Shakespeare in the Global South proposes the critical frame provided by the idea of a Global South in order to theorize
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Table of contents :
1 Introducing the Global South
5 Diasporic disruptions
6 Afterword: Insurgent Cosmopolitanism in the South
Shakespeare in the Global South
GLOBAL SHAKESPEARE INVERTED Global Shakespeare Inverted challenges any tendency to view Global Shakespeare from the perspective of ‘centre’ versus ‘periphery’. Although the series may locate its critical starting point geographically, it calls into question the geographical bias that lurks within the very notion of the ‘global’. It provides a timely, constructive criticism of the present state of the field and establishes new and alternative methodologies that invert the relation of Shakespeare to the supposed ‘other’. Series editors: David Schalkwyk (Queen Mary, University of London, UK) Silvia Bigliazzi (University of Verona, Italy) Bi-qi Beatrice Lei (National Taiwan University, Taiwan) Advisory board: Douglas Lanier, University of New Hampshire, USA Sonia Massai, King’s College London, UK Supriya Chaudhury, Jadavpur University, India Ian Smith, Lafayette College, USA Eating Shakespeare: Cultural Anthropophagy as Global Methodology Edited by Anne Sophie Refskou, Marcel Alvaro de Amorim and Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho Forthcoming titles Romeo and Juliet in Diaspora: Shakespeare among the Arts and in Translation Edited by Julia Reinhard Lupton and Ariane Helou Migrating Shakespeare: First European Encounters, Routes and Networks Edited by Janet Clare and Dominique Goy-Blanquet
Shakespeare in the Global South Stories of Oceans Crossed in Contemporary Adaptation
THE ARDEN SHAKESPEARE Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP, UK 1385 Broadway, New York, NY 10018, USA BLOOMSBURY, THE ARDEN SHAKESPEARE and the Arden Shakespeare logo are trademarks of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc First published in Great Britain 2019 Copyright © Sandra Young, 2019 Sandra Young has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of this work. For legal purposes the Acknowledgements on pp. viii–ix constitute an extension of this copyright page. Cover design: Maria Rajka Cover image: The Underworld (oil on canvas) © Cathy Rogers All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc does not have any control over, or responsibility for, any third-party websites referred to or in this book. All internet addresses given in this book were correct at the time of going to press. The author and publisher regret any inconvenience caused if addresses have changed or sites have ceased to exist, but can accept no responsibility for any such changes. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN: HB: 978-1-350-03574-4 ePDF: 978-1-350-03576-8 eBook: 978-1-350-03575-1 Series: Global Shakespeare Inverted Typeset by Integra Software Services Pvt. Ltd. To find out more about our authors and books visit www.bloomsbury.com and sign up for our newsletters.
For Anneke and Luke
CONTENTS Acknowledgements viii
1 Introducing the Global South 1 2 Creolization 23 3 Indigenization 49 4 Africanization 79 5 Diasporic disruptions 103 6 Afterword: Insurgent Cosmopolitanism in the South 127
Notes 137 Bibliography 164 Index 176
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The ideas explored in this book represent the confluence of concerns that for many years have preoccupied my scholarship, my teaching and my engagement in a world in which inequality and injustice remain entrenched. The institutions and scholarly communities within which I have found lodging have provided fertile and responsive contexts for grappling with what is at times discomfiting, at times invigorating, in contemporary cultural politics. I have therefore accrued debts of gratitude to the colleagues, students, friends and family members whose support and friendship contributed significantly to the development of my thinking and to my well-being. During the years of this book’s gestation I have benefitted enormously from the conversations, some structured and planned, others more informal, that have allowed me to test and refine my ideas. I sincerely thank my interlocutors for the gift of their attentiveness, their encouragement and, in some cases, the objections that sent me back to my desk. For support offered in a variety of forms, I thank Tasneem Allybokus, Pompa Bannerjee, Ashish Beesoondial, Jane Bennett, Susan Bennett, Anston Bosman, Carrol Clarkson, Maurizio Calbi, Natasha Distiller, Fernanda Dusse, Rolfe Eberhard, Peter Erickson, Insaaf Everson, Harry Garuba, Kim Hall, Peter Holland, Esthie Hugo, Lliane Loots, Peter McDonald, Dilip Menon, Madhavi Menon, Alfredo Modenessi, Cóilín Parsons, Anne Sophie Refskou, Sarah Roberts, Daniel Roux, Meg Samuelson, David Schalkwyk, Ayanna Thompson, Chris Thurman, Hedley Twidle, Brian Willan, Donna Woodford-Gormley, Laurence Wright, Miranda Young-Jahangeer, and Georgianna Ziegler. After a number of clarifying conversations and a generous invitation for a residency as visiting scholar at the Global
Shakespeare Programme at Queen Mary University of London, David Schalkwyk convinced me to ‘get it done’ and to seek a home for it within the Arden Shakespeare. The book is much improved as a result of his valuable and challenging feedback as series editor. I am grateful to the team at the Arden Shakespeare, Lara Bateman, Mark Dudgeon and Maria Rajka, and to Vinita Irudayaraj, Shamli Priya Vijayan and the production team at Integra. I am grateful to Tanya Barben for her care in producing the index despite having had to do so in record time. Esthie Hugo and Rolfe Eberhard read every word with great care and sensitivity: they were able to recognize both the shape and the potential impact of the book’s argument before I felt convinced of it myself. Hedley Twidle and Anna Hartford lent me their considerable visual intuition as I began to conceive of a cover design. Cathy Rogers honours its cover with her beautiful and evocative painting, The Underworld. I would not be able to do this work without the companionship and wise counsel of my running and climbing friends, and those who have stayed close over this long journey. My family have been my champions and my refuge, while at the same time holding me to a strong sense of purpose. The joy of sharing my world with Rolfe, Anneke and Luke has made my work possible, and so much more. Earlier versions of some chapters have appeared as journal articles and I thank the editors and publishers of the journals for permission to reprint the material here. Chapter 1 includes some material from ‘Race and the Global South in Early Modern Studies’, a special issue on Race in Shakespeare Quarterly 67, no. 1 (Spring 2016): 125–135. Chapter 2 includes some material from ‘Shakespeare’s Transcolonial Solidarities in the Global South’, Shakespeare Survey 71, Re-Creating Shakespeare (2018): 1–11. An earlier version of Chapter 3 appeared as ‘Beyond Indigenisation: Hamlet, Haider, and the Pain of the Kashmiri People’, Shakespeare 13, no. 3 (2017): 1–16. Chapter 4 includes some material from the chapter, ‘Shakespeare in Africa’, in The Shakespearean World, edited by Jill Levenson and Robert Ormsby (New York: Routledge, 2017), 116–134.
1 Introducing the Global South
The transformations Shakespearean drama has undergone across an increasingly unequal world allow us to glimpse the rich potential for subversion and renewal within his work. In travelling across the globe, traditional Shakespeare has been dismantled and reimagined, and the result is illuminating for cultural studies. The many Shakespeares in play in the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic worlds call for a scholarly practice that is responsive to the surprising solidarities Shakespeare’s plays have evoked in nontraditional staging contexts. Scholars have celebrated Shakespeare’s availability as a resource for writers, activists and politicians during anticolonial and anti-apartheid struggles, and contemporary theatre-makers have drawn on Shakespeare in a manner that complicates the dichotomies of earlier cultural histories that embed Shakespeare within a forbidding colonial canon. Playwrights and theatre-makers, alert to what Françoise Lionnet calls ‘transcolonial solidarity’, have helped to reanimate Shakespeare’s work by evoking creative and political affinities across oceans of difference. However, the temptation to view this capacity for revision as affirming, above all, Shakespeare’s exceptionalism has the regrettable effect of obscuring the mutuality of creative innovations that work powerfully to renew Shakespeare and lend his
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work startling contemporaneity. As theatre-makers across the global South explore affinities between their worlds and Shakespeare’s, they allow us to imagine, in sympathy with Shakespeare, the possibility of a transformed critical landscape. It is this capacity for mutual affinity across vast differences in time and space that provides the impetus for this study. This book seeks to shift the lines of enquiry into Shakespeare’s ongoing presence across the global South by engaging with the histories, scholarship and adaptations of Shakespeare from various locations within Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, South Asia and the Indian Ocean world, and from within the pockets of vulnerability and disempowerment or what one might call ‘southerliness’ in the North that result from diasporic mobilities. As this list makes evident, the political geographies that provide the critical framework for this inquiry resist categorization. Even so, the conviction underpinning this book is that the critical frame of the global South and the lateral view it extends across the Indian and Atlantic Ocean worlds offer to Global Shakespeare a helpful framework within which to consider some of Shakespeare’s contemporary cultural and political resonances. In reflecting on the diverse incarnations of Shakespearean drama across the global South, I aim to test some of the vocabulary with which Shakespeare scholars have sought to engage a diverse and unequal world, in particular through the concepts of the creolization, indigenization, localization and Africanization of Shakespeare. These terms appear repeatedly in studies concerned to understand the impact of contemporary Shakespeare practice across the globe. They warrant critical reflection on account of the insights they offer into the complex cultural histories in which Shakespeare’s global presence is now imbricated, despite their evident limitations. Where specific histories have yielded particular stories of power, resistance and transformation, postcolonialism’s familiar dichotomies may prove limiting. This study focuses therefore on the connections and affinities
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between diverse contexts and histories, potentially shifting the orientation within which readers might interpret Shakespeare’s resonances across the globe. This book also seeks to resist the predictable regionby-region framework familiar within the field of Global Shakespeare, in which individual studies focus on colourful local translocations of Shakespearean drama, all of which remain tangential to the larger critical preoccupations within Shakespeare studies more broadly. Academic studies of Global Shakespeare tend to focus on particular regions, following a logic that positions Shakespeare as the dominant figure in the creative partnership of, say, ‘Indian Shakespeare’ or ‘Shakespeare in Africa’. Shakespeare remains the dominant figure – the noun – and the region under focus is positioned as a colourful variant, qualifying the primary. By contrast, this book takes its lead from recent scholarship that recasts the global South as a source of innovative critical theory in its own right. Given the nature of my inquiry into the global South as a category of analysis for cultural studies and as a vantage point from which to engage critical theory as well as Shakespeare studies, I have allowed the inquiry to be shaped by some of the critical terms that populate Global Shakespeare studies rather than by geopolitical regions, in a commitment to sidestepping the regionalization of Global Shakespeare that has led to its ongoing marginalization. In forging conversations across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, this book explores the critical frame provided by the idea of a global South in order to theorize cultural difference. It looks sideways across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans to a variety of nontraditional centres of Shakespeare theatre-making to explore the solidarities and affinities not as evident within Stratford’s Shakespeare. It traces the innovative theatre practices in Mauritius, South Asia, Brazil, post-apartheid South Africa and the diasporic urban spaces of the global North, to assess the lessons for cultural theory that are to be found in the transformation Shakespeare has undergone across the world. I reflect on the theoretical
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vocabulary scholars have found productive in trying to fathom the impact of these transformations, through their use of terms such as ‘creolization’, ‘indigenization’, ‘Africanization’ and ‘localization’ of endlessly transforming iterations of Shakespeare’s work.
A brief history of the term ‘global South’ There is a case to be made for the global South as a category of analysis for Shakespeare studies, given its presence within cultural studies more broadly. I make claims about the value, for revisionist scholarship, of the view from the South, not only for those who live and work in the South or who assert an affiliation or a commitment to the politics of the South, but also for critical thought generally. The term ‘global South’ has developed theoretical purchase in recent years, but the cultural signification of what we might call ‘southerliness’ has a surprisingly clear foothold in early modernity too; early modern geographers wrote explicitly of the people of the ‘southern climes’ or ‘southern nations’, or sometimes simply the ‘south’, installing as they did so subtle forms of racialization and legitimizing colonial exploitation, as the following two examples attest. Sixteenth-century English compiler Richard Eden writes in a generalized fashion about ‘the south partes of the world’ when flaunting the extractable wealth and exoticism of regions of the world found ‘betwene the two Tropikes vnder ye Equinoctial or burning lyne’.1 The seventeenth-century English cartographer Richard Blome sets up a distinction between the ‘Southern Nations’ of the world and the ‘Northern People’ in the epistle of his translation of Bernhardus Varenius’s Geographia in 1682. According to Blome, body and mind are shaped by climate, which explains the unquestionable superiority of the ‘Northern People’ of the globe who ‘have always been Victorious and
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predominant over the Meridional or Southern Nations’.2 I have argued elsewhere that the distinction between ‘South’ and ‘North’ emerged during the early modern expansionist period as a key mechanism for establishing a racial hierarchy on a global scale.3 The ‘south partes’ were regions whose natural resources seemed to invite exploitation and whose seemingly primitive peoples warranted the influences of the North. The term’s value for cultural studies today is related to this cultural geography and the oblique angle on colonial modernity it enables. The critical category of the global South challenges the normativity of the view from the North, bringing into focus an alternative set of interests and material conditions. Even so, there is a degree of ambivalence surrounding the term. This is partly as a result of its early iterations in United Nations ‘development’ discourse (specifically, a 2003 United Nations Programme, ‘Forging a Global South’), where it reads as paternalistic, if somewhat idealistic, in seeking to encourage ‘South–South’ connections and self-directed strategies for growth. As Arif Dirlik explains, the ‘global South has its roots in earlier third-world visions of liberation, and those visions still have an important role to play in restoring human ends to development’.4 Critics might argue that the term is misleading: the distinction it identifies between a putative ‘North’ and ‘South’ cannot in fact be mapped onto a fixed cartographic grid. But the crucial thing about the concept of the global South is that its usefulness lies in the cultural and economic alignments it signals, despite the incongruities that might exist within a single nation or region. Released from its literal hermeneutics, the term offers a way of interpreting manifestly distinct texts or performances together. It highlights cultural and political alignments without imposing homogeneity and ignoring the complexity of historical differences across an unequal world. The conceptual frame provided by the idea of a ‘global South’ is therefore flawed but potentially useful for cultural studies as it seeks to make critical interventions without
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reinforcing familiar binaries. Dirlik has outlined the ‘chaotic’ and surprising alignments that frustrate any attempt to map a geographical grid onto the economies of the world.5 Even so, he finds in the notion of a global South an effective rubric with which to identify the struggles and ‘affinities’ that have the capacity to challenge the hegemony of a modernity rooted in coloniality: ‘There are certain affinities between these societies in terms of mutual recognition of historical experiences with colonialism and neocolonialism’.6 Most important, perhaps, the global South may allow for the inclusion, as Dirlik puts it, of ‘the voices of the formerly colonized and marginalized in a world that already has been shaped by a colonial modernity to which there is no alternative in sight’.7 It is this privileging of previously hidden stories and the space it creates for critical perspectives on race and power that make the idea of a global South compelling. I explore the ways in which the framework of the global South enables a perspective on relations of domination and freedom across a complex world that differs from the signal points generated by postcolonialism. Instead of treating colonialism’s abuses and postcolonialism’s resistances as the defining moments for all contexts of historical domination across an uneven world, the term draws attention to connections and affinities between diverse contexts across the South. It also opens up space for greater nuance as we seek to understand Shakespeare’s resonances today. The term ‘global South’ has gained particular visibility in cultural studies and the social sciences over the last decade, although it was in circulation for some time before then. Since 2007, Indiana University Press has published a journal titled The Global South; a special issue in 2011 explored the ‘The Global South and World Dis/Order’, devoted to exploring ‘the institutional, disciplinary, and geopolitical possibilities of the “global south” as an emergent conceptual apparatus’.8 This formulation (‘World Dis/Order’) echoes an earlier special issue of another journal: Third World Quarterly titled their first issue in 1994 ‘The South in the New World (Dis)Order’. In this title, too, the editors signal that the term does more than
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designate a geographical region; it also registers the possibility of disruption and transformation. Caroline Levander and Walter Mignolo, editors of the 2011 special issue, make this explicit by stating that ‘tensions between ordering and disordering [are] implicit in the “global south”’ conceptually.9 Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff’s recent monograph on the topic invites us to think about what it might mean to theorize from the South.10 Theory from the South seeks to scramble the dichotomies that render intellectual history and modernity the preserve of the northern parts of the world, resulting from their global dominance after centuries of economic clout. The Comaroffs’ project forms a radical challenge to assumptions about the ascendancy of northern modes of economic and social organization, as they indicate in their provocative subtitle, How Euro-America Is Evolving toward Africa. For the Comaroffs, ‘the qualifications and question marks brought by non-Western experience to mainstream discourses about the nature of modernity itself’ hold greater promise for a world at risk than the North’s conservative legacy.11 The example of cultural anthropophagy, based on Brazilian poet Oswald de Andrade’s Cannibalist Manifesto, as I argue in a brief discussion in the final chapter of this book, offers a compelling example of the fundamentally transformative possibilities of cultural theory from the global South, as well as its important resonances for Shakespeare studies. As a term, the ‘global South’ may seem too vague – and inaccurate – to be of much use for an incisive practice of cultural analysis which is attuned to the specificities of cultural histories. That would certainly seem to be the case if it is treated literally, as a category of analysis based on cartography and the physical world it seeks to map. However, its usefulness lies in the oblique angle it affords, or as the Comaroffs put it, the ‘ex-centric as an angle of vision’ it enables.12 The global South draws attention to what is barely visible within colonial modernity. By identifying the existence of an alternative set of interests and material conditions, the global South challenges the normativity of the view from the North. ‘To the degree that
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the making of modernity has been a world-historical process, it can as well be narrated from its undersides as it can from its self-proclaimed centers’.13 The term brings with it a set of preoccupations and a history that render it ambivalent, at risk of being marshalled in service of an appropriative globalization. Dirlik traces the emergence of the term in development studies rhetoric and its relationship to its now-tarnished predecessor, the ‘Third World’, in an editorial introducing the first issue of the new journal The Global South in 2007. His subtitle alerts us to the term’s ‘promise’ for a transformative politics, as well as its ‘predicament’: the term has been brought to prominence in part through the ideologies of global development and their manifestations in global policy programmes.14 As its provenance suggests, the term’s lexical weight does not derive from geography primarily but from the discourses of development and globalization, and the flows of capital they seek to identify. The geographical vocabulary is thus merely emblematic and not as precise as the cartographical grid would seem to suggest. Dirlik reminds us that the alignments of ‘North’ and ‘South’ are much more ‘chaotic’ than the terms themselves would seem to indicate.15 This is not only because the southern hemisphere is home to countries such as Australia and New Zealand, whose gross domestic products put them on an economic par with the world’s strongest economies, while some historically disempowered communities, like the Inuit people, inhabit a region that is further north than almost any other. It is also because of the success of globalization and the uneven, uncontained spread of global capital: within any given national economy ‘there are groups and classes in most societies of the South who are already part of the transnational economy’, and nodes of poverty and alienation within the wealthiest of northerly contexts.16 The terminology cannot be adopted wholescale to describe a consistent pattern of economic relations across the globe. The particular value of the global South for cultural studies inheres in the perspective on power and privilege that it enables and the promise of ‘the distinctive forms of knowledge yielded
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by peripheral vision’, as the Comaroffs have put it.17 To the extent that the field of early modern studies takes seriously that which is ‘narrated from its undersides’, more space is created for critical perspectives on race and power.18 The global South, as a concept, has contributed richly to cultural studies, offering new analytical tools and accentuating critical perspectives on social injustice. In the discussions that follow I aim to demonstrate the value it holds, too, for Global Shakespeare studies as it seeks to fathom Shakespeare’s imbrication within a wider world.
Global Shakespeare as seen from the South The emergence of Global Shakespeare has already helped to bring to scholarly attention some of the struggles around race and anticoloniality across the globe. In a sense, it is not a new phenomenon: as Laura Estill puts it in her account of the World Shakespeare Bibliography Online and the changes to research practices it has brought about, ‘global Shakespeare studies … has been thriving for decades – even centuries’.19 And yet, while Global Shakespeare thrives as a field of interest, it has not necessarily led to a revision of the critical landscape. While the field has drawn attention to Shakespeare’s ongoing presence across the globe, it is not clear to what extent it has transformed the cultural politics of what we think of as ‘Shakespeare’. Certainly, interest in the ‘global’ has signalled critical openness to nontraditional centres of Shakespeare scholarship and theatre practice. But the value of a recognizably global and plural Shakespeare does not lie in the celebration of difference or in its accommodation of a richer variety. This is what Ania Loomba dismisses as the ‘simplistic “all is hybrid and multicultural”’ approach to cultural studies in her critique of a mode of uncritical postcolonial scholarship.20 Rather, the expanded view and more encompassing methodology of the global South have
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the potential to challenge some assumptions underpinning the field and to liberate scholars, theatre-makers and Shakespeare himself to tell new stories entirely, opening up to view the shadow side of colonial modernity.21 An early moment in the shaping of Global Shakespeare offers us a glimpse into its possibilities and its limitations. Well before the recent emergence of the field of Global Shakespeare, evidence of the conscious attempt to expand the purview of Shakespeare studies to embrace a wider world can be found in the uncatalogued archives of the Shakespeare Quarterly held in the Folger Shakespeare Library, in letters penned by John Andrews during his tenure as editor of the journal in the late 1970s, when Andrews began to solicit reviews and accompanying theatre materials from across the world. By contrast, the formal collection of ephemera in the Folger Shakespeare Library reflects the limited focus of its first collectors and is largely confined to the United States and the United Kingdom: when Henry Clay Folger and Emily Jordan Folger gathered their extensive collection of Shakespearean materials (‘the finest in existence’, as Herbert Putnam of the Library of Congress described it in 1928 in the press report announcing the Folgers’ bequest ‘to the American people’),22 they looked to what they thought of as the centre of Shakespeare’s world – Stratford and London – and the centre of their own, as patriotic Americans.23 The Library’s collection of playbills reflects this orientation.24 The treasures at the Folger are not confined to the catalogued collection, however, as I discovered on a research trip: the librarians were able to offer me some uncatalogued boxes with theatre materials sent in by Shakespeareans in cities as far flung as Tel Aviv, Cape Town, Calcutta, Helsinki, Rome, Tokyo, Oslo and Auckland.25 During the late 1970s, in a moment of scholarly commitment to establishing an explicitly more ‘global’ outlook on current Shakespearean theatre practice, Andrews was inspired to expand the journal’s coverage to what he refers to (tentatively, in scare quotes) as ‘global’.26
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Andrews’s articulation of his vision to expand the coverage of performance reviews offers us an early instance of the imagining of a ‘Global Shakespeare’, explicitly, and of the contours of such an imagining. In a letter to John Francis Lane, a Shakespearean actor and theatre reviewer based in Rome, dated 4 January 1978, Andrews identifies the narrowness of the existing practice, confined as it is to the Anglo-American and English-speaking world: ‘As you will see, in every theatreoriented issue we have published up to now (and I speak of a publishing tradition that extends back to 1924 … ), we have limited ourselves to productions in the English-speaking world, and generally to Great Britain, Canada, and the United States’.27 He thus recognizes the limitation of the journal’s purview, to date, and begins consciously to solicit theatre reviews and accounts of Shakespeare’s presence in other parts of the world for an ‘experimental’ issue of Shakespeare Quarterly in Spring 1978, calling it ‘the first time this periodical has attempted to provide anything approaching “global” coverage of a year’s Shakespeare in performance’.28 The initiative, he hopes, will bring about a new way of thinking about the world of Shakespearean theatre, for it constitutes ‘a somewhat tentative step toward what I hope will in a short time become a valuable new kind of theatre reporting and commentary’.29 Andrews thus anticipates the field of Global Shakespeare and contributes to its formation. In his correspondence and editorial writing he gives us a sense of the expansiveness, as well as the constraints, of his vision. In the editorial from the ‘experimental’ Spring 1978 issue of Shakespeare Quarterly, which tried to achieve a more ‘global coverage’, Andrews gives fuller expression to this new vision under the suggestive heading ‘Ecumenical Shakespeare’.30 The editorial allows us to glimpse the logic and the values underpinning Andrews’s innovation; it also demonstrates the difficulty of establishing cultural openness when writing under the imposing sign of ‘Shakespeare’ and when scholarship is conceived as devotion. Andrews draws on biblical language in characterizing the work of faithful scholarship: without any
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sense of irony he talks of making ‘our pilgrimages to the shrine’ of Shakespeare. Furthermore, he renders the community of Shakespeareans around the world as a kind of church, extending the language of St Paul to claim ‘the living body of Shakespeare’.31 He writes approvingly of the scholarly endeavour to make oneself ‘contemporaneous with Shakespeare – approaching him, as it were, from below’.32 He identifies a ‘new consciousness’ that has led to ‘a degree of openness, even humility’ on the part of academics and theatre practitioners in their quest to understand better the Shakespearean text on its own terms and in the context within which it was crafted.33 The turn to the ‘global’ in this moment is thus not a stepping back from the hegemony of traditional Shakespeare, at least not for Andrews. However, the openness Andrews identifies reflects a salutary awareness of an ‘ever-growing worldwide fellowship’ of mutually dependent devotees: It is valuable to have different kinds of practicing Shakespeareans, each bringing his own special orientation and method to bear on the text. But it is also valuable, indeed crucial, to share as widely as possible the sights those different approaches make available. As we make our various pilgrimages to the shrine, it may not be inappropriate to remind ourselves now and then that we are members of a great and ever-growing worldwide fellowship … dependent upon each other for our fullest development, both individually and collectively. It pleases me to think that something of this ecumenical spirit unifies the pages that follow.34 Four decades later, the metaphor of Christian devotion is somewhat alienating within a secular academy, and the ecclesiastical vision has no purchase as a set of universal ideals. The collective that Andrews conjures no longer seems inclusive, but his call for openness to diversity and the outward gesture evident in his celebration of the ‘ecumenical spirit’ have some resonance, despite the totalizing frame.
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The expanded view evident in Andrews’s turn to the ‘global’ holds a challenge for early modern scholars today, however ambiguous its articulation then: Andrews urges Shakespeareans in the centres of the North to pay attention to the less familiar stages of far-flung places and to help to make known the struggles and ‘affinities’ (to use Dirlik’s wording) that carry less cultural capital. As the example of Andrews’s vision suggests, the constitution of a more global approach to Shakespeare studies risks repeating earlier occlusions if it becomes simply an opportunity to affirm, uncritically, the extent of the extraordinary reach of Stratford’s Shakespeare. Rather, openness to nontraditional Shakespeares has the potential to unsettle normative cultural practices and, in a truly ‘ex-centric’ fashion,35 bring into view the racisms that have structured global relations since early modernity.
‘Globe’ versus ‘world’ versus ‘planet’ When Andrews reaches for the descriptor ‘global’, he signals more than an expanded vista for Shakespeare studies. Andrews’s vision for the Quarterly marshals the all-seeing eye located in the heavens, a vantage point far above the intricacies of everyday life. Paradoxically, however, the distant vantage point is validated by the symbolic inclusion of the local, however impossible it might be to offer full ‘coverage’ of infinite detail of the localized everyday. Andrews’s somewhat tentative proposal stops short of being triumphalist, thanks to the scare quotes, which offer an acknowledgement of the experimentalism of his project, and its implausibility. Even so, we glimpse an assumed totality in the possibility of the ‘global’, a totality which would not have been conjured in the vocabulary of the ‘world’ had he chosen to use it, by gesturing towards the possibility of an ‘expanded’ world or of ‘worldliness’ as an ideal to strive towards.
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The resonances of these three quite distinct terms – ‘world’, ‘globe’ and ‘planet’ – have implications for the field of Global Shakespeare which has taken its name from a very particular lexicon. The distinction is all the more evident when these terms are used in the adjectival forms, ‘worldly’, ‘global’ and ‘planetary’. The terminology warrants further reflection, particularly for a field that identifies itself so thoroughly with a global view. The idea of the ‘globe’ has special resonance for Shakespeare studies, of course, and carries within itself a certain nostalgic echo of Shakespeare’s own time and practice. Alexa Huang even suggests that the ‘globe’ and ‘Shakespeare’ have become ‘near synonyms’;36 the theatre that bears its name, the Globe, indexes the cosmopolitanism of Shakespeare’s stage and, since then, the supposedly universal human values it was so often said to affirm. Even with the heightened critical awareness the field has adopted more recently, the slide into universalism is all too tempting, even for a version of Shakespeare practice that identifies itself as ‘global’ – and perhaps especially for Global Shakespeare, given the overarching reach of a term like ‘global’ and the relationship it suggests between the allabsorbing ‘global’ and an infinite number of ‘local’ contexts. Scholars do not agree on the nature of this relationship. Laura Walls ‘insist[s] that the local is already and has always been planetary, just as the global has always been under our feet. The global is local at every point’.37 Huang finds value in Global Shakespeare precisely because of its capacity to render visible many local contexts: ‘Global Shakespeares matter because their concerns are inherently local even as they travel’.38 Global Shakespeare is local Shakespeares. This produces a sense of the ‘global’ as constituted by myriads of locals, signalled by Huang in the pluralized noun, ‘Shakespeares’. It also suggests that the relationship between the local and the global has the capacity to be mapped onto corresponding political affinities, where ‘local’ would seem to suggest resistance to the appropriative and impoverishing effects of global capital.
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The ‘globe’ is thus not a neutral word, and its resonances have implications for what we can imagine about the nature of a shared cultural universe that has Shakespeare at its centre. We would do well to probe the reverberations of the term ‘globe’, as distinct from ‘world’, on the one hand, or ‘planet’, on the other, to gain insight into the assumptions underpinning the term ‘global’ as it manifests within ‘Global Shakespeare’. In particular, what might the idea of the ‘global’ signify for the ‘local’, in a lexical relationship which scholars have recognized does not function as oppositional, where ‘local’ is understood as the opposite of ‘global’ but, instead, as the constitutive elements of an appropriative ‘global’?39 Global Shakespeare, as a field, is well placed to confront the assumption of a privileged vantage point at play in the relationship between any given ‘here’ and its ‘elsewhere’. The cultural geographer Denis Cosgrove explains his understanding of the lexicon available to this discussion, and the ‘distinct resonance’ of each term: in ‘contemporary parlance, earth is environmental rather than spatial’, whereas ‘world has more of a social and spatial meaning. The world implies cognition and agency. Consciousness alone can constitute the world: humans go “into the world”, they may become “worldly”; they create life-worlds, or worlds of ideas, worlds of meaning. World is a semiotic creation’.40 However, the idea of a ‘globe’ operates as an abstraction or totality: Neither earth nor world denotes the spatiality of globe. Globe associates the planet with the abstract form of spherical geometry, emphasizing volume and surface over material constitution or territorial organization. Unlike the earth and the world, the globe is distanciated as a concept and image rather than directly touched or experienced as a globe, the planet is geometrically constructed, its contingency reduced to a surface patterns of lines and shapes. Thus the globe is visual and graphic rather than experiential or textual. … The term globalism itself draws upon the abstraction of globe to generate associations quite distinct from those
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of earth or world. Its rich symbolic potential makes globe the most apt of the three terms for a study of images and symbolic meanings.41 The abstraction made possible by conceiving of the earth as a single, unitary globe, geometric in its construction, allows it to be ‘distanciated’ from the contestation of ideas and freed from the cultural politics that is so constitutive of the ‘world’ and infused with the cultural and political meanings we attribute to a shared existence. When the symbolism of the ‘globe’ is invoked, we are positioned at a remove. Scholars in the environmental humanities have made a case for the usefulness of a ‘global’ or even ‘planetary’ consciousness for a progressive politics, however, and have pointed to the kinds of conservatism that get entrenched with the protection of the local. Ursula Heise in Sense of Place, Sense of Planet argues that the environmental crisis creates an urgent need for a revaluation of the idea of the global for the left, which she argues has pulled back from the idea of the ‘global’, which has engendered a profound disquiet about the deep reaches of global capital and impending ecological catastrophe. The utopianism of a planetary consciousness of the 1960s has given way to a deep suspicion of the world imagined as a singular ‘globe’, as a totality, given globalization’s impact on deepening inequality and insecurity.42 And yet, Heise would argue, some recognition of our inhabiting a shared world is warranted for an engaged and effective environmentalism. There is a useful tension between the innumerable, different ‘locals’ of our many respective contexts and the ‘world’ to which we all lay claim and in which we all have a stake. The rhetoric of a single and singular globe has made it hard to see that ‘the globe’ is not simply a composite figure rendered singular, but that even in its singularity it is multiply differentiated, shaped according to the vantage point of the onlooker. From the subject position of an empowered citizen in an economically dominant nation, to conceive of the earth as a ‘globe’ is to conjure a very different picture from what
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an impoverished subsistence farmer might imagine, in a country without the freedoms and support granted to the hyper-mobile, multiply networked, tech-savvy citizens of a powerful economy. The ability of the world’s inhabitants to lay hold of a sense of a singular world to which they belong and in which they have a stake is uneven and variable. This multiplicity within the apparent unity of a singular ‘world’ becomes more apparent when seen from below. Jennifer Wenzel suggests that ‘the “belowness” at work in world-imagining from below involves not only class position, in the familiar idiom of subalternity, but also spatial position: altitude and perspective in a more literal, scopic sense’.43 She explains in this way the relationship between scopic vision and northern privilege: In the conventional cosmopolitan view of the total globe, from a vantage point high above the earth, social privilege is figured as literal, spatial high-mindedness; privilege is conflated with a capacity for far-seeing and perspicacity, as opposed to the ‘limited horizons’ often attributed to those who experience and imagine the world from some local, rooted position below, who are thought to be unable to perceive the whole.44 Wenzel imagines that, on the contrary, a ‘subaltern planetary subjectivity’ might be ‘grittier and dirtier than the Apollonian view from high above the earth and the high-minded cosmopolitanism often associated with that perspective’.45 Some of the pitfalls of even a progressive form of worldliness are brought to our attention in Wenzel’s articulation of the relation between the small-scale view and the sense of totality that also undergirds planetary consciousness and the cosmopolitanism associated with worldliness and globalism. But Wenzel echoes the sentiments of Heise’s openness to the larger view in a time of increasing environmental urgency. She finds in Edward Said’s notion of a text’s ‘worldiness’ the kind of salutary larger perspective that establishes an imperative of
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care on the part of the reader: ‘The closeness of the world’s body to the text’s body forces readers to take both into consideration’.46 This relationship of care, here expressed as a question of closeness or distance, is a complex matter, however. In an interview at an even earlier moment in the development of his thinking, Said pits the local against the universal and finds favour in the local: ‘In the implied contrast between the local and the universal, I think the local is more interesting than the universal. It depends where you look from. If you look at it from the point of view of the colonized world, as Fanon says, the universal is always achieved at the expense of the native’.47 The uncritical association of Shakespeare with a (partisan) idea of the ‘universal’, now repudiated, makes it all the more urgent a task for Shakespeare studies to think carefully about the politics of these relations of scale. Global Shakespeare, as a field, is particularly well placed to generate cultural theory from within its wide ambit, given the long memory it harbours of partisan Shakespeare practice, and given the invitation it extends now to look afresh at the impact of noncanonical forms of cultural practice. Huang, in ‘Global Shakespeares as Methodology’, usefully suggests, too, that ‘global Shakespeares as a field can bring our attention to what is not there (yet): silenced or redacted stories, missing links in the archive, sensitive or subversive texts that are removed from sight’.48 Huang’s vision, as articulated here, of the way Global Shakespeares might function ‘as methodology’ foregrounds the problem of archival silence – that is to say, its potential role in identifying gaps in mainstream cultural studies: ‘There are plenty of countries and regions where Shakespeare does not figure prominently. This is archival silence’.49 The exclusions and silences that go unnoticed within mainstream culture, to which Global Shakespeare potentially alerts us, go well beyond Huang’s identification of Shakespeare’s uneven prominence across the world, however. The Comaroffs’ invitation to theorize from the South is spurred by the conviction not only that the experiences and
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insights generated from the ‘undersides’ of mainstream global culture might complete an incomplete picture. They also imagine that the political underbelly of the world could generate the theory from which the North, too, might take its bearing. It is a more radical vision than the model that acknowledges historical gaps and the inevitable bias derived from a skewed picture. But if it is not just about filling gaps, what is involved in the radical vision ‘from the undersides’ of the world and what might this mean for the world of Shakespeare in the twenty-first century? The chapters that follow are in part an attempt to take seriously the insights offered by contemporary Shakespeare practice and to test the vocabulary by which Shakespeare studies might attend to this radical vision.
Shakespeare in the South In a world that is still shaped by the impact of colonial dispossession and the cultural legacy that has made Shakespeare the most widely disseminated English cultural commodity, a more ‘global’ Shakespeare can make visible the struggles of local contexts of dispossession and injustice in a postcolonial world. There is a complex set of historical reasons for Shakespeare’s footing in the varied recipients of Andrews’s letters all those years ago, in countries as diverse as India, Norway, the West Indies, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand and Argentina, as well as in other parts of the world to whom Andrews did not address himself, countries such as Cape Verde, Sierra Leone and Cuba, where today theatre practitioners, educators and political leaders have laid claim to Shakespeare’s work, albeit in a transformed idiom. Shakespeare’s position within the global South is not a simple or predictable matter, given the complex and varied histories of colonization and globalization and the affinities that have been probed in more recent reimaginings of his work. The transformations Shakespeare’s plays have undergone offer
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compelling insights into the politics of global inequality and the cultural forms that accompany them. They expose the inadequate vocabulary of cultural theories when the idea of ‘indigenization’ overlays onto modern Kashmir or scholarship on African cultural forms assumes an inimical divide between ‘modernity’ and ‘tradition’, or when the language of ‘diaspora’ assumes a sense of dislocation that may not be true for a new generation of South Asian Londoners. The insights generated from the adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays within contexts well beyond Shakespeare’s own imagining, over four centuries later, create space not only for the telling of new stories but also for new theoretical insights into the cultural politics of a globalized twenty-first century. This book is an opportunity to explore various contexts within which Shakespearean drama has been taken up across the global South and to reflect on the implications of the critical language it has inspired. Contemporary adaptations in the global South demonstrate both the value and the limitation of the discourses of contemporary cultural studies. In the chapters that follow I reflect on the ways in which contemporary adaptations put pressure on some of the terminology invoked in Global Shakespeare studies, for example, when cultural representations of contemporary Kashmir are conceptualized as ‘indigenization’, or when contemporary adaptations call into question the degree to which ideas of ‘home’ and displacement are true for a new generation of South Asian Londoners immersed in a complex urban landscape. The framework of the global South offers an opportunity to recognize afresh the ‘transcolonial’ solidarities at work in a Mauritian adaptation of The Tempest and of Shakespeare’s relationship to creole cultural politics,50 as well as the impact of contemporary struggles and dispossessions at work in an adaptation of Hamlet in India-administered Kashmir that is at once ‘traditional’ and painfully current. It helps to frame the questions one might ask when reflecting on the work ‘Africa’ is called upon to do in productions that self-consciously locate themselves within an African imaginary, or the inquiry into the
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capacity of a diasporic rendering of Shakespeare to alert us to the struggle of the migrant. In the chapters that follow I seek to demonstrate that the questions emerging from theatre-making in the global South have a significant bearing on cultural studies more broadly and that, by taking seriously the framework of the global South, the field of Shakespeare studies has an opportunity to deepen its insights into the operations of race, power and privilege as it continues to probe Shakespeare’s imbrication within the culturally complex and politically unstable worlds of the twenty-first century.
The reimagining of The Tempest in the Indian Ocean world of Mauritius offers an intriguing example of the possibilities generated by creole forms. Working in sympathy with Shakespeare’s play, Dev Virahsawmy’s Toufann explores the anticolonial and liberatory sentiments within The Tempest, while transforming it utterly in what Roshni Mooneeram calls ‘an irreverent and parodic rewriting’.1 In Françoise Lionnet’s reading, this sympathetic rendering of The Tempest is the result of Virahsawmy’s sense of affinity, across time and place, between the worlds of post-independence Mauritius and Shakespeare’s play. In the new work, the anticolonial elements of the Elizabethan text are teased out and reimagined in an act of what Lionnet calls ‘a “transcolonial” form of solidarity’.2 This capacity for creative and political empathy across oceans of difference enables the translocation of Shakespeare into a contemporary Africa without reinscribing Africa uncritically into a colonial imaginary. This Indian Ocean context offers a glimpse into a Shakespearean world that has a different relation to the constraining legacy of an English colonial inheritance. The adaptation of Shakespeare in the multilingual context of Mauritius, which is somewhat freer from the dominance of colonial Englishness than contexts like Kenya, South Africa and India, puts Shakespeare at liberty, freed from an association with colonialism’s social hierarchies, on the one hand, and
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with normative, northern perspectives on ‘modernity’, on the other. For Lionnet, Toufann establishes a form of ‘anti-colonial solidarity with the subversive’ elements of Shakespeare’s play. Furthermore, it contributes to the long-standing solidarity between ‘African writers and public intellectuals living in countries where politics, culture, and the public sphere are contested sites of power between bourgeois elites and the ordinary people’.3 Toufann offers a resonant example of the way theatre-makers working in the aftermath of political struggle have found affinity enough within Shakespeare’s plays to explore the tensions within their own context and realign the early plays with the decolonial imperatives of a new moment. Contemporary playwrights have thus found surprising solidarities in plays created with great imagination at an earlier moment of reckoning with the uncertainties of a changing and unequal society, at a time when early modern England was increasingly investing in the project of colonization. Writing some four centuries later, in contexts where freedom is a matter of struggle and negotiation, in the economic and social aftermath of centuries of slavery and indentured servitude, Virahsawmy’s creole renderings offer us insights into both the lingering impact of slavery’s legacy and also the generative, anarchic potential of a creole sensibility to entirely ‘rewrite the script’ of an entrenched and racialized social hierarchy. Virahsawmy’s creole poetics help to manifest the decolonial imperatives of the global South. Virahsawmy’s play demonstrates the value for public culture when contemporary theatre-makers in the global South are free to engage Shakespeare’s work while taking the liberties that reflect the complex aesthetics and layered histories of diasporic experience. Shakespeare’s work, reimagined in this way, is invited to tell a new story, of slavery’s dark undertow as well as the renewal and creativity associated with creole sensibilities. This chapter’s focus on creolization in Mauritius offers an opportunity to reflect on the adaptation of Shakespeare’s The
Tempest in the Indian Ocean island world and to consider its capacity to bring into view slavery’s legacy of dispossession, injustice and survival, renewing and transforming Shakespeare in the process. Rohini Bannerjee explains that the acceptance of the suffering of migrating Indians is vital to the mosaic construction of Mauritian identity and is in fact the basis of Khal Thorabully’s coined concept of ‘la coolitude’. Thorabully, an accomplished Mauritian poet, underlines that la coolitude is the Indian alter ego of Confiant’s la créolité: la coolitude is to l’indianité what la créolité is to la négritude.4 Khal Torabully’s ‘coolitude’ movement both references and distinguishes itself from its precursors (negritude, créolité and l’indianité) within the Caribbean and Indian Ocean worlds. The creole aesthetics that inform Virahsawmy’s work are firmly linked to this political history. When theatre-makers involve Shakespeare in their creole poetics, therefore, the effects surpass the pleasing cadences of the language and the rich texture of the creole everyday. The new works participate in making visible the operations of race and racism across the globe. There is a great deal at stake in creole reimaginings of Shakespeare’s works, more so than the language of adaptation or even appropriation would suggest.5 When marked by the surprising cadences and idioms of a creolized grammar, Shakespeare’s work becomes dislodged from what has at times been its woeful historical position, embedded within the forbidding literary canon propagated by a succession of British colonial regimes. Revised and invigorated for a new time and place, an Indian Ocean and Caribbean Tempest offers Shakespeare an opportunity to establish relations of affinity and resistance, and to become visible within the decolonial cultural and political movements in the second half of the twentieth century, across Africa and the Caribbean.
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Before turning to an example of contemporary theatre practice and the ‘creolization’ of The Tempest, therefore, I consider the implications of creolization for cultural theory and its attention to the problem of race. The ramifications of creolization extend well beyond questions of language use and cultural aesthetics, given its reflection of the inequalities and colonialist logics that have persisted long after the abolition of slavery.6 For example, Françoise Lionnet points to the ways in which a linguistic creolization produces a model for the complex processes of cultural creole, and its effects on the politics of identification: Because linguistic innovations tend to undermine the separation between standard language and vernacular speech, this highly creative process of cultural creolization also forms part of the basis for a praxis of self-invention through and in language that is the virtual project of many writers who are the products of colonial encounters and whose works experiment with the emancipatory potential of language.7 It is this ‘emancipatory potential’ that warrants probing. Recently Mauritian cultural scholars have called into question the ways in which creole and its associated cultural and political movements have functioned in the complex postcolonial worlds of the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean. Brinda Mehta insists that it is necessary to ‘distinguish between the Créolité movement’ on the one hand, with its affirmation of the creole language and identity, and, on the other, creolization ‘as a process of open-ended textuality and rhizomatic possibility’, as per Édouard Glissant’s conceptualization of the ‘repeating process of endless cultural exchange and transformation’, which treats identity as fluid and always in process.8 But even as she affirms Glissant’s model of identity as becoming, Mehta notes its inattention to what is less visible: ‘Creolization itself betrays its limits through partial engagements with subaltern identities such as Francophone Indo-Caribbean’.9 It is this concern – the
capacity of creolization to make visible, or not, the struggles and creative contestations of the most vulnerable of postslavery societies – that especially propels this inquiry into the creolization of Shakespeare.
Creole aesthetics and the challenge to cultural theory A creole aesthetic can therefore be understood to go further than simply celebrating the rich texture of a multiply inflected existence. With its sense of uncontained regeneration and fluid affiliation, creolization resists and even disavows the hierarchies of difference associated with fixed ethnicities. A creole sensibility brings into view what is irreducibly multiple and dislocated in ways that resonate for decolonial cultural studies. As conceptualized by Glissant, creolization is not simply about the mixing of stable identities, in the mode of ‘métissage’, where identity is anchored in a traceable lineage, following the logic of colonial discourse, however complex and ‘mixed’ the identity category. Rather, the condition of being creole for Glissant is the ‘always becoming’ of something new and singular, within a complex web of ever-expanding connections. As Glissant explains, ‘Creolization is not a synthesis …. Creolization is not the simple mechanics of a crude mixture of distinct things, but it goes much further – what it creates is new, unheard-of, and unexpected’.10 The verb (‘to creolize’) that is embedded within Glissant’s noun (‘creolization’) allows us to recognize identity as process – a matter of becoming – as opposed to the more inert construction that conceives of the phenomenon of being ‘creole’ (‘creoleness’) as a matter of concrete, recognizable and fixed essence.11 As Mehta articulates it, ‘Creoleness has inadvertently undermined the cross-cultural poetics of relation formulated by Glissant by compromising the creation of a truly transcultural imaginary
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extending across and beyond diaspora’.12 The key distinction Mehta is referring to here is the concept noun, creoleness, and Glissant’s conceptualization of creolization, which disavows the sense of lineage that has structured creoleness. Lorna Burns explains the significance of this conceptualization in this way: ‘Rejecting filiation, creolization is, in Glissant’s words, that which allows us to see that “the mingling of experiences is at work, … producing the process of being”’.13 Creolization, for Zimitri Erasmus, is ‘a living analytical concept, a theory “on the go”, a theory in motion’: ‘Creolisation is an alternative to this politics of cultivating purity … and of working towards end-states. As a critical praxis, it is an art-of-emergence for reconfiguring subjectivities and ways of coming to know that are not locked into the heredity-degeneration-purity classification conceptual loop’.14 This is not a conceptualization of identity that can be neatly mapped onto a racialized body, and it has important implications for cultural politics beyond creolization: understood in this way, creolization breaks down racialized social hierarchies by disavowing any claim to exclusive, stable identities through lines of descent. It confronts us with the ineluctably unstable and contingent condition of all identificatory processes. Glissant disavows lineage as a mode of establishing identity, in any society, particularly where exclusionary ‘founding myths’ form the basis of identification, and where ‘the notion of identity grows up around the axis of filiation and legitimacy, which gives no room to the Other as a participant’.15 A creole poetics of filiation, as opposed to exclusivity, therefore, bears relevance for public culture in the aftermath of slavery. For Glissant, the creole experience is intimately bound up with the experience of slavery, and indeed his central exposition of the contours of creolization, Poetics of Relation, begins with a description of the slave ship. As Burns explains, for Glissant ‘the historical experience of slavery is understood as both a violence and a potentiality for creativity’.16 Any cultural movement that takes its lead from a creole sensibility
will necessarily confront the disorientations of slave experience. At root, creolization is born of slavery’s legacy of traumatic dislocation and disorientation in the new world and the emerging sense of survival. John Drabinski explains Glissant’s ideas of the culture of the ‘Plantation’ and the multiplicity it spawns: the ‘traumatic memory of the Plantation is just that new temporality: tangled, mixed, often violent, yet always, in becoming a culture, generative of complex forms of expression and life’.17 Elements of this history and the survival of those subjected to its violence can be traced in creole cultural forms, in their disavowal of the positivist impulse of some strands of cultural politics. In its repudiation of stable identity politics, creolization offers to contemporary cultural studies a model for conceptualizing the cultural resonances of race and ethnicity as unstable and shifting, while being unflinchingly attuned to the ravages of historical injustice that result from imperialism’s racialized denigrations and the brutal dispossessions of slavery. Glissant draws on the rhizomatic theory of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, which presents embodied existence as always already a matter of interwoven complexity and shifting multiplicity and only ever a matter of becoming.18 This is quite unlike the conceptualization of embodied identity as stable essence, rooted in an identifiable ‘source’, albeit composed of multiple strands. By contrast, the metaphor of the rhizome upon which Deleuze and Guattari base their thinking allows us to imagine the nature of things as fundamentally nonhierarchical, interconnected and multifarious. The rhizome model manages to ‘avoid the dialectic of the one and the many’, as Brent Adkins explains,19 and resists the impulse to treat even multiplicities as totalities, imagined as singular despite the interest in plurality, so that ‘the many are just parts of a greater whole’ which ‘ensures that nothing new is created, but that any multiple is only a reflection of the one’.20 The rhizome, by contrast, is boundless and always in a state of flux, which explains its usefulness as a metaphor for a critical
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cultural politics concerned with dislodging racist constructions of value: as Jonathan Gil Harris describes it, ‘Deleuze and Guattari use the rhizome primarily to critique hierarchy and identity: unlike arborescent models of development such as the family tree, rooted in a single origin, the rhizome’s connections are multiple rather than singular, horizontal rather than vertical’.21 Furthermore, the rhizome ‘is in a constant state of becoming’; it ‘deterritorializes and reterritorializes, changing its form and its limits’ constantly.22 The multiplicity it exhibits is always already in evidence; there is no ‘pure’ essence that exists prior to connection. Inspired by the rhizomatic model, Glissant’s concep tualization of creolization is thus fundamentally distinct from the conception of identity that has informed some key elements of postcolonial thought. For example, Homi Bhabha’s conceptualization of hybridity depends on a metaphor drawn from biology and genetics, which unwittingly locks it into the inimical logic of race-based thought, however productive its articulation of the ambivalence that lies at the heart of coloniality might be. By comparison, the model of the rhizome offers a more generative way to conceptualize social meanings. It dissolves the binaries that privilege those who can lay claim to a legacy of belonging, legible on the body, versus those whose identity is structured as lack or exclusion. In what Glissant calls ‘composite societies brought together by creolization’, it is all the more possible to conceive of an inclusive and relational politics of identification.23 In fact, the rhizomatic model also helps us to recognize the necessarily fluid and ‘creolized’ nature of social identification, whatever the setting; for Glissant it is becoming possible to see ‘the whole world’ as composite, in the mode of demonstrably ‘creole’ societies: Glissant’s ‘proposition is that today the whole world is becoming an archipelago and becoming creolized’.24 The fluidity that marks creole experience and the thinking it has inspired have transformative implications for cultural politics, whether the condition of creoleness is considered a matter of dislocation and uncertainty or a matter of boundless
possibility and connection. The creative work that explores creole experience in the island world of Mauritius invites us to think of identity as contingent, always becoming, always free to be imagined otherwise. In celebrating creole sensibilities, Mauritian theatre-makers imagine a way of being that is rooted in solidarity and connection. I therefore turn to Mauritius, now, and the emergence of coolitude and creole activism, before considering the example Virahsawmy offers us, in Toufann, of a ‘creolized’ Shakespearean imaginary that ventures beyond the essentialisms upon which even contestatory cultural politics all too often depend.
Creole as a new language for the postcolony The history of settlement in Mauritius, with its complex linguistic heritage, provides a unique political and historical context to Virahsawmy’s activism on behalf of Mauritian Creole. Shakespeare has become an unlikely accomplice in this movement, but it is the effect of rendering Shakespeare in Creole that establishes the traversal from elitism to inclusivity, and from complacency to political disruption, that is key for Virahsawmy’s activism: ‘Moving Shakespeare from English to Creole is moving an audience from a comfy elite minority to a popular majority’, Martin Banham has argued.25 Virahsawmy’s work has been inspired, in part, by the coolitude movement, which has helped to shape the discomfiting and invigorating politics of creole in Mauritius. Coolitude ‘theorizes the place of the [so-called] coolies and their descendants within a diverse Mauritian society’, as Binita Mehta contends.26 It brings into view the more complex stratifications within Indian society and the suffering of indentured labourers, with their journey across the ‘Kala Pani’, the black sea of Indian mythology which has frequently been used to refer to the terrifying oceanic crossing, for example in the work of Mauritian writer Ananda
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Devi.27 Key proponent of coolitude Khal Torabully distinguishes coolitude from the Caribbean movement, créolité, marking the particular history of Mauritian creolization while also linking it to a wider context of diaspora.28 However, ‘coolitude’ has been criticized more recently for its celebratory tone and incapacity to acknowledge the ongoing marginalization of the descendants of African slaves in Mauritius, the group most closely associated with creole linguistic and cultural expressions: In twenty-first-century Mauritian society, ‘Creoles’ are an economically and socially marginalised group. An increasing awareness of this socio- political exclusion in the rainbow nation of Mauritius has led scholars to explore issues of history, memory and ethnic identity in relation to the island’s Creole population, and has produced some wideranging responses. William Miles’s call for the ‘cultural Africanisation of Mauritius’, for example, opposes Khal Torabully’s more celebratory reading of cultural hybridity in his poems on ‘coolitude’.29 Even in its endeavour to make visible and revise the position of the marginalized, thus, coolitude is not uncontested. It does enable a fundamental shift in perspective, however, privileging the ‘ex-centric’, side-on viewpoint through which the ravages of colonial modernity might be plainly seen.30 As a cultural and political movement, coolitude emerges out of the context of the Indian Ocean world and the particular history of Mauritius, which occupies a key position along the Indian Ocean spice trade route. It was inhabited by a succession of European traders – the Portuguese and then the Dutch and finally the French, who created permanent settlements from 1715 and ‘a plantation economy reliant on the introduction of slaves mainly from various parts of Africa and Madagascar’.31 Mauritian Creole is intimately connected to the history and aftermath of slavery in Mauritius; it carries that legacy in its rhythms and richly textured cadences. The
treatment of creole languages within linguistics, historically, also reflects something of the denigration to which slave peoples were subjected, as the historical linguist Michel DeGraff has demonstrated through his critique of the idea of ‘creole exceptionalism’, which he explains as ‘the postulation of exceptional and abnormal characteristics in the diachrony and/or synchrony of Creole languages as a class’.32 The logic of creole exceptionalism mirrors the racist logic behind slavery, as Mooneram explains: ‘Since slavery could only be justified by denying to Africans the status of full human beings, the languages they spoke could, by no means, be described as fullfledged human languages.’33 Virahsawmy’s project of affirming – and standardizing – Mauritian Creole (or Kreol Morisien, as it is known in Mauritius) in a bid to establish a national linguistic identity that is independent of a complex history of colonial dominance necessarily engages both the ravages of colonialism and the sense of renewal in an era of post-independence. Mauritian Creole brings with it a sense of stigma as well as a sense of liberation, potentially, and not only in Mauritius. As Jonathan Hope explains, the stigma surrounding creole languages is ‘the result of prevalent nineteenth-century views on creoles which were shaped by the same racism that characterized slavery’.34 The rejection of creole forms as ‘pidgin’ and as lacking the necessary depth and complexity to carry the weight of literary ambition repeats colonialism’s disavowals, paradoxically, right at the point of anticolonial contestation, as Roshni Mooneeram has argued. She points to Aimé Césaire’s rejection of creole linguistic forms in favour of the French in which he writes. In an interview with Jacqueline Leiner in 1978, Césaire wonders whether it is even ‘conceivable’ to write in Creole, arguing that ‘Creole has remained … in a stage of immediacy, unable to express abstract ideas’.35 Virahsawmy’s championing of Mauritian Creole marks a clear departure from this approach. He views the language as central to Mauritian life, so much so that he insists it would be more correct simply to refer to it as ‘Mauritian’, dropping
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the ‘Creole’ as superfluous linguistic categorization of the most commonly spoken language in Mauritius. Its significance derives from its historical legacy, too: for Virahsawmy, Mauritian Creole carries the traces of the complex flows of people over the past four centuries. In this way, Virahsawmy disavows the implicit linguistic denigration of ‘creole exceptionalism’ – what linguists have tended to think of as the ‘structural deficiencies that severely limit their expressive adequacy’.36 Instead he claims the language, as it has evolved, for all of Mauritius, placing the contribution of the historically enslaved communities in Mauritius at the centre of a new post-independence state. For Virahsawmy, Mauritian Creole is ‘the language of cohesion’.37 In formulating this argument, he is referring specifically to the Creole spoken in Mauritius and not creole linguistic forms more generally; in acknowledgement of this specificity, therefore I will refer to Mauritian Creole as Kreol for the remainder of this discussion, following the practice adopted by Mauritian scholar, Shawkat Toorawa.38 Virahsawmy’s linguistic project of establishing full recogni tion of Kreol thus emerges out of a political commitment to a liberated, independent Mauritius. He was a founding member of the Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM) and their first member of parliament after winning a by-election in 1970, soon after independence in 1968. However, he was held as a political prisoner for almost a year in 1972, and it was during this time that he wrote his first collection of poetry. His commitment to creating a literary heritage that is both quintessentially Mauritian and engaged with a wider world emerges out of his politics; this is why Mooneeram calls him a ‘language activist’.39 Shakespeare has become an unlikely accomplice in Virahsawmy’s activism. Virahsawmy has produced a substantial body of rewritings of classical texts from the Western canon, and beyond – many of them works of Shakespeare, including the sonnets and plays such as Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, King Lear and Macbeth, along with translations
into Kreol of Molière, Brecht and Victor Hugo, as well as The Mahabharat – as part of his commitment to a radical sharing across lines of difference, drawing on what he calls ‘the logic of cultural creolization’.40 He has spoken of the particular affinity he has felt with Shakespeare, and his work bears this out, both in the sheer quantity of Shakespearean texts he has sought to translate and in the playful, often sympathetic transformations he creates. Literary critic Shawkat M. Toorawa affirms the particular significance of ‘Virahsawmy’s project in “translating” Shakespeare in Mauritius, and into “Mauritian”’, as he puts it, as an affirmation of transformative cultural and political inclusivity.41 Virahsawmy’s commitment to Kreol, linguistically, is intertwined with a vision of ‘introducing to Mauritians the importance of notions of inclusion, as opposed to exclusion, of cultural creolisation (métissage), as opposed to (supposed) ethnic purity, of the empowerment of women, as opposed to their oppression’.42 Virahsawmy’s objective, as Toorawa explains it, is to ‘redeploy, exploit (in the good sense) and wield Shakespeare in order to elevate Kreol – the language in which all his plays are written – to the status of a world language’.43 But Virahsawmy’s account of his sense of purpose avoids utilitarian and appropriative language. Rather, the relationship between Shakespeare’s texts and the Kreol reimagining is mutually generative: the Kreol is as important to the new work as the material with which he began. As he explains in The Cambridge Guide to African and Caribbean Theatre, Mauritian playwrights have found Kreol to be ‘the most effective language for dramatic experiment’.44 The disavowal of hierarchy is legible in what emerges: in his engagement with the original play, Virahsawmy does not produce a ‘parody or an allegory’ that repudiates the Shakespearean text, nor does he seek to elevate it.45 Rather, he ‘reworks text and context in such a way as to champion Kalibann’ and begins to imagine a new set of possibilities for postcolonial existence.46
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Toufann and the visibility of slave experience Newly translated into English, Toufann was performed in London at the Africa Centre in 1999, by the Mauritian theatre group Border Crossings Productions. Producers Nisha and Michael Walling were also responsible for the translation; here, too, the creative work of translation and performance is intertwined. The English script carries something of the flavour of the Kreol, although it has been important to return to Virahsawmy’s Kreol script to recognize the disruptive elements and the affinity that Virahsawmy finds within the play he engages. As Martin Banham has affirmed, ‘Virahsawmy also saw in Shakespeare a political playwright whose ideas are dynamic when dealing with the morality of power, the destructive forces of autocracy, the corruption of kings, the blight of civil war, the foolishness of petty tyrants and the vanity of man’.47 In this creative repurposing of Shakespeare, it is the adoption of Kreol that makes it possible for the politics of his plays to address themselves to the contemporary. The idiomatic texture of the Kreol version makes visible the texture of everyday life in the island world of Mauritius in a way that even the English translation of this adaptation flattens out. The boat into which Prospero and his daughter are set loose is a tiny local fisherman’s boat called a lakok pistas,48 which in the English translation appears blandly as ‘a boat’.49 When the description suggests their vulnerability on the water in the face of the cyclone, it registers syntactically as a metaphor: ‘in nothing but a nutshell of a boat’.50 The Kreol, by contrast, recalls the precarity of the life of a fisherman on the waters in the face of an Indian Ocean storm by using the local term for a fisherman’s pirogue: ‘dan enn siklonn dan enn lakok pistas’.51 The Kreol idiom used to describe Prospero’s prisoners as ‘fish out of water’ in the English translation52 refers to a local shrimp (‘sevret’) associated with madness or bewilderment.53 Earlier Prospero describes them as ‘still infected with evil’;54 in the
Kreol version we are invited to picture their evil still dancing in their head: ‘Zot move ankor pe fer bal dan zot latet’.55 In another expression that is not included in the English version, a sailor warns in the face of the storm that ‘not every day is a monkey festival’56 – ‘Pa toulezour fet zako’ – and that ‘you pay for your sins on earth’.57 Even the ubiquitous exclamation ‘Oh my god!’58 in English carries the trace of a more complex inheritance in the Kreol ‘Baprebab!’, a Bhojpuri expression within Kreol, derived from Hindi. The language of the play, both in its Kreol version and to a certain extent in English, is scattered with details from everyday life in Mauritius. At the same time, it undermines any sense that contemporary Mauritian existence is located within an unchanging natural world, uncontaminated by global youth culture. Admittedly, some images are drawn from an attachment to the natural world and hint at Kreol culture: Prospero declares his intention to ‘nibble pistachios’;59 in his elation at the abundance of food, the inebriated Dammarro exclaims that they ‘fall down like ripe fruit from the tree’;60 he and Kaspalto sing traditional Kreol songs, or sega, by the segatier Alphonse Ravaton, better known as Ti Frère, which mock – and celebrate – the impulse to drink banana wine to excess (‘Charli O, Charli O. Aret bwar, aret bwar diven banann. Dan diven banan ena bebet sizo’).61 This translates as ‘Charlie, oh, Charlie, oh. Stop drinking banana wine. In banana wine, you will find scissor bugs’.62 The next song is also a paean to alcohol: ‘Ti mimi lav sa ver la. Lav sa ver la. Met zafer la, koko’ (in the Kreol),63 meaning ‘Little kitty, wash this cup. Wash this cup. Put the stuff in it, sweetheart’ (or, literally, ‘coconut’). This markedly Mauritian cultural lexicon, however, is significant in ways that extend beyond the pleasure derived from local texture. The social anthropologist Caroline Déodat describes the impact of the sega as a cultural form initially practised by slaves and then post-abolition by the descendants of slaves; it is a form that evokes the quarrels and struggles of everyday life in Mauritius and the subtly controlled modes of sociality.64 Although the sega is traditionally associated with the
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economically disenfranchised descendants of slaves, analyses of performances of the sega, Déodat argues, present a more complex picture: they ‘undermine the essentialist categories inherited from imperialism and colonialism’ and ‘introduce a relationship with Indianness’, disavowing ‘a fixed notion of Mauritian creoleness’.65 The invocation of the sega in Toufann would seem to affirm Déodat’s argument. Admittedly, for the English translators the songs are significant primarily for the ‘folk’ elements they bring into view; their literal meanings are not worth clarifying. In a footnote the translators explain their decision to leave the songs untranslated on the basis of ‘their folk quality’ and ‘the quality of linguistic confusion’ that the scene elicits.66 However, the ‘confusion’ would seem to be caused not so much by a quality inherent to the quarrelsome sega, but by the play’s refusal of a coherent cultural field. Immediately after the segas, the characters break into a song associated with a very different popular tradition: the song that structures the fantasy is not the ‘folk’ songs but the Beatles’ 1960s hit, ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. In loud exclamations, the characters celebrate a politics shaped by modern-day drug use (‘Up the Republic of Ecstacy!’),67 lampooning as they do so the earnest affiliations of contemporary political movements that depend on ethnic or nationalist identifications. This is evident in a comment by King Lir earlier in this scene, in which he criticizes the ‘politicking’ of typical career politicians. In the English version the critique remains hypothetical, but the Kreol includes an oblique reference to ‘proteksion montagu’, echoing a celebrated political speech from 1983 in which, as the translators explain, ‘Harish Boodhoo likened the various ethnic groups in Mauritius to monkeys defending their mountains from one another’.68 In calling for a greater degree of socialist communalism, particularly among the marginalized rural communities during a period of realignment in Mauritian politics, Boodhoo berated Mauritians for privileging ethnicity over class interests, saying it is as if ‘each monkey has to protect his mountain’ (or, ‘Sak zako bizin protez so montayn’).69 In hinting at this
critique of mindless ethnic chauvinism, Virahsawmy’s creative innovations are thus aligned with the political movement that rejects the structuring logic of ethnicity over a more radical politics that seeks social justice. The mode of creolization structuring this work is not one that locates the every day of Mauritian life in a timeless folk traditionalism. Nor is it structured by defined ethnic or linguistic identifications. Rather, the cultural mélange we witness here acknowledges the global circulation of eclectic forms of contemporary culture and the irreverent mixing of cultural elements, ‘folk’ and contemporary, local and putatively ‘elsewhere’. Shakespeare’s work, too, is made subject to the multiple identifications of modern existence in worlds made more complex by globalization and mixed colonial inheritances. The play marks both its connection to Shakespeare’s play and also its distance in its title, Toufann, which the translators explain in a footnote has its roots in a Hindi word meaning hurricane or ‘cyclone’: ‘It entered Mauritian Creole through the language of Bhojpuri, which is spoken by many Mauritian people of Bihari descent’.70 In an interview, the English translator Michael Walling explains the need, therefore, for the subtitle marking it as an explicitly Mauritian, rather than Hindi play: ‘The word “toufann” – a lot of people would think it was Hindi (it is originally) and might think it was an Asian play. So it was helpful to call it a Mauritian fantasy’.71 What we might notice, however, in the power of the untranslated word in the title and the play itself is that it carries an otherworldly charge. It signals not only the distinction that sets it apart from a tempest as imagined from Stratford, but also the weather systems of the Indian Ocean world which we are invited to imagine as mystical and powerful, carrying a life force of their own. The word carries within itself the story of oceans crossed: its Hindi origins are delivered to Kreol through Bhojpuri, one of the languages spoken in the North Indian province of Bihar and in the diaspora.
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For Prospero, the force of the cyclone’s rage is a veritable being. When Ferdjinan reports that their ship ‘hit the cyclone’, Prospero interrupts him with the single-word exclamation ‘Toufann!’ and rejects ‘cyclone’ as a synonym, repeating the word capitalized in a gesture of personification: ‘Not cyclone, Toufann’.72 Throughout the play he speaks of the disruptive force of the storm as ‘Toufann’, rendered a proper noun and without the distancing effect of an introductory article to mark it as a denotative object in language. Elsewhere he refers to the capitalized ‘Toufann’ with the possessive pronoun (‘my Toufann’), as one might signal attachment and dominance. This sense of ‘toufann’ as the spirit of an unruly child is at the heart of its usage in Mauritius, as Toorawa explains: ‘The word Toufann does not appear in any Kreol lexicons, although it is commonly used metaphorically to describe a tumultuous situation or rambunctious child’.73 This is borne out by Prospero, who establishes Toufann as a force of revenge and infuses it with the volatility of the psychic wound: ‘They made use of a storm for my torture. Today I have made Toufann as the instrument of my revenge’.74 In a suggestive afterthought, he renders Toufann a figure of transgressive desire: ‘My hot sauce. My rare pickle’.75 So while other characters at various moments speak in a more measured fashion of ‘a cyclone’,76 that is, by using the Kreol word ‘siklonn’,77 Prospero insists on the proper noun ‘Toufann’, imbuing the elements and, by implication, himself with mystical power: as Kordelia explains, Prospero ‘can start a cyclone – this thing he calls Toufann’.78 In his ability to harness Toufann, Prospero himself is the source of the wild events on the island, which is rendered magical: the island is full of ‘mirages, shimmering in the desert’.79 But it is also true to say that he, himself, is in awe of its power. This sense is especially evident in the Kreol version of the play, whereas the English translation softens it somewhat: when Prospero proclaims his might by declaring that ‘I am the one who controls Toufann, I control the tempest, I am the one who decides, I am the one who controls everything’,80 the second, qualifying clause which
recasts ‘Toufann’ as ‘the tempest’ is an addition to the Kreol version, which reads simply ‘Zordi moi ki control Toufann, mwa ki deside, mwa ki kontrol tou’.81 For Poloniouss, who in this play is a Gonzalo figure and trusted advisor to the shipwrecked king, King Lir, there is a clear link between nature’s unfathomable powers and the imperative to forge an ethically attuned life: ‘Nature is in a rage and whipping all our consciences’.82 A more sympathetic figure than his namesake, Polonius, the bumbling civil servant in Hamlet, Virahsawmy’s Poloniouss explains the burden he carries, in this way: ‘It takes time to change a way of thinking. I thought the experience we are going through might force people to look at themselves and search for a new way to live. I was wrong’.83
Kalibann’s vision of a just future One of Virahsawmy’s key strategies for forging a new ethics for a postcolony that is not structured by brutal social hierarchies is in the future he invites us to imagine for Kalibann. Like Shakespeare’s Caliban, Virahsawmy’s Kalibann is the figure who most clearly carries the history of slavery in his body and in the position of servitude he occupies, and yet this play imagines his speech as reasoned and all too respectable, establishing as it does so his suitability for a life of partnership in love and in political leadership. It is Prospero whose embittered relationship to power and disempowerment appears perverse. Prospero explains his jaundiced version of their intertwined history to his daughter (who in this play is named Kordelia, invoking the intimacy and independence of Lear’s youngest daughter). On this ‘small inhabited island, very close to hell’, Prospero tells her, there was ‘a hut, where Bangoya was living with her half-bred batar’84 or, ‘Bangoya ek so batar ti pe viv’.85 In Kreol, the word batar can be used pejoratively to refer to a person born to unmarried parents and ‘a “person of mixed race”’; as the English translators note, ‘both usages are applied
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to Kalibann throughout the play’,86 although in fact to do so the playwright draws on a wider lexicon: the word batar only ever appears during the above exchange, the first account of Kalibann’s parentage. This is followed by an explanation that evokes both senses of the word, which is left untranslated. In effect, this allows both senses to linger simultaneously, literally unhomed in the English version. To suggest this racial complexity, the playwright draws on a wider lexicon: elsewhere Kalibann is referred to as a ‘metis’ (in the original),87 for example in the stage directions where the word is translated as ‘of mixed race’,88 and in Aryel’s account to Poloniouss where it is translated as ‘a mulatto’.89 The shadow cast by Bangoya’s experience of rape, enslavement and abandonment by her pirate owner registers in the vocabulary with which Kalibann himself is presented. Prospero’s language is marked by its offensiveness, the worst of which does not bear repeating, except to note his attempt to offer genetics as an explanatory framework for what the audience has already recognized as the power struggle on the island: ‘That Kalibann has a very disturbing genetic make-up.’90 However, this comment is not left unchallenged. Throughout, the audience is offered alternative perspectives, through Kalibann’s own observations and in the responses of other characters. It is Aryel who undoes the spurious association between Kalibann and cannibalism: ‘Kalibann is the name of a person’, he corrects Poloniouss. ‘His father was a white pirate, and his mother a black slave. He’s mulatto …. You don’t have to feel sorry for him. He knows what he wants.’91 The play allows us to see Kalibann begin to fulfil that vision. This involves gaining his freedom, but Kalibann requests it rather than claims it. After self-identifying as lovers, Kalibann and the pregnant Kordelia confront Prospero with an image of his own abuse of power: ‘A victim can turn into an aggressor …. You got blinded by your own power, and stopped being able to tell the difference between justice and revenge.’92 It is then that Kalibann reminds Prospero: ‘You promised me my freedom. Since then I’ve come to understand exactly what that means.
Can I ask you to keep your word?’, to which a bewildered Prospero answers, ‘Yes, yes’.93 The elderly patriarch King Lir proposes to Prospero that ‘we can make Kalibann King’ – for ‘this is the way to solve our problem’.94 Thus, Kalibann offers not so much an image of a postrevolutionary future as an alternative route to a just future. Prospero emerges as undeniably partisan, manipulative, and racist, at a remove from the cast of younger players who are able to imagine a different kind of future entirely. Virahsawmy’s Kalibann presents an alternative, both in his championing of a feminist model of shared leadership with Prospero’s daughter and also in his ability to conceive of transformed social relations without violent revolution. Received ideas of social hierarchy are ridiculed and overturned, and notions of family and inheritance that are defined by normative ideas of race, gender and sexuality are rejected outright, in principle, rather than in response to Kalibann’s exceptionalism. The play grants to other characters, too, the ability to envision a new kind of future altogether, as we see, for example, in the surprising figure of Aryel.
Aryel and the struggle to imagine a more liberated future Not unlike Shakespeare’s Ariel, the gender identity of Virahsawmy’s Aryel is ambiguous in the Kreol version of the play. In the absence of gendered pronouns in Kreol, Aryel remains outside a fixed gendered regime. This ambiguity is lost in the English translation version, in which the linguistic structure exerts pressure to make a character’s gender explicit, a pressure that this translation does not resist. For example, Ferdjinan introduces Aryel to his father in this way: ‘This is Aryel. He lives on the island.’95 In Kreol he is able to answer King Lir’s question without identifying a gender, as the pronoun ‘li’ is neutral: ‘Aryel, li enn abitan isi’.96 There is one point in the play in which Prospero addresses Aryel with a term of
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endearment that is gendered male, ‘mo garson’,97 that is, my boy or my ‘son’, as it is translated during the many instances it is used to refer to Ferdjinan by his father, King Lir, and in the cast list. Even so, the figure of Aryel brings into view the possibility of a genderqueer existence and calls into question assumptions about the constitution of the category ‘human’. Virahsawmy’s ‘Aryel’ is part-human, part-robot. As he himself articulates it to Ferdjinan in private: ‘A robot, but almost a human. The only difference is that I’m not capable of reproduction. I’m without sex.’98 Here ‘sex’ refers to the biological function of reproduction. Ferdjinan’s response, to ask Aryel if he has ‘desires’, acknowledges that reproduction and desire are not synonymous. However, the space opened up for sexual desire here vanishes all too quickly, particularly in the English translation, where the word ‘desire’ is supplanted by the anodyne ‘feelings’ and then banished from view altogether, hidden behind the oblique substitute, ‘things’. In the Kreol version, desire and feelings are treated as synonymous, separated only by a simple comma (‘Ou ena dezir, santiman?’),99 whereas in the English translation, ‘feelings’ are relegated to a separate sentence entirely: ‘And … feelings, and … things?’100 This movement from visibility to invisibility is repeated a moment later. Just as Ferdjinan and Aryel recognize their attachment and the desire that falls outside of the heteronormative script, Aryel expresses discomfort: ‘Physical contact disrupts the balance of my chips. If you continue to touch me, I shall lose control.’101 To which Ferdjinan responds, ‘Then lose control!’102 But the prospect of disruptive desire is immediately transformed into a matter of childish play: ‘Why not play, jump, spring, turn cartwheels like a child?’103 In an instant, desire vanishes from view. It is here that the blind spot in this radical reimagining of a liberated future within the postcolony lies. Caliban (as Kalibann) can conceivably forge a relationship of mutual love and respect with Miranda (as Kordelia) but the homosexual bond between Aryel and Ferdjinan is doomed to remain without erotic consummation, despite the characters’ intimacy and attachment and despite Ferdjinan’s
explicit rejection of the heteronormative, reproductive plot laid out for him by the patriarchs, as his retort to his father makes explicit: ‘You’re so obsessed with getting married and breeding. All this nonsense about inheritance …. No!’104 Of course, the play’s meanings are not fixed by the text of the script, and actors are free to queer the text by performing physical intimacy, despite the dialogue’s scripted disavowal of the erotic. In an interview with one of the translators, Michael Walling, theatre scholar Jane Wilkinson remarks on a performance in which ‘Aryel and Ferdjinan were so very physical that it was even more difficult to accept the fact that they seemed to have a right to a gay relationship only because they were both either sexless or unsexed.’ For Walling this might be precisely the point: it becomes ‘a way of doing it without doing it and … it becomes quite clever and in a strange way really rather radical’.105 In performance, a new set of possibilities may come into view, however fleetingly. For Poloniouss, ‘the new is at once more powerful and more beautiful than the old. Lir – it is time for you and I to rest. The young can move life forward in their own way’.106 So it is the dawning of a new age, but not as a result of violent revolution, nor an adversarial politics; and in fact, the play insists that a further alternative exists too – that ‘a new ending’ could be scripted, with the buffoons, Dammarro and Kaspalto as kings, as per the fantasy they had been allowed to indulge in, earlier in the play. Aryel promises Dammarro, the comic usurper of King Lir’s position, ‘I’ll get him to write a new story. One where you become king’.107 Even those marked by the play’s comic logic as lowly and absurd are invited to imagine a different future. Their class aspirations are subtly validated and social hierarchy is rendered arbitrary, a matter of scripting rather than birthright, in a moment of irreverence and radical inclusion that extends even to the venerable old patriarchs. Poloniouss urges King Lir to take up his part: ‘Majesty – they’re writing the script now. Best to play your part in the comedy.’108 We witness the uncertainties surrounding the scripting of a path for a new post-independence generation.
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It is Ferdjinan and Aryel’s vision that inspires the acknowledgement that dramatic, revolutionary change is within the grasp of those who seek it, regardless of how they have been positioned by the circumstances of their birth. As Ferdjinan exclaims: ‘We’re free. The only reason that he seems strong is that we’ve been weak. We’ve been waiting to be saved. Well, nobody is going to save us. We’ve got the intelligence, the courage and the will.’109 And yet my impulse to describe the play’s ending as ‘a radical reimagining of a liberated future’ is misplaced, given its demure treatment of class struggle and sexuality. Still, in inviting us to reflect on its own construction, the play stages (and even celebrates) the plot’s unravelling. It recognizes the aspirations of the serving classes and the enslaved from within of a set of tensions and possibilities imagined initially in Shakespeare’s play, whose plot has been rendered multiple and unbounded.
In conclusion: Rendering Shakespeare multiple The creolized reimagining of this work allows Shakespeare to participate in a conversation in which globalization’s displacements and its opportunities can be acknowledged and in which the perspectives of those who occupy ‘ex-centric’ or off-centre positions within normative culture are privileged.110 In Toufann we are made aware not only of the insecurity of the ex-centric position, but also of its generative potential, its capacity to imagine new futures. Here Shakespeare’s imagination has to reckon with the multiple identifications of modern existence in worlds made more complex by globalization and mixed colonial inheritances. Shakespeare becomes part of the creative palette with which new futures can be conjured. Such wild reimaginings of Shakespeare do not constitute a disavowal of the Shakespearean text so much as a contribution
to its ongoing coming-into-being. This is true even when the intertextual sympathies are only implicit and the new work is far removed from the old, not only in time and space, but also in its poetic register, its language and its cultural imagination. The latitude adopted by an adaptation like Toufann, with its boldness in transforming the Shakespearean text, is both playful and deadly serious. Scholars within the tradition of adaptation studies have tended to stick to a particular plane of inquiry, one that asks what and how an adaptation has transformed the Shakespearean text. This has the paradoxical effect of privileging the supposed original, or at least assuming its solidity and constancy. In an essay on ‘Appropriation 2.0’, Christy Desmet has described this an ‘unintentional consequence’: in adaptation studies ‘“the Shakespearean text” tends to be reified as a concept’, despite the influence of post-structuralism and the new bibliography studies.111 By contrast, Desmet calls for recognition of the significance of the culture of ‘play’ at work in adaptation. Inspired by the digitized, stitched together texts of her analysis, she argues that the ‘art’ of what she calls ‘remix’, ‘whether in Shakespeare’s Globe or on YouTube, is guided by a spirit of play, but it is, in the terminology of Clifford Geertz, a species of “deep play” – entrenched in, informed by, and in response to core cultural imperatives’.112 Virahsawmy’s refashioning of The Tempest goes some way towards responding to the cultural imperatives at work in the post-independence Indian Ocean world of Mauritius, its legacy of slavery and settlement legible, nonetheless, in the spaces of its most imaginative reinvention. That Shakespeare’s work would provide a fertile place for thinking ‘intensely and with freedom’, as Stephen Greenblatt put it in relation to ‘Shakespeare in Tehran’, is of great interest to Shakespeare studies, as it continues to recognize the significance of Shakespeare’s resonances within a wider world, and the solidarities that his works have garnered.113 A creolized Shakespeare is much more than a celebration of multiplicity; to the extent that the aftermath of slavery
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is legible in creole cultural forms, it is an invitation to bear witness to slavery’s brutal legacy of dispossession, dislocation and survival, and to imagine for the postcolony a more just future that resists the ethnocentric logic of colonial modernity.
The scholarship that has sought to understand the significance of localized adaptations of Shakespeare in India has found value in the critical language of ‘indigenization’. The term is familiar to postcolonial cultural studies, and yet it has had particular resonance in relation to the complex forms that emerge when localized cultural traditions are deployed in the staging of Shakespeare.1 In the studies that have focused on ‘India’s Shakespeare’, particularly, the notion of indigenization has helped to validate the translocation of theatre birthed in a society far removed in time and place from the staging context, and to identify what is at stake.2 The term ‘indigenization’, with its embedded verb, would seem to accord agency to local cultural forms which are imagined as powerfully reshaping the original into a form that is locally recognizable. There is also a sense in which the local rendering of Shakespeare in this way returns further interest to the cultural capital already leveraged by the Shakespearean text. The notion of indigenization, however, risks installing blindspots within the field of Global Shakespeare. Indigeneity’s dependence on cultural authenticity and identifiable temporal categories, makes it hard to recognize that the translocation of Shakespeare’s dramas into even the most rural of settings and its invocation of longpractised cultural traditions can also render Shakespeare
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current, within the complex contemporaneity of the globalized twenty-first century. What scholars have termed ‘indigenization’ implicates Shakespeare in current political entanglements, whether the work seems to transcend the delineations of time and place, on the one hand, or become distinctly local and ‘indigenous’, on the other. This chapter seeks to unpack the idea of ‘indigenization’ in order to think through its politics and its value both for contemporary Shakespeare studies and for cultural studies, more generally. The emergence of a global Shakespeare, reimagined through translation and translocated into many local contexts, contributes to the texture of postcolonial cultural innovations and the nuance of the debates within postcolonial studies. But the legacy of colonial hierarchies haunts these discussions, even though they are couched in familiar and seemingly liberatory terms. Debates around the complicated cultural inheritance of Shakespeare in post-independence India continue to depend on the dichotomies of centre versus periphery and indigenous versus foreign, without due recognition of the mutual imbrication of these pairings and the complicated politics surrounding the performance of cultural authenticity. When Shakespeare’s work is translocated into a space the playwright himself could not have imagined, it becomes one of many creative elements involved in the meaning-making of a new moment. The language of indigeneity does not begin to account for the complexity of this endeavour. To fathom the impact of Shakespeare’s travels and the complex transformations his work undergoes in a globalized world, a new vocabulary is needed; that is to say, a vocabulary that does not reinforce old-world attitudes to colonial modernity, consciously or unconsciously. The perspectives on global social hierarchies that theory from the South has brought into view may prove to be more helpful in reckoning with the critical impact of contemporary adaptations. This chapter reflects on some of this critical lexicon through a discussion of the approach to adaptation that has evolved in Indian appropriations of Hamlet. It considers
the implications that a modern-day anti-heroic Kashmiri Hamlet might have for the field of Global Shakespeare as it grapples with the tensions inherent in a model of cultural transmission and appropriation that risks perpetuating a set of assumptions about Shakespeare’s hegemony, even as it attempts to tell a new story. The complex cultural politics of translocating Shakespeare into the Indian subcontinent are considered through a discussion of the work of film-maker Vishal Bhardwaj; namely, his filmic adaptation of Hamlet, titled Haider. Released in 2014, Haider explores the surprising resonances of Hamlet in a very particular time and place: during the 1990s, India-administered Kashmir saw a period of intense conflict immediately following the promulgation of the infamous Armed Forces Special Powers Act of 1990. The world inhabited by this ‘Hamlet’ – that is to say, Indiaadministered Kashmir in the 1990s, where people disappear without trace and the military police torture dissidents with impunity – is infinitely more complex than a term like ‘indigeneity’ could encompass. Before turning to a discussion of Bhardwaj’s adaptation of Hamlet, this chapter will focus on the provenance of ‘indigeneity’ and the implications this has for literary studies at a time when many branches of this scholarship are at pains to demonstrate their openness to a wider world. This openness is signalled through the embrace of terms such as ‘World Literature’ and, in the case of Shakespeare studies, ‘Global Shakespeare’, but these designations and the theoretical frameworks supporting them are uneven in their effects. The notion of ‘indigenized Shakespeares’ offers a potentially productive way to conceptualize the changes and subversions involved in localized reimaginings of Shakespearean drama. However, the term itself carries a complicated legacy. To speak of ‘indigenization’ is potentially productive for a cultural politics invested in undoing the lingering hegemony of coloniality. As a transitive verb, ‘to indigenize’ takes an object, rendering mainstream canonical literature an object which has been renewed and transformed through the creative powers of
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indigenous cultural practices. There is an implicit dichotomy within the idea of indigenized cultural forms, however: what is understood to be ‘indigenous’ can be contrasted to the purportedly ‘high’ culture of an established canon in a dichotomy that contemporary reimaginings of Shakespeare’s plays within India seem to resist. Instead, they offer a sideways view of canonical literatures, confounding the split between ‘vernacular’ and ‘high’, between the contemporary and ancient worlds, and between ‘here’ and ‘elsewhere’, in creative works that register most clearly the anguish of contemporary injustices, in solidarity with Shakespeare.
Hamlet in India and the idea of the indigenous Scholars writing about stage and filmic adaptations of Shakespearean drama have alerted us to some of the innovative ways Indian theatre forms have engaged Shakespeare. Rajiva Verma writes that the ‘Parsi theater, which flourished during the period 1870–1940, was the main agency through which Shakespeare’s plays entered the world of Bombay cinema. Almost all the early films based on the plays were screen versions of Parsi theater adaptations’ and, among these, ‘Hamlet has been the most popular, with as many as three screen versions, all of them in the Parsi theater tradition’.3 In her studies of Parsi and Kathakali theatre adaptations, Poonam Trivedi has insisted on the transformative power of what she has called ‘indigenized’ Shakespeares. Trivedi, in an essay on ‘“Folk Shakespeare”: the performance of Shakespeare in traditional Indian theater forms’, takes issue with the denigration of the term ‘folk’ and the implication that folk forms are ‘crude’.4 On the contrary, she argues, ‘the gestural grammar, the music, dance, and costume of these forms are sophisticated and need lifelong study for mastery’, but they are not always legible to Western-trained postcolonial critics.5 In taking ‘folk’ forms
seriously, Trivedi opens up a space for the critical recognition of nonhegemonic cultural practice and its anticolonial or subversive confrontations. The difficulty with the idea of indigeneity within cultural studies, however, has to do with the particular way it invokes historical time: it lodges the cultural innovations seen in contemporary India, paradoxically, within a timeframe that reaches deep into a history that is circumscribed by geographical delineations. It depends on an idea of indigenous culture that is sealed off from the chaotic temporality and political entanglements of a contemporary world that is simultaneously globalized and specifically located. Indigeneity is thus not innocent of colonialism’s dubious hierarchies, however much it would seem to privilege what came before, and the notion of ‘indigenized’ Shakespeare, too, carries with it a troubling disconnection between the worlds of precolonial India and the elevated reaches of high culture. The qualification implied in the notion of ‘indigenous Shakespeare’ secures, above all, Shakespeare’s standing as the proper noun and calls for a performance of authenticity on the part of the ‘indigenous’. Colette Gordon has posed this argument in relation to the idea of ‘foreign Shakespeare’ more generally: ‘Shakespeare doesn’t have to be authentic, but the foreign in “foreign Shakespeare” does.’6 Shakespeare, in this formulation, remains at an unimpeachable remove, always the senior partner in relation to what is ‘foreign’, ‘local’ or ‘indigenous’. The language of indigeneity implies that an authentic core lies at the heart of a performance of cultural identity and its invocation of attachment to place. Theatre practice, however, has the capacity both to invoke and to unsettle the positioning of people in this way. Within the context of India, indigeneity has an unresolved history and an ambiguous present. Anthropologists and political scientists – as well as land restitution activists – have had reason to take seriously the concept of indigeneity, given the need to address historical injustice and the lingering effects of coloniality in the contemporary world. And yet, as much as the discourse of indigeneity may signal the promise
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of postcolonial redress in the economy of today’s India and elsewhere, the ambivalence that lies at its root complicates any resonance it may have for Global Shakespeare. In trying to fathom the unease indigeneity presents for cultural studies, Peter Hulme reckons with the ambiguous place of indigeneity for disenfranchised or dispossessed people and makes a case for its value: ‘At its strongest, indigeneity is an avowal of ethnic distinctiveness and national sovereignty based on the historical claim to be in some sense the descendants of the earliest inhabitants of a particular place. These are unfashionable claims, and their terms can all easily be put under erasure by cultural criticism: but they cannot – should not – be ignored.’7 It is therefore important to understand the provenance and biography of the term and its specific deployment within contemporary India, in order to distinguish between the risks it poses, as a term that may entrench hierarchies rooted in coloniality, and the promise it holds for revisionist politics and cultural recognition. The identification of India’s ‘indigenous peoples’, as per the current transnational discourse of indigeneity, is fuelled by current-day political mechanisms that seek redress for disempowered groupings. Identification of indigeneity functions both nationally, with the legal recognition afforded to the so-called ‘Scheduled Tribes’ and affiliative connection through formal national bodies such as the Indian Council of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (ICITP), and internationally, through transnational indigenous movements and affiliation with the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. However, there is a longer and more troubling history to this term: the identification of indigeneity can be traced to attempts by nineteenth-century colonial administrators to categorize rural territories, the better to control them. The anthropologist Alpa Shah alerts us to critiques of the development of the ‘myth of the tribe’ and identifies a ‘dark side of indigeneity’ which, she argues, is implicated in the ways ‘local appropriation and experiences of global discourses can maintain a class system that further marginalises the poorest’.8 Shah explains that
since the establishment of the ICITP and the identification of legally recognized ‘Scheduled Tribes’, the notion of indigeneity has been consolidated into a mechanism for the management of groups of claimants – this despite the fact that the ‘official’ position in India is that it is impossible to identify indigeneity, given India’s complex history of settlement. As Shah explains, the ‘official position of the Indian State is that there are no indigenous people in India since its complex migration patterns mean that, unlike some countries such as Australia or Canada, it is impossible to establish who the original settlers in a particular region are’.9 The claim to indigeneity is thus linked to current social and legal taxonomies in a highly stratified society. While it appears to reference an unsullied precolonial moment, in truth its conceptual origin is steeped in coloniality. For Shah, ‘the very concept of indigeneity relies on obsolete Victorian anthropological notions and on a romantic and false ethnographic vision’.10 While indigeneity offers a route to restitution, attuned as it is to questions of justice in the face of colonial dispossession, the association between indigeneity and ethnicity is hard to dislodge. The ability to lay claim to a prior habitation through an inheritance traceable through previous generations is a matter of contemporary politics and legal claim, but this pull towards a form of identification that is grounded in biology and is legible as such within the enabling legal framework is a double-edged sword. Because indigeneity relies on bloodlines to establish rights of kinship, it risks reiterating the racialized hierarchy from which it seeks redress. For Hulme, there is a troubling gap between the narrow confines of discursive categories of ‘native’ and ‘indigenous’, on the one hand, and coloniality and postcoloniality on the other, so much so that the term ‘indigeneity’ presents a difficulty for postcolonial theory and the role of international human rights discourses in establishing what or who constitutes the indigenous. A more expansive postcolonial studies, he argues, ‘has paid little attention to indigenous issues, especially since
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what are now called “indigenous peoples” under accepted international definitions are rarely the same people who feature as the “colonized” groups fighting for political independence, either in the Americas in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, or in Africa and Asia in the twentieth’.11 As a result, indigeneity remains an awkward (or ‘unfashionable’) concept for cultural studies. Indeed, the slide from ‘indigenous’ into ethnic fixity remains troubling, as the concerns of this chapter suggest, not least because this language depends upon an idea of relative degrees of ‘development’ and an historical framework that places the ‘indigenous’ in a distant temporality. Still, the tarnish of racial categorization does not undo the possibilities for redress and recognition that potentially inhere in the discourse of indigeneity. While expressing great ambivalence and discomfort with the terminology and its history, Audra Simpson suggests a way to engage the language of indigeneity productively in the effort to foreground what she calls the ‘question of recognition’.12 For Simpson, there is enough of a critical gap between the early life of ‘indigeneity’ in nineteenth-century imperialist anthropology and the forms of contestations that emerge within indigenous narratives, embedded within lived experience and local knowledges: ‘knowledge translates into the “feeling side” of recognition, one that is not juridical, is home-grown, and dignified by local history and knowledge’.13 While recognizing the ambivalence of the term (and its rejection by countries such as India to whom indigeneity is incongruous, historically), Francesca Merlan has given an account of the ‘internationalization’ of the concept of indigeneity, and its possibility for activism in the interests of peoples in a diverse set of contexts who have been dispossessed and subjected to ‘inhumane, unequal, and exclusionary treatment’ through histories of imperialism and colonialism.14 The ‘impetus’ for recognition of indigeneity so often and in so many diverse contexts derives from ‘patterns of struggle’ in the face of dispossession and marginalization.15 Because ‘indigeneity can signify claims of a high moral order’, Merlan
argues, ‘it is difficult to take a critical view of it’.16 And yet Merlan’s analysis does invite a critique of the term and its deployment globally. The internationalization of the indigenous peoples’ movement relies on a constructed idea of attachment and belonging that derives from exclusionary, nativist notions of authenticity that are not borne out by histories of habitation and attachment. The categorization is an ambivalent matter, with potential to impose inimical hierarchies onto the complex networks of affinity and identification yielded by twenty-firstcentury global mobilities. But how does ‘indigeneity’ work in the context of the literary? What kinds of gains might come with a turn to the indigenous or with the act of translation into a form recognizable as ‘indigenous’? The resistance indigeneity signals – the refusal to assimilate into canonical forms, inherited from colonialist histories – creates room for writers and playwrights to play with hegemonic forms and to privilege local worlds and contemporary resistance politics, even when staging a return to an imagined past. But when this return relies on a rigid timeframe that situates the ‘indigenous’ in a long-past idyll and obscures its stake in contemporary politics, the performance of ‘indigeneity’ equates with regression, however entertaining or imaginative the encounter. Peter McDonald has reflected on the limitations of what he calls an ‘indigenised poetics’ in his discussion of the recent publication of a new translation of the Songs of Kabir, the fifteenth-century mystic, by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra.17 McDonald highlights some of the tensions involved in the translation and appropriation of early modern texts into modern idiom, and the complicated poetics this kind of work involves. He offers a useful model for thinking about the possibilities – and limitations – of what we might call an ‘indigenized’ Shakespeare. Kabir’s Songs lie at the heart of India’s cultural inheritance. But what makes Kabir’s Songs so compelling – both in themselves and for a discussion of contemporary ‘translations’ of Shakespeare – is that for all their historical and literary significance, the Songs paradoxically resist the
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supposed decorum associated with canonicity. The critical acclaim that has greeted Mehrotra’s translation emphasizes his extraordinary achievement in creating an experience of Kabir’s ‘improvisational energy’.18 Chandrahas Choudhury writes that ‘Kabir’s famed iconoclasm, speed of thought, slashing paradoxical style, metaphorical zest and rhetorical brilliance have rarely been rendered into English better than in Mr. Mehrotra’s versions’.19 For Eliot Weinberger, Mehrotra’s translation constitutes a ‘jazz performance’ that manages to be true to the spirit of Kabir’s own inventiveness.20 Unlike earlier versions, Mehrotra’s electrifying rendering of Kabir offers a distinctive model of translation, thanks to what McDonald describes as his ‘deliberate anachronism’, his ‘disruptive interplays’ in giving new life to Kabir and his irreverence that is also offered in all seriousness.21 For McDonald, Mehrotra’s unapologetically irreverent translation constitutes ‘one way of refusing to indigenize’ and resisting the mode of cultural transmission that establishes a hierarchy, with authenticity as one of its defining values.22 Admittedly, this example of the translation of an old text into a modern idiom is quite distinct from a modern reworking of Hamlet in India in key ways – Kabir is part of a Hindi cultural and spiritual legacy rather than an import of British colonial education, a phenomenon Gauri Viswanathan has analysed in Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India, her celebrated account of the role of English literary studies in entrenching British colonial rule in India.23 And yet Mehrotra’s rendering of Kabir has a number of resonances for an inquiry into modes of translation and appropriation, allowing us to look beyond an ‘indigenization’ model with its commitment to ‘authenticity’ and place-based systems of identification: the world into which an ‘Indian’ Hamlet might be rendered is infinitely more complex than could be encompassed in the idea of ‘indigeneity’, or ‘folk’ theatre, however resolutely local its interpretative palette. The terms with which McDonald appraises Mehrotra’s work alert us to a flaw in the model of translation that finds value in
fidelity; it points, too, to the limitation of David Damrosch’s criteria for identifying and evaluating ‘world literature’ – that is, literature that can be thought of as belonging to a larger world than its place of origin, literature which gains in value as it travels beyond its national borders. Mehrotra’s Songs does more than travel from an identifiable point of origin, gaining complexity and value as it does so: from the start it is a wildly ‘eclectic’ entity, adopting voices from its ‘here’ and many elsewheres, shattering the place-based frames (whether ‘local’ or ‘national’) through which an indigenous literature might be identified: By refusing to indigenize the written language and by fashioning an eclectic, multilingual literary heritage for himself, Mehrotra clearly challenged Parthasarathy’s poetics of authenticity and the larger debates about postcolonial literary cultures of which his nationalising arguments form a familiar part. By figuring translation as transmigration and by disrupting historical and geographic frames of various kinds, he represents, as I have suggested, an equally compelling challenge to Damrosch’s idea of world literature.24 For McDonald, Mehrotra’s work is testament to the ‘labyrinthine quality of the world’s literary heritage’ which puts ‘him at odds with the earlier ideas of world literature’ that are ‘based on sometimes rhapsodic affirmations of the universal’.25 If we credit McDonald’s rejection of patterns of value and transmission that affirm, ultimately, a global hierarchy that depends on nation-based cultural taxonomies, we would do well to reconsider, too, the framework within which ‘India’s Shakespeare’ might be understood, and resist its impulse to affirm the ‘universal’ that even a putatively indigenized and Indian Shakespeare continues to represent. The global reimaginings of Shakespeare, and their return and circulation on film in a wider world, are the result of more complex creative mobilities than can be accounted for
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through world literature. The affiliative connections that literature gains and sheds as it travels cannot be tracked within a framework of estimation that distinguishes between place of origin and domain of circulation, valuing it accordingly. For one, too much of this process of estimation depends on the very particular market-driven literary scene of the global North, as Damrosch’s critics have argued.26 While the global reimaginings of Shakespeare would seem to affirm Damrosch’s conceptualization of ‘world literature’ as that which has purchase beyond its birthplace, it cannot account for the density of a transformed, multiple Shakespeare, or the nature of the return journey, as it were, when Shakespeare’s plays undergo radical revision in works that both celebrate and unravel the ‘originals’. That Shakespeare is a global phenomenon is beyond question, but the Damroschian model can make sense of the worldliness of the reworkings only by referring back to Stratford’s Shakespeare. The complex assemblage of creative input remains unaccounted for, except perhaps in terms that derive from an understanding of translation as a matter of fidelity or loss. Apter’s objection to world literature’s system of value has to do with its dependence on translation, and the assumption that it is possible, or desirable, to achieve equivalence through the work of translation. What of ‘untranslatability’, she asks, as she calls for a recognition of ‘the importance of non-translation, mistranslation, incomparability and untranslatability’.27 Aamir Mufti has recently taken this critique further still, arguing in his provocatively titled study, Forget English! Orientalisms and World Literatures, that world literature relies on the dominance of English and on a prurient fascination with cultural difference.28 Mufti finds embedded within the discourse of world literature the lingering traces of what Edward Said identified as Orientalism. Mufti’s challenge could as easily be levelled at Global Shakespeare studies, a field that is defined by an implicit tension between literary canonity and iconoclasm, a text’s original and its adaptation, and a text’s place of origin and its travels. To the extent that the field relies on
ideas of ‘indigeneity’ and ‘authenticity’ to reinforce the value of a translated or translocated work, it will be tethered to the invidious hierarchies of value that have shaped cultural politics across the globe. The October 2014 release of Vishal Bhardwaj’s film adaptation of Hamlet in cinemas across the world offers an opportunity to reflect on the rendering of Shakespearean drama ‘local’ or ‘indigenous’, and the implications this has for global cultural politics.29 The translocations involved here are complex, of course, not least of all owing to the shift in genre from stage to film. Furthermore, the very particular setting of the conflictridden border zones of Northern India and Kashmir and the startlingly current timeframe it engages catapults Hamlet’s struggles into a vivid and affecting present, where the tumult of one part of the world is made a ‘matter of concern’,30 to use Bruno Latour’s terminology, for the extensive audience reached through the film’s international distribution network. Mark Thornton Burnett’s study of Filming Shakespeare in the Global Marketplace has explored the complicating phenomenon of Shakespeare’s existence on screen in recent decades and its possibilities both for extending cultural hegemony and for radically unsettling it, as novel representational technologies introduce new horizons of visibility. Burnett argues that ‘the marketplace of film … has enabled a global penetration of the Bard’s constructed powers and pertinences’31 and yet it has also created opportunities for heterogeneous and contesting voices: ‘The local … works most powerfully as a vehicle of historical particularity, as an instrument of opposition to corporate hegemony and as a counterpoint to Shakespeare’s status as a transnational voice. What is “local” is, as Shakespeare film understands it, frequently deemed attractive or contestatory because indivisible from what is “different”’.32 Filmic Shakespeare attests to both the appropriative homogenization of globalized culture and, paradoxically, its capacity for infinite diversity. The ‘global’ has the capacity to be both diverse and totalizing; its capacity to challenge cannot necessarily be ascribed to its embrace
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of many vernaculars and many local cultural iterations. The politics of global Shakespeares are thus not predictable and the impulse to settle the relationship between ‘global’ and ‘local’ is misplaced, as Burnett’s study correctly insists.33 The highly publicized release of Bhardwaj’s film, Haider, across the world provides a compelling case study of an adaptation that tests critical notions of ‘localization’.
Haider and the politics of missing persons Haider shows up the limitations of a cultural studies framework that seeks to pluralize the ‘global’ by insisting that it is constituted by many locals, as though the local is in some significant way prior and not already inflected by the global or imbrication in the politics of an internationalized present. As an appropriation of a canonical literary work, Haider clearly draws on a range of interpretative inheritances, folk and canonical, while simultaneously addressing itself directly to the politics of a very particular contemporary moment. Haider is set in India-administered Kashmir in the 1990s. From the very start, it is clear that it takes place under a state of political surveillance, where army-controlled checkpoints govern the movements of ordinary citizens and, worse still, whole villages can be rounded up by the military. As we witness in the opening sequences of the film, this is a world where men and women can be marched off and subjected to the arbitrary brutality of an all-powerful military which is empowered to act with impunity by the infamous Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).34 Haider’s father is a doctor who has performed an emergency appendectomy on a Kashmiri dissident; he is then singled out in an identity parade and taken away. We hear later that he was tortured and killed, betrayed by his brother with political aspirations. The Ophelia character, Arshee, is an investigative journalist,
her father a military officer with intelligence responsibilities. For a time, we travel with Haider to various government offices, morgues and riverside military encampments set up to deal with the dead bodies, as he searches for his father, or for his father’s body. Reviewers have recognized the film’s potential to spark controversy. For example, the byline of a Guardian review by Jason Burke alerts readers to the fact that the film ‘includes graphic scenes of torture in Indian army camps’: Set during the 1990s, the most intense years of the ongoing insurgency which has pitted Kashmiri militants and separatists against security forces and their local auxiliaries for more than two decades, Haider includes graphic scenes of torture in Indian army camps and other human rights abuses by Indian officials …. Violence in Kashmir, disputed by India and Pakistan since the two countries won their independence from Britain in 1947, has ebbed in recent years, but extreme sensitivities remain in India about the conflict and its history.35 Director Vishal Bhardwaj and the writer of the screenplay, Kashmiri journalist Basharat Peer, have drawn attention to their choice to set the play in conflict-ridden Kashmir: ‘What happened in Kashmir is a very human tragedy, but no one is talking about it. But once you talk of it, you are released from it. What I am saying is the truth. It should be like a balm on a wound’, said Bhardwaj.36 Burke explains that, as the scriptwriter, ‘Peer said he hoped the film would challenge the narrative constructed by previous mainstream cinema about the Kashmir conflict and give an alternative point of view. “Kashmiris have always been portrayed as crazy fanatics or Kashmir simply seen as a picturesque tourist destination. This is a very different view”, he said’.37 But in interviews, Bhardwaj and the lead actor, Shahid Kapoor, have underplayed the political challenge of the play. Admittedly, in an interview with Anuj Kumar published in The
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Hindu in October 2014, Bhardwaj declares that ‘if I am not a leftist, I am not an artist’,38 but in another interview from around the same time with UK Asian editor Viji Alles, he leaves unanswered the interviewer’s questions about AFSPA, the disappearances of dissidents and his choice to ‘make them part of the story’.39 Instead, Bhardwaj insists that as a filmmaker you can’t side with anybody because you can see the irony of the situation. Of course, you have to empathise … that’s why Shahid’s character, the Haider character, is a local Kashmiri, because we wanted to see it from the inside. We wanted to see it from the common man who had nothing to do with either side of the conflict … who has no political agenda, who just wants to live his life peacefully … [but who is] being pushed or dragged into the conflict, and we can do it.40 The film itself, however, is not as quiescent as Bhardwaj chooses to represent it when asked to give an account of the work. The character of Haider is far from being a ‘common man’ without a political position on the Kashmiri conflict; on the contrary, in a flashback we witness that the rupture in his family life is precipitated by his mother’s discovery of the gun his teenage self conceals in his school bag and her insistence that he be sent to university in Northern India and abandon his idea of joining the militants in Pakistan. Later, the adult Haider’s performance of feigned madness includes a fierce rant against the brutality of the occupying forces, spoken publicly into the town square (as discussed in some detail below). Admittedly the film gives voice to Indian army officers too: one officer explains to the journalist Arshee that in 1948 when Pakistani militants invaded Kashmir as ‘tribals’ and ‘raped the women and killed the children’, it ‘was the Indian army that shed blood to save Kashmir’.41 His warning to her functions as a justification for the Indian army’s presence: ‘If we aren’t around, it will happen again.’ In response to Arshee’s question about the use of torture, the officer asserts that the ‘Indian
army is one of the most disciplined armed forces in the world’ and ‘we train our officers to interrogate and not torture’. This perspective is not allowed to stand unquestioned, however: through the use of juxtapositions, viewers are armed with a contrasting perspective on the Indian army and its complicity in the conflict. For example, Arshee’s interview with the Indian army commander is repeatedly interrupted by cuts to a televised report on the sham election which offers contrasting views, such as the fact that ‘Indian troops coerced reluctant voters into the polling booth’. A voiceover draws our attention to some alarming statistics about the widespread disappearances and the extensive powers accorded to the Indian army as a result of the AFSPA: ‘Rule 4 section 5: Any person taken into custody under this Act shall be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station with the least possible delay.’ The ongoing Indian presence in Kashmir is presented as the result of a political betrayal: ‘Pandit Nehru promised Kashmiris a plebiscite with the world as his witness. What happened? Let aside a plebiscite … Even the first condition of plebiscite: demilitarization. That did not happen.’ Kashmir is far from being a neutral setting for this transposition of Hamlet’s struggle; its protracted, deadly conflict is an intimate part of Haider’s crisis, made all the more resonant through what has been described as the ‘traditional’ music and the exquisite Kashmiri landscape.42 Both Shahid Kapoor, as lead actor, and Bhardwaj, as his director, have had much to say about what it was like filming in Kashmir, and the ‘beauty’ and ‘warmth’ of the local Kashmiris, but they also point out the political tensions between India and Kashmir: in the Indian media, ‘Kashmir is not on that agenda’, Bhardwaj explained in the interview with Viji Alles in October 2014, whereas ‘in the local [Kashmiri] papers, it’s all full of politics. As you know, people are dying. Conflict is happening every day over there …. When you go to Kashmir, the first thing you see [is that] the pain is in the air and there is a lurking kind of fear’.43
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When the interview turns to Shakespeare, however, the attention given to the particularity of this conflict makes way for familiar affirmations of Shakespeare’s universal and humanist appeal, somewhat dissipating the region’s polarizing politics in favour of the personal and hypothetical: It’s not just about Kashmir; it could be any disturbed area. It’s a very personal story. I don’t really think Haider as a film is trying to make large statements which have a political [stance] per se. I would feel it’s a film which is expressing the journey of these individuals and expecting it to connect with them at a human level, and that is much larger than anything else.44 The figure of Shakespeare emerges for both Kapoor and Bhardwaj as a key source of inspiration. Bhardwaj has spoken at length about his own lifelong love of Shakespeare; he talks of a time in his twenties when he ‘realised the power of this genius man called Shakespeare’.45 Shakespeare figures in these interviews as timeless; it is the work of the film-maker, we come to realize, that establishes the currency, here and now. What is striking, in hearing the artists speak of their work, is that for them the elements coexist: Kashmir and its ‘disturbances’; Shakespeare’s resonant plays; Hamlet/ Haider’s Oedipal angst in the face of his father’s death and his mother’s ‘o’er hasty marriage’; traditional folk music; and North Indian film-making practices. Bhardwaj, who composed the film’s remarkable score himself, explains that the music ‘has a traditional folk Kashmiri flavour to it’.46 In the ‘mousetrap’ scene from Hamlet, ‘where Hamlet calls some players and designs a play to enact the death of his father on the stage’, Bhardwaj explains, ‘that was the cue for me … we wanted to use a sound, not just in lyrics, but a sound in music, also, of Kashmir’.47 The film’s version of the mousetrap scene sees Haider in a traditional dance – in a rock version of the Gravedigger’s song – a powerful mélange that is partBollywood, part-folk and, it has to be said, part-Hamlet. About adaptation, Bhardwaj acknowledges that it is very
difficult to adapt Shakespeare into another language because Shakespeare’s language is ‘iconic’, as he puts it.48 Shakespeare’s ‘dramas are so deducing I always try to remain true to the spirit of the play rather than the text’s words’.49 But his lead in Haider is less modest on his behalf: speaking of Bhardwaj’s Shakespeare trilogy, Kapoor says that ‘Vishal [Bhardwaj] is able to reinvent the entire world that one reads in various Shakespeare plays and that, I think, is why people in India have been able to connect with the work that he’s done in the past. He talks the language that people can understand, whether it’s his music or his dialogue’.50 This repositioning of Hamlet’s struggle within Indiaadministered Kashmir does not lead to a complete revision of the drama, in that it carries recognizable traces of familiar inheritances, including the legacy of Freudian theory. Bhardwaj has spoken of the ‘sexual conflict’ in relation to his previous films, and in Haider, too, we witness the impact of Freud’s interest in Hamlet and the persistence of the Oedipal interpretative frame that came to predominate since Laurence Olivier took up Freud’s preoccupation with Hamlet as his inspiration for the performance that was to catapult his acting career.51 Not unlike Olivier, who at the age of 40 was cast alongside a 27-year-old Gertrude, Bhardwaj chose to cast a woman who is only nine years older than Kapoor as Haider’s mother, Ghazala, and the camera lingers on the discomfiting intimacy they share. In Bhardwaj’s film, however, the Kashmiri context renders Ghazala’s sexual attachment to his uncle, Khurram, especially disturbing: along with many of the bereaved women we see bearing placards and waiting in government offices, Ghazala’s widowhood is uncertain. She is a ‘half-widow’, the term used in Kashmir to describe the wives of the ‘disappeared’, whose indeterminate status and unending vigil makes it impossible for them either to mourn fully or to live fully, or to secure the property rights that accrue to widows.52 Ghazala’s position as the elegant, smiling partner of the newly elected Khurram at public events places her outside this group of suspended ‘half-widows’, and within the local political elite. And yet, as with Gertrude,
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we are offered a more intimate view into Ghazala’s world, in this case through the camera’s privileged access to her bedroom. After a nightmare, she articulates her sense of brokenness and self-condemnation in terms that establish her affinity with the women of her community, as well as her simultaneous disavowal of their plight: ‘I am half-widow and half-bride.’ What Bhardwaj has produced, then, embraces aspects of established inheritances, and at the same time engages the disturbing politics of its contemporary moment, even when it is dealing with matters of intimacy. Within the context of Kashmir’s intractable conflict even the most private of relations are not spared the impact of political turmoil. In engaging a contemporary idiom and a political context that remains troublingly current, Bhardwaj has ‘taken liberties’, as he puts it.53 That may be true, but as a reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the film’s concern with the abuse of power is not a matter of ‘taking liberties’. Mainstream productions of Shakespeare’s play are increasingly foregrounding the critique of illegitimate power which lies at the heart of Shakespeare’s play. In the 2010 National Theatre production in London, Rory Kinnear’s Hamlet was never alone on stage but was constantly under surveillance by intelligence agents with two-way radios. In this production, as in Haider, Hamlet’s ‘antic disposition’ became a sensible response to an oppressive political regime and, at the same, a mechanism for drawing attention to its abuses without suffering censure. Dissident theatre directors working in Eastern Europe in the second half of the twentieth century, too, recognized the play’s critique of authoritarianism, as did Stalin himself, so much so that the staging of Hamlet was forbidden in the Soviet Union under Stalin from 1932 until just after his death in 1953.54 The setting of Haider within India-administered Kashmir and its invitation to bear witness to that region’s experience of state-sanctioned murder and the abuse of power, then, is in keeping with the spirit of the play from which it draws inspiration. In the perpetual state of emergency of Haider’s Kashmir, the choice to take up an ‘antic disposition’ registers
as biting political satire that flies under the radar, thanks to the veneer of insanity. Haider’s crisis allows audiences to bear witness to the impact of political oppression on his intimate world. This particular ‘localization’ of the Hamlet story becomes a hard-edged challenge, despite Bhardwaj and Kapoor’s attempts, also, to emphasize the ‘personal’ elements at its core and cultural elements such as the music with ‘traditional folk Kashmiri flavour’ when discussing their work. If, as they say, the ongoing Indian administration of Kashmir is a matter of unresolved tension, the choice to stage the drama of Hamlet-as-Haider in this particular ‘localized’ setting with its embrace of the ‘sound in music … of Kashmir’ makes a significant intervention on behalf of the Kashmiri people. Despite its dependence on a ‘traditional folk’ register and its embrace of the indigeneity of its locale, the film is unflinching in its attention to the politics of missing persons. The powerful impact of the film’s inclusion of Kashmiri music is particularly evident early in the film, when Haider’s quest for his father takes him from government office to makeshift morgue, to army post, all set to Bhardwaj’s evocative song about the Jhelum River. The affective pull of the exquisite Kashmiri landscape, the haunting Kashmiri melody, the arresting verse and footage of Kashmiri people gathered in silent vigils clutching photographs of their abducted family members combine to produce a devastating critique of political abuses in contemporary Kashmir. The sequence comes immediately after Haider has declared his intention to look for his father – ‘Where?’ Salman asks him, ‘in camps? In prisons?’ to which he offers a response that echoes Hamlet: ‘All of Kashmir is a prison. I will look for him everywhere.’ Arshee and Haider’s search allows us to bear witness to both the extraordinary beauty of the Kashmiri landscape and the powerlessness of the families of the disappeared, as the paean to the Jhelum River is sung: Jhelum, Jhelum, searching a shore In whose eyes the sun sets
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The waters of the River Jhelum Have turned saline. While the song is playing we witness Haider’s arrival at an army compound in the North, at the foothills of the exquisite snow-capped Himalayan mountains. But before we can become lulled by the beauty of the landscape, a newspaper headline flashes into view, making sense of the song’s reference to the saline waters of the River Jhelum: ‘Bodies found in the River Jhelum’ is a foreshadowing of what we later learn was indeed the fate of Haider’s father. The song then makes its plea: ‘Who to ask for how much longer / This pain we must continue to bear.’ And as it repeats, ‘Blood, blood, blood, blood / Has become the colour of time’, we see Haider retch and recover himself as he steps into a metal container littered with bloodied bodies; as he begins to turn the corpses over, a teenager wakes up to discover with joy that he is alive. The next few shots draw us into government offices where old people and young women clutch photographs of their missing loved ones. From there we are taken to the silent vigils of the parents of the disappeared who display their placards silently, declaring themselves the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and asking, ‘Where are our loved ones?’ and ‘My father, where is he?’ Immediately thereafter the film cuts to the headquarters of military operations in Kashmir, where the Indian army commander outlines to Kashmiri officers their plans for upscaling security, plans which ‘Delhi has approved’.55 Haider’s manic rant at the town square brings the political conflict surrounding Kashmir still more shockingly into view, through the disturbing intensity produced by Haider’s performance of madness. This is a familiar paradox, not only in its echo of the sharp satirical edge to Hamlet’s performance of madness, but also as a reflection of the potential to be found on any stage. As a work of the imagination, the film evades political posturing, and yet the imaginative conjuring compels social critique. Bhardwaj himself is careful not to politicize the
film, both in his many comments about the film’s commitment to telling a story about Kashmiri pain and in underplaying the influence of the censors. When asked about the forty-one cuts that were made under the new Modi government (which came to power shortly before the film was released), Bhardwaj reports that ‘90%’ were of his own choosing, for creative reasons.56 However, as viewers, we are able to witness the impact of the conflict and are free to draw our own conclusions about the film’s critical acuity. As we observe Haider’s manic rant against the AFSPA and its excesses, it is not possible to pin down the film’s political stance, as such, although the condemnation of the abuse of power is writ large, as the scene unfolds. Keeping pace with the camera, we travel towards the square with Haider’s mother and uncle and encounter him on a platform surrounded by townsfolk as he performs a lunatic speech that begins with a crazed reading out of the ‘UN Council Resolution Number 47 of 1948, Article 2 of the Geneva Convention and Article 370 of the Indian Constitution’, delivered as if through a sound system (‘testing … testing’). Echoing Hamlet’s best known soliloquy, Haider’s speech begins with the existential (‘Do we exist or do we not?’) but quickly shifts into a rhetorical question that renders existence secondary to the politics of identification (‘If we do [exist], then who are we?’). Rhetorically closer to an assertion than a question, ‘Do we exist or not?’ also echoes the placards and chants of a group of protesters outside the United Nations offices during an earlier scene in the film. Assuming an answer of ‘no’, Haider invites us to imagine the ongoing presence of a people (‘we’) and their simultaneous erasure from history (‘Did we exist at all? Or not?’) following the loss of sovereignty in a neverland (‘then where are we?’). The scene’s critical focus on the vulnerability of a people who are so identified with the embattled political history of their homeland that their very existence, as a people, is uncertain, involves a creative commitment to the local and particular, and also to what would be understood as the indigenous. But, in sympathy with Shakespeare’s play, it does
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so in a manner that confronts its viewers with the injustices and brutalities of coercive governance in the film’s contemporary political moment. The political critique intensifies as Haider’s rant continues. Through an anecdote that puns on the word ‘chutzpah’ (which he identifies as ‘our problem’), his speech accelerates into an accusation against the senselessness of military governance (‘Such audacity, such stupidity, like AFSPA’). He launches a ferocious political critique of the Indian army’s licence to kill, by beating out the word ‘chutzpah’ and then dropping the initial phoneme and shifting the first vowel sound so that the word transforms into the acronym, AFSPA, while suddenly changing the tone of his voice. Ventriloquizing the legalistic ‘voice’ of the legislation in performative fashion, Haider spells out the wide-ranging and murderous powers that allow all manner of army officers on a whim (‘if he is of the opinion that it is necessary so to do for the maintenance of public order’) to ‘fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death’ – at which point Haider dramatically hoists up the noose around his neck – ‘against anyone acting in contravention of law or order’. He does not leave us there, however, but ends with a plea on behalf of Kashmiris, in the face of their two powerful, warring neighbours and overlords: ‘India! Pakistan! A game on the border. India clings to us. Pakistan leeches on us. What of us? What do we want? Freedom!’ While his head and eye movements seem to signal a kind of lunacy, his management of the crowd is masterful, as they clap out a rhythm and chant ‘Freedom!’ in response to his call, ‘Freedom from this side!’ In Bhardwaj’s account of the experience of filming this scene, he recalls that members of the crowd, all of them local Kashmiris, were immediately responsive in shouting out their call for freedom: ‘We didn’t need to prompt them’.57 Bhardwaj and Kapoor have demurred when asked directly about the political stance of the film, as evidenced in the interview quoted earlier (‘I don’t really think Haider as a film is trying to make large statements which have a political [stance] per se’).58 But in his anecdote about the crowd scene,
Bhardwaj offers an oblique acknowledgement that the film is utterly attuned to the struggles of the Kashmiri people and their manifest desire for ‘freedom!’ His account even plays down the idea of performance; the crowd barely requires the director’s input, so ready are they to participate in Haider’s communal protest.
In conclusion: Indigeneity and contemporary politics Haider is thus undoubtedly engaged with the politics of its moment, however faithful it has also been to the rituals of rural Kashmir, its traditional music and dance, and the exquisite setting at the foothills of the Himalayas. The critical discourse of indigeneity proves wholly inadequate in accounting for the complexity of the translations involved in this reimagining of Hamlet in India-administered Kashmir. Although the folk register adds texture and resonance in the film, to speak of indigeneity here is to obscure the film’s concern with the alarming phenomenon of state-sanctioned ‘disappearances’, also intimately connected to this particular time and place. The centuries-long history of successive occupations makes indigeneity in Kashmir a matter of contention and a touchstone in an ongoing conflict in which powerful outsiders seek to legitimize their influence and interest, in part by invoking historical footing and through the film’s shaping of the story of the past.59 To speak of indigeneity in relation to disputed territories is potentially to venture into the contestations of political history. The case of Kashmir demonstrates a key limitation of the notion of indigeneity: when long histories of occupation, overrule and settlement produce complex maps of habitation, belonging, and cultural and religious practice, the idea of indigeneity functions ideologically to shore up a contested version of a fraught history. The benefit of an ‘indigenous’
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mode of belonging that is grounded in a sense of nativism is therefore questionable. The sense of exclusivity signalled in a present-day claim to territoriality based on a demonstrable lineage can only be misplaced, when a region such as Kashmir has been occupied and settled and claimed by a succession of groups over a period of centuries. As soon as one begins to wrestle with the conflicting histories that manifest in complicated narratives of human populations, it becomes apparent that the story of Kashmir and its inhabitants is deeply polarizing and that any allusion to the ‘indigenous’ invokes the overdetermined regional political history to which Kashmir is connected. For, as Touqir Hussain has argued, ‘the story of Kashmir’ runs deep into the raison d’être of the two states of Pakistan and India.60 Recently the sensitivity towards criticism of the Modi government’s management of Kashmir has been more clearly in evidence in the Indian media, for example with the ostracization of outspoken Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) political studies professor, Nivedita Menon, for being ‘anti-national’ on account of her criticism of the impunity with which the Indian armed forces are allowed to act in Kashmir and with new eruptions of militant resistance in Kashmir itself. In an article reporting on this incident at the time, Jahnavi Sen writes that ‘wings of the ruling BJP [the Bharatiya Janata Party] have labelled senior JNU professor Nivedita Menon as “anti-national”, causing people to speak out once again against the crackdown on dissent’.61 As Sen explains, Menon made it clear in her public address that ‘the accession of Kashmir into India at the time of independence and partition was on the condition that plebiscite would be held, a plebiscite that has not happened till date’: We know that people the world over think that India is illegally occupying Kashmir [Menon] said … the map of India looks very different in international publications like Time and Newsweek, but these copies are burnt or censored and never reach us here. If people are raising slogans for
azadi, shouldn’t this be looked at in the context of India being seen as an imperialist country internationally?62 Menon’s conviction that ‘India is illegally occupying Kashmir’ (as quoted above) was cited in a complaint filed by the youth wing of the BJP, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Manch (ABVP), against Menon for ‘spewing hatred against the Indian armed forces’ and for spreading what they deemed ‘anti-nationalist’ sentiment.63 But for Menon, the effect of what she calls the ‘illegal’ occupation of Kashmir and the powers granted to the armed forces to perpetuate the state of ‘emergency’ is to sully the version of Indianness experienced by the inhabitants of Kashmir, for whom ‘India’ equates with militarism and abuse of power: ‘The face of Indian nationalism that people see in Kashmir, the northeast and parts of Chhattisgarh is the Indian army’ and, what is worse, ‘this is being done in the name of the Indian people, we are all party to this injustice’.64 Since then, renewed fighting has erupted in Kashmir, elevating the conflict’s visibility within Indian and international media. News reports offer divergent perspectives, not surprisingly, even when the events themselves are not a matter of dispute. For example, newspaper articles reported on anti-Indian sentiment in the chants of funeral goers in August 2016, but their explanations for the antagonism and their hints of culpability differ markedly: the Guardian reported from Srinagar, the district within the state of Jammu and Kashmir where Haider is set, that ‘Government forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir have shot five civilians dead and injured at least 15 others as clashes with anti-India protesters intensified’ and that at the funerals, protestors chanted ‘go India, go back’ and ‘we want freedom’.65 Al Jazeera reported on the same day that this uprising was sparked by the killing of a dissident: ‘The latest deaths have taken the toll to 63 in demonstrations in towns and villages across the disputed region, which were sparked last month by the killing of a young opposition leader, Burhan Wani.’66 An Indian newspaper, The Indian Express, concurs and reports that by the next day the death toll had increased
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to sixty-five, but this account in an Indian newspaper differs crucially by offering justification for the forceful presence of the Indian army in the region: after referring to protestors’ acts of violence, it reports on a different matter, namely, an army operation in which five ‘militants’ from ‘Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’ were killed and their apparent ‘plans to attack a high-value civil or military target on Independence Day’ in the state of Jammu and Kashmir thwarted.67 The ‘plans’ are a matter of speculation, however: ‘By the quantity and quality of weapons they were carrying, it seems these militants were planning to target some big military or civilian target.’68 The fact that the reporters’ respective allegiances are legible is not surprising, given the polarization of the conflict in the region and the partisan nature of news reporting. But a film like Haider is not a news report. By contrast, its mode of storytelling thwarts linearity or the rigid polarizations that bifurcate political or even national allegiances. Instead, the film offers a glimpse into the imagined daily lives of Kashmiri communities living in the shadow of AFSPA without taking an explicit or irreconcilable position on the conflict. Through its poetic resonances, the film invites us to bear witness to the traumatic effects of a long history of struggle over sovereignty and self-determination, a struggle that is simultaneously historical and ongoing. This is not to say the film is apolitical. Without pronouncing explicitly on its allegiances, the film allows its audience to see the outrage of unchecked militarism and to feel with those who suffer the excesses and betrayals it engenders. By invoking the language and shape of Shakespeare’s work as it does so, along with the sounds and textures of Kashmir’s particular landscape and the poetic rhythm of its ballads, Bhardwaj offers us a rich palette with which to imagine the conflict. The film closes with an extended lament drawn from the region: as the final credits roll, we hear the words of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, a Pakistani poet whom Jyotsna Singh and Abdulhamit Arvas refer to as ‘the social conscience of the sub-continent’.69 Faiz’s poem ‘Intesaab’, in this iteration set to Vishal Bhardwaj’s hauntingly
beautiful melody and sung by Rekha Bhardwaj, offers itself as a ‘dedication’ to the ‘carnival of suffering – which is my homeland’.70 Although the first line appears to establish the buoyant tone appropriate in a paean to the nation, this song of praise quickly becomes a lament for his ‘homeland’ and its anguish-ridden peoples: Let me write a song for this day! This day and the anguish of this day For this wilderness of yellowing leaves – which is my homeland For this carnival of suffering – which is my homeland The homeland, as imagined here, cannot be celebrated in the abstract or set apart from the ‘anguish’ of its peoples and the decay of its landscape: for ‘the earth is so unclean’ and ‘the shadows are so deep / That all life ebbs away like a sob, unheeded’.71 Through Faiz’s words we are invited to think of ‘the farmer’ whose animals have been stolen, the ‘heir’ whose daughter has been taken from him, ‘the Mothers / Whose children sob in the night’ and will ‘not tell their woes’.72 This pain remains shrouded in silence. As the song draws to a close our attention is drawn to the ‘students / Those seekers of the truth’, those ‘innocents … [who] came seeking light / Where they sell naught but … darkness’ and to ‘the prisoners / In whose hearts, all our yesterdays / Dawned like sparkling gems’, which are ‘now but distant stars’.73 We would be left lamenting the students and the prisoners of conscience – Hamlet’s kin – were it not for the final line. Through Faiz, Bhardwaj leaves us with one concluding image of hope: his song anticipates ‘the Heralds of the coming Dawn’. Bhardwaj’s film-making thus offers us a deeply felt imaginative journey into the personal devastation of a land beset by intractable political turmoil, drawing on multiple poetic resources as it does so. To translocate the story of Hamlet into the localized context of Kashmir – whether one thinks of it as ‘our Kashmir’ or ‘India-occupied Kashmir’ or something else altogether – is
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to confront the complex history of the region and to bear witness to its ongoing conflict and the pain that has resulted. The ‘sounds in music’ of Kashmir (as Bhardwaj puts it) do as much to invite us into an empathic relationship with a besieged Kashmir as Haider’s vain search for the ghost of his father in state bureaus and the endless postings of photographs of Kashmir’s ‘disappeared’. To speak of this complex creative encounter as the ‘indigenization’ of Shakespeare is to simplify the insoluble complexity of the film’s engagement with 1990s Kashmir and to blunt the social critique that emerges from within the ‘traditional’ elements of the film, such as Haider’s puppetry and dance in the mousetrap scene, relegating them to time long past. To render Shakespeare complicit in that diminishment is a disservice both to Shakespeare and to the creative acumen of Bhardwaj and his co-creators. Global Shakespeare has the latitude to tell new stories, offering glimpses into a more complex world and a view that is both more expansive and also acutely focused, but the field risks dulling the edge of the unfamiliar and reinscribing unwelcome hierarchies of value through tarnished critical frameworks. The reimagining of Shakespeare’s ‘stories’ on the screen, within a context as complex as Bhardwaj’s breathtaking but embattled Kashmir, takes us beyond the limitations of indigeneity into an imaginative mode that extends across borders, while engaging what is ‘here’ and ‘ours’. In its simultaneous referencing of deep history and current politics, Bhardwaj’s Haider undoes rigid timelines. It ventures beyond ‘indigenization’ and invites us to recognize the translocation of Shakespeare into a specific locale as an eclectic and politically challenging act of the imagination, by creating an unsettled landscape into which Shakespeare is invited to contribute some magic.
Shakespeare’s relationship with Africa is as old as the plays themselves. This is not because the plays made their way to Africa during the playwright’s own lifetime: despite frequent allusions to the first recorded staging of Hamlet aboard the Red Dragon in 1607 anchored off the coast of Sierra Leone, recent scholarship by Bernice Kliman has cast irrevocable doubt on the authenticity of this tale.1 The tenacity of the myth of the Red Dragon Hamlet points to the ongoing fascination of the Shakespearean world and the scholars and theatre-practitioners who populate it, with the idea of Africa. The relationship between Africa and Shakespeare can be said to begin in the plays themselves because English fascination, and anxiety, regarding Africa and the Africans who were already part of their realm by the end of the sixteenth century is reflected in the preoccupations and language of the plays. The figure of the ‘swarthy Ethiope’ is conjured in Two Gentlemen of Verona, for example, and not only as a negative point of comparison to external standards of beauty, as in a declaration by Proteus in which Julia is rendered ‘but a swarthy Ethiope’ through the comparison with ‘fair’ Silvia.2 The quality of being ‘black’, as embodied in the figure of the Ethiopian, is also a matter of perceived moral abhorrence and is applicable to words as much as ‘countenance’, so much so that in As You Like
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It, Rosalind ascribes the quality of being ‘Ethiop’ (that is, as an adjective) to iniquitous words as much as bodies, when declaiming ‘Such Ethiop words, blacker in their effect / Than in their countenance’.3 This is not to say that one need attribute to the playwright the bigotry that some of his characters exhibit. When Iago maligns Othello in incendiary images that render him more animal than human, ‘an old black ram’4 and ‘a Barbary horse’,5 the racist images emerge from Iago’s evident mischief-making and do not necessarily gain gravity, despite their catalysing effects in the world of the play itself. Still, the prevalence and the bigotry of tropes such as the ‘Ethiop’ and the ‘Barbary horse’6 point to the rhetorical purchase of an eminently malignable Africa already in discursive circulation by the time Shakespeare was producing his plays. Early modern ideas of African racial difference have a bearing on the perceived alterity of other groups, including the Irish, where skin colour is not at issue, as Kim F. Hall has argued.7 Through her analyses of a variety of cultural texts, Hall has demonstrated that the early modern discourse of ‘blackness’ is widespread and powerful, and that it ‘depend[s] on a visual schema that itself relies on an idea of African difference’.8 What we see at work in ideas coalescing around Africa and Africans in Shakespeare’s plays, then, reflects an emerging discourse shaping notions of human difference at a time when the English were imagining themselves as an expansionist nation. This emerging national consciousness is reflected in the texts of the period, for example in compilations such as Richard Hakluyt’s Principall Navigations of the English Nation,9 which helped to assert English claims in the New World and shift from the idea of England as a feudal realm to the more modern sense of England as a nation. The compilations projected a vision of England as politically coherent within its borders and ascendant beyond them and offered English readers the vicarious experience of encountering the worlds beyond their shorelines.
The fact that there are not many references to Africa in Shakespeare’s works does not minimize the weight of its signifying presence in helping to give shape to the outsider, a figure against which an idea of Englishness could take hold. Ania Loomba urges us to recognize the formative role of Shakespeare’s outsiders, that is, the figures of the Turk, the Jew and the Ethiop, which populate the margins of his plays: ‘For many years influential critics regarded such figures as mere footnotes to a theatre that was seen as predominantly European in its focus and interest. But, in fact, they help us scrutinize the very boundary between European and non-European, and see how it is constructed at a time when Europe’s interactions with other worlds were becoming increasingly complicated.’10 And so, ‘although in numerical terms there were few Turks, or Africans, or Jews in England, representations of them are crucial for understanding the culture as a whole and its changing relationship with the rest of the world’.11 The few Africans we do encounter in Shakespeare’s plays help to establish a powerful imaginary that has fuelled centuries of cultural and scholarly engagements. From the start, then, the relationship between Shakespeare and Africa is tempered with ambivalence. While there is much to celebrate, the cultural inheritance of Shakespeare’s plays across the continent is affected by his association with hegemonic Englishness and the racialized imaginary of its colonial iterations. But Shakespeare’s works have also offered opportunities to unsettle the deprecatory discourses of colonial modernity and to recognize both the partisan myths it depended upon and the resistance it encountered. At the heart of this chapter is an inquiry into the life Shakespearean drama has found since the earliest encounters between Shakespeare and Africa; for, in the four centuries since their creation, the plays have found resonances in many corners of the continent, and throughout the global South, in ways that have proved enlivening and transformative. The plays have been reanimated through their encounters with more cultures than the playwright himself could have imagined. Translocated into new contexts and reanimated
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by their idioms, Shakespeare’s dramas have found new life. This chapter on the ‘Africanization’ of Shakespeare offers an opportunity to explore the mutual resonances that Shakespeare and Africa have found, and to consider how these resonances have been exploited by theatrepractitioners in ways that confound the expectation of an antagonistic relationship shaped by histories of imperialism and colonization. For veteran South African actor and liberation activist John Kani, there are many ways in which Shakespeare is ‘relevant to us as Africans’, as he explains in The British Theatre Guide: We have a history of colonisation by the British. Through missionaries at schools, we were taught to speak good English, the Queen’s language. Why Shakespeare is relevant to us as Africans is that he tells stories of great kingdoms, great wars and battles, great love stories, stories of hatred, good vs. evil, mythology. These things make up the African culture. What makes Shakespeare’s work classic is that it still has relevance today in African society.12 Shakespeare is not synonymous with British colonization, Kani suggests. African theatre-makers have found within his works the resonances and sympathies with which to connect their own. These resonances are a product of the creative input and resourcefulness of those working with Shakespeare’s plays here and now as much as the rich potentiality of Shakespeare’s writings. Generations of Africans have made Shakespeare uniquely theirs. His work has been a resource for African writers and activists, for example in the vibrant life of Sophiatown, as Natasha Distiller has convincingly argued. In her study of the culture of the vibrant world of 1960s Sophiatown, with its music halls and writers’ associations feeding Drum magazine, Distiller describes Shakespeare’s place in building a cultural landscape within which to imagine an Africa at liberty.13
Performing ‘Africa’ on Shakespearean stages In exploring the ongoing cultural life of Shakespeare across Africa, my emphasis is not on the remarkable phenomenon of Shakespeare’s ability to travel across the expanses of time, place and human difference, but rather on the capacity of generations of cultural workers, politicians and theatrepractitioners to draw him into their world, imagining new encounters with creative resources as seemingly diverse as Hamlet’s eloquent meditations on how to exist under an illegitimate regime and the visceral effects of cowhide drumming. Shakespeare in Africa is necessarily a transformed artefact, brought to life in new ways. The relationship of influence works in both directions and beyond; that is, reimagining Shakespeare in Africa makes visible both the impact of Shakespeare as a rich resource of creative and public life when he has travelled to places beyond his imagining, and also the ways in which Shakespeare has been transformed and invigorated during his travels in Africa. It is appropriate to ask what Africa might be understood to offer Shakespeare, and what Shakespeare has offered to various parts of Africa, its leaders and the social activists who work within the world of the theatre. The discussion below will consider Shakespeare’s complex entanglements with the colonial histories and the insistence by anticolonial intellectuals, such as the Kenyan scholar Alamin Mazrui (nephew of the late African intellectual Ali Mazrui), about the need to produce challenging ‘reintepretation[s]’ of Shakespeare within Africa.14 I will also consider Shakespeare’s availability as a resource for African writers, activists and postcolonial politicians, for example in the vibrant life of Sophiatown, and in the humanist and literary associations of political figures like Julius Nyerere. An investigation into the ways in which Shakespeare has been reproduced and transformed in various African contexts over the last century
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or so promises to reward us not only with a sense of the rich possibilities invoked by his plays, but also with theoretical insights into the cultural and political contestations emerging from the global South. Many versions of what is thought of as Africa have appeared since Shakespeare was at work. Malvern van Wyk Smith reminds us that ‘the concept of “Africa” has always been a construct’.15 His study of the figuration of Africa from antiquity until the early modern period demonstrates the tenacity of the myths about the supposedly ‘dark continent’, myths that were inherited by early modern writers, compilers and cartographers. A number of recent studies have drawn attention to the rhetorical and linguistic instabilities in early modern representations of Africa and the New World. In Race and Rhetoric in the Renaissance: Barbarian Errors, for example, Ian Smith investigates the ‘erroneous’ but enduring association between Africa and barbarism, saturating centuries of language usage.16 The lingering effects of this early modern association of Africa and Africans with the quality of beastliness is identified in the work of the philosopher, Achille Mbembe, who finds that the ‘discourse on Africa is almost always deployed in the framework (or on the fringes) of a meta-text about the animal – to be exact, about the beast: its experience, its world, and its spectacle’.17 The conjuring of an idea of Africa within the world of Shakespearean theatre is an ambivalent matter, not universally to be celebrated. An Africanized Shakespeare is as likely to reproduce, uncritically, the appeal of the exotic as it is to signal new resonances of Shakespeare’s work, resonances that are apparent in an appropriation such as Welcome Msomi’s uMabatha: The Zulu Macbeth in 1960 and in its post-apartheid revival. Distiller argues that Msomi’s uMabatha participates in ‘a particular performance of “Africa” and “Africanness”, which can be traced to typical colonial discourses of African landscapes and people’.18 I am interested in the work Africa has been asked to do in productions that self-consciously
locate themselves within an African imaginary, such as the RSC/Baxter Theatre’s explicitly ‘Africanized’ production of The Tempest in 2009, which is discussed at some length below as a case study. There are undoubtedly risks, as well as benefits, in the conscious Africanization of Shakespeare. The acclaimed Shakespearean actor Sir Antony Sher articulates the spine-chillingly powerful effect of Africanization in a production of Macbeth. He describes seeing a Zulu ‘witch’ sneeze as part of an on-stage witchcraft ritual in a 1995 revival of uMabatha, the Zulu Macbeth, by its original director-deviser, Welcome Msomi. It is, he says, ‘like a cold finger stroking my spine’: Seeing the play done in this context, in a society with a real relationship to witchcraft – like Shakespeare’s society – makes me realise why ninety-nine per cent of modern British Macbeths fail. Once you’ve witnessed the ferocity and conviction of the Zulu witches, you blush at the memory of assorted British actresses in ragged shawls, prosthetic warts and Celtic accents.19 This tribute to the impact of Msomi’s production suggests that the contribution of the idea of Shakespeare to the idea of Africa works in reverse too.20 When Shakespeare is taken out of the centre and reconfigured in cultural and political contexts in the global South, he returns affirmed, enlivened and authenticated – to an extent that ‘prosthetic’ warts could not achieve.21 Sher describes a similar effect in his own production of Titus Andronicus, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and staged in South Africa in 1995, during the heady first months of democracy in South Africa. Given the early post-apartheid context, acts of brutality that seem comically out of place in modern-day Stratford suddenly make sense: Whereas the scene can be absurd and revolting elsewhere, doing the play here in South Africa, a society which has suffered decades of atrocious violence, a strange reversal
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occurs. The acts of brutality, instead of being gratuitous or extreme, seem only too familiar, and the focus turns instead on to how the characters deal with that violence and the impact of grief.22 Africa seems to offer to the Shakespearean stage new life. But what kind of Africa is being set up as inspiration here? It seems to me that the invocation of an Africa that is hideously violent, in the case of Titus, or an Africa practised in the art of forgiveness and catharsis, in the case of The Tempest, is not neutral or uninflected with cultural and political effects. A joint production of The Tempest in Cape Town and Stratford provocatively prompts the question of what happens when an unapologetic, celebratory Africa is invited into conversation with Shakespeare. This Africanized Tempest harnessed a powerful blend of creative and institutional capacity, from both North and South. The production was jointly produced (and funded) by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and Cape Town’s Baxter Theatre Company. Conceived and directed by well-known South African theatre director Janice Honeyman, it starred two internationally acclaimed actors: veteran South African actor John Kani and one of the leading actors of the RSC, Antony Sher. In reflecting on this production as a case study, I raise questions about the gains in cultural capital that come with Africanization, for Shakespeare and for as established an institution as the RSC. Honeyman’s 2009 production addressed itself boldly to South African racial history and invoked in celebratory fashion the discourse of forgiveness that had been so current in public culture in the first decade or so of democracy. Despite all that had transpired during colonialism’s brutalities, in this production an invitation to share in the sociality of ubuntu,23 with its relational approach to personhood, was extended to Shakespeare and, with him, the English canon. Translated into post-apartheid South Africa, canonical Shakespeare was brought to life and renewed, beyond what would be possible in a less innovative staging.
This Africanization of The Tempest creates for Prospero, the colonizer, an opportunity to stage a confession and to be rehumanized through the subtle but compelling invocation of the discourse of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). A post-TRC South Africa provides the field of meanings within which this production placed itself. The figure of the tyrant is given a stage (admittedly of his own making) and a hearing, TRC-style, into which to offer his halfhearted acknowledgement of wrongs perpetrated and then, following Caliban’s absolution, to re-enter civil society and take up his dukedom. It is worth reflecting on how the reversal that renders the colonial tyrant vulnerable becomes possible and how the production’s racial coding helps it to achieve this interpretative effect. For one, the chilling brutality was reserved, in this production, for the underlings – the so-called ‘masterless men’, Trinculo and Stephano, whose aspirations to join the ruling classes are manifestly absurd and given expression most articulately in the terrifying gesture of the sjambok, or whip. South African theatregoers would have recognized their aspirations as absurd because these characters were marked, racially and culturally, as coming from the serving classes in the Western Cape’s race history: that is to say, those classified as so-called ‘coloured’ in apartheid’s racial taxonomies. The South African racial classification process forced racial categories onto complex and fluid historical allegiances. The term ‘coloured’ became an all-encompassing term, rejected during the political struggle against apartheid, for people of mixed racial origin, many of whom were descendants of slaves. The production’s humorous replication of apartheid racial hierarchies made the legacy of coercion and resistance in relation to racial categories especially visible. Honeyman’s casting strategy displaced the violence of imperialist power onto those who have also been at its mercy. The humour that is accessed by the choice to play Trinculo and Stephano as Cape minstrels, or Kaapse Klopse, made all the more loosetongued through drink, turns both their ham-fisted but vicious
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treatment of Caliban and the history of slavery in South Africa itself into a source of hilarity. The Kaapse accent, the references to the characteristically local fish, snoek, the breaking into minstrel songs – ‘Gatiema, Fatiema’ – and Trinculo’s pathetic, drunken lugubriousness, along with his wit, were key sources of the immense humour in this production. The play’s racially coded logic required that the other, more respectable serving class be given a different inflection within the broad racial stratum. The wise old man, Gonzalo, and the ship’s master were presented as imam-like figures, turbaned and bespectacled (in the case of Gonzalo), their accents less broad, their demeanour more dignified. The casting of John Kani in the role of Caliban, on the other hand, had a different effect. Kani is the master of the (post-)apartheid stage, internationally recognized for his role in bringing anti-apartheid theatre (or ‘struggle theatre’, as it is popularly known) to the attention of the world. He is the Madiba of the stage. To cast him as the supposed monster, Caliban, is to invite outrage before he has spoken a word in Caliban’s voice. Caliban’s challenge to Prospero – ‘this island’s mine, by Sycorax my mother / which thou dids’t takest from me’24 – addressed a post-apartheid hermeneutic heaving with anger at decades of racial injustice. The subjugation of Kani’s elderly Caliban by the younger socalled ‘coloured’ boors was distressing. This Caliban’s inability to read the social order correctly, taking a drunken, comic fool for a god and master and offering Stephano his foot-licking subjugation, was disturbing, rather than comic. The play’s preoccupation with usurpation and abuse of power, and the righting of the wrongful exercise of power with recourse to the giving and receiving of forgiveness, was made much of in this staging. It was impossible not to read it in the light of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In the words of one UK reviewer, it ‘cannot help but remind us of the birth of the new South Africa and the pressing need for reconciliation, truth and forgiveness’.25 The audience witnessed the fierce crack of the sjambok, or leather whip, an instrument of control associated historically with the early Afrikaner farmers
and later with the apartheid security police; Caliban toyi-toyied, or danced, in protest, as another critic put it, with the dignity of a Nelson Mandela; he uttered his curses in isiXhosa, whose power was evident, but not translated, for the largely Englishspeaking audience; Ariel appealed for nkululeko – freedom from an oppressor whose victimization was rendered immediately recognizable, at least to South African audiences. In laying down his rifle, the chilling weapon of the apartheid-serving South African Defence Force, Prospero got to model the forgiveness he would shortly solicit from his wronged slave, celebrating this exercise of his ‘nobler reason’ over ‘fury’ as a ‘virtue’ and closing down the possibility of ‘vengeance’ as a legitimate choice.26 Perhaps the most significant staging innovation was the fact that Caliban remained on stage once the other players had left, to hear – indeed, to receive directly – Prospero’s address. Prospero delivers the final two lines of his epilogue’s plea as an instruction: ‘As you from crimes would pardoned be / let your indulgence set me free.’ Despite what Prospero has just told us of his lack of enforcing spirits and of his strength, which now is ‘most faint’,27 the power dynamic has not shifted: an admittedly weakened Prospero is still the primary agent. The coup lies in his ongoing ability to direct the proceedings, having sought forgiveness for what he calls his ‘faults’28 – the cruelties that are now rendered, simply, as mistakes. After the very public extension of forgiveness to his would-be assailants, comic though they are, he seeks reciprocity. The effect of this staging decision was to give life both to the partisan discourse of public forgiveness in South Africa and also to the powerful figure of Shakespeare in his uncanny capacity to speak to a radically different context, 400 years later. But in order to achieve this uncanny prescience, the production depended upon an uncritical reproduction of racial stereotypes as a source of humour and pathos, and the final resolution rendered the powerful figure of Prospero admirable and forgivable, in the mode of South Africa’s TRC. Admittedly, this staging consciously brought colonial oppression to the fore. Even so, the iconic status of Shakespeare and a
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sentimentalized and aestheticized Africa made it difficult to think critically about the relationship between Shakespeare’s play and South African political history without reproducing the colonial relations that have, for so long, structured thought and identity.
Translation and indigenization Shakespeare in Africa brings into relief the impact of the lingering legacies of apartheid, colonialist educational practices, as well as globalization. To translate Shakespeare into a here and now – to make him ‘our’ own – is to traverse daunting historical, geographical and political terrain. The Shakespeare that emerged at an earlier moment of coloniality in Africa – before the independence movements of the 1960s and 1970s – presents a more ambiguous figure, the symbol of elevated social standing, on the one hand, and humanist, liberationist values, on the other. Even where English is spoken as an official language as the legacy of English colonialism, the problem of translation emerges in post-independence engagement with Shakespeare’s work. It therefore invites consideration of the complicating effects of linguistic translation, which David Schalkwyk argues ‘betrays’ even as it ‘also recuperates, by giving new life to dead letters within it’.29 It is this apparent betrayal and the possibilities that derive from it that demand our attention. Recent scholarship calls for an acknowledgement that Shakespeare’s language, too, is always already polyglot and multiply translated, his cultural and linguistic formation never singular. For Pier Paolo Frassinelli, ‘Shakespeare comes to us already translated’.30 Indeed, one way to further ‘the project of decentring Shakespeare’ and to open up his creative legacy is to consider ‘the multilingual and creolised character of Shakespeare’s own language, and therefore the multicultural dimension that Shakespeare’s texts embody’.31 If the putative
original is understood to be less fixed, more provisional, it generates new interpretations and openness to the affinities and resonances in new cultural contexts. The translocation of Shakespeare into Africa brings this into view more clearly. A staging context which calls for visible cultural and linguistic translation makes plain the interpretative distance that in a sense all audiences are invited to traverse, through their own resourcefulness and through that of the theatremakers. A Shakespeare who has travelled beyond the borders of the English-speaking world is a transformed Shakespeare, enriched by the soil of each new place, shaped by its winds. Shakespeare in Africa invites us to think of Shakespeare beyond a familiar, Stratford-based version. And as Schalkwyk articulates it in his discussion of Uys Krige’s Twaalfde Nag, if we free ourselves to see translations ‘not as a falling off from a pristine original, but rather as an extension of Shakespeare – part of a more broadly conceived Shakespearean text confined to no single language or nation’,32 then we become able to recognize the rich inheritance that Africa has bequeathed to Shakespeare. The translation of Shakespeare into indigenous languages has produced a complex set of transformations, evident in plays such as Julius Nyerere’s Juliasi Kaizari and Mabepari wa Venisi, published during Nyerere’s tenure as President of Tanzania; the translations into seTswana by the South African intellectual Sol Plaatje of A Comedy of Errors into Diphosophoso and Julius Caesar into Dintshontsho tsa bo-Juliuse Kesara; and Afrikaans poet Uys Krige’s translation of Twelfth Night into Twaalfde Nag.33 Shakespeare becomes the site of Nyerere’s affirmation of the linguistic sophistication of Swahili and the political sovereignty of his people, in much the same way that Plaatje’s literary work has been understood. Plaatje’s engagement with Shakespeare marked a significant turn: despite the effects of chauvinistic English school education, Shakespeare in Africa in the twentieth century was not synonymous with a series of racist regimes, from the paternalistic colonial governments
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of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to the lethal racism of the apartheid state in South Africa. In West Africa, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar was reimagined as a powerful figure of Krio democracy in Thomas Decker’s Juliohs Siza. More recently, as I discussed in Chapter 2, Mauritian playwright Dev Virahsawmy refashioned Shakespeare’s plays entirely by inserting them into an Indian Ocean world. Virahsawmy’s celebration of the language and politics of creole in works such as Toufann renders Shakespeare’s world irrepressibly polyvocal. The array of translations and reworkings of Shakespeare from across the continent and its oceanic worlds signals decisively that Shakespeare was considered ‘ours’ to a time and place and to a constituency far removed from Stratford at the turn of the seventeenth century. African practitioners bring to light the possibility of forging networks of solidarity across time and space – from twentieth-century anticolonial Mauritius to early modern London, the city from which an increasingly nation-conscious England sought to engage the seemingly expanding world. Recent scholarship acknowledges the unique cultural artefact constituted by a seTswana Julius Caesar. Brian Willan argues, for example, that Plaatje’s translations involved a significant degree of revision: ‘Far from seeking to emulate Shakespeare with a literal translation, Plaatje sought rather to transform Shakespeare to his own ends, using Shakespeare to explore the linguistic riches and resources of Setswana’.34 For Distiller, Plaatje’s Diphoshoposho and Dintshontsho tsa boJuliuse Kesara are more like originals in their own right than translations. ‘Given that he translated the plays idiomatically’, Distiller argues, there is a case to be made for viewing this work as using Shakespeare as a source in much the same way Shakespeare himself relied on source material. Making his work available to those of us who do not speak seTswana would enable much more sustained engagements with how Plaatje used
Shakespeare, as well as with his plays as texts in their own rights.35 A shift in priorities in post-apartheid South African public culture and educational policy has rendered this wish as yet unrealized. With the advent of democracy and its revisions to the South African National Curriculum, Shakespeare’s position in South African schools has changed.36 In post-apartheid South Africa, Shakespeare has had to take a back seat at high school, as one of a number of choices, even in first-language English literary studies.
Shakespeare and decolonization in Africa This shift in educational policy, post-apartheid in South Africa and post-independence elsewhere on the continent, marks an appropriate change. It arguably frees Shakespeare from his place in the toolbox of English colonial power, given his preeminence within English literary studies. It creates room for the reanimation of his work as it encounters new, southerly interpretations and unravels his association with hegemonic Englishness. In her seminal study of Indian education policy in the nineteenth century, Masks of Conquest, Gauri Viswanathan has shown how anxious colonial administrators were able to use the discipline of English literary studies to produce compliant subjects.37 A similar effect was evident in colonial education in Africa. As David Johnson has argued, Shakespeare was a key part of a ‘policy of Anglicization’,38 although in reality the inculcation of Shakespeare was uneven. Willan has described the enthusiasm for Shakespeare, along with Biblical studies, as somewhat surprising partners in the missionary schools of the nineteenth century.39
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This enthusiasm for Shakespeare was especially true, as Willan has shown, for the clerics from the Church of England, many of them from the privately educated upper classes, who felt committed to including Shakespeare on their syllabi. The local church also enthusiastically espoused Shakespeare, most significantly through the first African cleric, Gabriel David, whose love of Shakespeare resulted in a performance of Twelfth Night in 1874, reported on by Plaatje as having been performed in ‘English and Secoana’, a local dialect of seTswana.40 Willan attributes this presence of Shakespeare in the mission schools of the nineteenth century to the influence of Gabriel David’s tenure under Nathaniel Merriman, at the time Archdeacon, at an institution established for the training of African future teachers and clergy. Merriman had delivered a series of lectures on Shakespeare in Grahamstown and inspired performances, such as the one by Gabriel David, which Willan notes was attended by Plaatje. Plaatje is credited with securing the place of Shakespeare in southern Africa during the latter half of the nineteenth century, even as he used Shakespeare to bring into view seTswanan experience of political adversity. The complexity of Shakespeare’s revered language became a mechanism to affirm the elevated capacities of local languages and the sophistication of modern African public cultural life. Alamin Mazrui has argued that Julius Nyerere’s translation of Shakespeare into Swahili becomes an opportunity to show off the rich linguistic and idiomatic textures of Swahili, which benefits from the cultural capital of the playwright whose preeminence, within the English-speaking world and beyond, has been unrivalled.41 But this bespeaks a complex relationship to Shakespeare and what he is said to represent, and enacts a reverence that Shakespeare would probably have found perplexing. In post-independence Africa an unreflective deference to Shakespeare sits awkwardly, although political leaders continue to include quotations in their speeches. Daniel Roux notes the predilection for quoting from Shakespeare’s tragedies in the early years of post-apartheid South Africa, a preference that
became ‘even more pronounced’ in the public addresses of the post-1994 presidents: ‘Mandela and his successor, Thabo Mbeki, referenced Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, Macbeth and Richard III’.42 These allusions are generally offered out of context and often without registering the sense of irony or nuance of the excerpted piece, as Roux argues: ‘Shakespeare’s mixture of styles, in fact, facilitates this kind of decontextualisation …. Shakespeare’s portability across time and space is assisted by the distinctive polyvocality of his dramatic style’.43 This decontextualization of the Shakespearean text produces unreliable sound bites which reflect more on the speaker’s preoccupations and interests than on the plays themselves. Shakespeare’s pull is thus not a simple matter, and not only attributable to a kind of false conscientiousness. Distiller argues, for example, that ‘there is a long tradition of South Africans appropriating Shakespeare, which goes back to the colonial mission schools. The nature of that appropriation is complex, and involves socio-political interactions and aspirations’.44 Undoubtedly the work, too, with the resonance and visibility of its language, makes itself available for many different kinds of articulations. The difficulty emerges when it is treated as uniquely expressive in a global cultural hierarchy. Ironically, postcolonial Shakespeare studies has at times been guilty of this, as Harry Garuba has argued: it is all too tempting to view Shakespeare as the ‘privileged site for thinking about non-Western subjectivities’.45 The celebration of Shakespeare as the ultimate vehicle for articulating the self in the complex worlds of modernday Africa risks reinscribing, albeit inadvertently, as in the RSC/ Baxter production of The Tempest, the cultural hierarchies against which African independence movements have militated. The late African intellectual Ali Mazrui was willing to affirm the standing of Shakespeare’s work within a postcolonial Africa, even as he acknowledged its troubled association with the history of British colonization; for him, at least, Shakespeare is not synonymous with ideological Englishness: ‘Shakespeare has never been under the cloud of rejection in Africa, though the language in which he wrote has known its
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moments of disrepute among cultural nationalists in Africa.’46 But Mazrui makes this assertion just before the dramatic debate of the early 1970s which, arguably, brought about precisely the changes to curricular choices and cultural sensibilities that made it necessary for Shakespeare’s preeminence to recede, making way for the flourishing of African literature. The publishing success of Heinemann’s African Writers Series and the new generation of writing it circulated were perhaps a direct consequence. As an educational press, Heinemann was in some way dependent on the English literature curriculum, which until the early 1970s was formulated in Cambridge. James Currey explains the predicament he and his colleagues on the African Writers Series faced in the early days, trying to operate as ‘an educational company publishing books for an educational system that did not have an established place for African writers’.47 Whereas in the 1950s and 1960s the ‘examination boards were still based in Cambridge, London and Durham’, in ‘the heady years of independence new examination boards were set up’, whose ‘examiners delighted in raiding the African Writers Series to prescribe texts’.48 Currey’s experience points to the close relationship between institutionalized education, the publishing industry, and the ideological battle between canonical English literature and African nationalism. Shakespeare would seem to have been squarely on the wrong side in this battle for liberation. This is the case, as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o tells it (although other African writers, politicians and theatre-makers have felt an affinity with Shakespeare’s work, as we will see below). When describing his Leavisite education in colonial Kenya, and its association of ‘great’ English literature with a higher moral order, Ngũgĩ exclaims at how ‘many seminars we spent on detecting this moral significance in every paragraph, in every word, even in Shakespeare’s full stops and commas’.49 The influence of this very particular moment of literary studies is perhaps not surprising, he argues, given the importation of English literary studies through the satellite campuses of the University of London established in Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone,
Kenya and Tanzania after the Second World War in the 1950s: ‘The structures of the literary studies evolved in the colonial schools and universities had continued well into independence era completely unaffected by any winds of cultural change.’50 Change, when it came, took the form of an intellectual revolution within the universities, when academics at the University of Nairobi issued a statement about the Eurocentric bias of the English literature curriculum in October 1968. Shortly thereafter, a much larger gathering of academics expressed their support for the Africanization of the curriculum, at the 1969 Nairobi Conference of English and Literature Departments of the Universities of East and Central Africa.51 In the 1974 conference on ‘Teaching African literature in Kenyan Schools’, conference delegates deplored the dominance of Western cultural models in Africa: Ngũgĩ writes that ‘Africa uncritically imbibed values that were alien and had no immediate relevance to her people. Thus was the richness of Africa’s cultural heritage degraded, and her people labelled as primitive and savage’.52 The ‘hell let loose by the conference’53 and the delegates’ fiercely articulated rejection of Western cultural dominance brought this debate to further prominence, moving it into the public domain and into the schools sector, where up until then, ‘our students were still being subjected to alien cultural values’.54 For those educators, a ‘sound educational policy is one which enables students to study the culture and environment of their own society first’.55 While calls for the decolonization of the curriculum catalysed the widespread removal of British literature in favour of African literature in schools and universities, the one exception for many years was Shakespeare. For Ngũgĩ, this meant that little had changed. Writing just a few years after Ngũgĩ’s essay, Laurence Wright would agree, at least with Ngũgĩ’s recognition that Shakespeare continued to command a privileged place in the curricula of African schools, although for Wright the inclusion of Shakespeare after independence is salutary: ‘Despite growing pressure from the volume of African literature to be included, an examination of post-independence school syllabi
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set for the Certificate of Education (Ordinary and Advanced levels) in both West and East Africa (from 1964–1990), shows that Shakespeare is still firmly in place.’56 Wright’s careful research allows him to make a case for the ongoing ‘impact of Shakespeare on African literary creation’.57 Other accounts of the burgeoning of African literature in the post-independence period, such as those by Phaswane Mpe and Gareth Griffiths, do not credit Shakespeare to the same degree.58 However, for an earlier generation of scholars and statesmen in Africa, the impact of Shakespeare on African cultural (and even political) life was significant. The value ascribed to Shakespeare is affirmed by the younger Mazrui, Alamin, writing in 1996, where he echoes his uncle’s language in describing the surprisingly good fortune of Shakespeare in the Kenyan school syllabus, post-independence: ‘By 1985, Shakespeare remained the only non-African artist in the English-language literature syllabus for high schools who had not fallen under the cloud of rejection.’59 But, as Mazrui explains, even Shakespeare was discarded in the face of African nationalism of the post-independence period, until President Daniel Arap Moi (president from 1978 to 2002) intervened to have Romeo and Juliet reinstated into the national examination curriculum. For Mazrui, the reinstatement of Shakespeare is in keeping with Moi’s willingness to promote a Western form of Christianity as an integral part of his particular form of African nationalism: his advocacy on behalf of Christianity and Shakespeare points to the ‘dependency syndrome that has bedeviled African leadership over the past few decades’.60 The example of South Africa has a different timeframe and more complex set of political relations, however. While South Africa shares elements of the legacy of British colonialism with Kenya, the struggle against apartheid and its brutal entrenchment of Afrikaner nationalism released Shakespeare, to a certain extent, from an association with oppression and delayed the debate about a decolonized or Africanized curriculum until the twenty-first century, when educators and policymakers have implemented thorough revisions, and Shakespeare’s position at
the symbolic centre of English cultural chauvinism has rendered his place on the syllabi of a supposedly new South Africa more tenuous. For example, Distiller discusses the demand in 2001 by a group of educators that Shakespeare be removed from school curricula on account of what were understood to be the racist, patriarchal and violent elements of the prescribed works,61 which led to heated public debate and a new set of policy decisions, making Shakespearean drama an alternative choice rather than a compulsory, examinable text for high school students.62 Distiller is concerned to acknowledge the many Shakespeares that have come into being in Africa; that is to say, the ‘immense and significant investments of all kinds in the construction of the figure of Shakespeare’63 and the ways Shakespeare has forged ‘an African history’.64 Following the student movements that swept across South African university campuses in the years since the #RhodesMustFall protests in 2015, the imperative to decolonize the curriculum has put the position of Shakespeare under scrutiny; it has also helped to make room for noncanonical, contemporary engagements with Shakespeare, complicating the space Shakespeare occupies in the university and in public culture. In what ways, one might ask, has Shakespeare become reimagined and taken up anew as ‘ours’ to a variety of publics across the continent? Scholarly interventions such as Distiller’s have established a place for seemingly marginal Shakespeares, within both criticism and theatre practice, and have dislodged the now simplistic association of Shakespeare with coloniality. In this book, too, I aim to contribute to recognition of the surprising ways in which Shakespeare has been a resource for a more resistant cultural politics across the globe.
Postcolonial affinities and transcolonial solidarity Despite the resistances at play in post-apartheid public culture and the rise in visibility of new literatures, Shakespeare has also
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figured as an ally in oppositional politics for several African intellectuals over the course of the last century. A narrative has emerged in recent years suggesting that freedom fighters under apartheid felt an affinity with Shakespeare. An older generation of African nationalists – the community of antiapartheid freedom fighters incarcerated on Robben Island – seems to have been drawn to Shakespeare’s works, or at least the ideas about a ‘universal’ humanity he came to represent; the circulation of prisoner Sonny Venkatrathnam’s copy of The Alexander Text of the Complete Works of Shakespeare, disguised as the Bible, has recently garnered critical attention, with the publication of monographs by Ashwin Desai and David Schalkwyk.65 Schalkwyk’s Hamlet’s Dreams: The Robben Island Shakespeare helps us imagine the lives of the Robben Island political prisoners through their marks of presence and affinity; that is, in the signatures Venkatrathnam invited them to append to selected passages of the Complete Works. The idea that Shakespeare’s value was felt even in the space of the Robben Island prison among inmates now celebrated as figures of liberty and personal courage, and by Nelson Mandela himself, is compelling: Shakespeare seems to gain a new prescience. But in his moving account of the circulation of Shakespeare’s Complete Works and the inmates’ endorsements of individual passages, Schalkwyk does not make a claim for Shakespeare’s genius, or putative ‘universalism’ or relevance, in being able to speak into even the dry land of apartheid South Africa. Schalkwyk describes himself as ‘a Shakespearean averse to the exaggeration of Shakespeare’s influence or importance’ but, even so, he is able to find compelling affinities between a deeply felt Shakespeare and the narratives of detention under apartheid.66 Shakespeare’s words become a device for imagining our way into the lives of the Robben Island prisoners, whose signatures attest to some sense of imagined solidarity, across an ocean and across centuries of distance. It is perhaps not surprising that, given the special status of Shakespeare in the community of activists most closely
associated with the liberation movement in South Africa, Shakespeare’s resonance has been felt in the post-apartheid context. There is a long history to this sense of affiliation, for despite Shakespeare’s central position within the English colonial canon – and perhaps also because of it, as I have argued in this chapter – Shakespeare was available as a language for self-expression for an earlier generation of African nationalists. Distiller argues that ‘Plaatje used Shakespeare to make a claim for his, and his people’s, already-proven inclusion in the realm of imperial citizenry and the modernity it claimed to stand for’.67 This deployment of Shakespeare as the mechanism of a form of self-assertion in a racist cultural milieu is an ambivalent matter for it risks reiterating the standing not so much of the translator-appropriator-impersonator but of the supposed original. Distiller recognizes that it is a challenge for scholarship to acknowledge ‘the cultural appropriations, underminings, assertions, that African uses of Shakespeare comprise’ as well as the ‘poetic resources’ of Shakespeare’s texts, without also reproducing ‘the paternalistic and patriarchal discourse of Shakespeare’s putative universal humanity’.68 Certainly, Plaatje’s translations of Shakespeare into seTswana, like Nyerere’s translations into Swahili, were a vehicle to affirm his own culture’s deep resonances, to demonstrate an affinity between seTswanan culture and the world of Shakespeare and to affirm the modern sensibilities of his people. Newer generations of African playwrights have tended to produce translations that rewrite and appropriate and transform, working alongside Shakespeare to create a new work that undoes the polarized alternatives of the idealization of Shakespeare, on the one hand, or repudiation, on the other. A little more recently, Juliohs Siza, the translation of Julius Caesar into Krio by Sierra Leonean playwright Thomas Decker, offers an example of a further undoing of that polarity. Published just three years after independence, it represents an ‘accomplishment’, according to Tcho Mbaimba Caulker, for its audacity in asserting ‘a sort of linguistic authority by means of a Krio appropriation and translation’.69 At the same time, it does not constitute a rejection
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of Western theatre forms, Caulker argues, but an attempt at integration and the development, ultimately, of an ‘African independent theatre’.70 The use of Krio – a language that has evolved from the multiple influences and traditions at play in Sierra Leone, and a language that is neither European nor strictly speaking indigenous, although it is now ‘the dominant language of everyday life’ in Sierra Leone – creates the conditions for a ‘linguistic connection’ across perceived ‘ethnic boundaries’.71 From within this space of multiplicity something new and endemic to its time and place is able to emerge. The creative and critical latitude of contemporary engagements paradoxically enhances Shakespeare’s significance, but this is a matter of mutual generation. His ongoing and evolving cultural presence in Africa speaks to the exciting renewal that is possible when he ceases to be thought of as the privileged route to creative and humanist affirmation and when he becomes one of many potentially rich experiences of theatre from exciting new writers and theatre-makers. The multiple Shakespeares in evidence across Africa continue to open up new registers within which to explore human experience, but they also call for a critical openness that can take us beyond the binarisms that tend to shape cultural studies. The affinities contemporary cultural workers and intellectuals have felt with the liberatory impulses within Shakespeare’s writings have contributed to the emergence of a more multi-faceted, polyvocal and indeed pluralized Shakespeare. Simultaneously in sympathy and in tension with Shakespeare, new works have helped to dislodge what for figures like Ngũgĩ has been his association with hegemonic Englishness and the racism of colonial modernity. Shakespeare’s wanderings in contemporary Africa thus draw attention to the need for new critical frameworks so that scholars of culture might look afresh at the powerful creative innovations emerging from the global South, a context of renewal that may be able to unravel the bifurcated logic of veneration and resistance that has tended to structure the field and bring into view, instead, the more nuanced cultural disruptions at play.
5 Diasporic disruptions
Contemporary adaptations have found resonances within Shakespeare’s work to invite us to reflect on the struggle of the migrant. At various moments, in various ways, Shakespeare’s plays have offered to contemporary theatremakers opportunities to imagine afresh the borderlines between an ‘us’ and a ‘them’, where categories of belonging are tested, and home is shown to be elusive, unstable and sometimes violently insecure. These adaptations do not privilege the perspective of the comfortably homed; that is to say, those who would be in a position to view the newcomer as ‘immigrant’, an outsider who has moved into the spaces they already occupy. The works invite us to imagine the vulnerabilities of the refugee – the seeker of refuge, the one who has been displaced, who struggles to find welcome. Attunement to diaspora and its displacements may enable the kind of interpretative work that is called for when grappling with the capacity of Shakespeare’s writings to venture across borders, and back again. Diaspora offers a vocabulary and a framework with which to recognize both the vulnerabilities of displaced and disempowered immigrant communities, and the disruptive possibilities of creative works that unsettle cultural hegemony. It also offers a language with which we might understand Shakespeare differently, approaching the works from the perspective of the displaced, and perhaps encountering there an unmoored Shakespeare, not tethered to
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familiar inheritances and entrenched cultural capital. In this chapter I consider the manner in which the drama of Shylock’s sense of justice has been marshalled to tell a new story of misplaced hostility in a reworking of The Merchant of Venice that gives expression to the struggles and conflicts within a diasporic urban community. Contemporary playwright Shishir Kurup reimagines Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice to explore the instability and volatility of existence in a world rendered multiply diverse through diasporic displacements, and to imagine a future that can accommodate multiple affiliative connections. Simultaneously in sympathy and in tension with Shakespeare, the new work probes the struggles that have accompanied diasporic mobilities and the global inequalities that follow in their wake. Shishir Kurup’s new play was first performed by the Chicago-based Silk Road Theatre Company in 2007 and set in a South Asian community near Venice Beach in Los Angeles. The contemporary register of the play is signalled in its title, the Merchant on Venice, through the subtle change of preposition in the title (from ‘of’ to ‘on’).1 In 2015 the play is then reimagined for the South Asian community of Wembley in contemporary London as The Merchant of Wembley when staged at the Cockpit Theatre in London in October 2015, that is to say in ‘the here and now’ of ‘today’s multi-cultural London’, as the production materials explain.2 Drawing on ‘the many different sounds of the South Asian Diaspora as well as the polyglot crackle of London’, the play becomes a meditation on the attachments, vulnerabilities and aggravations between diasporic communities in the cosmopolitan cities of the North.3 It invites us to recognize the tenuousness of belonging and the instability of identity in a world where migrations and displacements have rendered the politics of citizenship and belonging fraught. In Kurup’s play, as one critic put it, ‘minority-on-minority conflict creates layers of cultural dissonance both intriguing … and disturbing’.4 In the sparring between characters, however, the vulnerabilities underpinning these conflicts come into
view, vulnerabilities that are exacerbated by globalization’s effects on inequality. This work of creative theatre-making, in sympathy with Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, offers us an imaginative experience of the complexities and struggles emerging from life in what cultural theorists have described as the ‘multicultural’, heterogeneous urban spaces of the North. Of particular interest here is theatre’s capacity to make vivid the inequalities and vulnerabilities that linger in the aftermath of colonialism following the independence movements of the last century, and the impact on everyday life of the forces of globalization of the twenty-first century. Diasporic studies offer a lexicon with which to probe a world rendered more complicated through the increased mobilities of people who have been displaced through the disruptions of civil war, regional instability, economic uncertainty or the opportunities that have come with globalization. This chapter makes a case for the significance of diaspora for Global Shakespeare, in particular, by reflecting on a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice in tandem with cultural theory. What is it that performance makes visible, we might ask, where cultural theory has come up against the contradictions between the lived experience of migrants in the multiply diverse, unequal urban spaces of the North and the affective attachment to an idea of the homeland and its ethnic identification? Given its capacity to invite its audiences into the visceral experience of diaspora’s displacements, theatremaking in the global South has much to offer cultural theory in its critique of the perilous operations of ethnicity in a global context where economic and racial exclusions render global migrants vulnerable to poverty and marginalization. The imaginative space of the theatre – ephemeral, contingent, at play – has the potential to unsettle the bifurcated logic that structures so much of cultural theory and its dependence on abstractions such as ‘self’ versus ‘other’, and ‘familiar’ versus ‘strange’. What Kurup’s play allows us to see is that the displacement of the migrant is not in opposition to a settled sense of belonging, and that
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the idealized ‘home’ of the migrant’s imagination may operate as fantasy, bolstering identification in a context of multidirectional civic and racial alienation. The discourse of diaspora works with a certain duality of home and away, but it also creates an optic where the migrant can be recognized as simultaneously in a state of belonging and unbelonging, where ‘home’ is elusive or impermanent and compromised. Attachment to an imagined, far-off, idealized homeland signals a demonstrable vulnerability within the dislocated habitations of the present; the two senses of ‘home’ operate at the same time and in tension with each other. The oppositional logic is merely a product of a flawed discursive structure that assumes the privilege of an uncomplicated relationship to habitation and identity, in the singular. For, in truth, Kurup’s characters are simultaneously displaced and at home, rooted through their claim to an ethnicity that is nonetheless contingent and uncertain for a new generation that has found new ways to navigate the complexity of their everyday urban spaces. As a work of intercultural theatre, Kurup’s play invites us to recognize the discomfiting position of the unhomed; that is to say, the inhabitant of the ‘inbetween’ spaces that proliferate with the increased mobilities of twenty-first-century globalization and the displacements that have followed in the aftermath of colonization. In an early moment of global scholarly interest in multiculturalism, Rustom Bharucha offered a groundbreaking critique of the ‘cultural colonialism’ and ‘eurocentric and orientalist premises’ of intercultural theatre.5 He was particularly critical of its skewed emphasis on ‘adaptations of non-western performance traditions in Euro-American intercultural practices’ and the servicing of Western audiences.6 Bharucha’s challenge – to recognize the ‘discriminations’7 that infuse the seemingly liberatory tenets of interculturalism – calls attention to the ways intercultural theory unconsciously replicates the privileges that are born of global power imbalances. Bharucha thinks of it as an ‘irony’ that his critique of interculturalism emerges from within his location in India, a
place from which he has ‘continued to theorise the somewhat nebulous, dispersed, if not diffused terrain of predominantly Euro-American intercultural practices’.8 I would suggest, however, that it is precisely his location in India that equips him to offer the world his critical reflections on the appropriative impulses operating within cultural studies, in an example of what Jean and John Comaroff anticipate when they make a case for the value of theorizing from the political ‘undersides’ of a world that historically has privileged the perspectives of the hegemonic cultures of the North. The idea of ‘intercultural theatre’ has struggled to shake off the pejorative inferences of Western curiosity about what is ‘foreign’. For Patrice Pavis, the concept of the intercultural is not so much a response to the imperative ‘to understand the foreign’ but a mechanism that is as likely as not to reinforce hierarchies of social difference.9 What passes as ‘intercultural’ theatre may have the effect of entrenching, rather than unsettling, cultural privilege. He therefore proposes a critical revision to the notion of ‘intercultural’ theatre: as a theorist of performance, Pavis disavows the vocabulary that would identify the degree of ‘borrowing’ and disturbs the relationship between a putative ‘original’ and its ‘appropriation’. In this approach, a towering cultural icon such as Shakespeare becomes one of many creative resources, dislodged from its unassailable position as ‘source’. This dislodging of critical delineations manifests, too, in Pavis’s exploration of discomfiting social relations writ large in the visceral space of the theatre. He demonstrates how the palpable presence of actor and audience brings to life, on stage, the uncertain figuration between self and other, engaged in a dance of shifting identifications. Pavis thus reminds us that the work of performance, which is necessarily ephemeral, dynamic and affective, goes beyond the abstractions of cultural theory by bringing into view the complex adjudications that occur in the interstices of everyday life; that is, the spaces in between. For Global Shakespeare there is much critical work to do in response to the sometimes surprising material of contemporary
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stagings which engage the affecting and disruptive elements of Shakespeare’s work and, in doing so, allow us to imagine the ‘in between’ or ‘intercultural’ space. The new and complicating stories that emerge from the ‘undersides’ of Shakespeare-inperformance underscore the vulnerabilities of the many for whom ‘home’ has been made insecure and identity made fraught in the face of migrancy. They also give insight into the surprising solidarities, and liberatory perspectives on identity, that emerge in these ‘in between’ spaces, as we will see when the discussion turns to Kurup’s play, below. But first I would like to consider some of the elements of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice with which playwrights like Kurup have been in creative dialogue, as they probe the perceived threat of the maligned and feared ‘outsider’.10
Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice lays bare early modern England’s anxieties about the presence of ‘outsiders’ whose economic licentiousness is both increasingly necessary and a blight, rendering them unassimilable and threatening, in much the way that the threatening alterity of the new world was a source of both fascination and fear. Kim Hall explains the undertow of anxiety represented by Shylock: ‘The associations with eating and starvation link outsiders, particularly Shylock, with one of the most compelling tropes of colonial discourse: the cannibal’.11 ‘Economic exchanges with an outsider like Shylock open up Venice to sexual and commercial intercourse with strangers; this breach brings with it the threat of economic upheaval and foreign invasion’.12 This insight hinges on a paradox, however: the play’s title is ambiguous and hypothetical. It does not name the ‘Merchant of Venice’ whose embedded position within Venice is asserted through the genitive case. The preposition ‘of’ signals a state of belonging that would not have been implied by the formulation, a
merchant in Venice.13 Though maligned as ‘the Jew’, Shylock’s trade in debt is indispensable to Antonio’s merchantry, the trader whose insider status is more secure, despite the malaise that plagues him from the start. But Shylock’s alterity is contingent on the marginal position he occupies as an outsider to Catholicism, an alterity that is marked in his speech, dress and devotional practices. His insistence on the settlement of his bond – his right to extract his pound of flesh – and what Hall has recognized as the spectre of cannibalistic alterity it raises form a mirror of sorts, confronting Venetian society with the inhumanity that lies at the heart of the economic and social enterprise upon which they all rely. Then, as now, the vocabularies of ethnicity and migrancy offer themselves as useful scapegoats with which to split off what is most abhorrent within, and here contemporary performances have found rich residues with which to explore twenty-firstcentury currents of alienation. Ruben Espinosa and David Ruiter’s collection of essays on Shakespeare and Immigration examines the phenomenon of the ‘alien’ or ‘foreigner’ in Shakespeare’s work and his ‘seeming call to treat the stranger with dignity’.14 Espinosa and Ruiter’s collection offers a timely set of reflections on the implications for this moment of Shakespeare practice, given ‘the urgency of our time’.15 The contributors to Shakespeare and Immigration demonstrate how the current focus on the ‘problem’ of the migrant in a precarious, unsafe world compels us to think more carefully about Shakespeare’s engagement with alterity and displacement, and its impact on what counts as ‘home’ and ‘belonging’. Both have been made all the more uncertain by the ‘immigrant’s cultural valence and his or her ability to define and shape the environment made new by his or her presence’.16 The exclusions that continue to operate within the worlds of supposedly elevated culture come into view when one is able to reflect on the experience of Shakespeare of Mexican immigrants to the United States. Outside Mexico the encounter with Shakespeare that Mexican Americans are likely to experience, Espinosa argues, is fraught: students will almost certainly encounter Shakespearean texts
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as a compulsory component of the curriculum and one that carries elevated cultural capital, particularly when accompanied by a performance of language use that is invariably racialized and associated with hegemonic Englishness, even in the United States. Espinosa asks us to reflect on both the exclusions experienced by immigrant students confronted by canonical Shakespeare and, importantly, the transformative potential of immigrant perspectives, which may generate compelling new insights for the field: ‘What is it that Mexican American students are missing when it comes to Shakespeare? More important, what is it that they are seeing?’17 The immigrant perspective, as Espinosa imagines it here, is a gift to Shakespeare studies, in that it makes it impossible to rest in the false security of a single, supposedly universalist reading: it dislodges any lingering association between Shakespeare and hegemonic Englishness and allows the works to be marshalled creatively to tell new stories and to respond to an avowedly more complex, more diverse world.
Shishir Kurup’s Merchant on Venice Shishir Kurup’s Merchant on Venice finds a new way to interpret the troubling confrontation that lies at the heart of Shakespeare’s play. While Merchant on Venice echoes core elements of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, including the iambic metre, the wordplay and the battle for dignity and justice by an Islamic Shylock figure, named Sharuk, it sets the scene not only for the acknowledgement of diasporic alienation, but also for the self-critique (for audience and characters alike) that builds multidirectional affinities. Kurup’s characters find a way to imagine an alternative to rigid, exclusionary ethnicities. For theatre critic Barbara Vitello, Kurup’s treatment of ethnicity goes beyond what we witness in Shakespeare’s play:
It’s Kavita [a Nerissa figure, friend to the character styled on Shakespeare’s Portia] who finally stops the madness with an eloquent plea for tolerance and forgiveness that recognizes Hindu complicity in perpetuating prejudice and hatred (something Shakespeare’s Christians never admit). It’s in that speech – a quiet but powerful reminder that we can preserve our humanity if we wish to – that Kurup solves Shakespeare’s problem.18 While Vitello’s impulse to treat Kurup’s alternative ending as a solution to ‘Shakespeare’s problem’ seems somewhat glib, the play’s appeal to those who witness the discomfiting hostilities on stage to acknowledge their complicity and to choose a path of empathy offers a compelling intervention into the public discourse surrounding identity politics that trades on crude ethnicities, as I argue in greater detail below. In Kurup’s play this mutual antagonism between communities already marginalized from mainstream American cultural hegemony is shown to be destructive and misplaced. While Sharuk’s rage is undoubtedly directed against the Hindi character, Devender, for the humiliations to which he has been subjected, his eloquent speeches are uncompromising in alerting a wider audience to their shared experiences of marginality: Devender, he charges, has ‘slandered [him] in print, threatened [his] livelihood, dismissed [his] practices, blasphemed [his] beliefs’, but in truth the two opponents are kin, rather than strangers: And for what exactly? I’m Muslim? A Bohra? Our skins share the same hue! Our families the same village! […] Our rites of cleansing rival your own ritual ablutions. Our call to prayer is as much a wail for God’s attention as your bellringing pujas […] When the monsoons rage we’re subject to the floods, when the drought drives the burning brush the same fiery terror; when the unpredictable earth quakes, the same uncontrollable shiver and when the communal riots rage the same clamor for shelter.19
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While the prayer life, ritual ablutions and culinary practices do not suggest any particular location, much of the everyday existence that Sharuk invokes here is not embedded within their current location of Venice Boulevard, Culver City, in Los Angeles County, but within the imagined familial origin of South Asia, with the monsoons, droughts, brush fires, earthquakes and ‘communal riots’ that render both Hindi and Muslim life precarious. Sharuk’s appeals to a shared vulnerability (monsoons, drought, fires, quakes, political unrest) and his insistence on their congruent cultural and religious practices (culinary habits, ritual ablutions, prayers) do not descend into the comfort of sentimentality, despite his conjuring of a homeland. He is alert to the destructive potential of the fierce commitment to communal and familial cohesion and the resultant tendency to respond aggressively that, he says, characterizes their respective communities and their shared imperative to create security for themselves and their families: We drive our children with the same blind ambition […] and respond with the same alacrity when a boy calls for one of our daughters. We share so much in common that when our worlds collide we share the same response, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.20 The sense of irony in recognizing that what ultimately demonstrates their kinship is precisely what threatens their (co)existence dissipates with Sharuk’s turmoil: he learns of his daughter Noori’s betrayal and of her transformation into what the play calls a ‘punk-goth’, clad in ‘torn denim and leather’, with body piercings and cropped hair, dyed a shocking pink. ‘This vampire that walks in her place is the spawn of Shaitan’, he declares, before going on to promise vengeance as if for a murdered child.21 Noori’s transformation is not the simple traversal from Judaism to the Catholicism of the Venetian merchant classes that Shakespeare’s Jessica makes when eloping with Lorenzo;
Sharuk’s daughter has chosen the more liberated life available to a new generation who are free to identify with various forms of youth subculture and reject the restrictions and gendered norms that religious piety imposes. This is the source of Sharuk’s wound. The communities defined by their religious affiliations are thus pitted not so much against each other as against a contemporary world which refuses to offer unquestioning obedience to both the ancient pathways of religious piety and the authoritarian patriarchs presiding over their tightly controlled offspring. In fact, Noori’s beloved, Armando, does not self-identify as religious at all; he is described as an ‘aspiring Latino musician’ in the cast of characters list and, what is more, he does not identify Noori in terms of a narrowly ethnic or religious terminology at all: ‘There is almost no typology of Islam as an evil enemy, as we see in [Shakespeare’s] Lorenzo and Jessica. Armando sees Noori as South Asian, not as Muslim, whereas the Jewishness of Jessica and her father Shylock is paramount.’22 The vision of a new inclusive existence, as imagined by Armando, is not assimilationist, however. It does not sweep aside the particularities of distinct cultural inheritances; rather, his vision for a shared future with Noori is peppered with the piquant flavours of the cuisines which infuse their daily lives (‘jalapeno y garam masala’). The language with which he weaves together the syntax affirming their connection is his own Spanish (‘y’ appears as often as ‘and’). Armando is able to imagine their future in the children whom he can speak of as ‘ninitos’, or little people: We’ll have ninitos brown and beautiful Who’ll speak the language of both east and west Of pre-Columbia y Indus Valley Of jalapeno y garam masala Of Fateh Ali Khan y Santana Of sub-commandante Marcos y Gandhi, Of brown-skinned love tanned by a sun that seems
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To shine with more intensity and passion Upon the lands whose latitudes we share23 Armando’s vision celebrates ‘brown-skinned love’ and the affiliative connection across latitudes upon which the sun shines intensively. This is not an uncritical perspective on interculturalism that wishes away the injustices of racist histories. On the contrary, Armando’s affirmation also identifies clearly the legacies of colonial dispossession. But it reaches into a deeper history before colonial nomenclatures took hold (‘pre-Columbia y Indus Valley’) and celebrates figures associated with decolonial revolutionary movements: that is, Mahatma Gandhi, who led the movement against British colonial rule in India before independence in 1947, and ‘sub-commandante Marcos’, a reference to Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente, the Mexican revolutionary leader of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation during the 1994 uprising in response to the threat to indigenous communities’ land rights.24 The struggles of each affiliative group (identified wryly as ‘tribe’ by Shiva, immediately following Sharuk’s diatribe against Noori, but most often identified by religious tradition) form an echo across what would otherwise be recognized only as fierce divides. But the resemblances identified in Sharuk’s speech (they ‘share so much in common’) do not amount to an assertion of universal humanity, so much as the recognition of shared vulnerability. And however fiercely South Asian political discourse depends upon oppositional and confrontational language, at least as it is characterized in the sharp exchanges between Kurup’s characters, Sharuk’s speech recognizes the shared geopolitical history of the Hindi and Islamic peoples of South Asia and its diaspora. Perhaps more startling is the play’s insistence that this history and the identifications that are entangled within it do not support the assumption of a fundamental divide between ‘home’ and the diaspora: when the representative of the South Asian Business Union (SABU) who presides over Sharuk’s trial
seeks to begin the proceedings by making Puja, he explains that the ‘Puja is a way of honouring / Our roots and our customs back at home’.25 But Sharuk scoffs at his invocation of ‘roots’. Instead, he challenges the SABU representatives for their treatment of those who are identified by their alterity and marginality: And yet the test that makes the mettle of The culture is its treatment of minorities […] The soundness of the state rests on the health And wealth of its most underprivileged; Whose voiceless rage often directs itself Inward and sows the seeds of self-hatred, who, Nevertheless, when pushed too far, explode With violence of such barbarity, That the majority then, hayseed-like, Scratching their heads, declaim, ‘How can this be? See, they are sub-human as we surmised And well deserve the treatment they receive.’26 Sharuk’s speech is a retort to the court’s uncritical adoption of the self-justifying hegemony of ‘the majority’ (who, in the context of this courtroom, are the Hindu judges and those aligned with Devender): ‘The majority speaks for the whole.’27 It functions as a reminder that in their adopted country the discourse of ‘minority’ versus ‘majority’ is more likely to be invoked by the overwhelming majority who view them as ‘subhuman’. It is Sharuk, therefore, who challenges the court’s uncritical invocation of an idea of ‘home’ from the perspective of those who are marginal or invisible. He draws a clear link between the ill-treatment and disempowerment of those who are legible within a given cultural hegemony as ‘marginal’ and the ‘violence’ of their eruptions, however much it might be dismissed as ‘barbarity’.28 He rejects the court’s appeal to his sense of mercy by drawing attention to the court’s apathy in response to a shocking list of brutalities inflicted on Muslims –
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the rape of Muslim women in Serbian camps, and the murder of girls in Chechnya and of Muslim boys in Bombay and in Palestine. His question in response to the challenge from Devender’s friend, Jitender (a Bassanio figure), that the source of anti-Muslim hatred is not the religious practices but acts of terror (the transformation of ‘airplanes into missiles’) is hard-hitting in its insistence on shared culpability: for ‘what distinguishes a plane that fires / A missile from one that’s deployed as one?’29 In the equivalences he establishes through this rhetorical question, the pejorative label of ‘terrorist’ applies as much to the US military’s acts of war, that is, firing missiles from on high, as it does to a suicide bomber. In the context of American cultural and economic dominance, globally, and Los Angeles, specifically, the two communities at the heart of this play share a position of marginality, however ‘multicultural’ Venice Beach may have become (and, equally, Wembley in London in the second iteration of the play in 2015). As we witness, for Kurup’s characters, their immigrant experience registers in their bodies and speech, and in the tenuousness of their sense of belonging and unstable right of residency. The older characters, in particular, find shelter within the displacement and harshness of their multicultural urban existence, by laying claim to the anchor of an imagined homeland, which becomes a bulwark of sorts, regardless of the possibility of return. Édouard Glissant affirms the attachment to a place of putative ‘origin’ in this way: We remain viscerally attached to the origins of the histories of our particular communities, our cultures, peoples, or nations. And surely we are right to maintain these attachments, since no one lives suspended in air, and since we must give a voice to our sense of place. But I also must put this place of mine in relation to all the places of the world.30 The difficulty laid bare by Kurup’s play, however, is the fraught nature of attachment to a rigidly defined identity category in a world of uneven social and economic power and multiple
displacements, particularly when this closes off the possibility of empathy across the affiliative divides. We witness a new generation’s capacity to forge attachments and claim a sense of belonging in the more open spaces in between narrowly defined identity categories. We witness, too, the duplicities of American ‘multiculturalism’ which, in the experience of diasporic communities, does not necessarily enable a new sense of rootedness and security, given the precariousness of life on the margins of powerful Western democracies and the increasing influence of generalized anti-immigrant sentiment on government policy in these contexts. This vulnerability, and the lack of protection afforded by citizenship, is painfully evident in the terms with which the conflict in Kurup’s play unfolds: in one key example, after Sharuk has threatened the members of the court with exposure to ‘the IRS’ (the Inland Revenue Service) of their failure ‘to report to Aunt and Uncle Sam’, the SABU court in turn threatens Sharuk with exposure to the ‘DHS, NSA and FBI’ (that is to say, the three most powerful governmental authorities with the power to threaten the security of undocumented migrants: the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Association and the Federal Bureau of Investigation). The SABU court’s question – ‘So what do you think Feds will do when they see a Crazed Muslim whose green card lapsed months ago?’ – becomes the pivotal moment, when Sharuk’s adversaries are able to confront him with the Islamophobia and power of the American state so that his clout as complainant suddenly dissipates. Kurup’s play thus allows the characters (and their audiences, potentially) to recognize the cruelties caused by hegemonic identity positions (in this case Americanness) and the government systems undergirding this, along with the machinery of war. The critical lens of diaspora exposes the failure of the mythic ideal of the supposed ‘melting pot’, in the context of a United States of America capable of electing a leader as rabidly antiimmigration as Donald Trump, with his fantasy of the Mexican border wall, his repeated attempts to establish a ‘Muslim ban’
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curtailing the issuing of visas from largely Muslim countries and the stunning lack of empathy evident in his administration’s initial determination to implement a so-called ‘zero tolerance’ policy by separating children from parents who attempt to enter the country, even legally as asylum seekers. Diasporic discourse also helps to give critical attention to the myth of British ‘decency’ and ‘liberalism’, in an age when an admittedly narrow majority voted for the UK to leave the European Union in order to control, among other things, their borders. To be an immigrant in this context is to be the target of a particularly public form of suspicion and state-endorsed bigotry that depends upon corrosive notions of ethnicity. The possibility Kurup’s play imagines for an alternative social order does not repudiate ethnicity altogether, however. It does not completely dissolve the identifications upon which many of the characters rely but proposes new underpinnings for connection, belonging and, crucially, empathy across difference. In particular, the play’s ending offers an unexpected appeal to empathy, imagined not as the dissolution of cultural difference, but as an outworking of values. While these values derive from Hindu devotional practice, they enable empathic connection that is powerful enough to cut through the antagonisms that are born of cultural difference. Kavita, a character with perhaps the least social clout of those identifying as Hindi, interprets Hindu scripture to assert the radical claim that ‘at the core of our Hindu soul … is inscribed … Tat Tvam Asi. […] You are that! Or … I am that!’ Pointing by turns to members of the audience, then to Devender and finally to Sharuk, she declares, ‘I am not just “I”, but I … am that!’ Even though she self-identifies as Hindu, her speech, along with its bodily demonstration, is a call to practise empathic identification across perceived boundaries, and to ‘acknowledge God, hiding, twinkling, behind every eye, every breath, every sigh’.31 As a call, ultimately, for compassion towards Sharuk, in particular, Kavita’s appeal is for mutual recognition and for the empathy that will flow from that. This is not about the bestowal of mercy from on high, as Kurup has
explained: ‘We think of mercy as … outdated. Implicitly it says that there is someone above handing down mercy, like a king, or a god. Instead [Kavita] is just making her plea.’32 To do battle from within the enclaves of ethnicity, imagined here through the corporeal terms ‘flesh’ and ‘blood’, is to risk causing injury so catastrophic it ultimately rebounds, causing harm to the aggressor: as Kavita puts it, all too often ‘we return to what we know. Blood … and flesh. And we are tearing at this poor man’s flesh. […] But … it’s … only our own flesh we tear. It’s only our own blood we smell. Only our own soul we besmirch.’33 Kavita’s speech demonstrates the ambivalence that surrounds ethnicity: her Hindu practice is the source of her capacity for humanity but the aggression that derives from overidentifying with the body is capable of the greatest destruction. At a time when anti-immigrant sentiment has become such an open part of public discourse in so many Western democracies, rendering racial diversity and non-hegemonic cultural practices hyper-visible, diasporic communities in the West have become exposed to multiple forms of violence, seen and unseen. Identification with a consolidated diasporic community might be said to offer a certain protection and relief when confronted by the exclusionary logics of racialized nationalisms. However, what this play makes visible is that the appeal to ‘ethnicity’ is an ambivalent matter and that what might be celebrated as ‘multiculturalism’ does not necessarily resolve conflict or the precariousness that many immigrants are exposed to in the global North. In considering the capacity of diasporic creative work to unsettle and disrupt appeals to ‘ethnicity’ and ‘multiculturalism’, I turn now to a discussion of these contested ideas.
Ethnicity ‘under erasure’ The impact of increased mobilities across the world makes it difficult to speak of cultures in monolithic, singular terms with any integrity, except perhaps to acknowledge the deep
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affiliative attachments they generate and to contest cultural chauvinism. Stuart Hall in the 1990s began to recuperate for black experience the idea of ‘ethnicity’ as that which, he insisted, was ‘not stabilized in Nature’ but available to be appropriated from dominant discourses and ‘decoupled from the violence of the state’.34 For Hall, ‘ethnicity’ could be marshalled to signal identifications that are ‘grounded in difference as a means of disavowing the realities of racism’.35 This is, in part, because this ‘new’ sense of ‘ethnicity’ acknowledged the significance of ‘history, language and culture in the construction of subjectivity and identity’.36 Even so, by the 2000s, Hall is compelled to clarify that ‘ethnicity’, like ‘race’, can only ever be used ‘under erasure’, in a gesture that is simultaneously an invocation and a disavowal.37 The appeal to a putative ethnicity does not contradict the inexorable, multidirectional difference within categories of belonging. By drawing attention to the endless complexity of ‘multicultural’ and ‘diasporic’ societies, creative works like Merchant on Venice make it difficult to sustain the fiction of nationalist homogeneity in the urban spaces of the West. They also expose the nostalgia that lies at the heart of discourses surrounding ethnicity. This nostalgia has contributed to the rise in racist nationalisms increasingly visible within mainstream politics. For Hall, the visibility of the ‘margins in the centre’ operates as ‘a “transruptive … force” within the political and social institution of western states and societies’, productively unsettling the false certainties of the dominant.38 What Hall has in mind is the cosmopolitan and racially diverse urban spaces associated with old world European empires, but in truth cities like London have been far from homogenous for centuries: this is demonstrated, inter alia, in Queen Elizabeth’s notorious proclamations of 1596 and 1601 in which she denounced the ‘great numbers of negars and Blackamoores’ whose labour had already become relied upon in the English economy, signalling her antipathy towards blackness, as early modern scholars have noted.39
In his study of black and Asian London, titled London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined a City, Sukhdev Sandhu is concerned to expose as myth the idea of English historical homogeneity. He does so not only by ‘highlight[ing] the presence of dark-skinned people in bygone London’ but also by ‘tell[ing] the story of the black and Asian people who have told stories about black and Asian London from the eighteenth century to the present day’,40 and this in a context of racist antipathy: Sandhu finds ample evidence to argue that the queen’s proclamations reflect an acute awareness of the presence of Africans whose ‘visibility far exceeded their numerical presence’.41 He aims to alert us to the fact that the British capital has long since been a multiply diverse city and the home of black and Asian Londoners who have inhabited and laid claim to the city as home for centuries. But to manage such diversity, English public culture has required complex adjudications and negotiations that the ameliorating idea of the ‘multicultural’ or ‘cosmopolitan’ metropolis does not fully acknowledge. We would do well, therefore, to ask how cultural theory might best reflect the dislocations, as well as the claims to a sense of belonging in the diasporic spaces of the evolving, multiply diverse urban landscapes of the North. What kind of vocabulary would be useful here, as we consider the cultural work taking place on twenty-first-century stages, particularly in exploring the contested claims to place and identity in a world rendered more complex by the mobilities of this age? It is not clear that the once vaunted descriptors of the ‘multicultural’ or ‘cosmopolitan’, or indeed the ‘postcolonial’ spaces of the global North are adequate to the task. Hall usefully distinguishes between the adjective ‘multi- cultural’ and the notion of ‘multiculturalism’ which, imagined in the singular, operates as a doctrine – a system of thought or set of policies that emerge out of the ‘problems of diversity and multiplicity’, as a way to make sense of and manage these complications.42 Elsewhere he is more explicit
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in casting aspersions on the contexts within which forms of multiculturalism tend to operate: the ‘reality is that … multiculturalism and racism proceed hand in hand’.43 By contrast, multicultural societies are not only evidently diverse, by definition; they are also diverse in multiple ways. In Hall’s searing analysis of the operations of multiculturalism, however, the seeming totality of ‘multiculturalism’ as a concept is recast as a ‘deeply contested idea’ that, in truth, takes substantively different forms, from the radically disruptive to the more conservative and assimilationist, where cultural diversity is appropriated in service of hegemonic cultures. As a result, he is able to identify what remains potentially useful about multiculturalism as a prism from which to view the complexities of a postcolonial world; that is, a world that is still shaped by colonialism’s economic and social legacy: In the wake of the dismantling of the old empires, many new multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation-states were created. However, they continue to reflect their prior conditions of existence under colonialism. These new states are relatively weak, economically, and militarily … They remain dominated by the imperatives of the early independence nationalist movements. They govern populations with a variety of different ethnic, cultural or religious traditions. The indigenous cultures, dislocated if not destroyed by colonialism, are not inclusive enough to provide the basis for a new national or civic culture. These difficulties are compounded by extensive poverty and underdevelopment, in the context of deepening global inequality and an unregulated neo-liberal economic world order. Increasingly, crises in these societies assume a multi-cultural or ethnicized form.44 Flawed though the idea of the ‘multi-cultural’ might be, in this 2001 essay on what he calls ‘The Multi-Cultural Question’, Hall affirms the possibility that the lens of the ‘multi-cultural’ allows us to recognize what is most troubling about the inequities of a postcolonial existence, where lingering racisms
and deepening inequalities become obscured by the seemingly laudatory sign of ‘diversity’. And yet just a few years later in a post-9/11 world, writing about the ‘Divided City’ of London, Hall repudiates his earlier faith in the promise of the multicultural lens: At the time, despite the many evident tensions of modern city life, it was plausible to believe that the contemporary metropolitan city – cities like my own home, London – might be able to offer the model of a workable form of ethnic inter-culture, predicated on a practical cosmopolitanism. The outlook now, four years and a ‘war on terror’ later, is much less optimistic.45 Hall’s sense of foreboding was prescient: little more than a decade later his home city is faced with the disturbing prospect of rigid borders and economic protectionism, and the antiimmigrationist vehemence of its pro-Brexit countrypeople. Despite having disavowed the possibility of any idealism multiculturalism might seem to hold, however, and despite having offered a clear-sighted critique of the new forms of discrimination in evidence in the spaces of poverty and segregation in the divided cities of the North in the wake of globalization, Hall insists on repeating what he describes as the ‘multi-cultural question’ in response to ‘the new “global” conditions’: What are the chances that we can construct in our cities shared, diverse, just, more inclusive, and egalitarian forms of common life, guaranteeing the full rights of democratic citizenship and participation to all on the basis of equality, whilst respecting the differences that inevitably come about when peoples of different religions, cultures, histories, languages, and traditions are obliged to live together in the same shared space? Can they do so without falling apart – socially, spatially, politically – into warring and embattled enclaves?46
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Hall’s vision seems to rest on the hope that identity politics in the face of diasporic mobilities can address the precariousness of life as an immigrant, in part by naming clearly and making visible a diversity that has a disruptive impact on spaces of cultural dominance. Finding a language with which to make difference visible, without locking it into rigid and pejorative categorizations, can help to establish ‘egalitarian forms of common life’, provided it does not fuel the impulse for those marked somehow as ‘other’ to retreat into ‘embattled enclaves’. But as compelling as Hall’s ideal of an egalitarian and connected ‘common life’ in the cosmopolitan cities of the North would appear to be, the difficulty with this mode of articulation is that it does not necessarily address itself to social injustice and economic disempowerment.
The value of diasporic discourse for Shakespeare studies While the critical discourse of diaspora offers a framework through which to recognize the dynamics at work in a world rendered more complex through the new mobilities, it does not necessarily clarify relations of power. Arif Dirlik recognizes the ‘undeniable appeal’ of diasporic discourse and its efficacy in ‘deconstructing claims to national cultural homogeneity’, and yet he cautions that this ‘critical appeal’ may also lead to ‘new forms of cultural domination, manipulation, and commodification’, when new elites are able to secure their class interests with reference to diasporic identifications.47 It is the ‘ethnicization and racialization of politics’ that concern Dirlik, and the veil it casts over economic injustices.48 Diasporic discourse is potentially complicit in that it offers a set of terms and categories that are open to exploitation, where terms like ‘cultural difference’ and ‘ethnicity’ become code for race. Of particular concern to this discussion is the extent to which the Shakespeare industry, too, and in particular Global Shakespeare, is susceptible to this uncritical commodification of difference.
Diasporic consciousness thus does not necessarily provide ready answers to the dubious operations of class interests and social injustice; indeed, it may exacerbate race-based exclusions, as Dirlik has argued: ‘The new consciousness of diaspora and diasporic identity, cutting across national boundaries, is at least one significant factor in this racialization of politics.’49 The refugee crises of the last five years have rendered this all the more complex and more pressing, as have the alarming manifestations of anti-immigration discourse and startling Islamophobia within mainstream politics. This offers a more urgent and compelling context within which to engage the preoccupations of Shakespeare’s plays and those of the theatremakers who have worked creatively with the problem of the ‘outsider’ in Shakespeare’s work, whether through provocative stagings of his plays or through crafting new works that repurpose a familiar cultural form for a new moment, allowing the old to speak to the new, and vice versa, in perhaps surprising ways. Kurup’s play cannily invokes but then displaces Shylock’s story in order to probe the multiple displacements of the modern-day migrant in a globalized world where the inequalities and inequities at play across the world take hold within the uneven economies of the North. It demonstrates how Shakespearean adaptation can help to bring into view the vulnerabilities that attend decolonization and the uneven flows of global capital. It has made visible some of the ways in which diasporic communities are made disproportionally vulnerable by unyielding poverty and by the capacity of powerful nations to perpetuate spurious taxonomies of racialized citizenship and to make war, or sponsor war, in the name of cultural difference.
6 Afterword: Insurgent Cosmopolitanism in the South
Bold and inventive performance has exploited the capacity for subversion in Shakespeare’s work, complicating the cultural hegemony associated with twenty-first-century Shakespeare. The chapters in this book have sought to demonstrate the impact of the imaginative theatre practice emerging from locations that remain marginalized in the aftermath of colonization and from the spaces of racialized alterity and economic disempowerment within the global North. I have argued that recognition of the challenging theatre practice in the global South does not simply offer a way to enrich and expand an unchanged archive. It does not only represent a form of hospitality to the marginalized. Rather, theatre practice in the global South contributes profoundly to the renewal of Shakespeare’s work and standing in a world that is itself undergoing radical and unsettling change in its geopolitical and cultural formations. It has the potential to transform the foundation of our critical practice. The increasingly visible proliferation of multiple versions of the works – whether one considers them adaptations, appropriations or refashionings of whatever kind – has
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complicated Shakespeare’s relationship to white, anglophile cultures. This is both salutary and germane, given the extent of Shakespeare’s travels, the inventiveness of the works and their new interpreters, and their capacity to kindle forms of affinity and connection across vasts differences in time and place. The practice of translocation is not a peripheral element of Shakespeare theatre practice. It is precisely the interplay between local contexts and the longstanding creative legacy of Shakespearean theatre-making that prompts its renewal. The latitude to reimagine has always already been a feature of Shakespeare in performance, and it lies at the heart of the creative practice that for centuries has been associated with Shakespeare’s stage. I have argued throughout this book that the reimaginings of Shakespeare’s dramas across the global South are not tangential to Shakespearean studies. They do not simply represent colourful interpretations and fill some ‘gaps’ in an archive of cultural transmission. Rather, they offer the field important, if provocative, new perspectives from the shadow of colonial modernity, whether the translocation situates the work within the global South or within the pockets of vulnerability in the global North. More than anything else, it is Shakespeare’s travels beyond the English-speaking world that have provided significant inspiration for his ongoing renewal, as Alfredo Modenessi has argued: ‘For all the reverence that he may command anywhere, it is precisely outside the Englishspeaking world that Shakespeare thrives from being in the company of many “others” who perform and transform his texts – not only writers, directors and players but translators, dramaturgs and audiences.’1 The contribution of nontraditional and non-Anglophone contexts of adaptation are especially significant precisely because of their more open relationship to hegemonic Englishness. In Mexico, for example, because of its political history, Shakespeare is freed from an association with colonization. Writing about a satirical Mexican distillation of Shakespeare’s works performed as ‘The Complete Works of
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William Shakespeare (Abridged)’, Modenessi argues that in ‘Mexico, Shakespeare is seldom associated with hegemony or imperialism – those categories rather apply to other kinds of global brands, mostly from the USA, the imperative reference for the locative “south of the border”’.2 Rather, Shakespeare tends to be thought of as ‘either an indifferent given of “high culture” or an artist of the greatest worth, regardless of his national origin’.3 The Mexican context suggests that in those parts of the world where Shakespeare is not associated with the history of colonization or with coloniality’s lingering present, there is a measure of freedom from the warring impulses either to resist Shakespearean theatre or to make claims of ‘relevance’ on behalf of Shakespeare. Theatre practitioners are at greater liberty to make of Shakespeare what they will. Modenessi describes the form of the adaptation as an opportunity for ‘locally meaningful, mostly political, satire’ to prosper, in an example where ‘a tradition of admiration … combines with an equally old inclination to cultural poaching and cannibalization as legitimate tactics of self-invention’.4
Consuming Shakespeare in the South In writing of the ‘inclination to … cannibalization’, Modenessi makes oblique reference to cultural anthropophagy, the cultural phenomenon that came into being with the publication of the Manifesto Antropófago, or the Cannibalist Manifesto in 1928 by Brazilian modernist poet Oswald de Andrade. Appropriate to its moment, the Manifesto functions as a riposte to coloniality as it continued to structure sociality in Brazil in the twentieth century.5 The Manifesto asserts with relish the right of Brazilians to consume the cultural forms they have encountered and to make them their own entirely, a mode of cultural appropriation that has powerful resonance for Global Shakespeare. Cultural anthropophagy offers a compelling example of the insurgent possibilities of southern theory.
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The spectre of cannibalistic consumption represents a provocative confrontation with the ‘cannibal’, the figure with which explorers and colonialists peddled their accounts of new world encounters and justified their genocidal conquests.6 De Andrade’s resistance is directed at the worst of colonialism’s imports and forms of control: ‘It is against the plague of the so-called educated Christian peoples that we act’ and ‘Against clothed oppressive social reality’.7 The Manifesto also engages in a form of discursive insurgency, as part of its strategy. It disavows the triumphalist language of the conquistadors, reframing conquest as flight from a degenerate civilization: ‘It wasn’t crusaders who came. It was fugitives from a civilisation we are now eating, for we are strong and vengeful like the Jabuti.’8 It conceives of its resistance in radical terms, as obliteration through consumption. But for all its performative contrariness in celebrating vengeance as feasting on human flesh, the Manifesto imagines affiliative connection (‘Filiation’)9 and, indeed, ‘love’ as the outcome: the ‘cannibal instinct’, De Andrade declares, ‘moves from carnal to elective and creates friendship. Affective, love.’10 Despite what it may seem, this is not a contradiction, but is in keeping with the Amazonian cosmology on which it is based.11 The Cannibalist Manifesto conceives of consumption of the enemy as an act of honour, the incorporation, quite literally, of what is most excellent in the enemy into the very heart of the symbolic self: ‘Absorption of the sacred enemy. That he may be transformed into a totem.’12 Taking the other into the self also dissolves the dichotomy that identifies a ‘self’ in opposition to an ‘other’. This is related to what Eduardo Viveiros de Castro calls the ‘cannibal cogito’ in Amerindian cosmologies: ‘In Amazonia, what is intended in ritual exocannibalism is incorporation of the subjecthood of a hypersubjectified enemy. The intent is not … desubjectification.’13 This is a radical departure from an oppositional model: ‘In order to become a full subject … the killer must be able to see himself as the enemy sees him …
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in order to become “himself” or, rather a “myself”.’ What is more, Viveiros de Castro explains, ‘the archetypal idiom of enmity, in Amazonia, is affinity’.14 The language of the Cannibalist Manifesto, with its taboo-breaking provocations, does not only signal outand-out resistance to colonialist diminishments, therefore. It also establishes a strategy – absorption into the self – for the radical transformation of objectification of any kind. It confronts us with theoretical revisionism of the kind Jean and John Comaroff point to when they recognize the capacity of theory from the global South to create the impetus and the critical methodologies for intellectual movements across the world as they endeavour to move beyond the cultural chauvinism that stains too many cornerstone works within Western intellectual history. Polemical, satirical, contrarian though it may be, the Cannibalist Manifesto offers a powerfully revisionist framework for cultural studies more broadly. It collapses the division between the ‘indigenous’ and the ‘cosmopolitan’, which so much of Western intellectual tradition has treated as wholly separate, and ‘challenges the dualities civilization/ barbarism, modern/primitive, and original/derivative, which had informed the construction of Brazilian culture since the days of the colony’.15 As De Andrade conceives of it, Brazilian cultural identity can be both modern and indigenous, simultaneously. Its decidedly modernist, eclectic and subversive cosmopolitanism derives from a rich encounter between practices that are grounded in the soil of that land, connected to a moment before the violent impositions of colonialism, as well as a mode of contemporaneity that is revolutionary and boundary breaking, always in the process of reinvention. In this sense, the Manifesto becomes a celebration of what was and what is still coming into being, in a hypermodernity that shows up the staid and partisan cultural forms that are the legacy of colonialism. While the Cannibalist Manifesto gives expression to its author’s modernist poetics, its reach also extends well beyond literary culture in Brazil. Leslie Bary explains that
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the Cannibalist Manifesto has ‘been widely cited in Brazil as a paradigm for the creation of a modern and cosmopolitan, but still authentically national cultural identity’16 and Stephen Berg declares ‘Oswald de Andrade’s legacy to be arguably the richest of any single figure in Brazilian modernism’.17 But it may be that its most significant impact is less in its proposal of a new basis for an assertive Brazilian national identity than in its sabotage of the hierarchical taxonomies of colonial modernity more broadly.18 Brazilian scholar João Cezar de Castro Rocha, contributing to a special issue devoted to the reassessment of the impact of cultural anthropophagy as an intellectual movement, has proposed that the Cannibalist Manifesto’s preoccupation with the ‘false problem of national identity’ is not especially useful or interesting but that, instead, the Manifesto offers Brazilian scholars ‘the unique intellectual opportunity of discussing themes and articulating theories which go beyond their frontiers’.19 The Manifesto also has implications for cultural studies more widely and particular resonance for Global Shakespeare, with its playful, provocative echo of Hamlet right at the start: ‘Tupi or not tupi that is the question’ appears in English in the original version, as translator Stephen Berg points out, drawing attention to Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy.20 Global Shakespeare scholars have explored this resonance between Shakespearean adaptation and cultural anthropophagy: in Eating Shakespeare: Cultural Anthropophagy as Global Methodology, a collection of essays scheduled to appear within the Arden Shakespeare series Global Shakespeare Inverted on the same date as this book, a number of scholars working within Global Shakespeare reflect on the ways cultural anthropophagy potentially alters the landscape of Global Shakespeare studies.21 Anne Sophie Refskou, one of the editors and a contributor to the forthcoming collection, argues elsewhere that cultural anthropophogy, or cultural cannibalism, is not a metaphor but a practice. As such, it offers Global Shakespeare a methodology for ‘practicing a new kind of “Shakespeare” based on Cultural Anthropophagy’s
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fluid relation between self and Other’ and, as the movement contends, ‘the self is never fully defined or delimited in relation to the Other, but always in the process of becoming part of it’.22 This mode of thought has potentially rich implications for travelling Shakespeares and for the works that have become infused with the textures and sounds gathered from across infinitely varied contexts.
Towards a critical practice of the lateral view Cultural practice across the global South has done a great deal to make visible the entanglements of coloniality and cultural production. Contemporary artists have found compelling new ways to think about the historical legacy of slavery and colonial dispossession and the ongoing struggles against disempowerment that haunt so many contexts in the South. The works call for a new openness and an attunement to unfamiliar struggles, as they manifest creatively in the performances of a new moment. As theatre-makers venture beyond the ‘intercultural’ or ‘multicultural’ and address themselves to new contexts engendered by the post-diasporic world, theatremaking will make new theoretical demands on the field. The issue which confronts scholarship concerned with the displacements occasioned by both new and historical global mobilities has to do with the availability of Shakespeare’s work to be refashioned to address itself to contexts unimaginably distinct from Elizabethan Stratford. This is not so much a question of the malleability of the plays. Rather, it is a question about the impact, for cultural theory and for performance studies, of the complex creative palette of the new works as they marshal elements of Shakespeare’s plays to tell new stories, in a world that continues to be shaped by the afterlife of colonialism and the invidious forces of globalization. It is
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a question, too, about the capacity of our critical lexicon to fathom this impact. The crucial point for scholarship is not to take Shakespeare’s ongoing presence in the global South as just cause to reiterate the dominant partner in the dyad, whether it be ‘creole Shakespeare’, for example, or ‘indigenous Shakespeare’ or ‘Shakespeare in Africa’. The richness of nontraditional interpretations of Shakespeare that are embedded in the soil of a different land does not affirm, simplistically, Shakespeare’s supposed universalism or mythical relevance, which seemed to be the logical conclusion to draw at an earlier moment in the emergence of Global Shakespeare, when Shakespeare Quarterly editor John Andrews made his pioneering interventions in the 1970s and helped to establish the idea of a more ‘global’ Shakespeare.23 While Shakespeare scholarship in more recent decades has definitively repudiated the idea of Shakespeare as ‘universal’, an attachment to the elevated cultural status of Shakespeare’s work is harder to relinquish without a clearsighted recognition of the racialized nature of the exclusivity that forms part of his legacy, as Ayanna Thompson insists.24 Thompson’s scholarship has powerfully demonstrated, however, that contemporary theatre-makers attuned to racial injustice have been able to invite audiences to bear witness to the workings of racism and the discourses that disempower and brutalize. Contemporary adaptations in the global South take this imperative in directions that go beyond what can be imagined within the privileged and, admittedly, contested spaces of hegemonic Englishness, the spaces that for centuries have claimed Shakespeare as their own. The vivid reimaginings of Shakespeare from across the global South have not only contributed to the invigoration of Shakespeare but have also helped to transform the work that Shakespeare theatre practice is understood to be engaged in. Theatre in the global South also invites fresh perspectives on Shakespeare practice within more traditional settings where the view from the margins has tended to be obscured.
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Having crossed over multiple borders in time and space, travelling Shakespeare has been transformed and set aglow in a process of mutual enlivening – ‘affiliation’, to use Edward Said’s term. Said explains his vision of the transformation of ‘traveling texts’ in this way: ‘To speak here only of borrowing and adaptation is not adequate. There is in particular an intellectual, and perhaps moral, community of a remarkable kind, affiliation in the deepest and most interesting sense of the word’.25 The invitation to Shakespearean scholars, similarly, is to trace the process of invigoration that has accompanied Shakespeare’s travels and to reflect on the significance of its resonances beyond a limited field without slipping into uncritical veneration of cultural forms rooted in the epistemologies of colonial modernity. The global South offers a prism through which to recognize affiliation without foreclosing questions of difference and without depending upon the dichotomies that make intellectual history and modernity the preserve of the northern parts of the world. Most important, the vantage point it privileges has the potential to bring into view the vulnerabilities and dispossessions that continue to haunt twenty-first-century mobilities across an unequal world. Theatre-making in the global South is well positioned to make visible the view from below, as it were, and to bring to critical attention the perspective of the world’s disempowered and dispossessed. This is not only the result of the ways it enriches Shakespeare studies. Its significance also derives from the way it puts pressure on the binaries implicit in much of cultural studies more broadly. That is to say, theatremaking in the global South helps to establish a more open conception of cultural politics and identificatory practices, in particular through its capacity to reach across purported differences and evoke affiliative connections that go beyond prevailing explanatory frameworks. This calls for a critical practice that enables nuanced and ‘ex-centric’ scholarship,26 open to the lateral view and attuned to the complexity and inequalities of the globalized world. Theatre-making in the global South invites the field of Global Shakespeare studies to
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go beyond familiar orthodoxies and to recognize the South’s capacity for surprising affinities and solidarities across oceans of difference in time and space. It is precisely these affinities that make it possible for Shakespeare’s inventiveness to be a part of the enchanting subversions at play in contemporary theatre’s global currents.
NOTES Chapter 1 1 Richard Eden, ‘Epistle’, in A Treatyse of the Newe India (London: Edward Sutton, 1555), sig. aa.vi.r–v. 2 Richard Blome, ‘Epistle’, in Cosmography and Geography in Two Parts, ed. Bernhardus Varenius, trans. Richard Blome (London: S. Rycroft, 1682), sig. A2r. 3 See Sandra Young, The Early Modern Global South in Print: Textual Form and the Production of Human Difference as Knowledge (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015). 4 Arif Dirlik, Global Modernity: Modernity in the Age of Global Capitalism (New York: Routledge, 2016), 150. 5 Ibid., 138. 6 Ibid., 139. 7 Ibid., 147. 8 The special issue is devoted to exploring ‘the institutional, disciplinary, and geopolitical possibilities of the “global south” as an emergent conceptual apparatus’. See Caroline Levander and Walter Mignolo, ‘Introduction: The Global South and World Dis/Order’, The Global South 5, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 1–11, esp. 1. 9 Levander and Mignolo, ‘The Global South and World Dis/ Order’, 1. 10 Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff, Theory from the South: Or, How Euro-America Is Evolving toward Africa (Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2012). 11 Ibid., 3. 12 Ibid., 3. 13 Ibid., 6–7.
14 Arif Dirlik, ‘Global South: Predicament and Promise’, The Global South 1, no. 1 (2007): 12–23; esp. 13. 15 Ibid., 15–16. 16 Ibid., 16. 17 Comaroff and Comaroff, Theory from the South, 3. 18 Ibid., 7. 19 Laura Estill, ‘Digital Bibliography and Global Shakespeare’, Scholarly and Research Communication 5, no. 4 (2014): 1. 20 Ania Loomba, ‘Review of Remapping the Mediterranean World in Early Modern English Writings/Speaking of the Moor: From Alcazar to Othello’, Shakespeare Studies 38 (2010): 269–270. 21 Comaroff and Comaroff, Theory from the South, 6. 22 Putnam is quoted by Mary Hyde, ‘The Shakespeare Association of America to the Folger Shakespeare Library on Its 40th Anniversary 23 April 1972’, Shakespeare Quarterly 23, no. 2 (Spring 1972): 219–225, esp. 221. 23 Mary Hyde reports that the Folgers ‘made eleven journeys to Stratford-upon-Avon and travelled through the British Isles to find important Shakespeare material’. See Hyde, ‘Shakespeare Association of America’, 220. 24 Henry Folger initially thought the collection belonged in Stratford-upon-Avon, but then changed his mind: ‘I finally concluded to give it to Washington for I am an American’. Quoted in Hyde, ‘Shakespeare Association of America’, 222. 25 In particular, I thank Georgianna Ziegler, Louis B. Thalheimer Associate Librarian and Head of Reference, Folger Shakespeare Library, for generously introducing me to these materials. 26 John Andrews, Letter to John Francis Lane, 4 January 1978, Folger Institute Archives. 27 Ibid. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid. 30 John Andrews, ‘Ecumenical Shakespeare’, Shakespeare Quarterly 29, no. 2 (1978): 131. 31 Ibid., 131. 32 Ibid.
33 Ibid. 34 Ibid. 35 Comaroff and Comaroff, Theory from the South, 3. 36 Alexa Huang, ‘Global Shakespeares as Methodology’, Shakespeare 9, no. 3 (2013): 273. 37 Laura Walls, ‘Cosmopolitics and the Radical Pastoral: A Conversation with Lawrence Buell, Hsuan Hsu, Anthony Lioi, and Paul Outka’, Journal of Ecocriticism 3, no. 2 (2011): 59. 38 Huang, ‘Global Shakespeares as Methodology’, 279. 39 For example, see Sonia Massai, ‘Defining Local Shakespeares’, in World-wide Shakespeares: Local Appropriations in Film and Performance, ed. Sonia Massai (London and New York: Routledge, 2005); and Martin Orkin, Local Shakespeares: Proximations and Power (New York: Routledge, 2005). 40 Denis Cosgrove, Apollo’s Eye: A Cartographic Genealogy of the Earth in the Western Imagination (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 7. 41 Ibid., 7–8. 42 Ursula Heise, Sense of Place, Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 27. 43 Jennifer Wenzel, ‘Planet vs. Globe’, English Language Notes 52, no. 1 (2014): 20. 44 Ibid., 20. 45 Ibid., 19. 46 Edward Said, The World, The Text, and The Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 39, quoted in Wenzel, ‘Planet vs. Globe’, 27. 47 Edward Said, ‘Criticism, Culture, and Performance: An Interview with Edward Said’, Performing Arts Journal 13, no. 1 (1991): 37. 48 Huang, ‘Global Shakespeares as Methodology’, 283. 49 Ibid., 284. 50 Françoise Lionnet, ‘Creole Vernacular Theatre: Transcolonial Translations’, MLN 118, no. 4 (2003): 917.
Chapter 2 1
Roshni Mooneeram, ‘Literary Translation as a Tool for Critical Language Planning’, World Englishes 3, no. 2 (2013): 203.
Lionnet, ‘Creole Vernacular Theatre’, 917.
See Rohini Bannerjee, ‘The Kala Pani Connection: Francophone Migration Narratives in the Caribbean Writing of Raphaël Confiant and the Mauritian Writing of Ananda Devi’, Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal 7, no. 1 (2010): 1–13, article 5.
For a helpful explanation and extended reflection on the distinction between ‘adaptation’ and ‘appropriation’, see Julie Sanders, Adaptation and Appropriation (London and New York: Routledge, 2006). Whereas ‘adaptation’ typically involves ‘transpositional practice’ (into a new genre, or time and place), sometimes signalling the work’s ongoing ‘relevance’, ‘appropriation’ frequently involves a ‘more decisive journey away from the informing source into a wholly new cultural product and domain’. See Sanders, Adaptation and Appropriation, 18, 19 and 26.
As Brinda Mehta puts it, ‘the reduction of identity to language in a French versus Creole binary has eclipsed the more liberating aspects of creoleness in terms of cultural, geographical, ethnic, and linguistic métissage’. See Brinda Mehta, ‘Indianités Francophone: Kala Pani Narratives’, L’Esprit Créateur 50, no. 2 (2010): 4.
Françoise Lionnet, Postcolonial Representations: Women, Literature, Identity (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995), 34.
Mehta, ‘Indianités Francophone’, 4.
10 Édouard Glissant, ‘The Unforeseeable Diversity of the World’, in Beyond Dichotomies: Histories, Identities, Cultures, and the Challenge of Globalization, ed. Elisabeth Mudimbe-Boy, trans. Haun Saussy (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002), 291.
11 Zimitri Erasmus explains that ‘it is important to distinguish conceptually between the category Creole, the property of creoleness, the elite ideology of creolité, and processes of creolisation. As ethno-technologies, Creole (a category) and creoleness (an essence) imply taxonomy: classification according to presumed natural relationships. They imply a “type of people” which is defined by a cultural or biological essence that is understood to be mixed.’ See Zimitri Erasmus, Race Otherwise: Forging a New Humanism for South Africa (Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2017), 97. 12 Mehta, ‘Indianités Francophone’, 4. 13 Lorna Burns, ‘Becoming-postcolonial, Becoming-Caribbean: Édouard Glissant and the Poetics of Creolization’, Textual Practice 23, no. 1 (2009): 101. 14 Erasmus, Race Otherwise, 98–99. 15 Glissant, ‘The Unforeseeable Diversity of the World’, 289. 16 Burns, ‘Becoming-postcolonial’, 7. 17 John Drabinski, ‘Shorelines: In Memory of Édouard Glissant’, Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy – Revue de la philosophie francaise et de langue francaise 19, no. 1 (2011): 7. 18 Glissant draws attention to his engagement with Deleuze and Guattari when explaining his engagement with ‘two concepts of identity that I have tried to present through the images of the solitary root and of the rhizome (after Deleuze and Guattari) … A notion of identity as a rhizome that goes to meet other roots is today alive in all composite cultures. In this way, what was territory becomes earth once again.’ See Glissant, ‘The Unforeseeable Diversity of the World’, 290. 19 Brent Adkins, Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus: A Critical Introduction and Guide (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015), 25. 20 Ibid., 25. 21 Jonathan Gil Harris, Shakespeare and Literary Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 59. 22 Ibid. 23 Glissant, ‘The Unforeseeable Diversity of the World’, 290.
24 Ibid. 25 Banham, quoted in ‘Dev Virahsawmy’s Toufann at The Africa Centre in London’, http://www.bordercrossings.org.uk/ Reviews/Toufann/Default.aspx (accessed 22 June 2016). 26 Binita Mehta, ‘Memories in/of Diaspora: Barlen Pyamootoo’s Bénarès (1999)’, L’Esprit Créateur 50, no. 2 (2010): 49. 27 For a discussion of the history and cultural legacy of Indian indentured labourers and a comparison between the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean island worlds, see Bannerjee’s essay, ‘The Kala Pani Connection’, Article 5. 28 ‘Mauritius is also home to Khal Torabully’s influential theory of coolitude, an important cross-cultural poetics of diasporic positionality inspired by Aimé Césaire’s formulation of Négritude and Édouard Glissant’s “poetics of relation.” Coolitude seeks to transcend the limitations of local identity politics by embracing a larger diasporic consciousness, while retaining Indian distinctiveness at the same time in an intersectional overlapping of the particular and the universal’. Mehta, ‘Indianités Francophone’, 4. 29 Srilata Ravi, ‘Re-thinking Creole Identities in Eighteenth-century Isle de France’, Postcolonial Studies 10, no. 3 (2007): 327. 30 Comaroff and Comaroff, Theory from the South, 3. 31 Mooneeram, ‘Literary Translation as a Tool for Critical Language Planning’, 200. Mooneeram writes that ‘the uninhabited island of Mauritius, strategically situated on the spice route, first a Portuguese then a Dutch colony in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, would undergo dramatic changes from 1715 with permanent French settlement. The setting up of a plantation economy reliant on the introduction of slaves mainly from various parts of Africa and Madagascar was to result in the birth of Mauritian Creole.’ 32 Michel DeGraff, ‘Linguists’ Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Creole Exceptionalism’, Language in Society 34, no. 4 (2005): 534. 33 Mooneeram, ‘Literary Translation as a Tool for Critical Language Planning’, 200. 34 Jonathan Hope, ‘Preface’, in From Creole to Standard: Shakespeare, Language and Literature in a Postcolonial
Context, ed. Roshni Mooneeram (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009), ix. 35 Césaire is quoted in Mooneeram, From Creole to Standard, 2. Césaire’s interview is published in the journal Tropiques 2 (1978): v–xxiv. 36 Mooneeram, From Creole to Standard, 2. 37 Quoted in Shawkat M. Toorawa, ‘“Translating” The Tempest: Dev Virahsawmy’s Toufann, Cultural Creolization and the Rise of Mauritian Creole’, in African Theatre: Playwrights and Politics, ed. Martin Banham, James Gibbs and Femi Osofisan (Oxford: James Currey Ltd, 2001), 130. 38 Ibid., 129. 39 Hope, ‘Preface’, ix. 40 Virahsawmy has explained the significance of his translation work and the transcultural links it makes visible: ‘I’ve translated Moliere [sic], Shakespeare, and right now I’m translating fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm because I am convinced that such a project follows the logic of cultural creolization (metissage). Our culture is necessarily linked to a world culture. It’s a way for me to share this heritage with all of humanity. This helps to build bridges between peoples, between the past and the present, between different cultures … Translations can build bridges between the Tower of Babel’s different rooms’. See What-When-How, ‘In Depth Tutorials and Information’, http://what-when-how.com/ literature/virahsawmy-dev-literature/ (accessed 17 June 2018). 41 Toorawa, ‘Translating The Tempest’, 128; emphasis in the original. 42 Ibid. 43 Ibid., 129. 44 Dev Virahsawmy, ‘Mauritius’, in The Cambridge Guide to African and Caribbean Theatre, ed. Martin Banham, Errol Hill and George Woodyard (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 64. 45 Toorawa, ‘Translating The Tempest’, 129. 46 Ibid. 47 Banham, quoted in ‘Dev Virahsawmy’s Toufann at The Africa Centre in London’.
48 Dev Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, in African Theatre: Playwrights and Politics, ed. Martin Banham, James Gibbs and Femi Osofisan, trans. Nisha Walling and Michael Walling (Oxford, Bloomington and Johannesburg: James Currey, Indiana and Wits University Presses, 2001), 217–254; Dev Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak (Rose Hill, 1991), 3, 5, http://boukiebanane.com/toufann (accessed 6 September 2017). 49 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 220. 50 Ibid., 219. 51 Ibid., 219. 52 Ibid., 229. 53 Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 15. 54 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 224. 55 Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 8. I am grateful to Tasneem Allybokus for her translation expertise here. 56 Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 36. 57 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 245. 58 Ibid., 234. 59 Ibid., 233. 60 Ibid., 232. 61 Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 18. 62 I am grateful to Tasneem Allybokus for the translation of the songs. 63 Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 18. 64 See Caroline Déodat, ‘Troubler le genre du “séga typique”: imaginaire et performativité poétique de la créolité mauricienne’ (‘Disrupting the Genre of “Typical Sega”: Imaginary and Poetic Performativity of Mauritian Creoleness’), Centre for South Asian Studies, Paris, June 2016, as described in English in the Centre for South Asian Studies Newsletter, no. 14 (2016/2017). See https://sites.google.com/site/ ceiasnewsletter/newsletter-no-14-winter-2016-2017/new-phds (accessed 12 September 2017). 65 Déodat, ‘Disrupting the Genre of “Typical Sega”’. 66 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 254. 67 Ibid.
68 Ibid., 232. They are referring to a speech made by Harish Boodhoo, an outspoken Hindu leader of the Parti Socialiste Mauricien which had merged with a breakaway from the MMM to form the Mouvement Socialiste Militant (MSM) when contesting the elections in 1983. 69 See Thomas Hylland Eriksen, ‘Communicating Cultural Difference and Identity: Ethnicity and Nationalism in Mauritius’, Oslo Occasional Papers in Social Anthropology, no. 16, http:// hyllanderiksen.net/Communicating.pdf (accessed 17 June 2018). 70 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 253. 71 Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 18. 72 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 225. 73 Toorawa, ‘Translating The Tempest’, 126. 74 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 221. 75 Ibid. 76 Ibid., 225. 77 Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 9. 78 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 227. 79 Ibid., 235. 80 Ibid.; emphasis added. 81 Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 3. I am grateful to Tasneem Allybokus for her translation expertise. 82 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 246. 83 Ibid., 234. 84 Ibid., 221. 85 Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 5. 86 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 254. 87 Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 39. 88 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 219. 89 Ibid., 248. 90 Ibid., 221. 91 Ibid., 248. 92 Ibid., 251.
93 Ibid. 94 Ibid., 252. 95 Ibid., 247. 96 Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 38. See the 2008 Morisyen Dictionary, version 1.3, compiled by Andras Rajki, https://www.academia.edu/12787812/Mauritius_Creole_ Dictionary (accessed 12 September 2017). 97 Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 13. 98 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 237. 99 Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 5. 100 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 236. 101 Ibid., 238. 102 ‘Mo pa programe pou exprim mo santiman. Kontak fizik boulvers lekilib mo bann chip. Si ou tous-tous mwa mo kapav perdi kontrol’. See Virahsawmy, Toufann: enn Fantezi an 3 Ak, 26. 103 Virahsawmy, ‘Toufann: A Mauritian Fantasy’, 238. 104 Ibid., 247. 105 Jane Wilkinson, ‘Interviews with Dev Virahsawmy and Michael Walling: Staging Shakespeare Across Borders’, in African Theatre: Playwrights and Politics, eds. Martin Banham, James Gibbs, and Femi Osofisan (Oxford: James Currey, 2001), 122. 106 Ibid., 252. 107 Ibid., 253. 108 Ibid., 240. 109 Ibid., 247. 110 Comaroff and Comaroff, Theory from the South, 3. 111 Christy Desmet, ‘Appropriation 2.0’, in Shakespeare in Our Time: A Shakespeare Association of America Collection, ed. Dympna Callaghan and Suzanne Gossett (London: Bloomsbury, 2016), 239. 112 Ibid., 239. 113 Stephen Greenblatt, ‘Afterword: Shakespeare in Tehran’, in Shakespeare in Our Time: A Shakespeare Association of America Collection, ed. Dympna Callaghan and Suzanne Gossett (London: Bloomsbury, 2016), 352.
Chapter 3 1 See, for example, Craig Dionne and Parmita Kapadia’s edited collection, Native Shakespeares: Indigenous Appropriations on a Global Scale, which foregrounds the ‘Indigenous’ and the ‘Native’ in its sub-title and title, respectively, and imagines Shakespeare as available for appropriation on a ‘Global Scale’. See Craig Dionne and Parmita Kapadia, eds, Native Shakespeares: Indigenous Appropriations on a Global Scale (Hampshire: Ashgate, 2008). 2 This is how it is articulated in the title of the collection of essays entitled India’s Shakespeare: Translation, Interpretation, and Performance. Poonam Trivedi and Dennis Bartholomeusz, eds, India’s Shakespeare: Translation, Interpretation, and Performance (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2005). 3 As Rajiva Verma explains, these include ‘a silent film Khoon-eNahak (The Unjust Assassination) or Hamlet (1926), directed by Dada Athawale, Sohrab Modi’s Khoonka-Khoon (Blood for Blood) or Hamlet (1935), and Kishore Sahu’s Hamlet (1954)’. See Rajiva Verma, ‘Shakespeare in Hindi Cinema’, in India’s Shakespeare: Translation, Interpretation, and Performance, ed. Poonam Trivedi and Dennis Bartholomeusz (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2005), 270. 4 Poonam Trivedi, ‘“Folk Shakespeare”: The Performance of Shakespeare in Traditional Indian Theater Forms’, in India’s Shakespeare: Translation, Interpretation, and Performance, ed. Poonam Trivedi and Dennis Bartholomeusz (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2005), 171–192. 5 Ibid., 176–177. 6 Colette Gordon, ‘What’s Hecuba to Him, or “Kupenga” to Them?: Syncretic Theatre, Global Shakespeare’, Seminar paper presented at ‘Global Shakespeares’, World Shakespeare Conference, Prague, July 2011. 7 Peter Hulme, ‘Survival and Invention: Indigeneity in the Caribbean’, in Postcolonial Discourses: An Anthology, ed. Gregory Castle (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001), 295.
8 Alpa Shah, ‘The Dark Side of Indigeneity?: Indigenous People, Rights and Development in India’, History Compass 5, no. 6 (2007): 1807, 1808. 9 Ibid., 1807. 10 Ibid., 1818. 11 Hulme, ‘Survival and Invention’, 294. 12 Audra Simpson, ‘On Ethnographic Refusal: Indigeneity, “Voice” and Colonial Citizenship’, Junctures 9 (2007): 75. 13 Ibid., 78. 14 Francesca Merlan, ‘Indigeneity: Global and Local’, Current Anthropology 50, no. 3 (2009): 304. 15 Ibid., 304. 16 Ibid. 17 Peter McDonald, ‘Against Indigenisation: Indian Poetry and Poetics in the 1970s’, keynote address presented at ‘Craft Wars: Comparative Perspectives on Poetry ’74 Conference’, University of Cape Town, September 2014. 18 August Kleinzahler, ‘Rebirth of a Poet’, New York Times, 27 May 2011, https://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/books/ review/book-review-songs-of-kabir-by-translated-by-arvindkrishna-mehrotra.html (accessed 17 June 2018). 19 Chandrahas Choudhury, ‘When Mysticism Came Down to Earth’, The Wall Street Journal, 13 May 2011, https://www.wsj. com/articles/SB1000142405274870386420457631487286962 9928 (accessed 17 June 2018). 20 McDonald, ‘Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and the Interplay of Languages’, in A History of Indian Poetry in English, ed. Rosinka Chaudhuri (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 281. 21 Ibid. 22 Ibid. 23 Gauri Viswanathan, Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989). 24 McDonald, ‘Arvind Krishna Mehrotra’, 281. 25 Ibid.
26 See Emily Apter’s Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatability (New York: Verso, 2013), Graham Huggan’s The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins (New York: Routledge, 2001) and Sarah Brouilette’s Postcolonial Writers in the Global Literary Marketplace (London: Palgrave, 2007). 27 Apter, Against World Literature, 4. 28 Aamir R. Mufti, Forget English! Orientalisms and World Literatures (Boston: Harvard University Press, 2016). 29 In the early stages of Global Shakespeare studies, scholars battled assumptions of centre and periphery, as is evident in the challenging questions Martin Orkin poses as he attempts to make a case for the value – and indeed the validity – of scholarly consideration of local appropriations: ‘What other kinds of knowledge might we bring to bear, from peripheral locations, for a reading of these texts? Or are such knowledges not merely secondary, but inadmissible?’ See Orkin, Local Shakespeares, 19. 30 Bruno Latour, What Is the Style of Matters of Concern? (Amsterdam: Van Gorcum, 2008). 31 Mark Thornton Burnett, Filming Shakespeare in the Global Marketplace (New York: Palgrave, 2007), 6. 32 Ibid., 4. 33 Burnett’s subsequent study, Shakespeare and World Cinema, engages ‘world’ cinema directly, but it appeared a year or so before Bhardwaj’s release of Haider. See Mark Thornton Burnett, Shakespeare and World Cinema (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). 34 A series of Acts dating as early as 1958 granted special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in relation to particular regions. The ‘Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act’ of 1990 empowers officers of the Indian Armed Forces to enter and search premises and to arrest without warrant, to fire at dissidents even if it results in death, all with legal immunity. The Act is still in effect, despite a request from the United Nations Human Rights Commission (in 2009) and the United Nations itself (in 2012) that it be repealed on the grounds that it violates international law. 35 Jason Burke, ‘Bollywood Hamlet Set in Kashmir Likely to Cause Controversy in India’, The Guardian, 25 July 2014,
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/25/bollywoodhamlet-kashmir-controversy-india (accessed 15 October 2014). 36 Ibid. 37 Ibid. 38 Anuj Kumar, ‘“If I am not a leftist, I am not an artist”: Interview with Vishal Bhardwaj’, The Hindu, 5 October 2014, http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/if-i-am-not-aleftist-i-am-not-an-artist-vishal-bhardwaj/article6471437.ece (accessed 15 October 2014). 39 Viji Alles, ‘Vishal Bhardwaj and Shahid Kapoor Interview’, UK Asian, 13 September 2014, https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=2Cp38K4L2sg (accessed 15 October 2014). 40 Ibid. 41 Haider, DVD, directed by Vishal Bhardwaj (India: UTV Motion Pictures, 2014). 42 Alles, ‘Vishal Bhardwaj and Shahid Kapoor Interview’. 43 Ibid. 44 Ibid. 45 Ibid. 46 Ibid. 47 Ibid. 48 Ibid. 49 Ibid. 50 Ibid. 51 For my discussion of the influence of Olivier’s Hamlet on the entrenchment of a Freudian interpretative frame, as well as the re-emergence more recently of alternative interpretative frameworks, see Sandra Young, ‘Recognising Hamlet’, Shakespeare in Southern Africa 26 (2014): 13–26. 52 See Muhammad Zulqarnain Zulfi’s explanation of the term and its significance in Kashmir in ‘The Pain of Dardpora: Kashmiri Half-widows Living in a State of Limbo’, The Times of India, 7 October 2015, https://www.deccanherald.com/ content/504833/pain-dardpora-kashmiri-half-widows.html (accessed 2 March 2017).
53 Alles, ‘Vishal Bhardwaj and Shahid Kapoor Interview’. 54 Young, ‘Recognising Hamlet’, 2. 55 Haider, DVD. 56 Preti Taneja, ‘Pre-Screening Q&A between Director Vishal Bhardwaj and Scriptwriter Basharat Peer’, BFI Film Festival, London, 30 April 2016. 57 Ibid. 58 Alles, ‘Vishal Bhardwaj and Shahid Kapoor Interview’. 59 For Umar Lateef Misgar, the current conflict is part of a long and invisible history: ‘Kashmir has been subject to a state of untold persecution for the last 500 years’ and in recent history ‘India, Pakistan and China have all annexed and occupied some part of the historic Kashmiri nation’. But this is a matter of contestation and to speak of ‘India-occupied Kashmir’ is to signal a critical perspective on India’s presence in Kashmir. For most Indians today, Kashmir is spoken of as ‘our Kashmir’, as Vishal Bhardwaj put it to me during a question and answer session at the ‘Indian Shakespeares on Screen’ conference hosted by the Global Shakespeare Programme of Queen Mary University of London and Warwick University, April 2016. 60 Touqir Hussain, ‘India, Pakistan and Kashmir’, Criterion Quarterly 9, no. 3 (24 August 2014), http://www.criterion-quarterly.com/ india-pakistan-and-kashmir/ (accessed 30 June 2018). 61 Jahnavi Sen, ‘“Vilification” of JNU Professor Nivedita Menon as “Anti-National” Labelling Continues’, The Wire, 13 March 2016, https://thewire.in/politics/vilification-of-jnu-professornivedita-menon-as-anti-national-labelling-continues (accessed 17 March 2016). 62 Ibid. 63 Ibid. 64 Menon has also been supported by other academics and journalists in India. See, for example, Mary John’s opinion piece in The Hindu, ‘This attack on Nivedita Menon’, 16 March 2016, quoted in Sen, ‘“Vilification” of JNU Professor Nivedita Menon’. 65 ‘Kashmir death toll rises after troops open fire on anti-India protesters’. See Burke, ‘Bollywood Hamlet’.
66 ‘Five Killed in Fresh Kashmir Clashes’, Al Jazeera, 16 August 2016, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/killed-freshkashmir-clashes-160816132602256.html (accessed 11 October 2016). 67 Bashaarat Masood and Mir Ehsan, ‘Kashmir Unrest: Five Killed in Fresh Valley Firing, Toll 65; Curfew, Restrictions Tightened’, The Indian Express 17 August 2016, https://indianexpress.com/ article/india/india-news-india/kashmir-unrest-three-protesterskilled-in-fresh-clashes-with-security-forces-2978218/ (accessed 17 June 2018). 68 Ibid. 69 Jyotsna Singh and Abdulhamit Arvas, ‘Global Shakespeares, Affective Histories, Cultural Memories’, in Shakespeare Survey 68, ed. Peter Holland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 189. 70 This English translation is by Shoaib Hashmi, taken from a collection of Faiz’s poetry edited by Ali Madeeh Hashmi, Faiz’s grandson, who includes his biographical essay about his grandfather. Faiz died in 1985. See Faiz Ahmed Faiz, ‘Intesaab’, in The Way It Was Once: Faiz Ahmed Faiz – His Life, His Poems, ed. Ali Madeeh Hashmi, trans. Shoaib Hashmi (Noida, Uttar Pradesh: HarperCollins India, 2012), 94. 71 Ibid., 94. 72 Ibid. 73 Ibid.
Chapter 4 1 Bernice Kliman, ‘At Sea about Hamlet at Sea: A Detective Story’, Shakespeare Quarterly 62, no. 2 (2011): 180–204. 2 Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2.6.25–26. 3 As You Like It, 4.3.36–37. 4 Othello, 1.1.89. 5 Othello, 1.1.111. 6 Othello, 1.1.89.
7 Kim F. Hall, Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995). 8 Ibid., 7. 9 Richard Hakluyt, ed., The Principall Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English nation, made by Sea or over Land, to the most remote and farthest distant Quarters of the earth at any time within the compasse of these 1500 yeeres: deuided into three seuerall parts, according to the positions of the regions wherunto they were directed …. Whereunto is added the last most renowmed English nauigation, round about the whole globe of the earth (London: George Bishop and Ralph Newberie, 1589). 10 Ania Loomba, Shakespeare, Race and Colonialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002). 11 Ibid., 10. 12 Qtd. in ‘Sher and Kani in The Tempest’, British Theatre Guide (2008), http://www.britishtheatreguide.info/news/ sherkanitempest.htm (accessed 31 March 2010). 13 Natasha Distiller, ‘South African Shakespeare: A Model for Understanding Cultural Transformation?’ Shakespeare in Southern Africa 15 (2003): 21–28; Natasha Distiller, ‘The Presence of the Past: Shakespeare in South Africa’, Quidditas: Journal of the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association 24 (2003): 5–15. 14 Alamin Mazrui, ‘Shakespeare in Africa: Between English and Swahili Literature’, Research in African Literatures 27, no. 1 (1996): 68. 15 Malvern van Wyk Smith, First Ethiopians: The Image of Africa and Africans in the Early Mediterranean World (Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2009), 64. 16 Ian Smith, Race and Rhetoric in the Renaissance: Barbarian Errors (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 85. 17 Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony (California: University of California Press, 2001), 1; emphasis in the original. 18 Natasha Distiller, ‘“We’re Black, Stupid”: uMabatha and the New South Africa on the World Stage’, in Under
Construction: ‘Race’ and Identity in South Africa Today, ed. Natasha Distiller and Melissa Steyn (Sandton, Johannesburg: Heinemann), 149. 19 Antony Sher and Gregory Doran, Woza Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus in South Africa (London: Methuen Drama, 1996), 237. 20 Other critics have expressed ambivalence about the effects of Msomi’s offering up of Zulu cultural life for the consumption of an international audience in this way. Laurence Wright, for example, describes it as ‘so riven by intrinsic cultural, theatrical, gender, class and “nationist” tensions that different audiences cannot but reap utterly different experiences, depending on their own cultural and intellectual inheritance’. See Wright, ‘uMabatha: Global and Local’, English Studies in Africa 47, no. 2 (2004): 97. See also Distiller, ‘We’re Black, Stupid’. 21 Sher and Doran, Woza Shakespeare, 237. 22 Ibid., 150. 23 Ubuntu is typically explained with reference to the African maxim, ‘I am because we are’. This maxim was formulated by John Mbiti in 1969 as a retort to René Descartes, in African Religions and Philosophy (London: Heinemann, 1969). For an extended and more recent exposition of ubuntu, see Leonhard Praeg, A Report on Ubuntu (Pietermaritzburg: University of Kwazulu-Natal Press, 2014). 24 The Tempest, 1.2.331. 25 Charles Spencer, ‘The Tempest at Courtyard Theatre, Stratford’, The Telegraph, 18 February 2009, https://www.telegraph. co.uk/journalists/charles-spencer/4690654/The-Tempest-atCourtyard-Theatre-Stratford-review.html (accessed 19 September 2009). 26 The Tempest, 5.1.26, 28. 27 The Tempest, 5.1.321. 28 The Tempest, 5.1.336. 29 David Schalkwyk, ‘Shakespeare’s Untranslatability’, Shakespeare in Southern Africa 18 (2006): 39. 30 Pier Paolo Frassinelli, ‘“Many in One”: On Shakespeare, Language and Translation’, in South African Essays on
‘Universal’ Shakespeare, ed. Chris Thurman (Farnham, Surrey; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014), 57. 31 Ibid., 57. 32 Schalkwyk, ‘Shakespeare’s Untranslatability’, 39. 33 Julius Nyerere, Juliasi Kaizari (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963); Julius Nyerere, Mabepari wa Venisi (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969); Sol Plaatje, Diposhoposho (Morija: Morija Printing Works, 1930); Sol Plaatje, Dintshontsho tsa bo-Juliuse Kesara (Johannesburg: University of Witwatersrand Press, 1937); Uys Krige, Twaalfde Nag (Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 1967). 34 Brian Willan, ‘Whose Shakespeare? Early Black South African Engagement with Shakespeare’, Shakespeare in Southern Africa 24 (2012): 4. 35 Natasha Distiller, ‘“The Mobile Inheritors of Any Renaissance”: Some Comments on the State of the Field’, English Studies in Africa 51, no. 1 (2009): 143. 36 See Siphokazi Jonas, ‘Behind the Desk: Encountering Shakespeare in South African Education’, MA thesis (Cape Town: University of Cape Town, 2014). 37 Viswanathan, Masks of Conquest. 38 David Johnson, Shakespeare in South Africa (Cotswolds: Clarendon Press, 1996), 23. 39 Willan, ‘Whose Shakespeare’, 6. 40 Ibid. 41 Ibid., 6. 42 Daniel Roux, ‘Shakespeare and Tragedy in South Africa: From Black Hamlet to A Dream Deferred’, Shakespeare in Southern Africa 27, no. 1 (2015): 2. 43 Ibid., 9. 44 Natasha Distiller, Shakespeare and the Coconuts: On PostApartheid South African Culture (Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2012), 29 and 171. 45 Harry Garuba, ‘Review: Post-Colonial Shakespeares’, Research in African Literatures 33, no. 1 (2002): 220.
46 Qtd. in Laurence Wright, ‘Aspects of Shakespeare in Post-Colonial Africa’, Shakespeare in Southern Africa 4 (1990/1991): 31–50. 47 James Currey, ‘Chinua Achebe, the African Writers Series, and the Establishment of African Literature’, African Affairs 102, no. 409 (2003): 578–579. 48 Ibid., 579. 49 Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (London: James Currey, 1986), 90. 50 Ibid., 93. 51 Ibid., 94. 52 Ibid., 100. 53 Ibid., 101. 54 Ibid., 100; emphasis in quotation. 55 Ibid.; emphasis in quotation. 56 Wright, ‘Aspects of Shakespeare’, 36. 57 Ibid., 38. 58 See Phaswane Mpe, ‘The Role of the Heinemann African Writers Series in the Development and Promotion of African Literature’, African Studies 58, no. 1 (1999): 105–122; and Gareth Griffiths, African Literatures in English (Harlow, Essex: Longman, 2000). 59 Mazrui, ‘Shakespeare in Africa’, 64. 60 Ibid., 65. 61 Distiller, Shakespeare and the Coconuts, 29 and 171. 62 See Jonas, ‘Behind the Desk’. 63 Distiller, Shakespeare and the Coconuts, 26. 64 Ibid., 4. 65 See Ashwin Desai, Reading Revolution: Shakespeare on Robben Island (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2014) and David Schalkwyk, Hamlet’s Dreams: The Robben Island Shakespeare (London: Bloomsbury, 2013). 66 Schalkwyk, Hamlet’s Dreams, 4. 67 Distiller, Shakespeare and the Coconuts, 43.
68 Distiller, ‘The Mobile Inheritors of Any Renaissance’, 138. 69 Tcho Mbaimba Caulker, ‘Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in Sierra Leone: Thomas Decker’s Juliohs Siza, Roman Politics, and the Emergence of a Postcolonial African State’, Research in African Literatures 40, no. 2 (2009): 213. 70 Ibid. 71 Ibid.
Chapter 5 1 Shishir Kurup, Merchant on Venice, in Beyond Bollywood and Broadway: Plays from the South Asian Diaspora, ed. Neilish Bose (Bloomington and Indianapolis: University of Indiana Press, 2009), 91–157. 2 ‘The Merchant of Vembley: Venice Intersects with Wembley in a Re-imagining of the Merchant of Venice’, The Cockpit: Theatre of Ideas, http://thecockpit.org.uk/show/the_merchant_ of_vembley (accessed 17 August 2018). 3 Ibid. 4 See Kerry Reid, ‘Highly Recommended: Merchant on Venice’, The Reader, 4 October 2007, https://www.chicagoreader.com/ chicago/merchant-on-venice/Event?oid=44178337 (accessed 23 February 2017). 5 For a comprehensive and critically circumspect engagement with the idea of ‘intercultural theatre’, see The Intercultural Theatre Reader, ed. Patrice Pavis (New York: Routledge, 1996). 6 Rustom Bharucha, ‘Interculturalism and Its Discriminations: Shifting the Agendas of the National, the Multicultural and the Global’, Third Text 13, no. 46 (1999): 3. 7 Ibid., 3. 8 Ibid., 4. 9 As Pavis puts it, intercultural creative work makes it possible to ‘measure the distance from myself to the other’. See Patrice Pavis, ‘Introduction: Towards a Theory of Interculturalism in
Theatre?’ in The Intercultural Performance Reader, ed. Patrice Pavis (New York: Routledge, 1996), 12. 10 I would include in this category of contemporary interlocutors with Shakespeare film-makers such as Michael Radford whose 2004 filmic version of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice explicitly bears witness to the anti-Semitism that foreshadows the Holocaust. 11 Kim F. Hall, ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Colonization and Miscegenation in “The Merchant of Venice”’, Renaissance Drama 23 (1992): 93. 12 Ibid., 95. 13 Emily Bartels makes a similar argument in relation to Othello, described as the Moor of Venice in the play’s subtitle (as opposed to the Moor in Venice), whose status as ‘outsider’ or ‘stranger’ is only brought into being through Iago’s cunning insinuations and interventions. See Emily C. Bartels, Speaking of the Moor: From Alcazar to Othello (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 159. Bartels’s resistance to the assumption that racist antagonism or alienation existed in a city that was also a trading hub in the sixteenth century, teeming with ‘strangers’, has opened her to the criticism that she fails to name racism for what it is. See, for example, Loomba, ‘Review of Remapping the Mediterranean World in Early Modern English Writings/Speaking of the Moor’, esp. 272, 273. Even so, the analysis of the distinction between ‘of’ and a hypothetical ‘in’ offered by Bartels is on point. 14 Ruben Espinosa and David Ruiter, eds, ‘Introduction’, in Shakespeare and Immigration (New York: Routledge, 2015). 15 Ibid., 6. 16 Ibid., 6. 17 Ruben Espinosa, ‘Stranger Shakespeare’, Shakespeare Quarterly 67, no.1 (2016): 53. 18 See Barbara Vitello, ‘The Bard Goes Bollywood’, Daily Herald, 5 October 2007, http://prev.dailyherald.com/story/?id=51539 (accessed 17 August 2018). 19 Kurup, Merchant on Venice, 2.1. 20 Ibid.
21 Ibid. 22 Neilish Bose, ‘Part One: The United States’, in Beyond Bollywood and Broadway: Plays from the South Asian Diaspora, ed. Neilish Bose (Bloomington and Indianapolis: University of Indiana Press, 2009), 12. 23 Kurup, Merchant on Venice, 2.3. 24 For an account of Vicente and his highly visible role within the Zapatista movement, see Guillermo Gómez-Peña, ‘Marcos: The “Subcommandante” of Performance’, Third Text 8, no. 28–29 (2008): 101–104. See also Neil Harvey, The Chiapas Rebellion: The Struggle for Land and Democracy (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1998). 25 Kurup, Merchant on Venice, 4.1. 26 Ibid. 27 Kurup, Merchant on Venice, 2.1. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid. 30 Édouard Glissant, ‘The Unforeseeable Diversity of the World’, in Beyond Dichotomies: Histories, Identities, Cultures, and the Challenge of Globalization, ed. Elisabeth Mudimbe-Boyi (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002), 287. 31 Kurup, Merchant on Venice, 4.1. 32 Quoted in Bose, ‘Part One’, 20. 33 Kurup, Merchant on Venice, 4.1. 34 Stuart Hall, ‘New Ethnicities’, in Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies, ed. David Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen (London, New York: Routledge, 1996), 446, 447. 35 Ibid., 446. 36 Ibid. 37 Stuart Hall, ‘Conclusion: The Multi-Cultural Question’, in Un/Settled Multiculturalisms: Diasporas, Entanglements, Transruptions, ed. Barnor Hesse (London, New York: Zed Books, 2001), 209–241. 38 Ibid., 217. In offering the term ‘transruptive … force’, Hall quotes Barnor Hesse’s ‘Introduction: Un/Settled
Multiculturalisms’, Un/Settled Multiculturalisms: Diasporas, Entanglements, ‘Transruptions’, ed. Barnor Hesse (London, New York: Zed Books, 2001), 19. 39 I discuss at greater length interpretations of the Queen’s proclamations, and the racial anxiety they point to, in ‘Afterword: Race and Racism in Early Modernity’, in The Early Modern Global South in Print: Textual Form and the Production of Human Difference as Knowledge (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015). 40 Sukhdev Sandhu, London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined a City (London: Harper Perennial, 2004), xviii. 41 Ibid. 42 Hall, ‘The Multi-Cultural Question’, 210. 43 Stuart Hall, ‘Cosmopolitan Promises, Multicultural Realities’, in Divided Cities: The 2003 Oxford Amnesty Lectures, ed. Richard Scholar (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 46. 44 Hall, ‘The Multi-Cultural Question’, 213. 45 Stuart Hall, ‘Divided City: The Crisis of London’, Open Democracy: Free Thinking for the World, 28 October 2004, https://www.opendemocracy.net/arts-multiculturalism/ article_2191.jsp (accessed 8 May 2018). 46 Hall, ‘Cosmopolitan Promises, Multicultural Realities’, 23. 47 Arif Dirlik, ‘Bringing History Back In: Of Diasporas, Hybridities, Places, and Histories’, in Beyond Dichotomies: Histories, Identities, Cultures, and the Challenge of Globalization, ed. Elizabeth Mudimbe-Boyi (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002), 94–95. 48 Ibid., 96. 49 Ibid., 97.
Chapter 6 1 Alfredo Michel Modenessi, ‘“Meaning by Shakespeare” South of the Border’, in World-Wide Shakespeares: Local
Appropriations in Film and Performance, ed. Sonia Massai (New York: Routledge, 2005), 104. 2 Ibid., 105. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid., 105. 5 Oswald de Andrade’s Manifesto Antropófago was first published in the Revista de Antropofagia or Cannibalist Review, Year I, no. 1 (May 1928). The version I have consulted here is translated as ‘The Cannibalist Manifesto’, by Stephen Berg in Third Text 13, no. 46 (1999): 92–95. 6 For more on the figure of the new world ‘cannibal’, see Frank Lestringant, Cannibals: The Discovery and Representation of the Cannibal from Columbus to Jules Verne, trans. Rosemary Morris (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1997). On the challenge this kind of alterity presented to Western discursive regimes, see Michel de Certeau, Heterologies: Discourse on the Other, trans. Brian Massumi, Theory and History of Literature, volume 17 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1986) and Myra Jehlen ‘Why Did the Europeans Cross the Ocean?’, in Readings at the Edge of Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 149–163. 7 De Andrade, Cannibalist Manifesto, trans. Berg, 95. 8 Ibid., 94. The Jabutí, or Djeoromitxí, are an indigenous Brazilian group, now markedly depleted or displaced, as is reflected in the vulnerability of their linguistic system. For more on the Jabutí, see research by anthropologist Eduardo Rivail Ribeiro and linguist Hein van der Voort, ‘Nimuendajú Was Right: The Inclusion of the Jabutí Language Family in the Macro-Jê Stock’, International Journal of American Linguistics 76, no. 4 (2010): 517–570. 9 Ibid. 10 Ibid., 95. 11 I am grateful to Fernanda Dusse for her generosity in sharing her insights into cultural anthropophagy and in reading and commenting on my discussion. 12 De Andrade, Cannibalist Manifesto, trans. Berg, 92.
13 See Eduardo Batalha Viveiros de Castro, ‘Exchanging Perspectives: The Transformation of Objects into Subjects in Amerindian Ontologies’, Common Knowledge 10, no. 3 (2004): 479. https://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed 6 October 2018). 14 Ibid., 479. For more on the philosophical ramifications of cultural anthropophagy, see Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Cannibal Metaphysics, ed. and trans. Peter Skafish (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014). 15 Stephen Berg, ‘Introduction to Oswald de Andrade’s Cannibalist Manifesto’, Third Text 13, no. 46 (1999): 89. 16 Leslie Bary, ‘Oswald de Andrade’s “Cannibalist Manifesto”’, Latin American Literary Review 19, no. 38 (1991): 35. 17 Berg, ‘Introduction to Cannibalist Manifesto’, 89. 18 Despite the frustration that also accompanies the task of interpreting the Manifesto, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht finds that the transformative impact of the Manifesto inheres in precisely this undoing of dualism and in its determined lack of resolution: ‘Oswald manages to leave behind … dramatic alternatives because he leaves them unresolved, and he manages to leave them unresolved because he does not opt for one or the other of the two sides of which they consist. This, more than anything else, is what gives life to the Manifesto antropófago.’ See Gumbrecht, ‘Biting You Softly: A Commentary on Oswald de Andrade’s Manifesto antropófago’, Nuevo Texto Crítico 12, no. 23–24 (December 1999): 195. 19 See João Cezar de Castro Rocha, David Shepherd and Tania Shepherd, ‘Let Us Devour Oswald de Andrade: A Rereading of the Manifesto antropófago’, Nuevo Texto Crítico 12, no. 23–24 (December 1999): 6. 20 De Andrade, Cannibalist Manifesto, trans. Berg, 92 and 95. De Andrade’s pun refers to the indigenous Tupi people who were associated with the practice of cannibalism, largely as a result of the widespread circulation in sixteenth-century Europe of the salacious personal history of German captive Hans Staden, first published in 1557. See Hans Staden’s True History: An Account of Cannibal Captivity in Brazil, ed. and trans. Neil Whitehead and Michael Harbsmeier (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2008). More recently identified with
reference to their language use as Tupi-Guarani, the population has become increasingly vulnerable through poverty. See Mariana K. Leal Ferreira, ‘Tupi-Guarani Apocalyptic Visions of Time and the Body’, Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 7, no. 1 (March 2002): 128–169, esp. 133. 21 See Eating Shakespeare: Cultural Anthropophagy as Global Methodology, ed. Anne Sophie Refskou, Marcel Alvaro de Amorim and Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2019). Although, regrettably, it will appear too late for me to be able to engage with it here, the collection promises to contribute significantly to the body of scholarship that takes seriously transformative cultural production across the global South, in particular the appropriation of Shakespeare, not only for the challenging perspectives it brings into view but also for the critical methodologies it offers the field. 22 Anne Sophie Refskou, ‘The Underbelly Bites Back: Theorizing Global Shakespeare from the South’, Conference paper, Shakespeare Association of America, 2018, 7; emphasis in the original. 23 See the ‘Introduction’ for an account of John Andrews’s conscious attempt to establish a more ‘“global” coverage’ of the Shakespeare theatre practice of his day, a commitment both groundbreaking and necessarily limited by prevailing assumptions and interpretative frameworks. 24 Thompson argues in Passing Strange that hegemonic Shakespeare ‘represents the epitome of Western culture because he represents the exclusivity of white culture’. See Ayanna Thompson, Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 37. 25 Edward Said, Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), 452. 26 Comaroff and Comaroff, Theory from the South, 3.
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INDEX Note: Page references with letter ‘n’ followed by locators denote note numbers. activism/activists 1, 31, 34, 54, 82–3, 100 creole 31 land restitution 53 language 34 liberation 82 adaptations 20, 23–5, 36, 47, 50–2, 60–1, 66, 103, 106, 125, 127–9, 135, 140 n.5. See also Hamlet (drama); Merchant of Venice,The; Tempest, The; and under individual adaptations filmic 51–2, 61 localized 49, 62 studies of 47 Adkins, Brent 29 aesthetics 24, 90 creole 25, 27 cultural 26 Africa 2, 23, 32, 79–87, 90–4, 97–102, 142 n.31. See also blackness; literature; theatre in European imagination 23, 81, 84–5 independence/liberation movements 95
post-independence 94 pre-independence 90 and Shakespeare 90–2, 94–6, 98, 102–3, 134 African differences 80 Africanization 2, 4, 82, 84–7, 97, 99. See also curriculum African literature 96–8 ‘Africanness’ 84 Africans 32–3, 79, 81–2, 94, 121 English fascination with 79 and Shakespeare 82 African writers 24, 82–3, 96 African Writers Series (Heinemann) 96. See also Currey, James Alexander Text of the Complete Works of Shakespeare, The 100 alienation/aliens 8, 97, 109 diasporic 110 racial 106, 158 n.13 Al Jazeera (broadcaster) 75 Alles, Viji 64–5 alterity 80, 108–9, 115, 127, 161 n.6. See also difference
Amazonia. See Brazil/Brazilians; cosmology Americas. See Argentina; Brazil/Brazilians; Mexicans/Mexico; South America; United States of America Andrade, Oswald de 7, 129–32 Andrews, John 10–13, 134, 163 n.23 correspondence 10, 19 Anglicization 93. See also English language anthropologists/anthropology 37, 53–6, 161 n.8 anthropophagy. See cannibalism/ cannibalization/cannibals; cultural anthropophagy anti-immigrant sentiment 117, 119, 123, 125. See also immigrants Antonio (fictional character) 109. See also Devender (fictional character) anxiety, racial 79, 108, 160 n.39 apartheid 86–90, 92, 100. See also South Africa racial taxonomies 87 security police 88–9 struggles against 87, 89–90, 98 Apter, Emily 60 Argentina 19. See also South America Ariel (fictional character) 43, 89. See also Aryel (fictional character) Armando (fictional character) 113–14. See also Lorenzo (fictional character)
Arshee (fictional character) 62, 64, 65, 69 Arvas, Abdulhamit 76 Aryel (fictional character) 42–6. See also Ariel (fictional character) identity 43–4 Athawale, Dada 147 n.3 Atlantic Ocean 1–3 Australia 8, 55 Bangoya (fictional character) 41–2. See also Sycorax (fictional character) Banham, Martin 31, 36 Bannerjee, Rohini 25 Bartels, Emily 158 n.13 Bary, Leslie 131 Bassanio (fictional character) 116. See also Jitender (fictional character) Baxter Theatre Company 85–6, 95 Beatles, ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ 38 Berg, Stephen 132 Bhabha, Homi 30 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 74–5 Bharatiya Janata Yuva Manch (ABVP) 75 Bhardwaj, Rekha 77 Bhardwaj, Vishal 51, 61–73, 76–8, 149 n.33. See also Haider Bharucha, Rustom 106–7 Bhojpuri (Indo-Aryan language) 37, 39 blackness 79, 80, 120. See also Africans Blome, Richard 4
Boodhoo, Harish 145 n.68 border war. See Mexicans/ Mexico Brazil/Brazilians 129–32 cultural identity 131–2 culture 131–2 indigenous peoples 161 n.8, 162 n.20 scholars 132 Brecht, Bertolt 35 Brexit 118, 123. See also United Kingdom (UK); European Union (EU) Burke, Jason 63 Burnett, Mark Thornton 61–2, 149 n.33 Burns, Lorna 28 Calcutta 10 Caliban (fictional character) 41, 44, 87–9. See also Kalibann (fictional character) Canada 11, 55 cannibalism/cannibalization/ cannibals 42, 108–9, 129, 130, 132, 161 n.6, 162 n.20. See also cultural anthropophagy Cannibalist Manifesto (De Andrade) 7, 129–32, 162 n.18 canon 1, 25, 34, 51–2, 58, 60, 62, 68, 86, 96, 101, 110. See also cultural practices; Shakespeare Cape Town 10, 86 Cape Verde 19 capital 8 cultural 13, 49, 86, 94, 104, 110
global 8, 14, 16, 125 cardinal points. See global North; global South; North/‘North’; South/‘South’; West/‘West’ Caribbean 2, 25–6, 32, 142 n.27 catastrophe, ecological 16 Catholicism 109, 112. See also Christianity/Christians Caulker, Tcho Mbaimba 101–2 Césaire, Aimé 33, 142 n.28, 143 n.35 chauvinism 39, 91, 99, 120 cultural 99, 120, 131 ethnic 39 Chechnya 116 Choudhury, Chandrahas 58 Christianity/Christians 12, 98, 111, 130. See also Catholicism Church of England 94 Claudius (fictional character) 67. See also Khurram (fictional character) climate, effects of 4 colonialism 6, 33, 53, 122, 130. See also neocolonialism; postcolonialism abuses 2, 6, 86, 131 British/English 90, 98 history 56 legacy of 33, 122, 131, 133 colonization 82, 95 ‘coloureds’ 87–8 Comaroff, Jean 7, 9, 18, 107, 131 Comaroff, John 7, 9, 18, 107, 131 Comedy of Errors, A 91. See also Diphosophoso (Plaatje)
‘Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)’ (play) 128–9 Conference of English and Literature Departments of the Universities of East and Central Africa, Nairobi, 1969 97 Conference on ‘Teaching African Literature in Kenyan Schools,’ Nairobi, 1974 97 coolitude 25, 31–2, 142 n.28 Coriolanus 95 Cosgrove, Denis 15 cosmology 130 cosmopolitanism 14, 17, 104, 131–2 creole 24, 26, 30, 32. See also Kreol; Krio language; sega; slavery activism 31 aesthetics 25, 27 cultural experience 30–1 cultural forms 23–5, 29, 48 cultural politics 20, 24–5, 28–30 exceptionalism 33–4 experience 28, 30–1 identity 26–7 language(s) 23–5, 29, 31–4, 39, 92, 140 n.6 poetics 28 politics 25, 31, 92 sensibility 27, 29, 31 societies 30 creoleness 27–9, 140 n.6 creoles 32–3, 141 n.11 créolité 25–6, 29, 32, 141 n.11
creolization 4, 25–30, 39, 46, 141 n.11. See also métissage; Shakespeare; Tempest, The cultural 25, 35, 40 Mauritian 32 Cuba 19 cultural anthropophagy 7, 129–30, 132, 161 n.11, 162 n.14 cultural forms 37, 49, 52, 128, 130–1, 135 African 20 cultural practices, noncanonical 18 cultural studies 1, 3–6, 8–9, 18, 21, 50, 53–4, 56, 62, 102, 107, 131–2, 135. See also indigeneity contemporary 29 decolonial 27 cultural theory 3, 7, 18, 20, 29, 105–6, 107, 121, 135 Currey, James. See African Writers Series (Heinemann) curriculum 98, 110. See also South African National Curriculum Africanization 97–8 decolonization 97 English literature 96–8 Eurocentric bias 97 Kenyan 98 Dammarro (fictional character) 37, 45. See also Stephano (fictional character) Damrosch, David 59–60 David, Gabriel 94
Decker, Thomas 92, 101. See also Juliohs Siza decolonization 24, 26–7, 97, 99, 114, 125 DeGraff, Michel 33 Deleuze, Gilles 29–30, 141 n.18 democracies, Western 117, 119 Déodat, Caroline 37–8 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 117 Desai, Ashwin 100 Desmet, Christy 47 Devender (fictional character) 111, 115–16, 118. See also Bassanio (fictional character) Devi, Ananda 31–2 diaspora 2, 20, 28, 32, 39, 103–5, 124–5 alienation 110 communities 117, 119–21 creativity 119 discourse of 20, 106, 117, 124 experience of 24 South Asian 20, 104, 114 difference 1–2, 23, 27, 35, 44. See also alterity cultural 3, 5, 60, 118, 124–5 Dintshontsho tsa bo-Juliuse Kesara (Plaatje) 91–2. See also Julius Caesar; Plaatje, Solomon T. Diphosophoso (Plaatje) 91–2. See also Comedy of Errors, A; Plaatje, Solomon T. Dirlik, Arif 5–6, 8, 13, 124–5 discourse 5, 7, 60, 80, 84, 101, 111, 114–15, 119–20,
125, 134. See also diaspora colonial 27, 81, 84, 108 contemporary 20 of forgiveness 86–8 global/globalization 8, 54 human rights 55 indigeneity 53–5, 56, 73 international human rights 55 disempowerment 2, 8, 41, 54, 103, 115, 124, 127, 133–5. See also power dispossession 20, 25, 29, 48, 54, 56, 135 colonial 19, 55, 114, 133 Distiller, Natasha 82–4, 92, 95, 99, 101 Drabinski, John 29 Drum (magazine) 82 Durham 96 Dutch 32, 142 n.31 earth 15–17. See also globe; planet economy 8, 17, 32, 34, 120, 142 n.31 Eden, Richard 4 education 96. See also curriculum chauvinism of 91 colonial/colonialist 58, 82, 90, 93, 95–7 mission 82, 93–5 educational policy 93, 97 Elizabeth I 120 England 80–2. See also colonialism; United Kingdom early modern 24, 108 public culture 121
English language 11, 31, 37–8, 40, 82, 92, 94, 98, 132 in translation 36–7, 39–41, 43–4, 58, 90 English literary studies 58, 93, 96–7 English literature 86, 96–8 Englishness 80–1, 95 colonial 24 hegemonic 93, 102–3, 110, 129, 134 Erasmus, Zimitri 28, 141 n.11 Espinosa, Rubin 109–10 Estill, Laura 9 ‘Ethiop’, figure of 79–81 ethnicity 27, 29, 32, 35, 38, 54–6, 102, 105–6, 109–11, 113, 118–20, 123–4. See also chauvinism European Union (EU) 118 exploitation 5, 124 colonial 4 Faiz, Faiz Ahmed 76–7, 152 n.70 Fanon, Frantz 18 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 117 Ferdjinan (fictional character) 40, 43–46 film-makers/film-making 51, 64, 66, 77, 158 n.10. See also under individual filmmakers films 51, 61–4, 66–7, 69–73, 76–8, 147 n.3. See also adaptations and under individual films Folger, Emily Jordan 10 Folger, Henry Clay 10, 138 n.24
Folger Shakespeare Library 10 forgiveness 86, 88–9, 111 Frassinelli, Pier Paolo 90 French 32–3, 140 n.6, 142 n.31 Freud, Sigmund 67, 150 n.51 Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) 113, 114 Garuba, Harry 95 Geertz, Clifford 47 Geneva Convention 71 Gertrude (fictional character) 67. See also Ghazala (fictional character) Ghana 96 Ghazala (fictional character) 67–8, 71. See also Gertrude (fictional character) Glissant, Édouard 26–9, 30, 116, 142 n.28 ‘global’ and ‘local’ 62 globalism 15, 17 globalization 8, 16, 19–20, 39, 46, 50, 53, 61, 90, 105–6, 123, 125, 134–5 global North 3, 60, 119, 121, 127–8 Global Shakespeare 2, 10–11, 14–15, 18–19, 49–51, 54, 78, 101, 108, 130, 132, 134–5 studies 3, 9, 20, 60, 132, 135, 149 n.29 global South 2–9, 19–21, 24, 81, 84–5, 102, 105, 125, 127–8, 131, 133–5 Global South, The (journal) 6–8
globe/‘globe’ 1–3, 5, 8–9, 13–17, 25, 61, 99 Globe, The (theatre) 14, 47 Gonzalo (fictional character) 41, 88 Gordon, Colette 53 Greenblatt, Stephen 47 Griffiths, Gareth 98 Guattari, Félix 29–30, 141 n.18 Gumbrecht, Hans Ulrich 162 n.18 Haider (fictional character) 62–73, 75–8, 149 n.33 Haider (filmic adaptation) 20, 51, 61–3, 66–8, 72–3. See also Arshee (fictional character); Ghazala (fictional character); Haider (fictional character); Hamlet (drama); Khurram (fictional character); Salman (fictional character) Hakluyt, Richard 80 Hall, Kim F. 80, 108 Hall, Stuart 120–4 Hamlet (drama) 20, 41, 51–2, 58, 66–9, 71, 73, 132. See also Gertrude (fictional character); Hamlet (fictional character); Haider (filmic adaptation) Kashmiri version 20, 50–1 Khoon-e-Nahak (Hindi filmic adaptation) 147 n.3
Khoonka-Khoon (Hindi filmic adaptation) 147 n.3 National Theatre production, 2010 68 translocation of 73 and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 68 Hamlet (fictional character) 50, 51, 61, 104, 115, 127 Kashmiri representation 51, 77–8 Laurence Olivier’s performance 67 soliloquy 73, 81, 132 Harris, Jonathan Gil 30 hegemony 6, 12, 51, 61, 104, 115, 127 American cultural 111 Shakespeare 51 Heise, Ursula 16–17 Helsinki 10 Hindi (language) 37, 39 Hinduism 58, 115, 119 homogeneity 5, 120–1, 124 Honeyman, Janice 86. See also Tempest, The Hope, Jonathan 33 Huang, Alexa 14, 18 Hugo, Victor 35 Hulme, Peter 54–6 humanities, environmental 16 humanity 100–1, 111, 114, 143 n.40 Hussain, Touqir 74, 151 n.60 hybridity 9, 30, 32 Iago (fictional character) 80, 158 n.13 Iceland 19
imaginary 20, 23, 28, 31, 81, 85 immigrants 103, 109–10, 116, 118, 124. See also antiimmigrant sentiment; Mexicans/Mexico imperialism 29, 38, 56, 75, 82, 87, 129 indentured servitude/labour 24, 31, 142 n.27 independence movements 56, 90, 95, 105, 114, 122. See also liberation movements India 2, 19, 23, 53–6, 63, 65, 72, 74. See also Kashmir/ Kashmiris; North India; South Asia armed forces 43–5, 70, 72, 74–5, 149 n.34 Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act of 1990 149 n.34 British rule in 58, 114 cultural heritage 57 history 53, 55 indigeneity 50, 53–5 media 6, 75–6, 151 n.64 nationalism 75 Scheduled Tribes 54–5 Indian Council of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (ICITP) 54–5 Indianité 25 Indianness 38, 75 Indian Ocean 1–3, 23, 25–6, 31–2, 36, 142 n.27 Indians 25, 31, 142 n.27
indigeneity 55–8, 61, 71, 73–4. See also cultural studies indigenization 2, 4, 20, 49–51, 58, 78 indigenous people’s movement 54–7, 114 Indo-Caribbean, Francophone 26 injustices 52, 72, 114, 124–5, 134 innovations 1, 11, 39, 50, 53, 89, 102 intellectuals 24, 91, 95, 98–9, 102 interculturalism 106–8, 111, 114, 133, 157 n.5 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 117 isiXhosa 89 Islamophobia 117, 125. See also Muslims Jammu and Kashmir. See Kashmir/Kashmiris Japan 19 Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) 74 Jessica (fictional character) 112–13. See also Noori (fictional character) Jewishness/Jews 81, 109, 113. See also Judaism Jitender (fictional character) 116 Johnson, David 93 Judaism 112. See also Jewishness/Jews Julia (fictional character) 79 Juliasi Kaizari (Nyerere) 91. See also Julius Caesar
Juliohs Siza (Decker) 92, 101. See also Julius Caesar Julius Caesar 91–2, 95, 101. See also Dintshontsho tsa boJuliuse Kesara (Plaatje); Juliasi Kaizari (Nyerere); Juliohs Siza (Decker) Kaapse Klopse 87 Kabir 57–8 Kalibann (fictional character) 35, 41–4. See also Caliban (fictional character) Kani, John 82, 86, 88 Kapoor, Shahid 63, 65–7, 69, 72 Kashmir/Kashmiris 20, 51, 61–78, 150 n.52, 151 n.59. See also India Kaspalto (fictional character) 37, 45. See also Trinculo (fictional character) Kavita (fictional character) 111, 118–19. See also Nerissa (fictional character) Kenya 23, 83, 96–8 Khurram (fictional character) 67. See also Claudius (fictional character) King Lear 34 Kinnear, Rory 68 Kliman, Bernice 79 Kordelia (fictional character) 40–4. See also Miranda (fictional character) Kreol 31, 34–7, 39–41, 43, 142 n.31 and pidgin 33 Kreol Morisien. See Kreol
Kreol songs. See sega Krige, Uys 91 Krio language 92, 101–2. See also Sierra Leone Kumar, Anuj 63 Kurup, Shishir 104–6, 108, 110–11, 114, 116–18, 125 labourers, indentured 24, 31, 142 n.31 Latin America. See South America Latour, Bruno 61 Leavis, F.R. 96 Leiner, Jacqueline 33 Levander, Caroline 7 liberation movements 100. See also independence movements; Mexicans/ Mexico; Vicente, Rafael Sebastián Guillén; Zapatista Army of National Liberation South African 100 Library of Congress 10 linguistics 26, 31–4, 38–9, 43, 84, 90–2, 94, 101–2 Lionnet, Françoise 1, 23–4, 26 Lir, King (fictional character) 38, 41, 43–5 literary studies 51, 58, 93, 96–7 literature 59–60, 98. See also curriculum African 96–8 British 97 canonical 51–2, 96 indigenous 59 world 51, 59–60
London 10, 36, 68, 92, 96, 104, 116, 120–1, 123 Londoners 20, 120–1, 123. See also South Asians Loomba, Ania 9, 81 Lorenzo (fictional character) 112–13. See also Armando (fictional character) Mabepari wa Venisi (Nyerere) 91. See also Merchant of Venice, The Macbeth 34, 84–5, 95. See also uMabatha: The Zulu Macbeth (Msomi) McDonald, Peter 57–9 Mahabharat, The 35 Mandela, Nelson 88–9, 95, 100 Manifesto Antropófago (De Andrade). See Cannibalist Manifesto (De Andrade) Marcos, Subcomandante. See Vicente, Rafael Sebastián Guillén marginalization 3, 6, 32, 38, 56, 105, 111, 127 Mauritian Creole. See Kreol Mauritius 3, 23–5, 31, 33–4, 36–8, 47, 142 n.28 class conflict 46 cultural Africanization 32 folk traditionalism 39 history 31–4, 47, 142 n.31 political parties 145 n.68 politics 38 Mazrui, Alamin 83, 94, 98 Mazrui, Ali 83, 95–6, 98 Mbeki, Thabo 95 Mbembe, Achille 84
Mehrotra, Arvind Krishna 57–9 Mehta, Brinda 26–8, 140 n.6 Menon, Nivedita 74–5, 151 n.64 Merchant of Venice, The 104–5, 108–9. See also Antonio (fictional character); Bassanio (fictional character); Jessica (fictional character); Lorenzo (fictional character); Mabepari wa Venisi (Nyerere); Merchant on Venice (Kurup); Merchant of Wembley (Kurup); Shylock (fictional character) criticism of 108–9 Merchant on Venice, The (Kurup) 104–6, 110–19. See also Armando (fictional character); Devender (fictional character); Jitender (fictional character); Kavita (fictional character); Lorenzo (fictional character); Merchant of Venice, The; Merchant of Wembley, The (Kurup); Noori (fictional character); Sharuk (fictional character) Merchant of Wembley, The (Kurup) 104, 126 Merlan, Francesca 56–7 Merriman, Nathaniel, Archdeacon 94
métissage 27, 35, 140 n.6, 143 n.40. See also creolization Mexicans/Mexico 109–10, 114, 117, 128–9 Mignolo, Walter 7 migrants 105, 117. See also refugees Miles, William 32 Miranda (fictional character) 44. See also Kordelia (fictional character) Misgar, Umar Lateef 151 n.59 Modenessi, Alfredo 128–9 modernism, Brazilian 132 modernity 6–8, 20, 24, 101, 135 colonial 5–7, 10, 32, 46, 50, 81, 102, 128, 131–2, 135 early 4, 13 Modi, Narendra 71, 74 Modi, Sohrab 147 n.3 Moi, Daniel Arap 98 Molière 35, 143 n.40 Mooneeram, Roshni 23, 33–4, 142 n.31 Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM) 34, 145 n.68 movements 38. See also coolitude; créolité; independence movements; Indianité; indigenous people’s movements; liberation movements; négritude; Zapatista Army of National Liberation cultural 26, 29 decolonial 26, 114 intellectual 131–3 political 26, 29
revolutionary 114 student 99 Mpe, Phaswane 98 Msomi, Welcome 84–5, 154 n.20 Much Ado About Nothing 34 Mufti, Aamir 60 multiculturalism 3, 106, 117, 119, 121–3 murder 68, 72, 112, 116. See also Chechnya Muslims 111–13, 115–18. See also Islamophobia hatred of 116, 118 Nairobi Conference. See Conference of English and Literature Departments of the Universities of East and Central Africa, Nairobi, 1969 nationalism/nationalists 59, 74–5, 96, 119–20, 122 African 96, 98, 100–1 Afrikaner 98–9 National Security Association (NSA) 117 négritude 25 Nehru, Jawaharlal 65 neocolonialism 6. See also colonialism Nerissa (fictional character) 111. See also Kavita (fictional character) New Zealand 8, 19 Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o 96–7, 102 Nigeria 97 Noori (fictional character) 112–14. See also Jessica (fictional character)
North/‘North’ 2, 5, 7–8, 13, 19, 40, 135. See also global North; ‘Northern people’ ‘Northern people’ 4 North India 2, 39, 61, 64, 66, 86, 104–5, 107, 121, 123–5, 127. See also India Norway 19 Nyerere, Julius 83, 91, 94, 101 Olivier, Laurence 67, 150 n.51 Ophelia (fictional character) 62. See also Arshee (fictional character) Orientalism 60. See also Said, Edward Orkin, Martin 149 n.29 Oslo 10 Othello (fictional character) 80, 158 n.13 ‘other’ 104, 106, 130 outsiders 73, 81, 103, 108–9, 125, 158 n.13 Pakistan/Pakistanis 63–4, 72, 74, 76, 151 n.59 Parthasarathy, Rajagopal 59 Paul, St 12 Pavis, Patrice 107, 157–8 n.9 Peer, Basharat 63 Plaatje, Soloman T. 91–4, 101 ‘planet’ 14–17 playwrights 1, 24, 35–6, 42, 50, 57, 92, 94, 101, 104, 108. See also theatre-makers/ theatre-making political scientists 53 politics 4, 16, 18, 20, 24, 28, 31, 34, 38–9, 45, 50, 62,
66, 99, 104, 120, 124–5. See also Shakespeare contemporary 55, 57, 62, 68, 73, 78, 92 cultural 9, 16, 20, 28–31, 51, 61, 99, 135 identity 26, 29–30, 78, 111, 124, 142 n.28 transformative 8 Poloniouss (fictional character) 41–2, 45 Polonius (fictional character) 41 Poquelin, Jean-Baptiste. See Molière Portia (fictional character) 111 Portuguese 32, 142 n.31 postcolonialism 2–3, 6. See also colonialism postcolonial studies 50, 55 power 2, 6, 8–9, 21, 24, 36, 39–42, 72, 87, 89, 93, 107, 116–17, 124. See also disempowerment; race privilege 8, 15, 17 Prospero (fictional character) 36–7, 40–3, 87–9 Proteus (fictional character) 79 Putnam, Herbert 10 race 6, 9, 21, 25, 25–6, 29–30, 43. See also ethnicity; power mixed 41, 42, 87 racial classification 28, 56, 87, 141 n.11 racialization 4, 24, 28–9, 55, 81, 110, 119, 124–5, 127, 134
racism 13, 25, 33, 92, 107, 120, 122, 134, 158 n.13 Radford, Michael 158 n.10 rape 42, 64, 116. See also Pakistan/Pakistanis; Serbia; women Ravaton, Jean Alphonse. See Ti Frère Red Dragon (ship) 79 Refskou, Anne Sophie 132–3 refugees 103, 125. See also migrants rhizomatic model/theory 26, 29–30. See also Deleuze, Gilles; Guattari, Félix Richard III 95 Robben Island 100 Robben Island Shakespeare’. See Alexander Text of the Complete Works of Shakespeare, The Rocha, João Cezar de Castro 132 Rome 10–11 Romeo and Juliet 98 Roux, Daniel 94–5 Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) 85–6, 95 Ruiter, David 109 Sahu, Kishore 147 n.3 Said, Edward 17–18, 60, 135 Salman (fictional character) 69 Sandhu, Sukhdev 121 scare quotes 10, 13 Schalkwyk, David 90–1, 100 scholars 1, 4, 10–11, 13–16, 26, 32, 47, 49–50, 132, 134, 149 n.26. See also intellectuals African 98 Mauritian 26, 32–5
scholarship 2–4, 9, 20, 50–1, 79, 90, 92, 101, 133–5, 163 n.21 sega 37–8 Sen, Jahnavi 74 Serbia 116 seTswana 91–4, 101 Shah, Alpa 54–5 Shakespeare, William. See also Africanization; creolization; Global Shakespeare; indigenization; Shakespearean drama; Shakespeare scholarship/ studies; Stratford-uponAvon adaptations 61 Africa/African 79–81, 102 Africanized 84 canonical 62, 86, 110 enthusiasm for 93–4 exceptionalism 1 iconic status 67, 89 imagination 46 Indian 59 inventiveness 128, 136 legacy 19, 90, 128, 134 nontraditional construction 13 as political playwright 36, 62 presence 2, 9, 11, 81, 94, 102, 134 relevance 82, 100, 129, 134 rendering of 21, 31, 49, 61 reputation as humanist 90, 101 traditional construction 12 universalism 14, 18, 59, 66, 100–1, 114, 134
Shakespearean drama 20, 24, 46, 52, 66–7, 81–2, 90, 125. See also adaptations; names of individual adaptations and plays anticolonial 23–4 Christians in 110 nontraditional interpretations 134 on performance 11, 128 reimagining of 1, 5, 52 transformation 1, 92, 19 translocation 3, 49, 82 translations of 57 Shakespeare Quarterly (journal) 10–11, 13, 134 Shakespeare scholarship/studies 2–4, 7, 9–10, 13–14, 110, 132, 134–5, 149 n.29 Sharuk (fictional character) 110–15, 117–18. See also Shylock (fictional character) Sher, Antony 85–6 Shylock (fictional character) 104, 108–10, 113, 125. See also Sharuk (fictional character) Sierra Leone 19, 79, 96, 101–2. See also Krio language Simpson, Audra 56 Singh, Jyotsna 76 sjambok 87–8 slavery/slaves 24–9, 32–3, 37–8, 41, 47, 87, 133, 142 n.31 Smith, Ian 84 Sophiatown 82–3 South/‘South’ 4–5, 8, 18, 50, 86, 133, 135. See also global South
South Africa 3, 85, 88–9, 98. See also forgiveness; Western Cape apartheid 86, 92, 100 post-apartheid 3, 84–8, 93–4, 99–100 South African Defence Force (SADF) 89 South African National Curriculum 93, 99 South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) 87–9 South America 2. See also Argentina; Brazil/ Brazilians South Asia 2, 3, 112, 114. See also India South Asian Business Union (SABU) 114–15 South Asians 113–14. See also under diaspora London 20, 104 Venice Beach, Los Angeles 104, 116 South Atlantic world 1 ‘Southern Nations’ 4–5 Staden, Hans 162 n.20 Stephano (fictional character) 87–8 Stratford-upon-Avon 3, 10, 13, 39, 60, 85–6, 91–2, 133. See also Shakespeare subalternity 17 Swahili 91, 94, 101 Sycorax (fictional character) 88. See also Bangoya (fictional character)
Tanzania 91, 97 Tel Aviv 10 Tempest, The 20, 23, 24–7, 40. See also Toufann (Virahsawmy) adaptation 46–7 Mauritian 20, 23, 25–6, 47 Royal Shakespeare Company/Baxter Theatre production 85–7, 95 theatre 1, 58, 81, 83, 102, 105, 107 African 102 Kathakali 52 Parsi 52 ‘struggle’ 88 theatre-makers/theatre-making 1–3, 10, 21, 24–5, 31, 82, 91, 96, 102–3, 105, 125, 128, 133–5. See also playwrights theatre practice/practitioners 3, 9–10, 12, 19, 26, 53, 79, 82–3, 99, 127–8, 134, 163 n.23 Third World 5, 8 Third World Quarterly (journal) 6 Thompson, Ayanna 134, 163 n.24 Ti Frère 37 Titus Andronicus (Sher’s production) 85, 86 Tokyo 10 Toorawa, Shawkat 34–5, 40 Torabully, Khal 25, 32, 142 n.28 ‘toufann,’ definition of 39–40 Toufann (Virahsawmy) 46–7. See also Aryel (fictional
character); Dammarro (fictional character); Ferdjinan (fictional character); Kalibann (fictional character); Kaspalto (fictional character); Kordelia (fictional character); Lir, King (fictional character); Prospero (fictional character); Tempest, The criticism 45 English translation 36, 43–4 Trinculo (fictional character) 87–8. See also Kaspalto (fictional character) Trivedi, Poonam 52–3 Trump, Donald 117–18 Turks 81 Twaalfde Nag (Krige) 91. See also Twelfth Night Twelfth Night 34–5, 91, 94. See also Twaalfde Nag (Krige) Two Gentlemen of Verona 79 ubuntu 86, 154 n.23 Uganda 96 uMabatha: The Zulu Macbeth (Msomi) 84–5. See also Macbeth United Kingdom 10, 118. See also Brexit; England anti-immigrant attitudes 118 United Nations 5, 71, 149 n.34 United States of America 10–11, 109–10, 116–18. See also Department of Homeland Security
(DHS); Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Internal Revenue Service (IRS); National Security Association (NSA) University of London satellite campuses 96 University of Nairobi 97 van Wyk Smith, Malvern 84 Varenius, Bernhardus 4 Venice 108–9 Venice Beach, Los Angeles 104, 112, 116 Venkatrathnam, Sonny 100 Verma, Rajiva 52, 147 n.3 Vicente, Rafael Sebastián Guillén 114, 159 n.24 Virahsawmy, Dev 23–5, 31, 33–6, 39, 41, 43–4, 47, 92, 143 n.40. See also Aryel (fictional character); coolitude; creole; Kalibann (fictional character); Kreol; Mauritius; Poloniouss (fictional character); Toufann Viswanathan, Gauri 58, 93 Vitello, Barbara 110–11 Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo 130–1
Walling, Michael 36, 39, 45 Walling, Nisha 36 Walls, Laura 14 Weinberger, Eliot 58 Wembley (London) 20, 104, 116 Wenzel, Jennifer 17 West/‘West’ 119–20, 131 West Africa 92, 98 Western Cape 87 West Indies 19 Wilkinson, Jane 45 Willan, Brian 92–4 witches/witchcraft 85–6 women 35, 62, 64, 67–8, 70, 116 World Council of Indigenous Peoples 54–5 World Shakespeare Bibliography Online 9 World War, 1939–45 97 Wright, Laurence 97–8 writers. See African writers YouTube 47 Zapatista Army of National Liberation 114, 159 n.24 Zulus 85, 154 n.20