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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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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 22 June 2021

Cinematic Segregation

Cinematic Segregation

Dunham in World War II Hollywood

Chapter:
(p.135) Chapter Five Cinematic Segregation
Source:
Josephine Baker and Katherine Dunham
Author(s):

Hannah Durkin

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252042621.003.0006

This chapter examines Dunham’s interventions in World War II-era U.S. cinema. Focusing on three of Dunham’s Hollywood films, Carnival of Rhythm (1941), Star Spangled Rhythm (1942), and Stormy Weather (1943), the chapter recovers Dunham’s groundbreaking contribution as a Black woman choreographer to midcentury U.S. cinema. Establishing that Dunham was the first Black choreographer to gain onscreen credit for her work in Hollywood, it shows how her performances represented a negotiation of studio-era racial codes but also how she mediated such codes and was able to assert her authorship by presenting a vision of Black dancing womanhood in Hollywood that was pioneering its open engagement with sensuality, cultural diversity, and choreographic allusions to ballet and modern dance.

Keywords:   Katherine Dunham, Stormy Weather, Carnival of Rhythm, Star Spangled Rhythm, World War II Hollywood, film musical, African American film, Hays Code, dance, performance

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