Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage
Routledge, 2008 - 174
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.
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I begin my examination of the heroic tragedy with its birth during the Interregnum through an analysis of William Davenant's The Cruelty of the Spaniards in Peru . Like most critics who address Dryden's Indian Emperour , I find it ...
10 Although the piece has no plot , The Cruelty promotes a propagandistic view of the Spaniards ' destruction of the Incan Empire and therefore was allowed because it “ supported ( Cromwell's ) anti - Spanish policies .
If race could not be constructed through actions or language , then Davenant sought to signify racial difference through objects that are defamiliarized . Likewise , the Spaniards are racialized through the objects with which they ...
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Religion Color and the White
Abjection and Racial Characterization
The Indian Emperour or The Conquest
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