Uncle Tom's Cabin in China: Ouyang Yuqian's Regret of a Black Slave and the Tactics of Impersonating Race, Gender, and Class

Uncle Tom's Cabin in China: Ouyang Yuqian's Regret of a Black Slave and the Tactics of... <p>Abstract:</p><p>This article historicizes the methods Chinese actors have used to embody the foreign characters in adaptations of Harriet Beecher Stowe&apos;s <i>Uncle Tom&apos;s Cabin</i>. It roots the discussion in Ouyang Yuqian&apos;s <i>Heinu hen</i> (Regret of a Black Slave 黑奴恨, 1959), arguing that the incidents of racial impersonation in Chinese adaptations of <i>Uncle Tom&apos;s Cabin</i> are best understood not in comparison to other, intentionally racist incidents of blackface in world drama, but rather in relation to other histories of performing identity within Chinese theatrical traditions. In examining the manner in which Chinese actors performed as black and white Americans, men and women, as well as enslaved people and enslavers, I frame impersonation as a politically fluid performance tactic—neither inherently progressive nor conservative. Instead, an analysis of the impersonation of race, gender, and class introduces ethical questions about how Chinese performances of ethnic others may reflect an interest in the self as well as the subjects being portrayed.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Asian Theatre Journal University of Hawai'I Press

Uncle Tom&apos;s Cabin in China: Ouyang Yuqian&apos;s Regret of a Black Slave and the Tactics of Impersonating Race, Gender, and Class

Asian Theatre Journal, Volume 36 (1) – Mar 13, 2019

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-2109

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>This article historicizes the methods Chinese actors have used to embody the foreign characters in adaptations of Harriet Beecher Stowe&apos;s <i>Uncle Tom&apos;s Cabin</i>. It roots the discussion in Ouyang Yuqian&apos;s <i>Heinu hen</i> (Regret of a Black Slave 黑奴恨, 1959), arguing that the incidents of racial impersonation in Chinese adaptations of <i>Uncle Tom&apos;s Cabin</i> are best understood not in comparison to other, intentionally racist incidents of blackface in world drama, but rather in relation to other histories of performing identity within Chinese theatrical traditions. In examining the manner in which Chinese actors performed as black and white Americans, men and women, as well as enslaved people and enslavers, I frame impersonation as a politically fluid performance tactic—neither inherently progressive nor conservative. Instead, an analysis of the impersonation of race, gender, and class introduces ethical questions about how Chinese performances of ethnic others may reflect an interest in the self as well as the subjects being portrayed.</p>

Journal

Asian Theatre JournalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Mar 13, 2019

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