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The Creolization of American CultureWilliam Sidney Mount and the Roots of Blackface Minstrelsy$
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Christopher J. Smith

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037764

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037764.001.0001

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The Creole Synthesis in American Culture

(p.210) Conclusion
The Creolization of American Culture

Christopher J. Smith

University of Illinois Press

This book has constructed a portrait of the multiethnic nineteenth-century world that gave birth to blackface minstrelsy using primary sources such as demographics, tune repertoires, archival materials, and most especially iconography. Drawing on evidence from the biographical experience and visual reporting of William Sidney Mount, it has also presented a more expansive history than blackface scholarship has formerly recognized. It has argued that the resources and conditions for the creole synthesis existed across the riverine and maritime zones of North America, and that these conditions produced the creole street-performance idioms that were the sources of blackface theatrics. In investigating the riverine and maritime, geographic, demographic, ethnic, and musical roots of blackface minstrelsy, the book has elucidated the processes of cross-cultural encounter, collision, and piebald synthesis by which American popular culture has always been and is still defined.

Keywords:   blackface minstrelsy, American popular culture, iconography, William Sidney Mount, creole synthesis, popular culture, North America

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