Alexa Alice  Joubin Author of Evaluating Organization Development
FEATURED AUTHOR

Alexa Alice Joubin

Professor of English, International Affairs, Women’s Studies
George Washington University

Professor of English, Theatre, International Affairs, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and East Asian Languages and Cultures; Co-director of the Digital Humanities Institute; Middlebury College John M. Kirk, Jr. Chair in Medieval and Renaissance Literature. Her latest books include Shakespeare and East Asia (Oxford University Press, 2021), Race (2019), and Shakespeare and the Ethics of Appropriation (2014). Inaugural recipient of Popular Culture Association's bell hooks Legacy Award.

Biography

Alexa Alice Joubin (https://ajoubin.org/) writes about race, gender, cultural globalization, Shakespeare, disability, and film and theatre. She teaches in the Departments of English, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Theatre, International Affairs, and East Asian Languages and Literatures at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where she serves as founding Co-director of the Digital Humanities Institute. She holds affiliate appointments in the Institute for Korean Studies and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies.

Writer

     The inaugural recipient of the Popular Culture Association's bell hooks Legacy Award and recipient of the Modern Language Association's Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies, she is the author of Shakespeare and East Asia (Oxford University Press, 2021), co-author of Race (with Martin Orkin, Routledge, 2018), editor-in-chief of The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Global Shakespeare, a general editor of The Shakespearean International Yearbook (a peer-reviewed annual publication), co-editor of Local and Global Myths in Shakespearean Performance (Palgrave, 2018) and Shakespeare and the Ethics of Appropriation (Palgrave, 2014), book review editor of Chinese Literature Today, and editor of the Palgrave book series on Global Shakespeares.
     In her leadership and editorial roles, she has featured diverse voices and launched the careers of junior and minority researchers in the US, Canada, the UK, Brazil, Turkey, Kuwait, Taiwan, and South Korea.
     For instance, she serves on the editorial or advisory board of several journals, publishers, and digital projects, including Renaissance Drama (University of Chicago Press) and SHAKSPER (a forum founded in 1992).
     Access and equity are key themes in Alexa's work. As the chair of the Modern Language Association committee on the New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare, she oversaw the publication budget and helped to bring the edition that was founded in 1860 into the digital era by releasing the full XML files as open-access resources.
     Her writing has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program, Renaissance Society of America, American Council of Learned Societies, Folger Institute, Stiftung Mercator (Germany), Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and other organizations.

Educator

     Her goal is to ensure equal access to knowledge and to further our understanding race and gender in the mobility of early modern and postmodern cultures in their literary, performative, and digital forms of expression.
     At George Washington University, she co-founded the Digital Humanities Institute to foster a new campus culture that increases STEM students’ engagement in the humanities and humanities majors’ digital literacy.
     As the general performance editor of the Internet Shakespeare Editions (an open-access, peer-reviewed project founded at the University of Victoria, Canada, in 1996), she expanded the database’s multimedia collection and enhanced its pedagogical value. She established a new collaborative structure of regional editors and a new structure for metadata to better account for such ephemera as playbills.
     At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she is Research Affiliate in Literature and the founding co-director of Global Shakespeares, an open-access performance video archive funded by the Mellon Foundation (https://globalshakespeares.mit.edu/).  Through that open-access project, she has spotlighted artistic and academic works by people of color, created undergraduate and doctoral internships and research positions in digital publishing, and enabled students, artists, and researchers to access primary research materials freely.
     Beyond Washington, D.C., she holds the John M. Kirk, Jr. Chair in Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English, and has taught at the Middlebury College Summer Institute in Global Humanities in Monterey, California. She is an affiliate of the University of Witwatersrand's Tsikinya-Chaka Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, She has served as distinguished visiting professor at the University of Essex in the UK, Yonsei University and Seoul National University in South Korea, and Beijing Normal University and Shandong University in China.
     She held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Global Shakespeare Studies at Queen Mary University of London and the University of Warwick in the UK. She currently serves as a Fulbright Ambassador.

Advocacy Speaker

     In her outreach work as a public humanist, Alexa has given a congressional briefing on the humanities and globalization on Capitol Hill and a TEDx Fulbright talk, been interviewed by the BBC, The Economist, NPR, The Washington Post, and other news outlets, and done advocacy work through the US Department of State.
     Social justice and diversity are key components of Alexa's teaching, research, and service. As a faculty senator, Alexa has been involved in a number of initiatives to foster more inclusive representation of racialized minorities. She has directed the Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare, a signature program in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences that played a key role in student recruitment and retention. In the English department, she has served as the director of graduate studies and graduate job placement officer.

Education

    Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Stanford University

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Shakespeare, digital humanities, film studies, race and gender, globalization, Asian-European cultural exchange, literary theory, early modern and postmodern literary and performance cultures, translation theories, intercultural theatre Sinphone and Chinese theatre and film

Personal Interests

    Traveling, cooking, yoga, taking care of her dog

Websites

Books

Articles

Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature 19.1 (March 2022): 167-180

Screening Anti-Asian Racism: Gendered and Racialized Discourses in Film and Television


Published: Oct 20, 2022 by Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature 19.1 (March 2022): 167-180
Authors: Alexa Alice Joubin
Subjects: Asian Studies

The global pandemic of COVID-19 has exacerbated anti-Asian racism— the demonization of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities as viral origins— in the United States. Offering strategies for inclusion and for identifying tacit forms of misogynistic racism, this article analyzes the manifestation of the ideas of yellow peril and yellow fever in recent films and television series.

Trans Historical: Gender Plurality before the Modern. Cornell University Press, 2021, pp. 322-349

Performing Reparative Transgender Identities from Stage Beauty to The King and the Clown


Published: Oct 01, 2021 by Trans Historical: Gender Plurality before the Modern. Cornell University Press, 2021, pp. 322-349
Authors: Alexa Alice Joubin
Subjects: History, Gender & Sexuality, Film and Video, Gender & Intersectionality Studies

Analyzing trans narratives about the early moderns through the lenses of affective labor and social reparation, this chapter reclaims as trans the Shakespeare films that have been misinterpreted as homosexual. In doing so, this chapter builds a longer, more intersectional history of gendered embodiment.

Shakespeare Survey 74 (2021): 15-20

Teaching Shakespeare in a Time of Hate


Published: Sep 01, 2021 by Shakespeare Survey 74 (2021): 15-20
Authors: Alexa Alice Joubin and Lisa S. Starks
Subjects: Education, History, Literature, Film and Video

A core value of the humanities lies in understanding the human condition in different contexts, and Shakespeare’s oeuvre as a cluster of complex, transhistorical cultural texts provides fertile ground to build empathy and critical thinking. Special attention is given to race, gender, and the exigencies of social justice and remote learning in the era of the global pandemic of COVID-19.

The Arden Research Handbook of Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance (Bloomsbury, 2021), 2021), pp. 132-150.

Global mediation: Performing Shakespeare in the age of networked and digital cultures


Published: Aug 30, 2021 by The Arden Research Handbook of Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance (Bloomsbury, 2021), 2021), pp. 132-150.
Authors: Alexa Alice Joubin
Subjects: Literature, Film and Video, Area Studies

This chapter investigates methodologies for transhistorical inquiry into culturally fluid, contemporary adaptations of early modern texts in relation to digital cultures. In juxtaposing the ways in which localities create site-specific meanings, and the ways in which cultural meanings are dispersed and reframed through ever-evolving forms of digital engagement, this chapter outlines the future challenges and opportunities for contemporary global performances.

The American Journal of Chinese Studies 28.2 (October, 2021): 115-130

Deconstructing Compulsory Realpolitik in Cultural Studies: An Interview with Alexa Alice Joubin


Published: Aug 29, 2021 by The American Journal of Chinese Studies 28.2 (October, 2021): 115-130
Authors: Alexa Alice Joubin
Subjects: Film and Video, Asian Studies, Gender & Intersectionality Studies

How might we de-colonize hegemonic knowledge production about East Asia and its relationship with the West? Drawing on her Shakespeare and East Asia (Oxford 2021), this interview reveals why Joubin’s work on race and gender across cultures is all the more relevant in the current political climate. Our conversation touched on how promoting understanding Asian cultures can help fight anti-Asian racism.

Adaptation: The Journal of Literature on Screen Studies

"Screening Social Justice: Performing Reparative Shakespeare against Vocal Disability." Adaptation: The Journal of Literature on Screen Studies, October 2020: 1-19


Published: Oct 12, 2020 by Adaptation: The Journal of Literature on Screen Studies
Authors: Alexa Alice Joubin
Subjects: Literature, Film and Video, Theater

Many screen and stage adaptations of the classics are informed by a philosophical investment in literature's reparative merit, a preconceived notion that performing the canon can make one a better person. Inspirational narratives, in particular, have instrumentalized the canon to serve socially reparative purposes. Social recuperation of disabled figures loom large in adaptation, and many reparative adaptations tap into a curative quality of Shakespearean texts.

The Arden Research Handbook of Contemporary Shakespeare Criticism

"Global Studies." The Arden Research Handbook of Contemporary Shakespeare Criticism, ed. Evelyn Gajowski (London: Bloomsbury, 2021), pp. 247-261


Published: Oct 01, 2020 by The Arden Research Handbook of Contemporary Shakespeare Criticism
Authors: Alexa Alice Joubin
Subjects: Literature, Gender & Sexuality, Film and Video

Global studies enable us to examine deceivingly harmonious images of Shakespeare. This chapter focuses on the modern period and introduces readers to a number of key concepts in Shakespeare and global studies, namely censorship and redaction, genre, gender, race, and politics of reception.

The Routledge Handbook of Shakespeare and Global Appropriation

Others within: Ethics in the age of global Shakespeare


Published: Jan 27, 2020 by The Routledge Handbook of Shakespeare and Global Appropriation
Authors: Alexa Alice Joubin
Subjects: Literature, Gender & Sexuality

Bringing the concept of performance as citation and the ethics of citation together, this chapter argues that acts of appropriation carry with them strong ethical implications.

A Companion to the Biopic, ed. Deborah Cartmell and Ashley D. Polasek (Wiley-Blackwell, 2020), 269-282

Can the Biopic Subjects Speak? Disembodied Voices in The King's Speech and The Theory of Everything


Published: Jan 01, 2020 by A Companion to the Biopic, ed. Deborah Cartmell and Ashley D. Polasek (Wiley-Blackwell, 2020), 269-282
Authors: Alexa Alice Joubin
Subjects: Literature, Film and Video, Social Psychology

The adaptations of King George VI's and Stephen Hawking's life stories show their uneasy relationship to the "troubled-white-male-genius" genre and to the vocal embodiment of their subjects who lose and gain a voice through therapy, technology, and their will to live a full life.

The Shakespearean World, ed. Jill L. Levenson and Robert Ormsby

Shakespeare on Film in Asia


Published: Mar 11, 2017 by The Shakespearean World, ed. Jill L. Levenson and Robert Ormsby
Authors: Alexa Alice Joubin
Subjects: Literature, Film and Video, Gender & Intersectionality Studies

Shakespearean tragedies and comedies have been adapted to the silver screen in India, Malaysia, Tibet, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, and Japan. How are pre-linguistic structures of spectacle and music appropriated along with dramatic narratives in Shakespeare and the new screenplay? This chapter introduces readers to the rich contexts and visual texts of Asian film adaptations of Shakespeare through a thematic account and case studies of select films.

Photos

News

New Books Network Interview: Shakespeare and East Asia

By: Alexa Alice Joubin
Subjects: Applied Arts & Music, Area Studies, Art & Visual Culture, Asian Studies, Film and Video, Gender & Intersectionality Studies, Gender & Sexuality, Literature, Psychology

Alexa Alice Joubin's new book, Shakespeare & East Asia (Oxford University Press, 2021), focuses on post-1950 adaptations that were produced in, distributed across, or associated with East Asia. Joubin offers a nuanced view of what it means to think about Shakespeare and East Asia by carefully considering the international circulation of various stagings and films. She identifies a quartet of characteristics that distinguish these adaptations: innovations in form, the use of Shakespeare for social critiques, the questioning of gender roles, and the development of global patterns of circulation. The varied body of Shakespearan adaptations she examines are alternately funny, dramatic, and thought-provoking, but never boring.

Listen to this podcast, hosted by Amanda Kennell, at https://newbooksnetwork.com/shakespeare-and-east-asia 

 

Book Launch: Shakespeare and East Asia

By: Alexa Alice Joubin
Subjects: Applied Arts & Music, Asian Studies, Film and Video, Literature, Theater, Theatre & Performance Studies

How did Kurosawa influence George Lucas' Star Wars? Why do critics repeatedly use the adjective Shakespearean to describe Bong Joon-ho's Parasite (2019)? How do East Asian cinema and theatre portray vocal disability and transgender figures?

 

The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs Book Launch SeriesNational Resource CenterInstitute for Korean Studies and Sigur Center for Asian Studies are proud to present a lecture by Dr. Alexa Alice Joubin on her latest book, Shakespeare and East Asia (Oxford University Press).

 

Shakespeare and East Asia identifies four themes that distinguish post-1950s East Asian cinemas and theatres from works in other parts of the world: Japanese formalistic innovations in sound and spectacle; reparative adaptations from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong; the politics of gender and reception of films and touring productions in South Korea and the UK; and multilingual, diaspora works in Singapore and the UK. These adaptations are reshaping debates about the relationship between East Asia and Europe, and this book reveals deep connections among Asian and Anglophone performances. 

 

Book Launch of Race

By: Alexa Alice Joubin
Subjects: Applied Arts & Music, Film and Video, Gender & Intersectionality Studies, Gender & Sexuality, Literature, Other, Psychology, Sociology & Social Policy, Sociology, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Sports and Leisure

Alexa Alice Joubin’s new book offers a global and historic understanding of the term race.

Race is not just skin color but is actually a collection of other elements, such as language, access to resources and life experiences, that come together to form what people think of as race, said Alexa Alice Joubin, a professor of English and women’s, gender and sexuality studies at the George Washington University.

“Race is a red herring—a signifier that accumulates meaning by a chain of deferral to other categories of difference such as gender and class,” said Dr. Joubin, who is also a professor of East Asian languages and literature and international affairs.

“Race, like many identity markers, is social shorthand for talking about differences.” She said while discussions about race often overlook discussions about other types of differences, race remains interconnected with these other categories of difference, especially gender.

“Racial difference is often imagined as an inversion of what are perceived to be gender norms,” she said. She said racialized myths about Asian women provide a partial explanation of the “baffling phenomenon of white supremacists in the United States exclusively dating Asian women.” Despite the country’s codified attempts to discriminate against East Asian immigrants in the 20th century, she noted that contemporary “self-proclaimed white supremacists” such as Richard B. Spencer, Mike Cernovich, John Derbyshire and Kyle Chapman all have a partner of Asian descent. “The exceptionalism that white nationalists have granted to Asian-Americans falls neatly along a gendered fault line,” Dr. Joubin said. “Racially inflected misogyny informs the alt-right’s imagination of Asian women as subservient and hypersexual individuals who are naturally inclined to serve men.”

Dr. Joubin shared her ideas at a discussion of her latest book, “Race,” at the Elliott School of International Affairs on Tuesday. The discussion was part of the Elliott School Book Launch Series, which highlights publications of Elliott School faculty, as well GW’s MLK Jr. Week celebration.

The book, which she co-authored with post-colonial theorist Martin Orkin, addresses a variety of topics related to race such as the intersections of race and gender; race and social theory; identity, ethnicity and migration; the concept of whiteness; the legislative markings of difference; blackness in a global context; race in the history of science; and critical race theory. It is part of the publisher’s “New Critical Idiom” series, which emphasizes clarity, lively debate and original and distinctive studies of important topics by leading scholars.

In the book Dr. Joubin and Dr. Orkin argued that the concept of race is entangled with empirical knowledge, misinformation and ideology that seek to justify and sustain particular beliefs and is often articulated in the form of stereotypes that condense perceived behavioral patterns with biological features. Race becomes notable when groups have come into contact with other groups. This makes racialized thinking an unavoidable part of the human experience, Dr. Joubin said. “We cannot avoid categorizing things because that is how knowledge forms,” she said. “Humans come to know the world through various categories that organize their experience into knowable fragments. When confronted with the unknown, many societies tend to transfer observations of unfamiliar phenomena onto their mental map of things they already know. As a result, we tend to privilege our own cultural locations.”

The book offers global examples of how the term race gains meaning and is shaped in communities around the world that range from the differences in racial data collection practices in the United States as opposed to France to the behaviors of soccer fans in England. “We study race historically not only to find roots of modern racism, but also to discover other views that may have been obscured by more dominant ideologies such as colonialism,” Dr. Joubin said. “Reading histories of race may be a passive act, but if it leads to recognition of one’s self in others, then our job is done.”

New Book: Race (Routledge New Critical Idiom Series)

By: Alexa Alice Joubin
Subjects: Applied Arts & Music, Film and Video, Gender & Intersectionality Studies, Literature, Theater, Theatre & Performance Studies

Alexa Alice Joubin has published a new book, Racewith postcolonial theorist Martin Orkin. The book is part of Routledge’s New Critical Idiom series. The series emphasizes clarity, lively debate, and original and distinctive studies of important topics by leading scholars.

Raceoffers a compelling study of ideas related to race throughout history. Its breadth of coverage, both geographically and temporally, provides readers with an expansive, global understanding of the term from the classical period onwards:

  • Intersections of Race and Gender
  • Race and Social Theory Identity
  • Ethnicity, and Immigration
  • Whiteness
  • Legislative and Judicial Markings of Difference
  • Race in South Africa, Israel, East Asia, Asian America
  • Blackness in a Global Context
  • Race in the History of Science
  • Critical Race Theory

 

The following is excerpted from chapter 5 of Race by Martin Orkin and Alexa Alice Joubin. New Critical idiom Series. London: Routledge, 2019, pp. 193-227. Full text available online

 

When confronted with the unknown, many societies tend to transfer observations of unfamiliar phenomena onto their mental map of what is already known. Race as a category is entangled with empirical knowledge, misinformation, and ideology, all of which seek to justify and sustain particular beliefs. Knowledge about otherness is socially constructed. Knowledge of race results from taxonomical observations made for colonial, medical, bureaucratic, or other purposes such as political movements.This knowledge is often articulated in the form of inaccurate stereotypes deriving from perceived behavioral patterns, political shorthand that condenses biological features such as skin color and other bodily characteristics, racialized cultural artifacts such as hip-hop or chopsticks that are associated with particular groups or cultures, and check boxes on government forms that require information that encode racial characteristics.

As is often the case, without contact with or the threat from other groups, there is generally no perceived need for self-definition. Is one born black, or does one become black? European observers associated red with American Indians’ skin color because of their war paint and because of the sun-screening substance they used to anoint themselves. American Indians became red when the need for distinction between the European settlers and the natives arose. In pre-modern China, peoples of many ethnicities and cultural origins “became” black in the Chinese consciousness. Increased cross-cultural contacts seemed to have only broadened the idea of blackness. Numerous peoples were given the label “black.” Initially the Nam-Viet peoples and Malayans, China’s Southeast Asian neighbors, were designated black in the Tang dynasty, but with China’s increased encounters with slaves from Africa (modern-day Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania) from the seventh to the seventeenth centuries, the “blacks” in Chinese consciousness expanded to include peoples from various parts of the world, including Bengali peoples of the Indian subcontinent, who were deemed different from the local population.

Epistemologies of race signify relationally, which means a group that suffers from discrimination can themselves discriminate against other groups based on any combination of the factors of race, class, gender, religion, and politics. Along similar lines, there is the phenomenon of what is sometimes called internal racism, or intra-group hatred, where a community has internalized its former colonizer’s outlook. In politically post-colonial but culturally colonial societies such as Singapore, where the state apparatus openly uses race as a category in its promotion of institutionalized multiculturalism, whites are typically placed above the local race in the social hierarchy while darker-skinned migrant workers are placed below.

As fundamentally personal forms of self-expression, arts and literature are a fertile area to explore the expressions of racialized experience.

Race and gender are interconnected categories. Similar to other categories of identity, racial difference is often imagined as an inversion of what are perceived to be gender norms. Ania Loomba points out that “patriarchal domination … provided a model for establishing racial hierarchies and colonial domination,” as evidenced in a number of once prevalent beliefs, such as the ideas that Jewish men menstruate, Egyptian women urinate standing up, and Muslim men engage in sodomy. In terms of the “yellow peril,” which we discussed earlier, the concept has intersected, in twentieth century United States with gender stereotypes: yellow fever. For example, punning on the disease of the same name, David Henry Hwang uses yellow fever in his play M. Butterfly(1988) to describe white men with a sexual fetish for East Asian women who are imagined to be subservient, dainty, and more feminine than their Western counterparts. In contemporary American media and popular discourse on dating, the term is used to identify and sometimes to critique the social phenomenon of white men exclusively preferring East Asian women.

The intersectionality of race, gender, and nation is articulated in the context of colonial India by E.M. Forster in his novel A Passage to India. Drawing on the author’s own trips to colonial India in 1912 and 1921, the novel offers both a critique and inadvertent affirmation of racial stereotypes of both Indians and the British colonizers. Even as Forster attempts to unravel the stereotypes of the “Orientals,” his novel is marked by broad generalizations about British and Indian sexuality and by its implicit acceptance of an Anglo-European epistemology of race.

The examples above demonstrate a long history of institutionalized racialization of strangers, strangers considered necessary as political and cultural supports, or those who seek shelter or hospitality. The relationship between race and hospitality has been taken up by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in the following question: “Isn’t the question of the foreigner [l’étranger] a foreigner’s question?” he asks. It is a question that is a challenge from “the foreigner, from abroad [l’étranger].” In their book Of Hospitality, Derrida’s co-writer, Anne Douformantelle argues that “the question of the foreigner is a question asked [about] the foreigner, the one who brings [my] identity into question.” For Derrida, the mere presence of the other puts into question our own identity, and since genuine hospitality operates as a gift whose very nature is that it is only possible on condition of the impossibility of reciprocity. The idea of hospitality and accommodation in the context of race theory refers to a sense of belonging, a mode of belonging that enables “cultural, linguistic, or historical participation” in a community, as Derrida writes in Monolingualism of the Other.

While one’s native language, like one’s skin color, has often been assumed to be one’s inborn features and even birth right, Derrida demonstrates that linguistic purity, and by extension racial purity, is a fiction, for “every culture institutes itself through the unilateral imposition of some politics of language.” We master our native language, or any language and culture, “through the power of naming, of imposing and legitimating appellations.” Here Derrida registers the challenge of the intersection of the discourses of race, prescriptive markings, and the concept of hospitality. Drawing on his own experience as a Maghreb-Algerian and a naturalized citizen of France, Derrida reminisces that “never was I able to call French ‘my mother tongue.’” While French is supposed to be his “maternal” language, its “source, norms, rules and law were situated elsewhere.”

In the context of asking for hospitality and for accommodation from their newly found local communities, diasporic and intercultural subjects face a dilemma, because they are caught between pursuing authenticity and “selling out.” A recent example of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) English-language productions of two plays, one Chinese and the other Shakespearean, have reignited debates about cultural authenticity. The first is Gregory Doran’s adaptation of Orphan of Zhao with an almost exclusively white cast of 17. British actors of East Asian heritage have spoken out against the practice of what Doran calls “non-culturally specific casting,” or colorblind casting. The politics of recognition can be a double-edged sword. One the one hand, intercultural theatre is an important testing ground for ethnic equality and raises equal employment opportunity questions in the UK. On the other hand, we might pose the following question: can an all-white cast not do justice to the Orphan of Zhao just as a performance of Richard III by an all-Chinese cast performed at the London Globe and in Beijing cannot? We may go on to ask: why would an English adaptation of a Chinese play have to be performed by authentic-looking East Asian actors?

Another production that poses relevant questions is Iqbal Khan’s Much Ado About Nothing that was set in contemporary Delhi and staged at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in August, 2012. In her essay in the RSC program, Jyotsna Singh reminds the audience that “the romantic, sexual and emotional configurations underpinning the centrality of marriage in Shakespeare’s romantic comedies” are elements that “richly resonate within the Indian social and cultural milieu.”71Clare Brennan, writing for the Guardian, believed that the transposition of Messina to contemporary Delhi worked well, because it “plays to possible audience preconceptions about the communality and hierarchical structuring of life in India that map effectively onto similar structuring in Elizabethan England.” Performed by a cast of second generation British Indian actors to Bollywood-inspired music as part of the World Shakespeare Festival (WSF), the “postcolonial” production (in Gitanjali Shabani’s words) was quickly compared by the press and reviewers to the two more ethnically authentic productions at the Globe from the Indian Subcontinent (Arpana Company’s All’s Well That Ends Well directed by Sunil Shanbag in Gujarati, and Company Theatre’s Twelfth Night directed by Atul Kumar in Hindi). Cultural, linguistic, and ethnic pedigrees are part of the picture, but some critics questioned the RSC’s type of internationalism. Birmingham-born director Khan’s treatment of Indian culture was regarded as too simplistic in that it occluded historical differences, and modern cultural complexities of hybrid Anglo-Indian identity.

It should be pointed out that Khan resisted the perception that his production offered “any kind of Best Exotic MarigoldIndian Shakespeare experience.” RSC artistic director Michael Boyd suggested to Khan that one possible concept for the production might be an adaptation in “an Indian setting” since it was to be part of the WSF. It was clear, however, that the possible direction of adaptation was never to be a “condition of employment” of Khan who wrote that “all my experiences of Shakespeare as a practitioner before Much Ado had little to do with being Asian.” There was, nonetheless, clearly a gap between the production’s intention and its reception by the general public and media.

Who produces knowledge about race? In what context? The material we covered might be summarized by the concept of hybridity, which is one of the terms that have been widely employed in postcolonial studies. As a practice in horticulture, hybridity is a cross-breeding process in which two species are grafted or cross-pollinated to form a new species. Frequently associated with the work of Homi K. Bhabha, the idea of hybridity refers to the interdependence of the colonizer and the colonized. In Bhabha’s framework, all cultural identities exist in the ambivalent “third space of enunciation” and cultural purity is untenable. Examples of hybridity, as we mentioned in this chapter, include pidgin and creole languages.

Videos

TEDx Fulbright Talk on Global Change

Published: Nov 05, 2019

This presentation by Alexa Alice Joubin was a TEDx Fulbright Talk as a part of the 2019 Fulbright Association Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

Orientalism in Kenneth Branagh's As You Like It (2006)

Published: Mar 11, 2019

Orientalism in Kenneth Branagh's As You Like It (2006)