This essay traces how the transoceanic traffics of early blackface minstrelsy forged entanglements among the early blackface figure "Jim Crow," the US American racial formation of "Jim Crow," and the Anglophone imperial formations of the Global South. Although blackface minstrel scholarship has taken the form to be axiomatically US American and national in origin, the essay maps the popularity of minstrel performances across the nineteenth-century Anglophone empire and the intimacies by which popular culture and imperial policies combined in transnational formations of global white supremacy. Early blackface minstrelsy inundated Anglophone popular culture not only in global northern metropoles of the United States and Britain, but also throughout colonial worlds in Australia, Canada, India, Jamaica, and South Africa. Through these imperial circulations, the minstrel figuration of "Jim Crow" shaped popular white Anglophone racial imaginaries and therefore informed colonial systems of racial rule that structured the imperial world along the Global North/South axis. Focusing on the circulations of Thomas Dartmouth Rice's blackface figure "Jim Crow" as well as the proliferation of related blackface songs, playlets, and visual artifacts, the essay posits that the enduring salience of "Jim Crow" as a transnational signifier of racial control and imperial politics derived not only from US American imperialism, but also from the transoceanic circulations of the minstrel figure of "Jim Crow" as a representation and mechanism of transnational Anglophone imperial politics.


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pp. 443-467
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