Monday, March 03, 2008

2008 Phyllis Rackin Lecture

Presented by Kim F. Hall
Lucyle Hook Professor of English and Director of Africana Studies, Barnard
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
5:00 pm
Van Pelt Library, Sixth Floor
University of Pennsylvania

We are delighted to welcome Kim F. Hall, who will give a lecture entitled “Sweet
Princes and Dainty Kates: Sugar and Status in
Shakespeare.” This paper
examines the imaginative and material circulation of sugar and “banquetting
stuff” in Shakespeare's plays to suggest how the shift in sugar production from
the Mediterranean to the Atlantic world alters the English sense of sugar
consumption and produces a conceptual flux in which sugar becomes the gendered
ground of class distinction and social mobility.

Professor Hall has published widely on the development of Anglo-American race
thinking, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature and culture, slavery,
material culture, and Black Feminism. In particular, attention to the African
Diaspora has been key to Professor Hall’s scholarship. She argues that one
cannot truly understand the history of the modern world—or our future—without
understanding the energies unleashed by the African diaspora and the
perspectives on race, labor, globalization, human rights and migration
developed through Africana or Black Studies. Professor Hall’s first book Things
of Darkness (1996) was the first critical work to use black feminist theory to
understand early modern texts. Her second book, Othello: Texts and Contexts
(2006) gives students access to original materials from the seventeenth century
on race, marriage and the household, the military, travel and emotions along
with the text of Shakespeare’s Othello. Her current book project, tentatively
entitled Sweet Taste of Empire, examines women, labor and race in the
Anglo-Caribbean sugar trade during the seventeenth century.
The Annual Phyllis Rackin Lecture celebrates the legacy of Professor Phyllis
Rackin, whose pioneering work has insistently asked after the place of women in
early modern literature and society, and whose presence at Penn has helped to
shape and expand the role of women in the academy. Professor Rackin is the
author of numerous articles and books on women, gender, and sexuality in the
early modern period, most recently Shakespeare and Women (Oxford, 2005).

The Phyllis Rackin Lecture is sponsored by the Women’s Studies Program and Alice
Paul Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality; the Department of English; and the
College of Arts and Sciences.


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