Throughout its history, blackface minstrelsy has been at once potent and slippery, notoriously difficult to control as signification. When one race impersonates another and bills it as entertainment, reception becomes a barometer of ethnic hegemony, interracial politics, and power. The essays in this issue of TDR challenge and contribute to the historiography of blackface by examining previously untapped evidence, questioning current orthodoxies about the role of minstrelsy in US racial formations, and expanding the geographic scope of its performative genealogies.

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