April 4, 2018 – Nicholas R. Jones

Assistant Professor of Spanish and Africana Studies, Bucknell University

“Black Skin Acts: Feasting on Blackness, Staging Linguistic Blackface”

This talk argues that early-modern Africanized Castilian–commonly referred to as habla de negros–cannot be separated from the act and practice of blackface performance. What I hope to make clear in this lecture is that black skin acts in conjunction with the excessively deformed black corporeality of the bozal’s black mouth as well as the register of the sonic highlighted by “African” dances, lyrics, and songs. My theory of feasting (on Blackness), as a racially performative act, fortifies the success of blackface’s convincing entertainment to the audience enjoying its blackface performance.