VIRTUAL: “Can the Black Banjo Speak?” and Other Questions with Francesca T. Royster

Thursday, February 27:00—8:00 PMVirtual

Francesca T. Royster stumbled on the topic of her book Black Country Music: Listening for Revolutions while chatting with her father, a few years back, on his time as a session musician in Nashville in the 1970’s. She learned of stories of the appetite in progressive country music circles to collaborate with African American and Latinx musicians. As he told these stories, Royster  thought about how being a Black country music fan can feel lonely and sometimes dangerous. It sometimes feels unsafe to listen to such personal, vulnerable music in public spaces not of our own creation. This lack of safety is shaped by the ways country music has been weaponized to uphold whiteness and white culture. Black country music fans and performers must often tread lightly as they cross these racial boundaries. 

Francesca T. Royster is a Professor of English at DePaul University, where she teaches courses in Shakespeare Studies, Performance Studies, Critical Race theory, Gender and Queer Theory and African American Literature. She received her PhD in English from University of California, Berkeley in 1995. She is the author of Becoming Cleopatra: The Shifting Image of an Icon (Palgrave/MacMillan in 2003) and Sounding Like a No-No: Queer Sounds and Outrageous Acts in the Post-Soul Era (University of Michigan, 2013), which won Honorable Mention in the Modern Language Association’s William Sanders Scarborough Prize for an Outstanding Scholarly Study of African American Literature or Culture. She has also published numerous book chapters and scholarly essays in Biography, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Shakespeare Quarterly, Shakespeare Studies, Text and Performance Studies, Performance Research International and Women in Performance, among others. She is at work on a new book project that looks at Blackness in Country Music.

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This program is made possible by the generous donors to the Cary Library Foundation.

Capacity: 992 of 1000 spaces available.

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