Skip to main content

“Is Black so Base a Hue?”: Black Life Matters in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Early Modern Black Diaspora Studies

Abstract

Brown analyzes Shakespeare’s tragedy, Titus Andronicus, in light of Black Lives Matter and connects modern and early modern race studies through a global, transhistorical phenomenon he calls “racist inertia.” The chapter explores the concept of (racial) profiling and argues that Titus stages the deindividualizing effects of racism and, consequently, contributes to a discourse about race in the early modern period that still resonates today. Overall, “‘Is Black so Base a Hue?’” presents Titus as a symptomatic case of anti-black violence. In conclusion, Brown turns to Julie Taymor’s 1999 Titus film adaptation and considers the complementary timelessness and timeliness of her work and Shakespeare’s.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

Acknowledgements

In addition to thanking the volume editors, Miles P. Grier, Nick Jones, and Cassander Smith, for their pointed suggestions and intellectual generosity, I thank John Michael Archer, Arthur Little, Jr., Ian Smith, and Ayanna Thompson for offering feedback at various stages of this essay’s development. I am also grateful to Julie Iromuanya for informing me about the EMBDS cfp, to the Duke University SITPA program for supporting my research, and to Bates College for inviting me to present a preliminary version of this piece at their 2016 New Scholars Symposium.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David Sterling Brown .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2018 The Author(s)

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Brown, D.S. (2018). “Is Black so Base a Hue?”: Black Life Matters in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. In: Smith, C., Jones, N., Grier, M. (eds) Early Modern Black Diaspora Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-76786-4_7

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics