The eleventh episode of Professor Ato Quayson’s vlog Critic.Reading.Writing is up!

Quayson explores questions of race and racial consciousness in Shakespeare’s Othello.

Professor Quayson delves into Othello’s assured sense of being despite his ambiguous cultural provenance. In Act I, Othello is grounded in his military success, his adaptability to the customs of Venice, and his masterful storytelling which Quayson depicts with a touch of play acting as he joyfully reads excerpts from the text.

Quayson contrasts this “whole sense of being” with that in the final acts. When Iago prompts Othello to compare himself to others, Othello suddenly identifies his blackness as a marker of difference and cultural deficit. Professor Quayson elaborates in-depth:

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Othello seems to arrive quite late to a conception of his blackness and this consciousness is the product of comparison: of comparing himself to younger white Venetian men and finding himself suddenly lacking. The fact that this comparison takes place as part of the process of his having to confront the threat to his masculinity also means that what Othello experiences is a dual articulation of toxic masculinity attached to his blackness.

Click below to watch!

As Professor Quayson’s literary vlog gains traction and a devoted viewership, he has expanded Critic.Reading.Writing on Twitter in the form of “1-minute thought-tiles.” Check out the first of many to come below:

Critic.Reading.Writing with Ato Quayson is the show for booklovers hungry for meaningful conversations about books.

New episodes of Critic.Reading.Writing with Ato Quayson will be posted every Saturday.

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