The Racial, Gender, and Religious Politics of Interracial Romance on the Early Modern Stage
Skura, Meredith A.
Doctor of Philosophy
Despite recent scholarly interest in Anglo-Islamic relations and the Turk figure on the early modern stage, the intricate power dynamics of interracial romance has been largely neglected. My project seeks to address this lacuna in the scholarship by examining the ways in which romantic relationships between interracial couples invert gender, racial, and religious stereotypes in plays by William Shakespeare, Phillip Massinger, Lodowick Carlell, and Robert Greene. Many studies have found a xenophobic, racialized gender ideology in such plays, but as I will demonstrate, the representation of Muslims as licentious, cruel, and barbarous is not always the norm. Nor are the captive maids, brides-to-be, or wives as weak or helpless as critics have made them out to be. lnstead, Christian-Muslim relations in these plays challenge what have been seen as the official gender, racial. and religious ideologies in early modern England.