Racial discourse blackamoors, othello and elizabeth i
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Racial discourse blackamoors, othello and elizabeth i

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Racial discourse blackamoors, othello and elizabeth i Racial discourse blackamoors, othello and elizabeth i Presentation Transcript

  • Racial discourse: Blackamoors, Othello and Elizabeth I
  • Travellers’ accounts: Philippo Pigafetta (1597) George Abbot (1599) Leo Africanus (1526) Presence of emissaries from Barbary (1596) Royal proclamations, Elizabeth I (1596, 1601) CDA (van Dijk, 1995) • Ideology • Context (participants, time, place, topics) • Text - forms of control: • a) semantic structure of the discourse; • b) surface structures; • c) local semantic structures Othello, William Shakespeare (c 1602) CDA (van Dijk, 1995) Deconstruction (Derrida, 1967)
  • Favoritism autorepresentation Inner group Europeans Rejection Hetero representation Outer group Foreigners
  • Stereotypes about blackness • Depravity and lust: – “The people are blacke and goe naked, saiuing that they wear short coates of Seales skinne, and a peace of the same skinne about their members, they are all of stature, flat nose, swift in running, they will pick and steale, although you looke on them”, from A True and Large Discourse of the Voyage of the Whole Fleet of Ships, 1603). – “It is the manner among them, for euvery man to haue many wiues:and the fellowship of their wiues, that other use in secret: they use in open sighte”, and “every man taketh as many wiues as hee listeth, and so they multiply infinitely.” (The Fardle of Facions Conteining the Ancient Maners, Customes and Lawes of the Peoples Enhabiting the two Partes of the Earth Called Affike and Asie). • Canibalism, bestiality, brutishness: – “For thier enemies whom they take in the warres, they eate, and also their slaues, if they can haue good market for them, they sell: or,if they cannot, then they deliuer them to the butchers to be cut in peeces,and so sold to be rosted or boyled” (Pigafetta, 1597).
  • Discourse in official letters • CDA: A type of analytical study about a discourse that assesses, primarily, the way in which the abuse of social power, dominance and inequality are practiced, reproduced and, occasionally, combated by written and oral texts in social and political contexts (van Dijk, 1999, p. 23). • Ideology: basic systems of socially shared beliefs that are associated with the characteristic properties of a group, such as their identity, their position in society, their interests and aims, their relations to other groups, their reproduction, and their natural environment, and which are transmitted through oral or written discourse in a persuasive way (van Dijk, 1995).
  • CDA analysis Context of text Context of production Participants -Time -Place -Topics Text Semantic structures: -topics -coherence -causal relations Surface structures: -syntax Local semantic structures -lexis Representations about others -level of specificity -degree of completeness Control of rhetorical forms
  • Official letters • Social and political context:  Anglo-Spanish war (1585-1604);  Defeat of the Invincible Armada (1588);  Pirates attacks : slaves- prisoners of war by British pirates: Francis Drake; Earl of Essex, among others.  Negotiations between England & Morocco: East Levant Company or Turkey Company 1581) & Barbary Company or Morocco Company (1585).  Establishment of the Anglo-Moroccan alliance: invasion of Spanish colonies in the New World (end 1600) invasion of the old Al Ándalus
  • First Letter: Queen Elizabeth to the Lord Mayor et al., 11 July 1596,in Acts of the Privy Council of England, n.s., 26 (1596-97), ed. John Roche Dasent (London: Mackie, 1902), 16-7. • Her Majestie understanding that there are of late divers blackmoores brought into this realme, of which kinde of people there are allready here to manie…Her Majesty's pleasure therefore ys that those kinde of people should be sent forth of the lande, and for that purpose there ys direction given to this bearer Edwarde Banes to take of those blackmoores that in this last voyage under Sir Thomas Baskervile were brought into this realme the nomber of tenn, to be transported by him out of the realme. Wherein wee require you to be aydinge and assysting unto him as he shall have occacion, therof not to faile (Queen Elizabeth to the Lord Mayor et al. 1596-7 pp. 16-7).
  • Second letter: Queen Elizabeth to the Lord Mayor et al., 18 July 1596,in Acts of the Privy Council of England, n.s., 26 (1596-97), ed. John Roche Dasent (London: Mackie, 1902), 20-1. Whereas Casper van Senden, a merchant of Lubeck, did by his labor and travell procure 89 of her Majesty’s subjectes that were detayned prisoners in Spaine and Portugall to be released, and brought them hither into this realme at his owne cost and charges, for the which his expences and declaration of his honest minde towardes those prisoners he only desireth to have lycense to take up so much blackamoores here in this realme and to transport them into Spaine and Portugall. Her Majesty in regard of the charitable affection the suppliant hathe shewed, being a stranger, to worke the delivery of our contrymen that were there in great misery and thraldom and to bring them home to their native contry, and that the same could not be don without great expence, and also considering the reasonablenes of his requestes to transport so many blackamoores from hence, doth thincke yt a very good exchange and that those kinde of people may be well spared in this realme, being so populous and numbers of hable persons the subjectes of the land and Christian people that perishe for want of service, wherby through their labor they might be mayntained. They are therfore in their Lordships’ name required to aide and assist him to take up suche blackamores as he shall finde within this realme with the consent of their masters, who we doubt not, considering her Majesty’s good pleasure to have those kind of people sent out of the lande and the good deserving of the stranger towardes her Majesty’s subjectes, and that they shall doe charitably and like Christians rather to be served by their owne contrymen then with those kinde of people, will yielde those in their possession to him.
  • Third letter: Tudor Royal Proclamations, vol.3, pp.221-2 (c January 1601). http:wwwnationalarchives.gov.uk Black Presence After our hearty commendations; whereas the Queen’s Majesty, tendering the good and welfare of her own natural subjects greatly distressed in these hard times of dearth, is highly discontented to understand the great numbers of Negars and Blackamoors which (as she is informed) are crept into this realm since the troubles between Her Highness and the King of Spain, who are fostered and relieved here to the great annoyance of her own liege people that want the relief which those people consume; as also for that the most of them are infidels, having no understanding of Christ or his Gospel, hath given especial commandment that the said kind of people should be with all speed avoided and discharged out of this Her Majesty’s dominions. And to that end and purpose hath appointed Caspar van Zenden, merchant of Lübeck for their speedy transportation, a man that hath very well deserved of this realm in respect that by his own labor and charge he hath relieved and brought from Spain divers of our English nation who otherwise would have perished there. This shall therefore be to will and require you and every of you to aid and assist the said Caspar van Zenden or his assigns to take up such Negars and Blackamoors to be transported as aforesaid, as he shall find within the realm of England. And if there shall be any person or persons which are possessed of any such Blackamoors that refuse to deliver them in sort as aforesaid, then we require you to call them before you and to advise and persuade them by all good means to satisfy Her Majesty’s pleasure therein, which if they shall eftsoons willfully and obstinately refuse, we pray you then to certify their names unto us, to the end Her Majesty may take such further course therein as it shall seem best in her princely wisdom.
  • Ways to control texts (official letters) • 1) Semantic structures: semantic coherence between the propositions that conform each text, expressed between structures of cause relations: economic and religious. • 2) Local semantic level: – repetition of central idea: others = different class & financial threat: “…in these hard times of dearth” (3rd letter); (…“who are fostered and relieved here to the great annoyance of her own liege people that want the relief which those people consume”) (3rd letter), (…“manie in want of service.”) (2nd letter) - use of threatening structure: future subjunctive: “And if there shall be any person or persons which are possessed of any such Blackamoors that refuse to deliver them in sort as aforesaid, then we require you to call them before you and to advise and persuade them by all good means to satisfy Her Majesty’s pleasure therein, which if they shall eftsoons willfully and obstinately refuse, we pray you then to certify their names unto us, to the end Her Majesty may take such further course therein as it shall seem best in her princely wisdom .”(3rd letter)
  • - moves: (+ ) ‘us’ vs. (-) ‘them’, ‘the others’ : “the most of them are infidels, having no understanding of Christ or his Gospel,” (3rd letter), while the British are “Christians”, “charitable” and “faithful to the gospel.” - Contrast / opposition: external groups: “they” & internal groups: “us” lexical-grammatical opposition: “those kind of people” / “our countrymen.”(2nd letter). - Choice of words: use of demonstrative pronouns : “those kinde of people”, “such people”, “they”. - Level of specificity and degree of completeness: “hard times of dearth.” (3rd letter) (van Dijk, 1999)
  • Groups Dominant Queen élite Minority Foreigners Threatening control -Pragmatically: official decree, order, advice -Content local semantic movements -Stylistically & rhetorically: choice of genre
  • Othello • C.D.A. ways of control Negative stereotypes Elizabethan period: • Yago about Otelo: “an old black ram”, “a barbary horse”, “a beast”, “the devil” (I, i, 85-86-88) who has stolen Desdemona. • Rodrigo about the moor: “…an extravagant and wheeling stranger” (133), “a lascivious Moor” (123) with “thick-lips”. • Brabantio, towards their elopment: “A maiden never bold, /Of spirit so still and quiet…in spite of nature, /Of years, of country, credit, everything, / To fall in love with what she feared to look on!” (I, ii, p. 15).
  • • Use of strategies of manipulation and persuasion: - Othello: “Haply for I am black/ And have not those soft parts of conversation/ That chamberers have …/ She’s gone. I am abused…” (III, iii, 261). • -Iago: “…Not to affect many proposed matches/Of her own clime, complexion, and degree/Whereto we see in all things nature tends-/ Foh! One may smell in such a will most rank,/ Foul disproportions, thoughts unnatural…”(III, iii, 231-35). • - Othello: “I think my wife be honest, and think she is not, / I think that thou art just, and think thou art not”. (III, iii, 385-86)
  • • Inversion of underlying stereotypical structure of difference & opposition WE - THEY: Iago: - “She did deceive her father, marrying you; /and when she seemed to shake and fear your looks, / she loved them most” (III, iii, 206-8). “I would not have your free and noble nature, Out of self-bounty be abused. I know our country disposition well: In Venice they do let heaven see the pranks They dare not show their husbands/ their best conscience It is not to leave’t undone, but kept unknown” (III, iii, 201-4).
  • Conclusion • Objective: to show different ways in which power, persuasion and manipulation were exerted in England in the XVIth C. to create and transmit the most convenient stereotypes for the speaker. Travellers’ narratives Royal proclamations Literary texts