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CE/CME Courses

"The Law Shall Touch You” Psychological Profiling, Race, and Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta

1 CE/CME Credit
Instructor: Lisa Barksdale-Shaw, PhD
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In this talk, Lisa Barksdale-Shaw, JD, PhD, confronts how the examination of early modern English renaissance characters in a sixteenth-century drama recovers, remembers, and recovers race in a way that belies the well-crafted narrative in Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta. Removing him from the margins of this tragedy, she centers Ithadore, a captured and enslaved Turk, who serves as the figure through which she studies the legal repercussions of the violence that surrounds him. As a way to read the character, Barksdale-Shaw assesses his potential sociopathy and analyzes how the narrative of the play “prosecutes” or makes judgments against the behavior of Ithadore. To determine his relationship to the world, she also considers the dynamics between trauma and the master-servant relationship exists in his role as a bondsman. Further complicating these psychological and legal assessments, Barksdale-Shaw compares the agency of Marlowe’s Ithadore and Shakespeare’s Aaron the Moor from Titus Andronicus. Overall, this case study offers a way to expand how we contemplate contemporary social relationships, racial capitalism, and labor agreements on the global stage.