Danielle Marion Roper

Danielle Marion Roper, Provost's Postdoctoral Scholar; Dept. of Romance Languages and Literatures

Provost's Postdoctoral Scholar; Dept. of Romance Languages and Literatures
droper@uchicago.edu
773.834.5260

Danielle Marion Roper graduated with a Ph.D from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University in 2015 where she defended her dissertation Inca Drag Queens and Hemispheric Blackface: Contemporary Blackface and Drag performance from the Andes to Jamaica.  Upon completing doctoral studies, she taught as a Core Curriculum Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at New York University. Roper is from Kingston, Jamaica and has an M.A in Performance Studies from NYU and B.A in Hispanic Studies (cum laude) from Hamilton College.  Her research on Performance Studies, Caribbean Queer and Feminist Studies, Race and Visual Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean has appeared in e-misférica, as well as in anthologies with University of the West Indies Press and with Palgrave Macmillan Press. In 2006, she was the recipient of the Thomas J. Watson fellow for her project “Political Humor and Social Transformation in Latin America and the Caribbean: A study of stand-up comedy, cartoons and popular theatre.”

Roper has published in several national newspapers across the Caribbean about human rights and environmental justice.  She has appeared on national and regional television and radio programs in discussions around U.S/Cuba relations, citizenship rights in the Dominican Republic, blackness in Argentina and has done advocacy work on LGBT rights in the region. 

Currently, she is preparing her book manuscript by expanding the scope of her dissertation.  In her book manuscript she develops the concept of “hemispheric blackface” to examine the function of parodic performance in relation to nationalist discourses of mestizaje, multiculturalism and non-racialism in Latin America and the Caribbean. Challenging traditional geographic paradigms, it uses Peru, Colombia, and Jamaica as case studies in order to investigate the function of blackface and drag performance in different locales and to argue that these representations of blackness and queerness are not unique; they are part of a regional network embedded in global economies of representation. She attends to the specificity of racial formation in the region by investigating blackface and gender-bending in a cartoon, an Andean fiesta, an ambulatory transvestite museum, and an Afro-Latina art exhibit. Studied together, they reveal how a shared regional history of colonialism, slavery, and imperialism continues to inform contemporary representations of black, queer, and indigenous subjects in the region.  Through the creation of a regional parodic archive linking the Anglophone Caribbean, Pacific and the Andes, hemispheric blackface decenters U.S blackface minstrelsy and northern theories of parody, and it elucidates the ways parodic forms are taken up to uphold and/or counter nationalist discourses of mestizaje and non-racialism in the region.