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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It is important to counter , however , that modern notions of race are no more “ intractabl [ e ] ” than early modern ones ... Resisting a simplistic notion of race in definitive and finite terms , one can see how constructions of race ...
In this section I analyze how Shakespeare's characterization of Aaron the Moor undermines a simplistic notion of racial essentialism . The power of Aaron's linguistic dexterity , which I call a linguistic miscegenation , reveals how ...
Ultimately , this linguistic dexterity challenges Roman notions of racial essentialism because although his linguistic ... In fact , Shakespeare's play seems to ponder if this notion of racial essentialism is merely a product of Aaron's ...
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