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Grant number like: FT-259833-18

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Elizabeth Rebecca Wright
University of Georgia (Athens, GA 30602-0001)
Theater and the Slave Trade in 15th- and 16th-Century Spain and Portugal

Research for a book-length study of relationships between the Atlantic Slave Trade and the emergence of professional theater in early modern Spain and Portugal.

“Stages of Servitude in Early Modern Iberia” examines an enduring question about the Atlantic slave trade that first comes into view in Portugal and Spain in the late fifteenth century: why did early awareness of its cruelty and illegality not foment abolitionism? I ask how the thriving theater cultures of Spain and Portugal contributed to the naturalization of demeaning images of sub-Saharan Africans and the institutionalization of the Atlantic slave trade. Yet my book also considers a paradox: black Africans and Afro-descendant Iberians found rare chances for artistic validation and economic advancement in the theater business, working as musicians, actors, stagehands, and writers. My study is organized in five chapters (stages), understood in spatial-temporal terms as the cultural contexts where slave-holding was displayed. The completed book will enhance our understanding of Renaissance theater and empire building.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Renaissance History; Renaissance Studies; Theater History and Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2018 – 6/30/2018