-Domingue worked differently, denoting alterity in something familiar and potentially threatening. Local works undoubtedly brought new – and possibly sympathetic – black characters to the stage, but their representation in blackface insidiously enforced colonial notions of racial difference.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTBC
EditorsJeffrey Leichman
Place of PublicationOxford/Liverpool
PublisherOxford University Studies in the Enlightenment
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • blackface, Saint-Domingue, theatre, Creole comedy, Creole parody, Creole theatre

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ID: 261462846