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NYSX Freestyle Lab - Du Bois and Shakespeare

02/21/2018 7:00 pm
02/21/2018 9:00 pm
America/New York

Presented by NY Shakespeare Exchange, in conjunction with the Doctoral Theatre Students' Association and The CUNY Graduate Center Theatre Program. 


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

7:00pm to 9:30pm

Baisley Powell Elebash Recital Hall at the CUNY Graduate Center 
365 Fifth Avenue


"It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.”
– W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folks, 1903

Coined by African-American philosopher, social scientist, novelist and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois, the concept of double consciousness describes how Black Americans, in response to institutional racism, have been forced to understand themselves not as singular individuals, but as having an identity split between their views of themselves and the white world’s view of them. Join NYSX as we ask some probing questions about how Du Bois’s analysis of Black identity formation might be addressed in the performance of traditional Western white-centric classical literature, and in relation to other identities of race, disability, and gender.

Our very special guest is Dr. Robert Gooding-Williams, M. Moran Weston/Black Alumni Council Professor of African-American Studies and Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. One of the foremost scholars of the philosophy of race and author of three books, including In The Shadow of Du Bois: Afro-Modern Political Thought in America, Dr. Gooding-Williams will begin our evening with a short lecture on Du Bois’s use of Shakespeare and his concept of double consciousness. This will be followed by a rousing town hall discussion of the challenges of diversity and inclusion on our stages and in our literature.

The event is an extension of our Diversity Cohort new play initiative, through which we have engaged an ensemble of artists with varying points-of-view and artistic heritage to help us wrestle with how classical theater fits in today’s world. Using elements of Shakespeare's stories, characters, and language as their springboard, the members of the cohort are working to create a series of new heightened language plays that will resonate with contemporary American audiences. 

This event is free, with a suggested donation.