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Author David Sterling Brown in conversation on ‘Shakespeare’s White Others’ Feb. 29

David Sterling Brown headshot

David Sterling Brown will share insights from his recent book, “Shakespeare’s White Others,” during a discussion on Emory’s Atlanta campus Feb. 29.

David Sterling Brown, renowned speaker, author and associate professor of English at Trinity College (Connecticut), will share insights from his recent book, “Shakespeare’s White Others,” during a conversation on Emory University’s Atlanta campus on Thursday, Feb. 29, at 4 p.m. The program, held in the Oxford Road Building, is free, but registration is required

In “Shakespeare’s White Others,” published by Cambridge University Press, Brown analyzes how characters such as Richard III and Hamlet — who he writes are not quite “white enough” — contribute to anti-Blackness.

Brown brings together Shakespeare’s works with current issues, including gender, (homo)sexuality, trauma, mental health, policing (of whiteness), Black feminism, Blackness/racial profiling, interracial relationships, white privilege and more. 

Sheila Cavanagh, professor of English and director of the World Shakespeare Project at Emory, will lead the discussion with Brown. 

“David Sterling Brown is one of the exciting, strong, articulate voices who is raising issues about racial dimensions in Shakespeare’s works that have not been previously examined,” Cavanagh says. “In ‘Shakespeare’s White Others,’ David looks at characters who are not BIPOC [Black, indigenous and people of color] — but who are also not what we would consider conventionally white and do not have the same status as characters who are presented as white. He examines the texts, as well as what was happening historically, and how readers and performers — then and now — are responding to these issues. 

“This is work that is long overdue,” she adds.

Brown received a prestigious Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies Scholars and Society Fellowship in 2021, which enabled him to create a virtual-reality art gallery and exhibition called “Visualizing Race Virtually” that complements “Shakespeare’s White Others.” The VR gallery includes artwork from the Folger Shakespeare Library. The fellowship also facilitated his residency with Claudia Rankine’s The Racial Imaginary Institute, of which he is a full-time curatorial team member. 

“One of the exciting aspects of David’s work is the technology and the multi-disciplinary perspectives he’s bringing to it — his working to pull together perspectives from a variety of fields,” Cavanagh notes.

Brown is now writing his second book, “Hood Pedagogy” (to be published by Cambridge University Press), as well as an essay for the American Association of University Professors in which he outlines his “productive discomfort” teaching methodology.

The Pathways Center is hosting this event in partnership with the departments of African American Studies, English and Theater Studies, with support from the Hightower Funds.

“We’re very fortunate that at Emory, we have considerable dialogue between disciplines, and Shakespearean studies are right in the center of that,” Cavanagh says. “Events like this one, with David Sterling Brown, fit very much into the kinds of interdisciplinary conversations we have here.”

Event Details

Shakespeare’s White Others

Thursday, Feb. 29, at 4 p.m.

Oxford Road Building, Oxford Living Room

1390 Oxford Road Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30322

Register via Eventbrite to attend for free.

About David Sterling Brown

David Sterling Brown is an award-winning, tenured associate professor of English at Trinity College (Connecticut). He is the author of “Shakespeare’s White Others” (Cambridge University Press), which was acquired by Tantor Media and recorded as an audiobook, with Brown as narrator. He has published numerous peer-reviewed, public-facing essays and delivered myriad talks. He is also an editor and public speaker. 

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