Category Archives: Theater

Mirrored on the Stage: A Selection of Books on African and African-Diaspora Theater

Stories are an integral part of how we understand our communities—both their histories and our place within them. Theater is uniquely suited to this function, as every dramatic performance creates space removed one step from reality. On the stage, we can explore not just who we are, but who we might be.

A highlight of Telling Our Stories of Home, an ongoing 6-day conference-festival that brings artists, activists, and scholars together to examine the concept of “home” in African and African-Diaspora communities, will be the performance of Torn Asunder, a specially commissioned play based on the book Help Me to Find My People by Heather Williams, that focuses on the quest of African-American families to reunite after the Civil War.

It is from Torn Asunder that we take our cue, providing some complementary resources that expand on the intersection of theater and TOSH’s theme of “home.” The following list consists of a small selection of the Stone Center Library’s theater-related books that we hope will spur your imagination and curiosity in this fascinating and vital discussion. All quoted summaries are taken from the UNC-CH library catalog.

Continue reading

New @the SCL: Women & Theater

Thanks to a recent donation from UNC-CH Department of Dramatic Art professor Kathy A. Perkins, the SCL now has several new titles on and by female playwrights. Check out:

Perkins, Kathy A. African Women Playwrights. Urbana: U of Illinois P, c2009.

Perkins, Kathy A. Black Female Playwrights : An Anthology of Plays Before 1950. Bloomington: Indiana UP, c1989.

Perkins, Kathy A. Black South African Women : An Anthology of Plays. Cape Town: U of Cape Town P, 1999.

Perkins, Kathy A., and Judith L. Stephens. Strange Fruit : Plays on Lynching by American Women. Bloomington: Indiana UP, c1998.

Perkins, Kathy A., and Roberta Uno. Contemporary Plays by Women of Color : An Anthology. London : Routledge, 1996.

Trying to find more titles on this topic? Here’s a hint: click on any of the links above, select the “Subjects” tab that appears in the catalog records, and several hyperlinked subjects will appear. Clicking on these subjects will lead you to any other books in the UNC catalog in that category.

So for example, Black South African Women : An Anthology of Plays is listed under the following subject headings:

Interested in reading more South African plays written in English? One option is South African drama (English), which leads to this list of titles. These results can be further refined using the check-boxes on the left-hand side of the screen, for everything from location to format to date of publication, and so forth.

Happy searching!

New @the SCL, Part 2: The Arts!

Welcome back, faithful readers! Yesterday we posted the first of three listings of new books currently on display here at the Stone Center Library. Today’s new titles cover a wide range of the arts, including dance, film, music, and visual arts.

The Devil Finds Work (James Baldwin)

Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present (Robin R. Means Coleman)

Black Social Dance in Television Advertising: An Analytical History (Carla Stalling Huntington)

Marion D. Cuyjet and Her Judimar School of Dance: Training Black Ballerinas in Black Philadelphia 1948-1971 (Melanye White Dixon; with a Foreword by Lynette Young Overby)

The Dance Claimed Me: a Biography of Pearl Primus (Peggy & Murray Schwartz)

The Life, Art, and Times of Joseph Delaney, 1904-1991 (Frederick C. Moffatt)  

A to Z of African Americans: African Americans in the Visual Arts (Steven Otfinoski)

Back in the Days: Remix (Photographs by Jamel Shabazz)

Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade (Maurie D. McInnis)

Intrigued by any of the above titles? Click on the links for a brief summary or come by the Library and peruse at your leisure!

Coming tomorrow: post three of three, featuring a bevy of hot topics such as religion, gender studies, and more… stay tuned!


Have you been by the Stone Center Library lately? If so, you’ve hopefully noticed our new display:

Our latest selection of recently acquired books features titles related to African Americans in American culture, in keeping with our recent event with UNC history professor “Fitz” Brundage:

All titles are available here at the library and we encourage you to come by and check them out. Happy reading, and have a great weekend!

Photos from Professor Brundage’s 11/1 lecture

Thanks to everyone who came out to Professor Brundage’s booktalk on the first of the month! We hope you all found his lecture informative and thought-provoking and we encourage you all to take another look at Stone Center Librarian Shauna Collier’s  list of related books available here at the SCL if this is a topic you wish to explore further.

TODAY at 5:00pm in Wilson: Beyond Blackface booktalk… plus related UNC resources

We hope you’re all excited for TODAY’S book talk with UNC history professor “Fitz” Brundage, as he discusses his latest book, Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture, 1890-1930 (UNC Press 2011).

Event details (also available on Facebook):


5:00pm Reception | Main Lobby, Wilson Library

5:30pm Program | Pleasants Family Assembly Room

Free and open to the public

In anticipation of this event, Stone Center Librarian Shauna Collier has put together a list of related books available at UNC libraries. Check it out!

Happy reading, and we hope to see you TODAY at 5pm in Wilson Library!

Save the date: Tuesday, Nov. 1st @5pm, African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture

Save the date! On Tuesday, November 1st, UNC history professor Fitzhugh Brundage will deliver a lecture on the history of African Americans in American popular culture. The talk will will take place at 5:30pm in the Wilson Special Collections Library, with a reception at 5:00pm. This event is FREE  and open to the PUBLIC

Brundage is the editor of the UNC Press book Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture, 1890-1930, a collection of essays from sixteen scholars in various disciplines that “address the complex roles of black performers, entrepreneurs, and consumers in American mass culture during the early twentieth century.” This book is currently available at Davis Library and the North Carolina Collection (library use only) – check for availability here.

Brundage is also the William Umstead Distinguished Professor of history at UNC, and his books include The Southern Past : A Clash of Race and Memory(2005), A Socialist Utopia in the New South: The Ruskin Colonies in Tennessee and Georgia, 1894-1901 (1996) and Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930.  (1993) 

In 2006, he was awarded the Lillian Smith Award from the Southern Regional Council and the Southern Historical Association’s Charles S. Sydnor Award for a distinguished book in southern history for The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Library and the Stone Center Library for Black Culture & History. For more information, contact: Liza TerllFriends of the Library at (919) 962-4207 or

Hope to see you there!  

Read all about it: SCL Picks for LGBT Pride Month

In addition to being Black Music Month, June is also Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. For our first set of recommendations for this week, the Stone Center Library would like to highlight some more of our recent acquisitions related to LGBT studies, reflecting a wide range of approaches – from journalism to queer theory to performance studies. Enjoy!

Thinking Queerly: Race, Sex, Gender, and the Ethics of Identity (2010) David Ross Fryer

“Queer theory and the gay rights movement historically have been in tension, with the former critiquing precisely the identity politics on which the latter relies. Yet neither queer theory, in its predominately poststructuralist form, nor the gay rights movement, with its conservative inclusionary aspirations, has adequately addressed questions of identity or the political struggles against normativity that mark the lives of so many queer people. Taking on issues of race, sex, gender, and what he calls the ethics of identity, Fryer offers a new take on queer theory ‘one rooted in phenomenology rather than poststructuralism’ that seeks to put postnormative thinking at its center. This provocative book gives us a glimpse of what thinking queer can look like in our posthumanist age.”

Post Black: How a New Generation is Redefining African American identity (2010) Ytasha L. Womack; foreword by Derek T. Dingle

“Highlighting certain socioeconomic and cultural trends, this exploration discloses the new dynamics shaping contemporary lives of African Americans. Using information from conversations with mavericks within black communities–such as entrepreneurs, artists, scholars, and activists as well as members of both the working and upper classes–this powerful examination gives voice to what the author has deemed “post black” approaches to business, lifestyles, and religion that are nowhere else reflected as part of black life. The argument states that this new, complex black identity is strikingly different than the images handed down from previous generations and offers new examples of behavior, such as those shown by President Obama, gays and lesbians, young professionals, and black Buddhists. Contending that this new generation feels as unwelcome in traditional churches as in hip-hop clubs, this dynamic provocation dispels myths about current, popular black identity.”

Representations of Homosexuality: Black Liberation Theology and Cultural Criticism (2010) Roger A. Sneed

“This book challenges black religious and cultural critics to rethink theological and ethical approaches to homosexuality. Sneed demonstrates how black liberation theology and has often characterized homosexuality as a problem to be solved, and his work here offers a different way for black religious scholars to approach black homosexuality and religious experiences. Drawing on a range of black gay writers from Essex Hemphill to J.L. King, Sneed identifies black gay men’s literature as a rich source for theological and ethical reflection and points black religious scholarship toward an ethics of openness.”

Bulldaggers, Pansies, and Chocolate Babies: Performance, Race, and Sexuality in the Harlem Renaissance (2010) James F. Wilson

“Bulldaggers, Pansies, and Chocolate Babies shines the spotlight on historically neglected plays and performances that challenged early twentieth-century notions of the stratification of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation. . . Blues-singing lesbians, popularly known as ‘bulldaggers,’ performed bawdy songs; cross-dressing men vied for the top prizes in lavish drag balls; and black and white women flaunted their sexuality in scandalous melodramas and musical revues. . . James F. Wilson has based his rich cultural history on a wide range of documents from the period, including eyewitness accounts, newspaper reports, songs, and play scripts, combining archival research with an analysis grounded in a cultural studies framework that incorporates both queer theory and critical race theory.”


(Excerpts from Syndetic Solution summaries.)

Women’s History Month + new books display, part 2

On Friday, we started a list of new titles currently on display in honor of Women’s History Month.  Below is part two, which we welcome you to explore further by clicking on the links, or coming by the library to browse in person!

Interested in learning more?  Don’t forget that, from the comfort of your own home, you can also access the Stone Center Library’s Guide to the Web, which has a section of resources on women’s history available here.  Happy reading!