Loading Events

« All Events

CRRS: Whiteness in the Early Modern World

Friday, May 7 @ 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

May 3 2021 Update: out of respect for and in solidarity with the CAUT censure of the University of Toronto, Professor Kim Hall has cancelled her planned keynote lecture after consultation with the organisers. More information about the censure is available here: https://www.caut.ca/latest/2021/04/caut-council-imposes-rare-censure-against-university-toronto-over-azarova-hiring
The CRRS is delighted to announce the keynote lecture of its Working Group Colloquium, Whiteness in the Early Modern World, organized by Urvashi Chakravarty (Department of English) and Tamara J. Walker (Department of History).
For more details on the Working Group Colloquium on April 23, visit: crrs.ca/colloquium21
Kim F. Hall (Barnard College): “Can You Be White and Hear This: The Racial Art of Listening
in American Moor and Desdemona
Friday, May 7, at 4:00pm
This talk examines the ways that Keith Hamilton Cobb’s American Moor and Toni Morrison and Rokia Traoré’s Desdemona address the whiteness of the various “industries” that discipline black responses to Shakespeare. Their appropriations of Shakespeare’s Othello speak over what W.E.B. Du Bois called the color line by performing conversations that highlight the missed readings and over-readings in the play. Drawing on Jennifer Lynn Stoever’s The Sonic Color Line, I suggest that Morrison, Traoré, and Cobb are “theorists of listening” and of whiteness. Their plays demonstrate how Black speech and articulated Black experience are continually conditioned for white consumption.
American Moor stages the ways the Black actor’s verbal and emotional exuberance is channeled and shaped by white interlocutors. Desdemona, by resituating Desdemona in the afterlife, is able to work around whiteness’ refusal to hear  and create a listening space. Both pieces hold out hope for generative conversations across racial and historical divides, but make clear that true change will take place only with both Black decolonization and white unlearning.

Bio: Kim F. Hall is the Lucyle Hook Chair of English and a Professor of Africana Studies at Barnard College where she teaches courses in Early Modern/ Renaissance Literature, Black Feminist Studies, Critical Race Theory and Food Studies. She is the author of Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England, Othello: Texts and Contexts and The Sweet Taste of Empire: Sugar, Gender and Material Culture in Seventeenth Century England (under contract with UPenn Press). (Complete biography here.)

Conference Coordinator

Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies

71 Queen’s Park Crescent East
Toronto ON M5S 1K7 Canada


Friday, May 7
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Event Category:


Online event