Prof Sandra Young


BA(Hons) MA Cape Town MPhil DPhil Rutgers


Office: Room 218, AC Jordan Building



Sandra Young’s research pursues questions of social justice within both imaginative works (literary writings, performance art, and film- and theatre-practice) and historical texts (geographies, maps, natural histories, and life writing). Her books have brought to scholarly attention the emergence of the global South both in early modernity and in the twenty-first century, as a generative analytical category for early modern studies.

Her first book, The Early Modern Global South in Print: Textual Form and the Production of Human Difference as Knowledge (Ashgate 2015)examines the way early modern scholarly and visual texts (geographies, maps and natural histories) racialised the ‘southern parts’ of the world. Her second book, Shakespeare in the Global South: Stories of Oceans Crossed in Contemporary Adaptation (Arden Shakespeare, 2019), examines innovative theatre practice in Mauritius, South Asia, Brazil, post-apartheid South Africa and the diasporic urban spaces of the global North, as creative practitioners engage Shakespeare to tell new stories of dispossession, struggle and survival. She has edited special issues and an anthology of essays that reflect on Shakespeare and Social Justice.

Her research is also concerned with contemporary cultures of memory in the aftermath of injustice. Her essays explore a range of representational forms, including testimony, life narrative, art, museum practice, and even organised protest, to reflect on the intimate quality of post-apartheid public life and its archive. She is currently at work on a book manuscript titled ‘An Intimate Archive: Personal Memory and Public Commemoration in the Aftermath of Apartheid’.

Research Interests

Global Shakespeare, contemporary adaptation and social justice

Early-modern literature, archival practice and intellectual history

Oceanic thinking and the blue humanities

Feminist theory and creative practice

Memory studies and memory activism



Shakespeare in the Global South: Stories of Oceans Crossed in Contemporary Adaptation. Special series on Global Shakespeare Inverted (Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2019). ISBN: 9781350035768.

The Early Modern Global South in Print: Textual Form and the Production of Human Difference as Knowledge. Special series on the Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity (Ashgate, 2015). ISBN: 9781472453716.

Global Shakespeare and Social Injustice: Towards a Transformative Encounter. Co-edited with Chris Thurman. (Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2023).

Peer–reviewed journal articles

Charting English global presence and its violent effects in early modernity: reading strategies for an ambivalent archive’, Journal of Early Modern Studies 12 (2023). Special issue on ‘The Circulation of Cosmographical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe’.

(Un)Just Acts: Shakespeare and Social Justice in Contemporary Performance’. With David Sterling Brown. Introduction, special issue of Shakespeare Bulletin 39.4 (2021): 529-535.

Feminist Protest and the Disruptive Address of Naked Bodies’. Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa 32.2 (Oct 2020): 158–167. Special issue on ‘Precarity in South/African Literary Texts’.

‘Richard Hakluyt’s voyages: early modern print culture and the global reach of Englishness’. The Sixteenth Century Journal 49.4 (2018): 1057–1080.

‘Shakespeare’s transcolonial solidarities in the global South’. Shakespeare Survey 71, Re-Creating Shakespeare (2018): 1–11.

‘Beyond Indigenisation: Hamlet, Haider, and the Pain of the Kashmiri People’. Shakespeare 14.4 (2018): 374–389. ISSN: 1745-0918.

‘Race and the global south in early modern studies.’ Shakespeare Quarterly 67.1 (Spring 2016): 125–135. Special issue on Race and Early Modern Studies.

‘The “secrets of nature” and early modern constructions of a global south’. Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 15.3 (2015): 5–39.

‘Early modern geography and the construction of a knowable Africa’. Atlantic Studies: Global Currents 12.4 (2015): 412–434. ISSN: 1478-8810.

Envisioning the peoples of “new” worlds: early modern woodcuts and the inscription of human difference’. English Studies in Africa 57.1 (May 2014): 33–56. Special issue on Textual Commodities of Empire.

‘Recognising Hamlet’. Shakespeare in Southern Africa 26 (2014): 13–26.

‘Method or Madness? The Vicissitudes of “Global Shakespeare”’. Safundi 15.1 (2014): 133–137.

‘Rehearsing Trauma: The Reader as Interrogator in Prison Narratives’. Journal of Literary Studies 29.2 (May 2013): 101–116. Special issue on Mending Wounds.

‘Hospitality in a Post-Apartheid Archive: Reflections on There Was This Goat and the Challenge of Alterity’. Research in African Literatures 43.2 (Summer 2012): 115–137.

‘Imagining alterity and belonging on the English stage in an age of expansion: a reading of Othello’. Shakespeare in Southern Africa 23 (2011): 21–29. Special issue on Banishment, Xenophobia, Home and Exile in Shakespeare and the Renaissance.

‘Narrating colonial violence and representing New World difference: the possibilities of form in Thomas Harriot’s A Briefe and True Report’. Safundi 11.4 (October 2010): 343–361.

‘“Let your indulgence set me free”: reflections on an “Africanised” Tempest and its implications for critical practice’. Social Dynamics 36.2 (June 2010): 315–327.

‘Pain and the struggle for self-restoration: the prison narratives of Ruth First, Caesarina Kona Makhoere and Emma Mashinini’. English Studies in Africa: Futures of Trauma 52.1 (May 2009): 88–101.

‘Narrative and healing in the hearings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.’ Biography special issue: Personal Effects: Testimonial Uses of Life Writing 27.1 (2004): 143–159.

‘A Soliloquy “Lately Spoken at the African Theatre”: Race and the Public Sphere in New York City, 1821.’ Co-authored with Michael Warner, Natasha Hurley, Luis Iglesias, Sonia di Loreto, and Jeffrey Scraba. American Literature 73.1 (March 2001): 1–46. Winner of the Foerster Prize for the best essay published in American Literature in 2001, awarded at the MLA.

Book chapters

‘Legible bodies, implicated subjects and the call for justice: reflections on Titus Andronicus.’ Shakespeare/Skin. Ed. Ruben Espinosa. Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, Critical Intersections series (forthcoming, 2023).

‘Thinking with the Ocean as Decolonial Strategy: Memory, Loss and the Underwater Archive in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.’ Water and Cognition in Early Modern English Literature. Ed. Nic Helms and Steve Mentz. Amsterdam University Press (forthcoming, 2023).

‘Adaptation as renewal: the transformative impact of Hamlet’s travels in the global South.’ Global Literary Adaptations in the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Brandon Chua and Liz Ho. Routledge, 2023. 142–153.

‘How have post-colonial approaches enriched Shakespeare’s works?’ In Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race. Ed. Ayanna Thompson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2021. 254–267.

‘A singular world: the perils and possibilities of the bird’s eye view’. In Premodern Ecologies in the Modern Literary Imagination. Ed. Vin Nardizzi and Tiffany Jo Werth. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2019. 196–226.

‘Shakespeare in Africa’. In The Shakespearean World. Ed. Jill Levenson and Robert Ormsby. New York: Routledge, 2017. 116–134.

‘How Hamlet Became Modern’. In Relocations: Reading Culture in South Africa. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press, 2015. 49–64.

‘Shakespeare without Borders’. In South African Essays on ‘Universal’ Shakespeare. Ed. Christopher Thurman. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014. 39–52.


‘Global Shakespeare’s Confrontation with Social Injustice’. With Chris Thurman. In Global Shakespeare and Social Injustice: Towards a Transformative Encounter. Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare (forthcoming, June 2023).

‘“Decolonising Shakespeare?” Contestations and Re-imaginings for a Post-liberation South Africa’. With Lliane Loots and Miranda Young-Jahangeer. Shakespeare in Southern Africa 30 (2017): iii–vi. Special issue on Decolonising Shakespeare.