Race and Blackness in Elizabethan England
Play • 33 min
When did the concept of race develop? How far should we look back to find the attitudes that bolster white supremacy? We ask Dr. Ambereen Dadabhoy, an assistant professor of literature at Harvey Mudd College, and the author of a chapter in the monumental new Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race called “Barbarian Moors: Documenting Racial Formation in Early Modern England.” Dadabhoy takes us back to Shakespeare’s London—a more diverse city than you might have imagined—to look at the racial ideologies reflected in two plays: George Peele’s The Battle of Alcazar and William Shakespeare’s Othello. Plus, we learn more about race in medieval crusade and conversion romances, and get a sense of how Dadabhoy approaches issues of race in her Shakespeare classes. Dadabhoy is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

Dr. Ambereen Dadabhoy is an assistant professor of literature at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. Her chapter in the Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race is called “Barbarian Moors: Documenting Racial Formation in Early Modern England.” The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race was published by Cambridge University Press in 2021. Dadabhoy held fellowships at the Folger in 2011 and 2016, and participated in a Folger NEH Summer Institute "Shakespeare from the Globe to the Global" in 2011.

From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published May 25, 2021. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “In the Old Age, Black Was Not Counted Fair,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits a transcript of every episode available on folger.edu. We had technical help from Andrew Feliciano at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California.
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