Review: Blackface by Ayanna Thompson

Some years ago, during a seminar at a Shakespeare Association of America (SAA) meeting in Atlanta, Ayanna Thompson proclaimed that Othello was “white property.” Commenting on the function of Othello’s Blackness in early modern culture as well as our own, Thompson signaled the importance of remembering that considerations of Othello and his racial identity must, … Continue reading Review: Blackface by Ayanna Thompson

After Race Before Race: Appropriations

#RaceB4Race #ShakeRace #medievaltwitter This past weekend (Jan 17-18), the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, held the third iteration of its RaceB4Race conference at Arizona State University. The theme of the conference was “Appropriations,” and as the program explained, "this RaceB4Race event focuses on how the term appropriation has recently signified in different ways … Continue reading After Race Before Race: Appropriations

Looking for Mercy in The Merchant of Venice

In the fall semester of 2018, my students at Harvey Mudd College participated in “The Quality of Mercy Project,” whose remit was to offer a collaborative but locally inflected vision of what The Merchant of Venice communicates to us and how we can, in turn, perform and transform this play given our particular, regional interests … Continue reading Looking for Mercy in The Merchant of Venice

Banning Persepolis is not how we defeat Islamophobia

Image copyright Marjane Satrapi and Pantheon Marjane Satrapi’s searing graphic memoir Persepolis continues to remain controversial and relevant over 15 years after its publication in North America. The memoir follows the childhood trauma endured by Satrapi as she came of age during the student--and then-- Islamic revolution in Iran in the 1970s. Satrapi depicts the … Continue reading Banning Persepolis is not how we defeat Islamophobia

Where was he radicalized? The fanaticism of A Noise Within’s Henry V

Where was he radicalized? Henry V at A Noise Within Photo credit A Noise Within We all know that Shakespeare’s Henry V is about war. While the play might feature a specious and spurious cause for war (as all good warmongers and their surrogates are wont to do), we are apt to forget that motivating … Continue reading Where was he radicalized? The fanaticism of A Noise Within’s Henry V

This Brown, Muslim-American Woman’s thoughts on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Image copyright Hulu Last week, the streaming service, Hulu, premiered its “peak TV” series, The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel.  Three episodes of the series are out (with new episodes released every Wednesday), and they are simultaneously haunting and terrifying. If you’re unfamiliar with Atwood’s novel, it is set in a dystopian … Continue reading This Brown, Muslim-American Woman’s thoughts on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’