Abstract

Only a small amount of evidence survives about the performances of Aboriginal women in “leg shows,” or strip-tease shows, in the first half of the twentieth century. These women are doubly invisible in the historical record because of their indigeneity and as performers in traveling (and hence transitory and ephemeral) sideshows. The performances of Aboriginal women, however, add to current debates and interrogations of the connections between mobility and modernity for Indigenous women. This article argues that Aboriginal women’s performances in leg shows, while complicated by disguise and theatricality, as well as by a colonial history of sexual exploitation, must be considered as engagements with modernity.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2036
Print ISSN
1042-7961
Pages
pp. 37-59
Launched on MUSE
2014-12-09
Open Access
No
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