Appels à contributions
The Ethics of “Racechange” in Performance, Adaptations and Tradaptations of Shakespeare’s plays (Budapest, Hungary)

The Ethics of “Racechange” in Performance, Adaptations and Tradaptations of Shakespeare’s plays (Budapest, Hungary)

Publié le par Marc Escola (Source : Nora Galland)


Dr Nora Galland (FRANCE)
Teaching & Research Fellow
University Côte d’Azur
C.T.E.L. UPR 6307

L. Monique Pittman (USA)
Professor of English
Andrews University

Ambereen Dadabhoy (USA)
Associate Professor of
Harvey Mudd College

Why, ’tis a boisterous and a cruel style;
A style for challengers: why, she defies me,
Like Turk to Christian: women’s gentle brain
Could not drop forth such giant-rude invention,
Such Ethiop words, blacker in their effect
Than in their countenance. (As You Like It, 4.3)

Rosalind’s characterization of Phebe’s letter manifests a nexus of ethical challenges
bedeviling racial representation in adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays. Her polysemic phrase,
“Ethiop words,” articulates the racist dimension of the drama’s world orientation – the
inky-black words identified troublingly with both human physical blackness and, crucially,
moral cruelty and immorality. Furthermore, Rosalind’s words encapsulate the crimes of white
femininity habitually policing patriarchal hierarchies of gender and white supremacy.
Shakespeare’s cross-dressing heroine simultaneously performs an act of adaptation as she
recounts rather than recites the contents, style, and import of Phebe’s epistolary challenge.

By interweaving race, gender, and adaptation, this passage prompts the questions central to
the seminar that deals with the ethics of “racechange” (Gubar, 1997) in performance,
adaptations and tradaptations of Shakespeare’s plays. We will explore cross-racial
impersonations such as blackface, or brownface as well as other types of cross-racial mimicry
to examine how directors, costume designers, make-up artists and actors construct race –
ethically or unethically.

Race is intrinsically connected to change as it is a fluid concept that is deeply contradictory; it
is both a social construct that is also understood (by some) as natural and already fixed. To
what extent does the phenomenon of “racechange” show the intrinsic paradox of race, being
the product of an essentialist constructivism, or a constructivist essentialism?

How do adaptations and tradaptations reveal the polysemy of race through the dynamics of
“racechange”? How is the meaning of race fluctuating depending on the cultural context and
the language chosen for the tradaptation? What are the consequences of “racechange” in the
interactions between the characters and how does it change the meaning of the play?
Thus, this seminar aims to analyse race through a “racechange” embodied by the actor on
stage and on film through the use of racial prosthetics and language–Shakespeare’s “Ethiop

This seminar invites contributions on (but are in no way restricted to) the following topics:

● Blackface, brownface and yellowface in adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays
● Anglo-American/ European use of racial prosthetics in performance
● Translation of the English racial lexicon into a foreign language
● Adapting race to a new cultural context in tradaptations
● Cultural appropriations of Shakespeare’s plays (intersectional approach)
● White privilege and white supremacy in performance
● Color-conscious casting and cross-racial impersonations
● Racial bias and white innocence

Please send a 250-word abstract and a 2-page CV to us three, Dr Galland, Prof.

Dadabhoy and Prof. Pittman, by 30 November 2022:,,



- GUBAR, Susan. Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1997.
- THOMPSON, Ayanna. Blackface. London: Bloomsbury, 2021.
- NDIAYE, Noémie. “Rewriting the Grand Siècle: Blackface in Early Modern France
and the Historiography of Race” Literature Compass, Vol. 18, Issue 10, 2021, e12603.
- —------------------. Scripts of Blackness: Early Modern Performance Culture and the
Making of Race. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022.
- HEIJES, Coen. Shakespeare, Blackface and Race: Different perspectives. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2020.
- HORNBACK, Robert. Racism and Early Blackface Comic Traditions: From the Old
World to the New. New-York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.