Photo of Patrice D. Rankine

Patrice D. Rankine

Promoted to Professor
Languages and Cultures, SC

Patrice Rankine is a Professor of Classics in Purdue University's School of Languages and Cultures (SLC). He also holds affiliated appointments in the African American Studies and Research Center, Comparative Literature, and Philosophy & Literature, and has served as Assistant Head of SLC (2007-2013). Professor Rankine's first book, Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literature (University of Wisconsin Press: 2006), was a Choice Magazine “Outstanding Academic Title.” While Rankine's early work was in literature, Aristotle and Black Drama: A Theater of Civil Disobedience (Baylor University Press: 2013) draws from theater and performance theory, arguing that the black body on the American stage in the twentieth century was set in opposition to cultural norms and theatrical traditions best exemplified in Aristotle's Poetics. Similar to the way that Martin Luther King, Jr. led groups to oppose the laws of segregation through their bodies, theater practitioners such as Eugene O'Neill, August Wilson, and Suzan-Lori Parks put black bodies onstage in opposition to classical form. The result is a theater of civil disobedience, as early praise for the book accents: “Rankine demonstrates that perhaps the most radical form of classical reception is that which sets things in motion – both in the movements of actors onstage and in the conscience of those watching” (Denise McCoskey, on Aristotle and Black Drama). In Rankine's third book, Slavery and the Book (Harvard University Pess: 2015), he will continue his study of race, modernity, and the classics through a history from below. He is interested in the way that enslaved people across time interact with received texts and the industry of publication. Rankine is also a coeditor of The Oxford Handbook of Greek Drama in the Americas (2014), and has numerous journal articles ranging from the classics to comparative literature.

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