Abstract

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s 2016 An Octoroon encouraged Boston theatregoers to hiss and cheer like the audiences for Boucicault’s 1859 The Octoroon, then encouraged them to bid for slaves and scream for a lynching. For some, participation may have encouraged a self-satisfied post-racial bliss; for others, it may have bolstered psychic investments in racism and misogyny. Many, however, were confused: What is an appropriate response to the melodramatic extremes of American race relations?

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