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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.198) Conclusion
Josephine Baker and Katherine Dunham

Hannah Durkin

University of Illinois Press

The conclusion summarizes the book’s key arguments. It reflects on the significance of Baker and Dunham’s memoirs and films in revealing the limitations of their roles as midcentury Black women artists and also their authorship despite such restrictions and their important contributions to literature and cinema. Baker and Dunham’s memoirs show how they each used dance to engage self-reflexively with pseudo-ethnographic tropes and to contest dehumanizing attitudes to Black Atlantic cultures and identities. Such texts reveal the origins of their antiracist philosophies and call attention to their international contributions to the civil rights and Black Arts movements. Equally, their screen careers expand our understanding of African American film history by revealing key moments of early Black female stardom and authorship beyond the realm of Hollywood.

Keywords:   Josephine Baker, Katherine Dunham, African American, dance, autobiography, film, primitivism, stardom, performance, race

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