Material / Blackness: Race and Its Material Reconstructions on the Seventeenth-Century English Stage


  • Morwenna Carr University of Roehampton



Stage, otherness, bodies, identity, blackness, cosmetics, race, material


Examining William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, William Heminge's The Fatal Contract, and Elkanah Settle's Love and Revenge, this article argues that the seventeenth-century English stage imagines blackness as fluid and transferable because of the materials used in its production. These cosmetics are imagined as being potentially moveable from one surface to another. The article considers the intersection between the materials used to recreate blackness and its semiotic values, focusing on the relationship between black bodies and female bodies. It argues that the materials used in the recreation of these bodies inform and are informed by the panoply of discourses surrounding them. 

Author Biography

Morwenna Carr, University of Roehampton

Morwenna Carr ( is a research fellow at the University of Roehampton.


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