Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2019

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

English and Comparative Literature

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



“Transcultural Capital” traces how Islamic cultures filtered into and transformed the social fabric of early modern London. It gives the lie to English insularity by throwing into bold relief the internally contradictory, subterranean nature of Islamic transculturation—that is, how Londoners explicitly disparaged but implicitly domesticated Islamic materials. I look to urban and domestic genres to show how Muslim stock characters were drawn into the imaginative realms of metropolitan fiction; how the arrival of Levantine foodstuffs altered the quotidian experiences of city dwelling; and how the naturalization of Turkish, Persian, and Arabic loanwords transformed the sonic and semantic textures of the English marketplace. I pay particular attention to the ways that intertextuality can create nodes of cross-cultural saturation—apertures through which unacknowledged mixtures flow. This work provides insight into the many imaginative exercises on streets as well as stages that muddied rather than sharpened English self-definition. Ultimately, this dissertation argues that early moderns looked beyond European circuits. Far from construing the Islamic Mediterranean as a space of antithetical contrast, the English rooted their identities and routines in Islamic fragments.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Robert Henke

Committee Members

Musa Gurnis, Anupam Basu, Pannill Camp, Steven Zwicker,


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