Gender: New Works, New Questions event Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement by Naomi André
- Naomi André, Associate Professor in Women’s Studies, Afroamerican and African Studies, and Associate Director for Faculty at the Residential College
- Abigail Stewart, Sandra Schwartz Tangri Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies
- Gabriela Cruz, Associate Professor of Musicology, School of Music, Theatre & Dance
From classic films like Carmen Jones to contemporary works like The Diary of Sally Hemings and U-Carmen eKhayelitsa, American and South African artists and composers have used opera to reclaim black people's place in history.
In her recent book from the University of Illinois Press (2018), Naomi André draws on the experiences of performers and audiences to explore this music's resonance with today's listeners. Interacting with creators and performers, as well as with the works themselves, André reveals how black opera unearths suppressed truths. These truths provoke complex, if uncomfortable, reconsideration of racial, gender, sexual, and other oppressive ideologies. Opera, in turn, operates as a cultural and political force that employs an immense, transformative power to represent or even liberate.
This event is part of IRWG's Gender: New Works, New Questions series, which spotlights recent publications by U-M faculty members and allows for deeper discussion by an interdisciplinary panel.