ENGL 542-01: Race & Religion in Early Modern Drama
As is the case today, a wide range of cultural representations circulating in pre-modern England engaged with ideas of race and racism. A study of the longer history of racism demonstrates continuities with and divergences from our current reckoning with this problem. Understanding the legacy of racial representations helps clarify its contemporary forms. This course will consider pre- and early modern formulations of racism, foregrounding the importance of religious identity and belief. We will begin the semester by familiarizing ourselves with some of the current scholarship on the intersection of race and religion in pre-modernity. We will also analyze a range of non-literary primary texts as well as images to encounter pre-modern racism. In addition, we will read a number of plays representing racialized religious and gender difference in conversation with the scholarship and pre-modern cultural forms to explore the development and articulation of racial fictions.