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Josephine Baker and Katherine DunhamDances in Literature and Cinema$
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Hannah Durkin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042621

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042621.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Josephine Baker and Katherine Dunham

Hannah Durkin

University of Illinois Press

This book explores Josephine Baker and Katherine Dunham’s contributions to the page and screen to shed new light on their intellectual interventions as Black women artists in midcentury transatlantic culture. Cinematic and literary spaces were for Baker and Dunham sites of mediation and marginalization in which they frequently shared authorship with white men. Yet they are also rare visual and textual records of Black women dancers’ midcentury artistry and authorship. On the page, they voiced the challenges of navigating interwar global spaces as young Black women, and their narratives shed vital light on the origins and purpose of their art. On the screen, they claimed the right to stardom while at the same time retaining some artistic autonomy and even shaping their films’ aesthetics.

Keywords:   Josephine Baker, Katherine Dunham, autobiography, dance, cinema, African American literature, Black cinema, race, performance, Black Atlantic

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