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This essay engages the figure of the “Tar Baby” as a guide through the theoretical terrain of Afro-Diasporic storytelling culture. Thinking about the role of gesture and voice in the repertoire of global Black performance, this presentation sets out to offer a nuanced Black feminist analysis of the sticky character and the impact of her diasporic flight. Calling in both theoretical work on Black performance and personal reflections on an engagement with the Tar Baby through storyteller and puppeteer Akbar Imhotep’s rendition of the story performed at the Wren’s Nest in Atlanta Georgia, the essay explores the ways Afro-Diasporic storytelling traditions open up pathways to personal, communal, and universal identification and resistance.

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puppetry, performing objects, African American culture


African American Studies | Africana Studies | Arts and Humanities | Other Theatre and Performance Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Theatre and Performance Studies

Tar Baby: The Performance of Object