Sites of Conflict: Identity, Sexuality & Reproduction

Saakana, Amon Saba. 1996. Sites of Conflict: Identity, Sexuality & Reproduction. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Theatre is now considered to be not just a site of entertainment but one of conflict: conflict of classes. gender and race. In this context the writer looks at several plays written and/or performed between 1908 and 1939 in which the African (i.e., all those descending from an African ancestor despite shade or mixture) has been portrayed on the London stage. in the main. by those of Euro-American descent. These plays featured African people and were set in broad area of the globe: Africa, the Caribbean. the USA. but they all conformed to a principal idea: that the African is to be represented as a stereotype as, for example, prostitute, seductress, coward, stupid, savage, etc. In looking at these plays the writer examines the orientation of the playwrights (in the context of ideology), interprets the meaning of the language used both in the words of the African and the European (either to each other or to themselves), and showing the historical and theoretical basis for comparisons with the characters and social life at the time. This involves the use of theatrical texts explored through the disciplines of psychoanalysis and cultural studies. Since the plays were produced during the period of the British empire. with the civil servant class in foreign countries. as well as the position of the African in post-slavery Southern United States and settlement in urban centres. enclaves of previously European and Euro-American settlement, the primary theoretical model used throughout the text is that of colonialism. The thesis proposes that not only was the theatre a site of conflict: the playwrights were themselves part of the social fabric of society and could not but produce a theatre which would be acceptable to their hegemonic patrons and audiences in terms of the working out of popular expectations of what the African was supposed to represent, but the colonial trauma of identity, sexuality and reproduction exacerbated fragile notions of self in foreign lands. Comparatively. the thesis puts forward the notion that exploitation of racial and sexual difference was not an isolated phenomenon in relation to the African exclusively: European and American society being unequal amongst its citizens. practised a wide range of discrimination. Finally, in contact with other peoples and cultures Euro-Americans continued to express these' discriminations through the vehicle of the theatre while perpetuating new ones vis-a-vis the African.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00029019

Date:

1996

Item ID:

29019

Date Deposited:

14 Jul 2020 10:48

Last Modified:

14 Jul 2020 10:48

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/29019

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