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In her provocative account Early American Women Critics: Performance,. Religion, Race, Gay Gibson Cima turns to a broad array of performances by.
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In her three dense chapters, arranged chronologically, she examines African American and European American women's performances during the First Great Awakening, the revolutionary era, and the early Republic. In each chapter she examines the stages upon which women performed, their strategies for gaining access to the public, and the content of their cultural criticism conveyed through print or bodily performance.
Mamet Plays: 6: November; Race; The Anarchist (Contemporary Dramatists) David Mamet: Methuen Drama
Throughout her study Cima employs the trope of the "host body" a gestural or rhetorical construction that provides women with a shield from censure, a"surrogate body through which they could safely issue their critiques" 3. Accordingly, the three composite "host bodies" explored in the three chapters of this study are the "evangelical [or 'black'] possessed host body" of the first Great Awakening; the revolutionary era "enlightened, rational Christian" or "cultured Ethiop host body;" and the early republican "Christian activist" or "cultured American host body.
Cima asserts that her study "revises the history of early American women and performance by confounding the customary boundaries between the performance of religion, politics and culture" ; that it enriches earlier performance theory by supplying "more acute attention to gender performance"; and that it places "religious performance at the core of thinking critically about race, culture and politics" 6. She particularly focuses upon the manner in which this evangelical challenge to southern, upper-class, Anglican respectability was covered in the South Carolina Gazette under the editorship of the widowed Elizabeth Timothee, working in the "host body" of her son, Peter.
In this chapter, Cima draws upon a wide body of scholarship exploring African influences upon slave religion to support her argument that both slave and free African and African American women, as well as lower- and middle-class white women, were empowered by the Great Awakening in the South, and that exhortation performances constituted a critique of both slavery, sexism, and Author: Judith R.
From: Christianity and Literature Vol. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.
The Tragedy of the American Military
Remove this title from your notification list? Cima's writing brings to life the [End Page 71] theatrical and political contexts within which Rowson's Slaves in Algiers was staged in Reprinting Rowson's lost prologue to the play, Cima examines its differences from the prologue authored by James Fennell, delivered at the premiere, and published with the drama. Cima's reading of Slaves in Algiers highlights the drama's gender solidarity and its protest of multiple forms of enslavement, including marriage law and political domination As the book opens with a consideration of sites and methods of access for African American women critics, so does it close, spanning the First to the Second Great Awakenings.
By the early nineteenth century, African American women found their voices in benevolent associations, educational societies, freedom celebrations, religious exhortations, and preaching. Jarena Lee and Zilpha Elaw were preachers acting out God's will in such spaces as homes, churches, and camp meetings, where "black and white religious practices overlapped in hybrid forms" Cima situates her analysis within the scholarly argument "that many early Christian performance traditions are African in origin" Cima's Early American Women Critics: Performance, Religion, Race is an essential work for scholars of African American performance and literature, and it holds compelling interest for readers in many fields.
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