Danielle Roper

Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in Latin American Literature; Spanish Undergraduate Adviser
droper@uchicago.edu
Classics 120
Office Hours: W 3:00-4:15 & by appt.
PhD, New York University

Danielle Roper graduated with a PhD from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University in 2015 where she defended her dissertation, "Inca Drag Queens and Hemispheric Blackface: Contemporary Blackface and Drag performance from the Andes to Jamaica." Upon completing doctoral studies, she taught as a Core Curriculum Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at New York University. 

Roper is from Kingston, Jamaica and has an MA in Performance Studies from NYU and BA in Hispanic Studies (cum laude) from Hamilton College. Her research on Performance Studies, Caribbean Queer and Feminist Studies, Race and Visual Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean has appeared in e-misférica, as well as in anthologies with University of the West Indies Press and with Palgrave Macmillan Press. 

Currently, she is preparing her book manuscript by expanding the scope of her dissertation. In her book manuscript she develops the concept of “hemispheric blackface” to examine the function of parodic performance in relation to nationalist discourses of mestizaje, multiculturalism and non-racialism in Latin America and the Caribbean. Challenging traditional geographic paradigms, it uses Peru, Colombia, and Jamaica as case studies in order to investigate the function of blackface and drag performance in different locales and to argue that these representations of blackness and queerness are not unique; they are part of a regional network embedded in global economies of representation. She attends to the specificity of racial formation in the region by investigating blackface and gender-bending in a cartoon, an Andean fiesta, an ambulatory transvestite museum, and an Afro-Latina art exhibit. Studied together, they reveal how a shared regional history of colonialism, slavery, and imperialism continues to inform contemporary representations of black, queer, and indigenous subjects in the region. Through the creation of a regional parodic archive linking the Anglophone Caribbean, Pacific and the Andes, hemispheric blackface decenters U.S. blackface minstrelsy and northern theories of parody, and it elucidates the ways parodic forms are taken up to uphold and/or counter nationalist discourses of mestizaje and non-racialism in the region.

Recent Courses in RLL
  • SPAN 22003 Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: textos hispanoamericanos del modernismo al presente (Winter 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021)
  • SPAN 25660/35660 US Imperialism and Cultural Practice in Latin America (Spring 2020)
  • SPAN 29117/39117 Theater and Performance in Latin America (Winter 2017, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Autumn 2020)
  • SPAN 33950 Latin American Women Perform (Winter 2020)
  • SPAN 35500 New Directions in Afro-Latin Performance (Autumn 2018, Spring 2021)
Affiliated Departments and Centers: Center for Latin American Studies, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture