n Shakespeare in Southern Africa - Shakespeare in the Under/Other World - Shakespeare in the Global South: Stories of oceans crossed in contemporary adaptation, Sandra Young - review

Volume 32 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1011-582X



From its title, Sandra Young’s Shakespeare in the Global South announces the terrain of its critical itinerary: the under/other world through which the global north makes itself known. This other/under geography, the global south, may lack topographic and cartographic consistency and coherence, yet exists and operates on literal and symbolic levels. The global south as a locale encompasses geographies formerly colonised by European (and in this study English) powers in Africa, South Asia, Central and South America, yet paradoxically the global south is also located within the global north, in diasporic communities that continue to experience various forms of marginalisation, othering, and cross-cultural hybridity inside the culturally dominant domain of the northern metropole. Tracing Shakespeare’s journey through this symbolic arena, Young cogently argues for the importance of a critical methodology attuned to the global south that disrupts the centrality of Shakespeare within the so-called global Shakespeare framework. Examining Shakespeare through and in the global south means acknowledging the imperial and colonial violence that accompanies the Shakespearean text in its travels and simultaneously complicating the hierarchies of postcolonial critique to affirm the polyphony of postcolonial identity and the hybrid and multivalent culture of the postcolony, which obtains in a method attuned to the global south. Such a method requires, Young claims, paying close critical attention to cross-cultural political and social affinities, in order to disrupt Shakespeare’s exceptionalism (both a vital part of imperial regimes but somehow outside of their power structures because of his universalism) when his work is performed, engaged and mobilised in the global south.

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