Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage

By Ayanna Thompson

© 2007 – Routledge

176 pages

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Paperback: 9780415875684
pub: 2009-01-09
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Hardback: 9780415957212
pub: 2007-08-01
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About the Book

Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage provides the first sustained reading of Restoration plays through a performance theory lens. This approach shows that an analysis of the conjoined performances of torture and race not only reveals the early modern interest in the nature of racial identity, but also how race was initially coded in a paradoxical fashion as both essentially fixed and socially constructed. An examination of scenes of torture provides the most effective way to unearth these seemingly contradictory representations of race because depictions of torture often interrogate the incongruous desire to substitute the visible and manipulable materiality of the body for the more illusive performative nature of identity. In turn, Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage challenges the long-standing assumption that early modern conceptions of race were radically different in their fluidity from post-Enlightenment ones by demonstrating how many of the debates we continue to have about the nature of racial identity were engendered by these seventeenth-century performances.

Table of Contents

Illustrations. Acknowledgments 1. Interrogating Torture and Finding Race 2. A Matter that is No Matter: Religion, Color, and the White Actress in The Empress of Morocco and Xerxes 3. When Race is Colored: Abjection and Racial Characterization in Titus Andronicus and Oroonoko 4. Racializing Civility: The Indian Emperour, or The Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards 5. Racializing Mercantilism: Amboyna: or, The Cruelties of the Dutch to the English Merchants 6. Combating Historical Amnesia: On the Images of Prisoner Abuse from Abu Ghraib. Notes. Bibliography. Index

About the Author

Ayanna Thompson in Assistant Professor of English and Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University. Her edited collection, Colorblind Shakespeare: New Perspectives on Race and Performance, was published by Routledge in 2007.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture

From Shakespeare to Jonson, Routledge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture looks at both the literature and culture of the early modern period. This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Considering literature alongside theatre, popular culture, race, gender, ecology, space, and other subjects, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General
LIT004120
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
PER000000
PERFORMING ARTS / General