Shakespeare, Race, and Colonialism

Paperback | September 1, 2002

byAnia Loomba

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For centuries, plays like Othello and The Tempest have spoken about 'race' to audiences whose lives have been, and continue to be, enormously affected by the racial question. But are concepts such as 'race' or 'racism', 'xenophobia', 'ethnicity', or even 'nation' appropriate for analysingcommunities and identities in early modern Europe? Did skin colour matter to Shakespeare and his contemporaries, or was religious difference more important to them? This book examines how Shakespeare's plays contribute to, and are themselves crafted from, contemporary ideas about social and culturaldifference. It considers how such ideas might have been different from later ideologies of 'race' that emerged during colonialism, but also from older ideas about barbarism, blackness, and religious difference. Thus it places the racial question in Shakespeare's plays alongside the histories withwhich they converse. Shakespeare uses and plays with the vocabularies of difference prevailing in his time, repeatedly turning to religious and cultural cross-overs and conversions - their impossibility, or the traumas they engender, or the social upheavals they can generate. Shakespeare, Race and Colonialism looks indepth at Othello, The Merchant of Venice, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, and Titus Andronicus, and also shows how racial difference shapes the language and themes of other plays.

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For centuries, plays like Othello and The Tempest have spoken about 'race' to audiences whose lives have been, and continue to be, enormously affected by the racial question. But are concepts such as 'race' or 'racism', 'xenophobia', 'ethnicity', or even 'nation' appropriate for analysingcommunities and identities in early modern Europ...

Ania Loomba is a Professor of English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:204 pages, 7.99 × 5.31 × 0.46 inPublished:September 1, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198711743

ISBN - 13:9780198711742

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Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsIntroduction: Race and Colonialism in the Study of Shakespeare1. The Vocabularies of Race2. Religion, Colour, and Racial Difference3. Wilderness and Civilization in Titus Andronicus4. Othello and the Racial Question5. The Imperial Romance of Antony and Cleopatra6. Religion, Money, and Race in The Merchant of VeniceConclusion: Playing with ShakespeareNotesSuggestions for Further ReadingIndex

Editorial Reviews

`This short book keeps looking to the big picture.'Plays International