Andrea Achi. Trained as a Byzantinist, Dr. Achi’s scholarship focuses on late antique and Byzantine art of the Mediterranean Basin and Northeast Africa. She specializes in the art and archaeology of Late Antiquity with a particular interest in illuminated manuscripts and ceramics. She has brought this expertise to bear on exhibitions like Art and Peoples of the Kharga Oasis (2017), Crossroads: Power and Piety (2020), and The Good Life (2021) at The Met Museum and in numerous presentations and publications. She holds a BA from Barnard College and a Ph.D. from New York University.

Brandi K. Adams is Assistant Professor of English at Arizona State University. Her research interests include the history of reading, the history of the book, premodern critical race theory of early modern England, and editorial practices of early modern English drama. She has recently published on ‘unbookishness’ in Othello and Keith Hamilton Cobb’s American Moor in the journal Shakespeare and has contributed a chapter in Shakespeare/Text edited by Claire M.L. Bourne for Contemporary Readings in Textual Studies, Editing and Performance. She has begun working on her first monograph tentatively titled Representations of Books and Readers in Early Modern English Drama.

Roland Betancourt is Professor of Art History at the University of California, Irvine. He works on the Byzantine Empire, including its art, liturgy, and theology, with an interest in issues of sexuality, gender variance, and race. Betancourt is the author of Byzantine Intersectionality: Sexuality, Gender, and Race in the Middle Ages (Princeton University Press, 2020), Performing the Gospels in Byzantium: Sight, Sound, and Space in the Divine Liturgy (Cambridge University Press, 2021), and Sight, Touch, and Imagination in Byzantium (Cambridge University Press, 2018), as well as several edited volumes.

Beatrice Bradley is Assistant Professor of English at Muhlenberg College. Her research and teaching bring together early modern literature, health humanities, and critical theory, with a focus on the materiality and psychology of embodiment. She is currently working on a book project that examines the literary aftermath of the plague known as the Sweating Sickness, and she has published articles in English Literary Renaissance and Milton Studies.

Katherine Chacon is an undergraduate student at the University of Chicago, working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Her primary research interests concern pre-modern visual depictions of race, the intersections of media, technology, and art throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century, and the role of influence and historicity in late nineteenth-century artworks.

Cecilio M. Cooper is currently a Forsyth Postdoctoral Research Fellow with University of Michigan’s History of Art Department. Via black critical theory, they address scholarly debates around occult iconography, cartography, political theology, science studies, and gender. Cooper’s first book manuscript, South of Heaven: Surface, Territory + the Black Chthonic, examines the occulted role blackness plays in cosmological constitutions of subsurface space by engaging the visual cultures of alchemy and demonology. Their research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Antiquarian Society, John Carter Brown Library, and Yale Center for British Art. Visit for more information.

Aylin Corona graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s in Social Sciences, concentrating in History. Her thesis explored the lives of female court dwarves in early modern Europe, specifically within their roles as caretakers/companions and their enforced reproduction by patrons. Aylin is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and was a fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill, presenting her research on disability representation in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Ambereen Dadabhoy is an Associate Professor of Literature at Harvey Mudd College. Her research focuses on cross-cultural encounters in the early modern Mediterranean and race and religion in early modern English drama. She investigates the various discourses that construct and reinforce human difference and in how they are mobilized in the global imperial projects that characterize much of the early modern period. Ambereen is co-author with Dr. Nedda Mehdizadeh of Anti-Racist Shakespeare (Cambridge Elements 2023). Currently, she is working on a project that explores the representation of Islam in Shakespeare.

Olivia Dill is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University. She uses archival and technical art historical methods to study seventeenth-century Dutch and British Natural History prints and drawings. Dill’s dissertation investigates the function of materials, and aesthetics of sheen in the procurement, observation, and depiction of insects in the early modern Atlantic world.

Caitlin Irene DiMartino is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University, where she researches the intersection of race, materiality, and religious identity. She is writing a dissertation on the early-modern phenomenon of Black Madonnas in France, Spain, and the Viceroyalty of Peru, looking specifically at the way these twelfth-century statues, which were reimagined through the application of black pigment, reflect regional preoccupations with dark skin, holiness, and the development of racial capitalism during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Alana Edmondson is a PhD student in English at Yale University. Her research focuses on histories of adaptation and performance of early modern drama–in particular, how these histories contributed to cultural constructions of Shakespeare and race between the sixteenth- and nineteenth- centuries. Grounded in studies of Shakespeare in performance, classical reception studies, manuscript studies and the history of race, her doctoral research aims to illuminate novel connections and unseat commonplace assumptions by exploring the commodity of blackness on the pre-modern European stage alongside the stakes of Black self-authorization in participating in the construction of Shakespearean cultural identity.

Rebecca L. Fall is Program Manager for the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library and co-curator of the Seeing Race Before Race exhibition. Her doctoral dissertation was awarded the J. Leeds Barroll Prize by the Shakespeare Association of America, and her public engagement work has been supported by a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellowship. Beyond her work at the Newberry, Rebecca serves as a PreAmble Scholar at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and is completing a scholarly book that traces the surprising social functions of nonsense writing in early modern England.

Christopher D. Fletcher is the Assistant Director of the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago. He earned his PhD in Medieval History from the University of Chicago in 2015. His research and teaching focus primarily on religion and public engagement before 1800. He has published peer-reviewed articles on the history of public engagement in medieval and early modern Europe and the digital humanities. He is a co-curator of the Seeing Race Before Race exhibition (on view Fall 2023) and has often brought medieval history to the public through in-person collection presentations, exhibitions, social media, and digital resources.

Elena FitzPatrick Sifford is Associate Professor of Art History and Director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Muhlenberg College. Her research centers on race, representation, and cross-cultural exchange in the Early Modern period with particular focus on the depicting of Africans and Afro descendants in the Spanish Viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru. She has recently published in Ethnohistory, Art Journal, Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture, and various edited volumes.

Cécile Fromont is Professor of the History of Art at Yale University. Her writing and teaching focus on the visual, material, and religious culture of Africa and Latin America with a special emphasis on the early modern period (ca 1500-1800) and on the Portuguese-speaking Atlantic World. Her publications include The Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo (2014; French translation 2018), Afro-Catholic Festivals in the Americas: Performance, Representation, and the Making of Black Atlantic Tradition, and Images on a Mission in Early Modern Kongo and Angola (2022).

Daniela Gutiérrez Flores is Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on the relations between texts, food, and culinary practices in the early modern Spanish Atlantic. Her current project explores cooking as a practice that allowed subjects to engage with lettered culture, shape new identities, and challenge class, gender and racial structures. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2022.

Kim F. Hall is Lucyle Hook Professor of English and Professor of Africana Studies at Barnard College where she teaches courses in Premodern Critical Race Studies, Black Feminist Studies and Food Studies.  She is the author of Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England (Cornell University Press 1995), Othello: Texts and Contexts (Bedford/St. Martin’s 2007), and The Sweet Taste of Empire: Sugar, Gender and Material Culture in Seventeenth Century England (under contract with UPenn Press). She was the 2018 Wanamaker Fellow at Shakespeare’s Globe and is currently working on the project: “’Othello Was My Grandfather’: Shakespeare and Race in the African Diaspora.”

Carissa M. Harris is Associate Professor of English at Temple University in Philadelphia, where she teaches courses on medieval sexualities, Chaucer, premodern rape and consent, and wenches. She is the author of Obscene Pedagogies: Transgressive Talk and Sexual Education in Late Medieval Britain (Cornell University Press, 2018) and the co-editor, with Sarah Baechle and Elizaveta Strakhov, of Rape Culture and Female Resistance in Late Medieval Literature: With an Edition of Sixteen Middle English and Middle Scots Pastourelles (Penn State University Press, 2022).

Andrés Irigoyen is a PhD Candidate in English at the University of Chicago. His research focuses primarily on Early Modern Literature and Philosophy, particularly on how contemporary philosophical and scientific texts inform literary articulations of the phenomenology of embodiment with close attention to various descriptions of its limits, that is, the experiences of labor, fatigue, and illness.

Edward Johnson is a PhD candidate in the Art History and History departments at the University of Chicago. His research focuses primarily on the architecture and urban culture of late-medieval and early modern Italy. He is particularly interested in exploring the role played by the urban environment in the social, political, and cultural construction of premodern Italian city-states.

Emily Kang graduated from the University of Chicago in 2021 with degrees in Art History and English Literature. After teaching English in Lyon, France for the 2021-2022 school year, Emily is now a History of Art Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on early American visual culture with a particular interest in the built environment and a thematic focus on race, class, and nation-building.

Lindsay Kaplan is Professor of English at Georgetown University where she teaches and writes on the intersection of race, religion, and gender in medieval and early modern theology and literature. Her essays have appeared in Philological Quarterly, Shakespeare Survey, Shakespeare Quarterly, Renaissance Drama, and Early Modern France, in addition to edited collections. Most recently, she has published a monograph, Figuring Racism in Medieval Christianity (Oxford UP 2019) and an edited volume, The Merchant of Venice: The State of Play (London: The Arden Shakespeare, Bloomsbury, 2020). Her next book project traces the persistence of medieval theological racism in early modern English dramatic representations of Jews and Muslims.

Farah Karim-Cooper is Co-Director of Education at Shakespeare’s Globe, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at King’s College London, and Globe Director of the Shakespeare Centre London. She has published five essay collections and two monographs, Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama (Edinburgh University Press 2006) and The Hand on the Shakespearean Stage: Gesture, Touch and the Spectacle of Dismemberment (Bloomsbury 2016). Her third book, The Great White Bard: Shakespeare and Race, Then and Now, is due out in 2023. Karim-Cooper’s work on antiracist approaches to theater and pedagogy has led to the founding of the Early Modern Scholars of Colour Network in the UK.

Suzanne Karr Schmidt is the George Amos Poole III Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Chicago’s Newberry Library. She works on the materiality and use of prints and books, notably her monograph Interactive and Sculptural Printmaking in the Renaissance (2018), and exhibition catalogue Altered and Adorned: Using Renaissance Prints in Daily Life (Art Institute of Chicago, 2011). Recent and forthcoming exhibitions at the Newberry that engaged with her interest in the history of science and in paper engineering respectively include Renaissance Invention: Stradanus’s Nova Reperta, co-curated with Lia Markey in 2020, and Pop-Up Books Through the Ages in 2023.

Dana E. Katz is Joshua C. Taylor Professor of Art History and Humanities at Reed College. Her research explores representations of religious difference in early modern European art. She is the author of The Jew in the Art of the Italian Renaissance (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008) and The Jewish Ghetto and the Visual Imagination of Early Modern Venice (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Her current book project, “Materials of Islam in Premodern Europe,” studies the material effect of Christian and Muslim encounters.

Jamie Keener is a PhD student in English literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her primary research interests lie in the Global Middle Ages and the intersection between Premodern Critical Race Studies in late medieval England and fairy literature.

Stephanie S.E. Lee (李承恩) is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on early modern and modern art, with an emphasis on works-on-paper, photography, Orientalism, and the role of transmediality in colonial visual culture. Her dissertation examines itinerant Japanese and Korean artists at the intersection of race-making, pan-Asianism, and gendered labor in the Japanese Empire.

Vivian Lei is a second-year master’s student at the University of Chicago. She graduated in 2022 with an honors bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature. Her research interests include theories of race and ethnicity, contemporary multiethnic literature, medical humanities, and cultural/aesthetic production in late capitalism.

Sarah-Gray Lesley is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include early modern racemaking, gender and sexuality, and the relationship between domestic and mercantile economies. Her dissertation project argues that early modern English literary writers arrived at a systemic category of white womanhood through depictions of reproduction and consumption.

Analú María López (Guachichil/Xi’iui) is the Ayer Librarian and Assistant Curator of American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library. As the librarian and Assistant Curator, she helps steward the Indigenous studies collection while guiding library users through, connecting them with, and interpreting materials linked to the collection. She is interested in historically underrepresented Indigenous narratives dealing with identity, language, and decolonization, intentional community collaborations for access to materials within colonial institutions, and the preservation, revitalization, and instruction of Indigenous languages. She holds a Master of Library and Information Sciences with a certificate in Archives and Cultural Heritage Resources and Services from Dominican University and a Bachelor of Arts in Photography with a minor in Latin-American Studies from Columbia College Chicago. Mrs. López began her career with the Newberry in 2004. After working for other libraries and museums in Chicago for 13 years, Mrs. López returned to the library in her current role in September 2017.

Lia Markey is the Director of the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library. Her publications include a monograph, Imagining the Americas in Medici Florence (2016), and two edited volumes, The New World in Early Modern Italy, 1492-1750 (2017) with Liz Horodowich, and Renaissance Invention: Stradanus’s “Nova Reperta” (2020). She teaches at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University and has held fellowships at the Folger Library, the Warburg Institute, the Villa I Tatti, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Herzog August Bibliothek. Currently, Lia participates in the Getty Connecting Art Histories Research Group, “Spanish Italy and the Iberian New World.”

Julia Marsan is a PhD Candidate in the University of Chicago’s Department of Comparative Literature. Her research focuses on Indigenous North American languages and literatures in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with particular emphasis on interactions and collaborations between Indigenous writers and colonial anthropologists.

Noémie Ndiaye is the Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin Assistant Professor of Renaissance and Early Modern English Literature at the University of Chicago. She works on early modern English, French, and Spanish theater with a critical focus on race. Her monograph Scripts of Blackness: Early Modern Performance Culture and the Making of Race (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022) shows how performance culture helped strategically turn blackness into a racial category across early modern Western Europe. She has published articles in Shakespeare Quarterly, Renaissance Quarterly, Renaissance Drama, Early Theatre, English Literary Renaissance, Literature Compass, Thaêtre, and in various edited collections.

Elizabeth Neary is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at UW–Madison. She specializes in cultural exchanges between Christians and Muslims on the Iberian Peninsula during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Her dissertation project, “Significant Others Mixed Marriage in Early Modern Spanish Literature,” examines marriage between Moriscos and Old Christians as represented in both literary and archival sources in early modern Spain.

Ricardo Padrón is Professor of Spanish at the University of Virginia, where he teaches courses about the literature and culture of the early modern Hispanic world, and conducts research on the geopolitical imagination of the Spanish empire as manifested in maps and writing. He is the author of two monographs, The Spacious Word: Cartography, Literature and Empire in Early Modern Spain (Chicago, 2004) and The Indies of the Setting Sun: How Early Modern Spain Mapped the Far East as the Transpacific West (Chicago, 2020). He has also collaborated with Christina Lee on a collection of primary sources for the study of the early modern Spanish Pacific, The Spanish Pacific, 1523-1815: A Reader of Primary Sources in English Translation (Amsterdam UP, 2020).

Risa Puleo is an independent curator and a doctoral candidate in Northwestern University’s Art History department, where she studies the history of museums and colonial collecting of Native American, Oceanic, and African art. Her dissertation follows the Iberian Churra —the Spanish sheep discussed in her contribution to this volume — into sixteenth century Mexico, the American Southwest in the nineteenth century, and New York’s Museum of Modern Art in the twentieth. The Churra’s path makes apparent the disciplinary boundaries placed on Native objects as they moved from ethnographic museums and the discipline of anthropology and into modern art museums and the purview of art history.

Earnestine Qiu is a PhD student in Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. She studies Byzantine art, with a focus on late-medieval Anatolia and the artistic and theological exchanges between Byzantium and Armenia. She is particularly interested in depictions of topography and magic.

Arianna Ray is a PhD candidate in Art History at Northwestern University. She specializes in the study of works on paper in the early modern Atlantic world. Her dissertation examines the printed depiction of West Africans and their diasporic descendants in the Dutch Republic, Brazil, and Suriname in order to analyze the role of art, materiality, and medicine in the epidermalization of race.

Melani Shahin is a PhD Student in Music History and Theory at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include the history of music theory and its intersection with sixteenth-century Christian Hebraist scholarship, early modern historiographies of music, and book history.

Scott Manning Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk) is Associate Professor of Native American and Indigenous Studies and English and the director of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program at Syracuse University. Dr. Stevens’ areas of interests also include the political and aesthetic issues that surround museums and the Indigenous cultures they put on display.  He is a co-editor and contributing author for Why You Can’t Teach United States History without American Indians and Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North. As a recent Radcliffe Institute fellow, he worked on completing a monograph titled, “Indian Collectibles: Appropriations and Resistance in the Haudenosaunee Homelands.”

Lehua Yim is an independent scholar with a Ph.D. from Brandeis University and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco. Her research focuses on freshwater law and “nationalism” in the late Elizabethan period as a means to re-understand prose chorographies, Shakespeare’s history plays, and Spenser’s poetry. She also works on Native/Indigenous political and legal issues, especially those arising out of Hawai‘i, and advocates for more substantial engagement with the twinned fields of Native Studies/Critical Indigenous Studies within early modern studies. Her work has been supported by awards from the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Newberry Library, and other institutions.


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Seeing Race Before Race Copyright © 2023 by Noémie Ndiaye and Lia Markey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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