The concept of hybridity was, for Renaissance thinkers, both fascinating and repulsive. In a world of increased movement through trade, travel, and immigration, cultural identity became prominent precisely because it felt threatened. In the case of English foreign policy, Edmund Spenser opposed mixed marriages between the English and the Irish in his essay, "A View of the Present State of Ireland," yet the early modern world would increasingly be populated by individuals of mixed cultural heritages. Sir Philip Sidney criticized the mixing of literary genres in tragicomedy, but English dramatists continually and increasingly matched "hornpipes and funerals." The rhetoric involving the purity of form can be traced to even the culinary arts, where the mild butter-and-breadcrumb sauces of the French culinary revolution began to replace the complex medieval spice palate, resulting in a hybrid western European cuisine that the British soon rebelled against.
This panel invites papers that explore different manifestations of hybridity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and how thinking through a concept of hybridity can generate fresh insights into existing scholarship on race, religion, gender, cuisine, travel and the exchange of material goods, etc.