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Early American Women Critics: Performance, Religion, Race

Early American Women Critics: Performance, Religion, Race

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Gay Gibson Cima
Cambridge University Press, 5/25/2006
EAN 9780521847339, ISBN10: 0521847338

Hardcover, 256 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.9 cm
Language: English

Early American Women Critics demonstrates that performances of various kinds - religious, political and cultural - enabled women to enter the human rights debates that roiled the American colonies and young republic. Black and white women staked their claims on American citizenship through disparate performances of spirit possession, patriotism, poetic and theatrical production. They protected themselves within various shields which allowed them to speak openly while keeping the individual basis of their identities invisible. Cima shows that between the First and Second Great Religious Awakenings (1730s–1830s), women from West Africa, Europe, and various corners of the American colonies self-consciously adopted performance strategies that enabled them to critique American culture and establish their own diverse and contradictory claims on the body politic. This book restores the primacy of religious performances - Christian, Yoruban, Bantu and Muslim - to the study of early American cultural and political histories, revealing that religion and race are inseparable.

Introduction
1. Colonial women critics
performing religion, race, possession, and pornography
2. Revolutionary women critics
performing rational Christianity, patriotism, and race
3. Republican women critics
performing Christian activism, American culture, and race.

"An original and stimulating book about early women critics and critiques." Janelle Reinelt, Professor of Theatre and Performance, University of Warwick