Like my teaching, my research focuses heavily on early modern contact zones, such as the early modern Mediterranean, and the politics of representation of those geographies in early modern English drama. I’m interested in drama because its key feature is embodiment: the spectacle, sight, and site of identity and difference on the public stage exposes English attitudes about cultural difference and superiority. Two key forms of difference that inform my research are those of race and religion. These categories often inform one another, so that bodies that are raced or racialized are frequently found to be religiously other; similarly, religious difference is usually presented through racialized language. Disentangling these representational threads exposes not only the constructed and fluid qualities that are attached to radical forms of difference and otherness, but also the ideological, political, and cultural exigencies undergirding such representations.
While my dissertation focuses on early modern English dramatic representations of racial and religion difference in plays set in the Mediterranean, my other research interests include, the influence of the Ottoman Empire on English construction of identity and emerging imperial ambitions; gender, geography, and difference in Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s Turkish Embassy Letters; Othello in the age of Obama; and why Black lives matter in Shakespeare. While these interests might seem disparate, they are united in their concern over how discourses of race and religion work to exclude certain bodies from social and political belonging.