Toni Morrison Reads Othello
Toni Morrison Reads Othello
In this conversation, leading scholars discuss Toni Morrison’s radical re- imagining of Shakespeare’s tragedy, "Desdemona." The work focuses on Desdemona’s imagined relationship with a Black woman who raised her.
Buell Hall, East Gallery
April 12, 2022 | 6:00 pm
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Speaker details

Jean Howard
George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University
Kim F. Hall
Lucyle Hook Professor of English, Professor of Africana Studies, Barnard College
Farah Jasmine Griffin
Chair, Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies; William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies and Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Columbia University

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Buell Hall, East Gallery
515 West 116th Street
New York, NY

About This Event

In this conversation, Shakespearean scholars Jean Howard and Kim F. Hall, Toni Morrison scholar Farah Jasmine Griffin, contemporary drama scholar Rebecca Kastleman discuss Morrison’s radical re-imagining of Shakespeare’s tragedy. Written in collaboration with musician Rokia Traore, Morrison’s play—whose title, Desdemona, reveals it to be a refraction of Othello—focuses on Desdemona’s imagined relationship with a Black woman who raised her, a character not present in Shakespeare’s script. Together these women make possible not only a new understanding of Othello and his actions, but of the imbrication of race, gender, and white privilege in Shakespeare’s time and in ours.

Image: Courtesy of Such Sweet Thunder festival at Columbia University