Beautiful Boys of the Global Renaissance: Traveling Sexualities and Difference in Anglo-Ottoman Encounters, 1500-1650
Theatre and Dance
UC Santa Barbara
“Beautiful Boys of the Global Renaissance: Traveling Sexualities and Difference in Anglo-Ottoman Encounters, 1500-1650” focuses on English and Ottoman sexualities by exploring the representations of the abduction, conversion, and circulation of male adolescents in the transnational Mediterranean space during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Arvas argues that the literary trope of “the beautiful other boy”—often exoticized and eroticized as an object of desire in English and Ottoman representations—intersects with the historical phenomenon of vulnerable youths who were exchanged within the networks of global traffic in bodies. He documents the aesthetic, corporeal and erotic deployments of the abducted “beautiful boy” in myriad forms to suggest that the circulation of these boys casts them as subjects of servitude and conversion, as well as objects of desire in the cultural imaginary that informs cross-cultural encounters and racialized discourses. Both a captive and an eroticized beloved, the boy embodies the tensions between literary eroticism and the violent history of abductions, conversions and enslavements.