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Mira ‘Assaf Kafantaris

Mira ‘Assaf Kafantaris is an Assistant Professor of English and Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Butler University, specializing in Premodern Critical Race Studies, Shakespeare, and Early Modern Culture. She earned her Ph.D. in English from The Ohio State University, her M.A. in English from the American University of Beirut, and her B.A. in English Literature and Language from the Lebanese University. Her trans-historical and cross-disciplinary research explores the intersections of race-making with the politics of royal marriage, foreign queens, and border-crossing in the early modern period and in our current historical moment.

‘Assaf Kafantaris is a 2023-2024 Folger Shakespeare Library Long-Term fellow. She is completing her first manuscript, titled Royal Marriage, Foreign Queens, and Constructions of Race in Early Modern England, which is under contract with the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Press and will be published in 2026.

With Sonja Drimmer and Treva B. Lindsey, she co-edited an open-access special issue of the Barnard Center for Research on Women’s journal, The Scholar and Feminist Online, titled “Race-ing Queens.” Her book chapters have appeared in Race and/as AffectThe Palgrave Handbook of Shakespeare’s Queens; and The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson (with Richard Dutton).  A new commissioned article on the mobility of racialized foreign queens is forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Travel, Identity, and Race in Early Modern England, edited by Nandini Das. Her current work includes an edited collection (with Urvashi Chakravarty) on early modern queenship, premodern critical race studies, and queer theory. The volume will be published in 2025.

For the Oxford World Series, she is writing the critical introduction to Antony and Cleopatra.

Her public humanities essays have appeared in several online publications, including Shakespeare Globe,  The SundialThe MillionsOverland JournalThe RamblingThe ConversationMedium-Equity, and The Platform. ‘Assaf Kafantaris currently serves as Early Modern Section Editor for ACMRS’s The Sundial.