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The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race
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Book description

The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race shows teachers and students how and why Shakespeare and race are inseparable. Moving well beyond Othello, the collection invites the reader to understand racialized discourses, rhetoric, and performances in all of Shakespeare's plays, including the comedies and histories. Race is presented through an intersectional approach with chapters that focus on the concepts of sexuality, lineage, nationality, and globalization. The collection helps students to grapple with the unique role performance plays in constructions of race by Shakespeare (and in Shakespearean performances), considering both historical and contemporary actors and directors. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race will be the first book that truly frames Shakespeare studies and early modern race studies for a non-specialist, student audience.

Reviews

‘This is the book that will inspire the next generation of Shakespeare scholars. Pointed in its purpose, intersectional in its approach, and masterfully assembled, this collection's deep commitment to interrogating race making in and through Shakespeare cuts across every single chapter. With contributions from some of the most exciting scholars of early modern race studies today, this book engages a broad range of Shakespeare's works through historical, textual, performance, and contemporary contexts, and reorients readers to recognize the central role that constructions of race and racism play in both the way we apprehend Shakespeare and the way his works apprehend the world, then and now.'

Ruben Espinosa - University of Texas at El Paso

'Inspired by Toni Morrison’s observation, ‘if there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it,’ Ayanna Thompson’s The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race offers a brilliant set of groundbreaking essays that insist we rethink our assumptions about race-making, stagecraft, and archival research, with respect to Shakespeare. Each chapter serves to meticulously model not just innovative discussions but also the critical frameworks for future analyses on race, whiteness, and the materiality of staging Shakespeare. To say this much-needed volume initiates a political, humanist, and intellectual shift in the study of Shakespeare is an understatement. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race is a theoretical gift to teachers, stage and performance practitioners, students, and scholars across the humanities. In essence, it is a scholarly and pedagogical must-have on library shelves and in classrooms. A truly transformative collection of essays.'

Margo Hendricks - Professor Emerita, Department of Literature, University of California–Santa Cruz

'This volume marks an important turn in a critical conversation that has been going on for decades, speaking to early modern studies with renewed intellectual force. An impressive range of contributors is gathered here, drawing theoretical inspiration from critical race and performance studies, early modern Atlantic and whiteness studies, studies of the African diaspora and of archival history. As one of several areas in early modern studies that quickly found the limits of an earlier historicism, early modern race studies now advances some of the most pressing questions the humanities can pose about the relationship between politics, identity, and history. Everyone who teaches Shakespeare needs to understand these conversations.'

Michael Witmore - Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library

'This is the book that will inspire the next generation of Shakespeare scholars. Pointed in its purpose, intersectional in its approach, and masterful in its assembly, this collection’s deep commitment to interrogating race-making in and through Shakespeare cuts across every single chapter. With contributions from some of the most exciting scholars of early modern race studies today, this book engages a broad range of Shakespeare’s works through historical, textual, performance, and contemporary contexts, and reorients readers to recognize the central role that constructions of race and racism play in both the way we apprehend Shakespeare and the way his works apprehend the world, then and now.'

Ruben Espinosa - University of Texas at El Paso

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