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Race and Ethnicity

Race

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Theatre Faculty Articles and Research

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Full-Text Articles in African American Studies

The Angel And The Imp: The Duncan Sisters’ Performances Of Race And Gender, Jocelyn Buckner Jan 2011

The Angel And The Imp: The Duncan Sisters’ Performances Of Race And Gender, Jocelyn Buckner

Theatre Faculty Articles and Research

From 1923 to 1959 Vivian and Rosetta Duncan performed the show Topsy and Eva in front of thousands of audiences in the United States and abroad. This essay examines how the Duncan Sisters’ appropriation of blackness through a yin and yang performance of black and white womanhood, their sexualized but ultimately infantilizing routine as young girls, and their take on anarchistic comedy resulted in a particular spin on age, gender, race, and sexuality that reinforced their privilege as white women even while it pushed the boundaries of acceptable femininity in the swiftly shifting American culture of the first half of ...