cover of book

Privileged Spectatorship: Theatrical Interventions in White Supremacy
by Dani Snyder-Young
Northwestern University Press, 2020
Paper: 978-0-8101-4251-0 | Cloth: 978-0-8101-4252-7 | eISBN: 978-0-8101-4253-4
Library of Congress Classification PN2049.S63 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 306.4848


Many professional theater artists attempt to use live performances in formal theater spaces to disrupt racism and create a more equitable society. Privileged Spectatorship: Theatrical Interventions in White Supremacy examines the impact of such projects, looking at how and why they do and do not intervene in white supremacy. In this incisive study, Dani Snyder-Young examines audience responses to a range of theatrical events that focus on race-related conflict or racial identity in the contemporary United States. The audiences for these performances, produced at mainstream not-for-profit professional theaters in major American cities in 2013–18, reflect dominant patterns of theater attendance: the majority of spectators are older, affluent, white, and describe themselves as politically progressive. Snyder-Young studies the ways these audience members consume the stories of racialized others and analyzes how different artistic, organizational, and programmatic strategies can (or cannot) mitigate white privilege.

This book is essential reading for scholars and students of theater, performance studies, and critical ethnic studies and for theater practitioners interested in equity and inclusion.

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