Excess Baggage: Transatlantic Identity, Belonging and Performance Diasporas, 1850 - 1910.

Hollygale Millette

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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What follows, in four case studies, is an interrogation of the role that identity played in performance in the transatlantic cultural world between 1850 and 1910. I look at performers because their transnational struggles and assimilations of belonging were, and remain, visible precisely because they engaged with theatricality and performativity in the production of saleable and exchangeable cultural commodities. Identity and belonging are etched into the theatrical diasporas that these people traversed and, I argue, are clearly visible situations that should be taken into account when considering their historical narratives. Investigating their situations in this way is new work, which I hope will open doors to a deeper understanding and a more inclusive historicisation of performance and performers at the Fin de Siècle.

Theoretically I argue from both a cultural materialist position in considering performance cultures and commodities, and with social science paradigms when considering assimilation typologies and strategy. Situating typologies of transnational belonging and social science strategies of integration within a cultural history of performance is new work, which relies on the post-modern turn toward interdisciplinary historical analysis. Indeed, the fields of identity studies and immigration studies are relatively new. In introducing recent theory to the very rich materiality of late- nineteenth century performance culture I hope to extend the life of the argument that there is much to know and rewrite in narratives of the players in this period.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Bratton, Jacky, Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Oct 2012
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012


  • Transatlantic
  • Performance
  • Diaspora
  • Fin de Siecle
  • Identities
  • Cultures
  • Human Geography

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