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Teaching Social Justice Through ShakespeareWhy Renaissance Literature Matters Now$
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Hillary Eklund and Wendy Beth Hyman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474455589

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474455589.001.0001

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“Intelligently organized resistance”: Shakespeare in the Diasporic Politics of John E. Bruce

“Intelligently organized resistance”: Shakespeare in the Diasporic Politics of John E. Bruce

(p.85) Chapter 7 “Intelligently organized resistance”: Shakespeare in the Diasporic Politics of John E. Bruce
Teaching Social Justice Through Shakespeare

Kim F. Hall

Edinburgh University Press

In 1916 the black journalist and organizer John Edward Bruce outlined an approach for the study of Shakespeare aimed at racial uplift. This chapter situates Bruce’s inaugural address to “The Friends of Shakespeare,” a black organization for the study and performance of Shakespeare, in the wider U.S. context of migration, the rise of white nationalism, and pan-Africanist thought. An autodidact, Bruce advocated for a collaborative approach to studying Shakespeare’s works in their historical context and alongside works by black authors. Comparing Bruce’s collectivist and historicist strategies for using Shakespeare as a vehicle for racial uplift, with radical pedagogies described more recently by Joyce E. King and others, Hall argues that the study of Shakespeare, then as now, can equip students for “intelligently organized resistance.”

Keywords:   Race, Education, Pan-Africanism, African-American literature, Great Migration, Protest, Performance, Collaboration

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