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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Biological theories of race , for instance , both privilege and deconstruct race as a visible , physical reality by cataloguing physical markers of race , while simultaneously emphasizing the hidden and unseen essences of race ( like ...
... audience to think about the ways physical conquests necessitate brutality . Despite the fact that critics like Heidi Hutner have argued that Cortez “ ultimately represents the ideal ruler in the play ” ( 65 ) , he is implicated in ...
The unheroic nature of the Spanish conquest allows the audience to ponder if physical conquest in some ways contaminates the conqueror . Like all contamination narratives , the contradictory discourses for race become conflated : is ...
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