Danielle Roper

danielle roper
Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in Latin American Literature
Classics 120
Ph.D, New York University, 2015

Danielle Roper is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literature. She holds a Ph.D in Spanish and Portuguese (2015) and an M.A in Performance Studies (2009) from New York University. Her work focuses on contemporary racial and queer performance, racial formation, feminist activism, and visual culture in the Hemispheric Americas.

In her book manuscript, Hemispheric Blackface: Impersonation and Nationalist Fiction in the Americas, she develops the concept of hemispheric blackface to name a network of impersonation in the Americas and to uncover the role of blackface in societies historically organized around discourses of racial harmony. The book argues that impersonation is the instrument through which people make sense of the advancement and reversals in racial equality of the 20th and 21st centuries. It traces an economy of enjoyment lurking beneath distinct modalities of national fictions in the Americas. Roper examines blackface performances at an Andean fiesta in Peru, a multi-media exhibit in Colombia, on Spanish-language television in Miami, and in popular theatre in Jamaica. Through the creation of a parodic archive, the book decenters U.S blackface minstrelsy as paradigmatic of a global form and simultaneously emphasizes the limitations of the nation for wrestling with acts of racial impersonation. Instead, she takes a hemispheric approach to underscore how a shared history of slavery has produced both nationalist fictions of racial harmony and shared practices of racial conjuring.  These shared practices enable actors to tap into slavery’s logics as the national fiction evolves away from colorblindness to multiculturalism in the Americas.  The book is forthcoming with Duke University Press.

Roper’s work on Caribbean feminism, queer performance, and racial impersonation has appeared in Latin American Research Review, SmallAxe, GLQ and elsewhere.  She is the curator of the exhibit Visualizing/Performing Blackness in the Afterlives of Slavery: A Caribbean Archive (2021). She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on U.S imperialism and cultural practice theatre, performance, constructs of afro-latinidad, and feminist theory in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is the director of the series “Conversations in Hemispheric Performance” and was a co-organizer of the working group for Slavery and Visual Culture at the University of Chicago.  Roper appears as a pundit on current affairs in Latin America on local radio and television shows across the Americas.  She was also the Thomas J. Watson fellow in 2006. Roper is from Kingston, Jamaica.