“Object Lesson(s)”

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3 Scopus citations


This article reconstructs up an impromptu dance performed by Lavinia Baker, a survivor of mob violence and star of an anti-lynching performance revue, and reads it as the occasion for rethinking the performative dimensions of a seemingly familiar spectacle: lynching. As opposed to the familiar scene of the black corpse captured and circulated in photographs, the author argues that Lavinia's 1899 dance and the liveness of her performance–that is, its excess, disruptions, and improvisation–is instantiation of racial violence that strains against the putative framing of mob violence as a finite event that is amenable to documentation, capture, or narrativization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalWomen and Performance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


  • lynching
  • performance
  • visuality


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