An Eye on Race
Racism in the modern nation state is based on a Continental and an American model. In the Continental model, the racist differentiates the raced individual by religion. Because this raced individual is indistinguishable from the racist, a narrative is written to see that individual. In turn, in the American model the racist differentiates the raced individual based on skin color. Because the sign of difference is obvious, no story is written to justify racist thinking. By 1550, both models form part of imperial thinking in the Iberian world system. An Eye on Race: Perspectives from Theater in Imperial Spain (Bucknell University Press, 2006) describes these models at work in imperial Spanish theater. The study reveals how the display of blood in drama serves the Continental model and how the display of skin color serves the American model. It also elucidates how Miguel de Cervantes celebrates a subaltern aesthetic as he discards both racial paradigms.
John Beusterien is Professor of Spanish. He has two monographs: Canines in Cervantes and Velázquez: An Animal Studies Reading of Early Modern Spain and An Eye on Race: Perspectives from Theater in Imperial Spain. His publications also include Sustaining Ecocriticism: Comparative Perspectives; Death and Afterlife: The Case of the Early Modern Hispanic World; Touching the Ground: Female Footwear in the Early Modern Hispanic World; and Lope de Vega's El prodigio de Etiopía. He has a forthcoming book about animal spectacles in early modern Spain.