College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date

11-2014

Document Type

Thesis

College/Department Conferring Degree

Liberal Studies

Keywords

black actresses, Hollywood, women in film, racial stereotypes, mammy stereotype

Abstract

This thesis examines the history of the stereotypical mammy/maid characters in American films. The analysis serves to show the ongoing racialized casting of black women in domestic roles for over a century. Equally important, the analysis includes a discussion of how the black actresses who performed these roles thought about and negotiated them. The actresses themselves faced much criticism for their participation in and contributions to racial stereotyping, and this thesis seeks to show how these actresses understood and responded to such critiques.

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