Book Cover

Staging Black Fugitivity

Stacie Selmon McCormick

Pub Date: August, 2019

Subjects: Black Studies
Cultural Studies
Literary Studies, American
American Studies

Series: Black Performance and Cultural Criticism

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Staging Black Fugitivity draws attention to the ways theater addresses, perpetuates, and engages with the legacies of slavery. It is a strong and compelling contribution to analysis of the cultural politics of neo-slave drama.” —Soyica Diggs Colbert

Staging Black Fugitivity is a wonderfully insightful book that holds a mirror to contemporary theater and, in so doing, helps us to appreciate the long, haunting legacy of slavery not only in society but also on our stages. It is an example of smart, thought-provoking scholarship at the intersection of literary studies and performance criticism.”—Harvey Young

Staging Black Fugitivity asks: How does drama constitute an important site for ongoing conversations about slavery’s resonance and its legacies? To answer this question, Stacie Selmon McCormick charts the historical turn toward slavery in black drama that began in the last quarter of the twentieth century. This movement, spearheaded by August Wilson and Suzan-Lori Parks, has been largely under-theorized, yet it participates in and advances the neo-slave narrative genre—with contemporary black dramas enhancing the neo-slave narrative’s capacity to represent the visual, corporeal, and affective dimensions of the black body and slavery as an institution.

McCormick traces the innovative ways that artists render slavery for present-day audiences. The dramas assembled in this book approach slavery from myriad perspectives—Afrofuturist, feminist, and queer—in order to produce new imaginaries that offer more complex depictions of black experience. Through subverting notions of time, race, gender, and familiar histories of slavery themselves, the dramas under discussion produce performances of fugitivity—subversive, radical, and experimental performances of black artistic and political freedom at the site of slavery.

Stacie Selmon McCormick is Assistant Professor of English at Texas Christian University.



Introduction    A Body without a Nation
Chapter 1        Mapping Fugitivity in Black Drama
Chapter 2        Fugitive Acts
Chapter 3        Performing Escape
Chapter 4        Fugitive Intimacies
Epilogue          Contemplating and Complicating Black Freedom

Works Cited