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Reanimating Shakespeare’s Othello in Post-Racial America

Reanimating Shakespeare’s Othello in Post-Racial America



Traces the history of Othello’s contemporary citations, adaptations, and appropriations across genres

  • Creates an archive of twenty-first century appropriations of Othello, many primary works not yet addressed by scholarship or considered in regards to Othello, such as Get Out, Kill Shakespeare, Serial, and Othello: The Remix
  • Considers appropriations across genres and media: podcasts, television, film, graphic novels, and performance
  • Places in dialog premodern critical race studies, media studies, and critical race theory to analyze these appropriations
  • Contextualizes these appropriations through media studies and popular culture contexts pressuring and pressured by Othello
  • Demonstrates the wide-ranging applicability of Othello’s narrative through its breadth
  • Provides a method for ethical engagement with and judicious consumption of popular culture

Othello famously supplicates, ‘Speak of me as I am’, pleading for the Venetians to ‘nothing extenuate’, leave out, or make thin (5.2.352). Othello’s anxiety about narrative accuracy exposes his fear over his story’s potential misrepresentation. As the first monograph to examine Othello’s history of contemporary reanimations, Reanimating Shakespeare’s Othello in Post-Racial America takes up this question of retelling Othello’s story, turning to the play as re-crafted in a time and place imagined as having overcome racial injustice: post-racial America (2008–2016). This book analyses representations of Othello across genres and media including podcasts, television, film, graphic novels and performance, and argues that these representational choices of Othellos perpetuate varying racial frameworks that advance antiblack or antiracist versions of the play. By elucidating the presence and function of these competing frameworks, it illuminates and explains how to wrestle with the intersections between Shakespeare, Othello and the American racial imaginary in appropriations, scholarship, the classroom and beyond.



Publication Date



Edinburgh University Press


Literature in English, British Isles

First Department


Reanimating Shakespeare’s Othello in Post-Racial America