ASU Book Group: 'Blackface' by Ayanna Thompson

This event last occurred Oct. 27, 2021

The ASU Book Group's October 2021 reading selection is "Blackface (Object Lessons)" by Ayanna Thompson. The book group is open to all in the ASU community and meets monthly from noon–1 p.m. with two different options for attendance: either in-person at the Piper Writers House or virtually on Zoom. In-person attendees are invited to join the author for lunch after at the University Club, no-host.

Haven't read the book? Come anyway! Authors are always present.


Cover of Blackface by Ayanna Thompson courtesy Macmillan Publishers

The history of blackface, the behavior by which white people paint their faces and sometimes their bodies to imitate people of color, has a long and persistent history. Most recently, Sacha Baron Cohen used blackface to mock the history of it in his Oscar-nominated film “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.”

But employing blackface, even to criticize its use as in the Borat film, can open wounds in communities that are disproportionately affected by racism. In her new book, Ayanna Thompson explores the painful history of blackface.

The book is available on and through local bookstores.

Ayanna Thompson is Regents Professor of English at ASU, where she also directs the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

About the book group:

The ASU Book Group meetings and selections for 2021-2022 are:

The ASU Book Group is sponsored as a community outreach initiative by the Department of English and organized in partnership with the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.

Cover of Blackface by Ayanna Thompson courtesy Macmillan Publishers

For more information contact:

Judith Smith