Leo Kershaw

My project researches how Euripides’ Medea has been adapted and reinterpreted in South Africa from the beginning of its reception history in 1858 to the present. My particular focus is the entanglement of the performance history of Medea with colonialism and racialisation and the ways in which it has been gradually liberated from its colonial connections, utilising decolonial and postcolonial theory. I focus on how the motives, actions, themes, language, and characterisation have been adapted to speak to South African audiences across temporal, social and political circumstances in English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and multi-lingual drama. These adaptations of Medea address a broad range of questions and challenges about race relations, multiculturalism, power imbalance, gender, HIV and AIDS, poverty and economic corruption, and the prevalence of violence in society. 

Outside of my thesis, I have a broad interest in the reception of Greek tragedy outside of the Western canon and in decolonial approaches to the study of classics.