Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

National Portrait Gallery  Search this
YouTube Videos
Video Title:
Racial Masquerade in American Art & Culture (Part 1 of 3)
Richardson Symposium: Racial Masquerade in American Art and Culture took place at the National Portrait Gallery, Nov. 4, and Nov. 5, 2016 Recording of Saturday afternoon, Nov 5: Speakers Introductions Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw Associate Professor of History of Art, University of Pennsylvania, Senior Fellow, National Portrait Gallery Jillian B. Vaum PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania Artistic Practice Discussion Cherise Smith Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas at Austin Michael Ray Charles Professor of Art, University of Houston Event Description Due to technical difficulties, there is audible static during the discussion portion of the video. Throughout American history, different forms of racial masquerade have been used to engage issues of difference and group identity. While this kind of dress up has sometimes been a celebratory act or used by oppressed communities to mock those in power, it has more often been employed in the opposite direction by those in power to dehumanize minorities and reassert existing control over them. In the 19th century blackface minstrelsy and theatrical stage performance emerged as popular entertainments in both the United States parts of Latin America. In the 20th century, racial masquerade became a regular part of Hollywood film as white actors impersonated Native American and Asian-descended characters through the use of often grotesque makeup and mannerisms. This symposium brings together scholars and artists who engage these histories in their work. It also examines contemporary instances of racial masquerade in American culture and the way that such performances of false identity continue to shape the ways that Americans see themselves and others.
Video Duration:
2 hr 7 min 53 sec
YouTube Keywords:
Portrait Gallery
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Portraits  Search this
See more by:
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
YouTube Channel: