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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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Lecture examines Shakespeare, race, April 9

Depictions of race in the works of William Shakespeare will be examined in a lecture scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 9, in 101 McCormick Hall.

The talk, "Shakespeare Imagines Race: Venice and the 'Barbarous Ethnickes,'" will be delivered by Leonard Barkan, Princeton's Arthur W. Marks '19 Professor of Comparative Literature.

"Barbarous Ethnickes" was English writer Thomas Coryat's description of the mix of races and nationalities he encountered in traveling to Venice in 1608. Coryat's contemporary, Shakespeare, never traveled to Venice and likely had little experience with anyone except white European Christians. Yet when Shakespeare located plays in the city, he imagined a supreme military leader who was African and a powerful financier who was Jewish. Barkan's lecture will examine how Shakespeare imagined such unknown beings and the impact of his depictions.

Barkan's talk is the second annual James Baldwin Lecture sponsored by the Center for African American Studies in honor of the essayist and cultural critic. The series aims to celebrate the work of Princeton faculty and to reflect on issues of race and American democracy.

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