Abstract: Although England was ‘too pure an Air for Slaves to breath in’, the spectre of slavery was ubiquitous. This talk explores the archives and traces of slavery in early modern England to argue for alternate genealogies and sites of inquiry for servitude and racialized bondage, and reads literary and cultural representations of blood and bondage in the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries to suggest that the futures of servitude are intertwined with family, sanguinity and the imperative to natal generation. Exploring contracts, petitions and pedagogical texts alongside several moments in Shakespeare’s plays, this talk suggests that as early modern England interrogated its classical inheritances and contemporary contexts for bondage, it also laid the conceptual and imaginative groundwork for the futures of racialized slavery.
The event will be held in Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive. As usual, social hour will be from 5-6, dinner 6-7, and the talk 7-8:30. The cost for dinner, payable by check only, is $30. When you RSVP please indicate whether or not you plan to come to dinner .