Jews and Other "Outlandish Englishmen": Ethnic Performance and National Identity in Georgian England


ACLS Fellowship Program




Arguing that the theater exerted extraordinary power in defining, maintaining, disseminating, and finally undermining ethnic stereotypes, I analyze the invention of a series of theatrical forms that were used for these purposes. While identifying the development of numerous ethnic, colonial, and provincial character types, I focus on the stage Jew, Scot, and Irishman—"outlandish Englishmen"—to explore how the theater and the culture at large responded to a crisis in assimilation and acculturation when ideas of national identity were at their most fluid and unstable. In this way I locate ethnic performance, both on stage and off, at the critical moment of nation-formation in Great Britain.