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Faculty Forum: Dr. Matteo Pangallo
"'The Stranger That Hath His Liberty': Foreign Performers in Early Modern England"
Throughout the late medieval and early modern periods, hundreds of foreign musicians, actors, dancers, and other performers made England a destination for commercial touring, cultural diplomacy, and settled immigration. The contexts within which these performers appeared speak to the diverse places where intercultural contact and exchange occurred in the period: both in centers of power, such as at court, in London, or in the great halls of aristocrats, mayors, and aldermen, but also in public places, such as marketplaces, village streets, and churchyards. The activities of these performers reveal that Europe, inclusive of England, was a linked space where—despite what Brexiteers might have you believe—cultural development occurred not just through textual borrowing or artistic influences but also through the frequent physical movements of performers bringing their ephemeral, embodied cultural content across borders. The objective of my current book project is to draw upon the stories of these individual artists to dismantle the colonialist view of Shakespeare’s England as a site merely of cultural production and dissemination and, instead, re-situate the English cultural Renaissance as one part of a more widespread and complexly transnational cultural Renaissance. In this talk, I will share some of the results from my research, looking first at several examples from the historical record that reveal the degree to which a foreign performer could become integrated with domestic modes of cultural production. After considering what the documentary evidence suggests about these performers, I will look at how some English playwrights, including Shakespeare and Jonson, represented such cultural interaction between English and foreign performance traditions.

Mar 23, 2021 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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