Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

Ian Smith, associate professor of English, will speak on “Monstrous Births: Literature, Diversity and the Case of Renaissance Studies” 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in Oechsle Hall auditorium.

The talk is one of two Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Faculty Lectures this school year. John S. Shaw, associate professor of psychology, will deliver the spring lecture Thursday, March 6. The lectures are given by recipients of Lafayette’s Jones Faculty Lecture Award, which recognizes excellence in teaching and scholarship.

“Many theories have been put forward to define the unique character of the ‘Renaissance,’” says Smith. “Only in recent years, however, have literary critics been concerned to address the role of race and its significant impact on our understanding of the Renaissance. Moreover, this late interest has not gone unchallenged, and the effect has been to preserve the racial status quo. My lecture will engage the current debate concerning race and literary studies in the early modern period.”

“It turns ultimately to the etymology of the term ‘Renaissance’ to discuss the literal and, more importantly, intellectual ‘births’ which have shaped the racial program of early modern literary studies and, by extension, our attitudes towards diversity in the curriculum,” he explains. “Major writers, including Petrarch and Shakespeare, are central to this proposed revision of literary history, as well as the director Julie Taymor and her film version of Titus Andronicus by Shakespeare.”

A member of Lafayette’s faculty since 1995, Smith earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University, both Maîtrise de Lettres and Licence de Lettres from University of Paris, and a bachelor’s degree from University of West Indies.

He has received Fulbright, French Government, Folger Shakespeare Library, Clark Memorial Library, and Newberry Library fellowships, as well as the Columbia University President’s Fellowship, the University Prize of University of the West Indies, and Prix Jambec.

Smith is writing Barbarian Errors: Race and Rhetoric in Early Modern England, a book on the language and emergence of an early modern English discourse of race.

His scholarly research on Renaissance studies and drama, as well as postcolonial literature, has appeared in numerous publications, including forthcoming articles in Renaissance Drama and Blackwell Companions to Shakespeare: The Tragedies, three entries in the next edition of Encyclopaedia of Post-Colonial Literature, and an article published earlier this year in Callaloo.

Smith made a presentation last month at Shakespeare and the Barbarians: Inaugural Conference, Centre for Research and Renaissance Studies, University of Surrey, Roehampton, England. He has been an invited speaker at many conferences and forums, including addresses in recent years to Modern Language Association, International Shakespeare Association, Shakespeare Association of America, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Folger Shakespeare Library (including a National Endowment for the Humanities seminar), Columbia University Shakespeare Seminar, University of Delaware, University of Calfornia-Santa Cruz, and Lavender Language and Linguistics Conference.

Smith has served on 11 Lafayette committees, including current terms on the Diversity Committee and the Student Life Committee.

Categorized in: Academic News