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Black skin, white characters: a turn to Africa

Grant number: 23/00214-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2023
Effective date (End): December 15, 2023
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Arts - Theatre
Principal Investigator:Silvia Fernandes da Silva Telesi
Grantee:Conrado de Sousa Santos
Supervisor: Joseph-Achille Mbembe
Host Institution: Escola de Comunicações e Artes (ECA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa  
Associated to the scholarship:21/13665-7 - Black skin, white characters, BP.DR


The research internship project aims to deepen the investigations that have been developed in the doctorate research Black skin, White characters, concerning intersections between Theatre and Race. Considering Brazilian historical, political, and social context, we seek a better understanding of the role that the skin color of an actor may play in the production of meanings within the contemporary theatre scene, in order to produce concepts, structures and reflections capable of dismantling a certain regard that diminishes the experience of black performers. Therefore, the study takes as objects testimonials by Black artists and plays that adopt non-traditional casting processes, in other words, those in which characters usually played by White actors are represented by racialized performers. In order to address the parts of the study that concern historical, philosophical and social fields, we propose a six-month research internship at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research of the University of The Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in South Africa, under the supervision of philosopher and historian Achille Mbembe. Through the contact with Mbembe, the participation in the activities promoted by the institute and the dialogue established with South African groups and artists, we expect to build a deeper understanding of the sliding definitions of Race and the term "Black", allowing specificities generated by the presence of Black bodies in theatre to be better identified and analyzed. The objective is also to expand the theoretical framework of the research, composed by the supervisor of the internship himself and by authors such as Leda Maria Martins, Ayanna Thompson, Frantz Fanon, bell hooks, Kabengele Mungana, Denise Ferreira da Silvia, Stuart Hall, Patricia Hill Collins, Sylvie Chalaye and Tavia Nyong'o. (AU)

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