Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Ayanna Thompson, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Department of English, Arizona State University
What does it mean to cast Shakespeare in a nontraditional way? How is Shakespeare’s universalism constructed within explicit discussions and debates about racial identity? And, do the answers to these questions impact our understanding of authorship, authority, and authenticity? This talk will examine the ways Shakespeare, race, and performance intersect on the twenty-first century stage.
Ayanna Thompson is Associate Dean of Faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of English at Arizona State University. She specializes in Renaissance drama and focuses on issues of race and performance. She is the author of two books: Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage (Routledge, 2008), and the editor of two books: Weyward Macbeth:Intersections of Race and Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) (co-edited with Scott Newstok) and Colorblind Shakespeare: New Perspectives on Race and Performance (Routledge, 2006). In addition, she is the guest editor of two special editions of scholarly journals: “Shakespeare, Race, and Performance,” Shakespeare Bulletin (special issue 27.3, Fall 2009) and “Actors of Color in Shakespeare,” Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation (special issue 4.1, Spring/Summer 2008).
In addition, Professor Thompson’s essays and reviews have appeared in Shakespeare Quarterly, Renaissance Quarterly, Seventeenth-Century News, The Eighteenth Century, The Journal of Popular Culture, Textus, and Arthuriana. Professor Thompson received her A.B. from Columbia University. As a recipient of a Marshall Scholarship, she received her M.A. at Sussex University in England and she received her Ph.D. from Harvard University, where she studied under Stephen Greenblatt, Marjorie Garber, Barbara Lewalski and Werner Sollors.