Interview with Daphne Brooks (2007)
Daphne A. Brooks is Professor of African-American Studies, Theater Studies, and American Studies at Yale University, where she teaches courses on African-American literature and culture, performance studies, critical gender studies, and popular music culture. She is the author of two books: Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910 (Duke University Press 2006), winner of The Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship on African-American Performance from The American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR); and Jeff Buckley's Grace (Continuum 2005). Brooks is currently working on a new book entitled Subterranean Blues: Black Women and Sound Subcultures—from Minstrelsy through the New Millennium (Harvard University Press forthcoming). She has authored numerous articles on race, gender, performance, and popular music culture, such as, "Sister, Can you Line It Out?: Zora Neale Hurston & the Sound of Angular Black Womanhood" in Amerikastudien/American Studies, "'Puzzling the Intervals': Blind Tom and the Poetics of the Sonic Slave Narrative" in The Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative, "Nina Simone's Triple Play" in Callaloo, and “‘All That You Can't Leave Behind’: Surrogation & Black Female Soul Singing in the Age of Catastrophe” in Meridians. Brooks is also the author of the liner notes for The Complete Tammi Terrel (Universal A&R 2010) and Take a Look: Aretha Franklin Complete on Columbia (Sony 2011), each of which has won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for outstanding music writing. She is the editor of The Great Escapes: The Narratives of William Wells Brown, Henry Box Brown, and William Craft (Barnes & Noble Classics 2007) and The Performing Arts volume of The Black Experience in the Western Hemisphere Series, eds. Howard Dodson and Colin Palmer (Pro-Quest Information & Learning 2006).X
Diana Taylor: Thank you so much for coming to be with us and to talk to us. Could you tell me just a little bit about yourself?
Daphne Brooks: Sure, I’m Daphne Brooks. I teach in English and African- American Studies at Princeton University. My fields of specialization include African-American literary, cultural, performance studies, especially 19th century and transatlantic culture. I also do popular music studies in a contemporary context, so I work as a rock critic on the side and write in different ways about rock performance from the 1960s to the present. I’ve a couple of books: one, Bodies in Dissent
Brooks, Daphne. 2006. Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910. Durham: Duke University Press.X, focuses on transatlantic performance culture, spectacles of race, and the body from 1850 to 1910; and then I have this quirky little book that’s about the quirky other side of me. It’s called Jeff Buckley’s Grace
Brooks, Daphne A. 2005. Jeff Buckley's "Grace." New York: Continuum.X, and it’s about this late, fabulous white male musician, rock singer, who drowned in the Mississippi River in 1997, and who channeled Nina Simone and Led Zeppelin and was really, to me, kind of this iconic representation of post-civil rights, complex racial identification politics. So that’s the kind of thing I’m interested in, and performance studies has really allowed me to move in fluid and, I hope, adventurous ways across the spectrum of thinking about live, embodied, kinds of cultural moments in US culture.
Diana: How would you define performance studies?
“To me, performance studies is a discipline that enables you to radically contextualize how we think about the production of culture and, as a black feminist scholar, it enables me to think about the body and the corporeal as being central to our understanding of cultural production. So, what is performance studies? It’s thinking about embodiment as somehow enriching our understanding of text.”
Diana: No, of course, everyone has their own definition. Some people have talked about performance studies as a discipline, some people say it’s not a discipline, some people say it’s a post-discipline, you just said there was a discipline, so I’m wondering if you thought that, or if you have any thoughts about how you would qualify it.
Diana: So, what kinds of things does performance or performance studies allow you to do that you couldn’t do just, with say, textual analysis? How is your work different because you come at it from the angle that you do?
Diana: Thank you so much. It’s so interesting.
|Previous page on path||English, page 2 of 30||Next page on path|