Issue 5.1 - Critical Race Studies

‘A harbinger of the much more to come’: an (un)timely review of Women, “Race,” & Writing in the Early Modern Period

Brandi K. Adams


For better or for worse, the impetus behind Women, “Race,” & Writing in the Early Modern Period (1994) remains timely.  For better: these foundational essays, edited by Margo Hendricks and Patricia Parker feature a satisfyingly diverse group of women scholars who have produced unapologetic, interdisciplinary literary and historiographical research about the intersections of race and gender in the early modern period. And for worse, through no fault of the scholars themselves: over twenty-five years later, the urgent questions and ensuing scholarship that this book has inspired continue to be marginalized in the field at large. It is unfortunate that members of our academic community still refuse to engage fully with this research that asks us collectively to reflect upon the effect of whiteness on early modern texts, in scholarship, and in scholars themselves. This book must be used for more than a perfunctory gesture of inclusiveness in scholarly bibliographies. It is work that should guide all research...

Eldred Jones's Othello’s Countrymen: The African in English Renaissance Drama

Dennis Austin Britton


As the first monograph to examine representations of Africans in early modern drama, Eldred Jones’s Othello’s Countrymen: The African in English Renaissance Drama plays an important role in the history of premodern critical race studies.[i] Jones confronts a common scholarly misconception: “This investigation shows how greatly the Elizabethan’s knowledge of the continent and peoples of Africa has been underestimated by modern critics. Statements about Othello’s colour and racial identity are full of suggestions that Elizabethans did not know the difference between Moors and Negroes” (viii). Jones shows that in contrast to early modern plays, travel writing made careful distinctions between Black Africans and non-Black Moors. The book is often more documentary than interpretive, apart from an...

Things of Darkness: “The Blueprint of a Methodology”

David Sterling Brown


This untimely review is a tribute to an unapologetic “BlacKKKShakespearean”—a Black woman—who dared to highlight in her early scholarship the significant problems of the field, and academia at large, and the crucial need for course-correcting with respect to racial dynamics, especially regarding racism, white supremacy/privilege, (anti)blackness and white invisibility....