Week 5 Update

This week I’ve been wrapping up my secondary research. The largest challenge I face when formulating my final essay will be providing a concise yet comprehensive history of blackface in America. The history of minstrelsy in America is complex, and it is important that I examine every facet of minstrelsy’s past and legacy in order to provide proper context for my primary evidence. From the sources I’ve examined, I’ve seen how different factions of society produced and consumed minstrelsy with diverse goals and intentions. The authors of these sources also examine the legacies created by minstrelsy and how different groups over time have interpreted the practice.

As I wrote previously, it’s been tough to find scholarship that specifically covers the history of minstrelsy or blackface in higher education student cultures.  My primary research shows that minstrelsy was undoubtedly a celebrated segment of William and Mary’s student culture at one point, but there is little research in larger history journals that covers college minstrelsy. Though this lack of specific sources can make the research process a bit more difficult, it’s exciting to be working in an area of research that has yet to be fully explored by other scholars.

I’m continuing to organize my final report on my research. I’ve decided that I will examine evidence from the Colonial Echo and student opinions from The Flat Hat from three distinct time periods. By analyzing the changes in what students included in the Colonial Echo and the opinions they published in The Flat Hat I can illustrate how student culture, and how William and Mary students have addressed issues of race, racism, and diversity has evolved over time.

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