chapter  3
Josephine Baker in Spain
The Ambivalent Reception of an African American Female Superstar
WithLaurence E. Prescott, Rosalía Cornejo-Parriego
Pages 22

This chapter examines Josephine Baker’s reception and representation in the Spanish press after she became a star in Paris and during her subsequent visit to Spain in 1930. It analyzes how this artist confronted international and Spanish audiences with race in general, and with racialized womanhood in particular. The Spanish press captured Baker’s in-betweenness and the liminal space that she occupied in European culture: while blamed for the decline of white civilization, she also became the symbol of European modernity. According to Prescott and Cornejo-Parriego, Baker forced Europe to reflect on blackness, gender, and modernity, and, in the specific case of Spain, she also unleashed some of the anxieties of a nation that was searching for a new collective identity and new concepts of womanhood within a European context.