Black Cultural Archives & the Making of Black Histories
Archives of Surveillance and Black Transnational Theatre
Supported by an Independent Social Research Foundation Fellowship and a British Library Eccles Centre Fellowship, this project explores the circulation of Black theatre manuscripts across the Atlantic in the first half of the twentieth century. It examines cultural surveillance archives collected by the British and United States governments between 1900 and 1948. From the Lord Chamberlain’s Office in London to the F.B.I in Washington D.C, agents of the state collected, monitored and reviewed dramas written by, for and about people of colour. These ‘involuntary’ archives raise important questions about how early twentieth century collection practices continue to shape theatre making and our understanding of Black history today.