Meet a Fellow: Willnide Lindor
Willnide Lindor is the 2021-2022 Elizabeth E. Fleming Fellow from the Department of English. Her research interests include: Renaissance Lyric Poetry and Drama, Early Modern Race Studies, Gender and Sexuality, and Postcolonial Theory.
What is your research about and why does it matter?
My current research explores nuanced depictions of blackness through the intersection of rhetoric and race in the Early Modern period. I examine how non-black writers in different genres used blackness as a freeing identity. My research also explores how race was conveyed through other categories beyond skin color such as religion, gender, sexuality, and class. At a time in Renaissance race studies and in our nation where more critical conversations about race are occurring, research on the relationship between non-black writers and persons of color in early modernity can further illuminate and challenge us as we continue our fight against racial injustice.
Describe a discovery or a moment in your research that excited you.
Recently, I have been delving deeper into the fascinating practices of grammar school tutors in Early Modern England. Among the formative techniques used to prepare schoolboys, imitatio (imitation) was a practice that caught my attention. This practice required schoolboys to assume a different identity (impersonating a master, a lord, etc.) and engage in real or imaginary scenes of address to persuade their fellow pupils and tutors. Through this practice, schoolboys in the Renaissance developed the skill of rhetorical persuasion. Learning about this fascinating practice helped me to shed light on Shakespeare’s relationship to the grammar school as a former pupil himself, and the instructive role of his Moorish fictional character Aaron in Titus Andronicus.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
My first job was as a cashier-barista at Panera Bread. At the time, I was a sophomore in college double majoring in Biology and English Literature. I have many fond memories working with my awesome coworkers and management team. An important skill that I was able to cultivate while working was my customer service skills. Anyone who has worked in the food industry knows how vital it is to ensure the satisfaction of the people you serve. My position taught me the value of being an effective communicator as I encountered countless customers from different walks of life. As an aspiring scholar and professor, effectively communicating and exchanging knowledge among fellow faculty and students are indispensable skills.
Willnide Lindor is a 5th-year Ph.D. candidate in English at Vanderbilt University whose dissertation is entitled “Constructing Alternate Identities: Rhetoric and Fantasies of Blackness in Early Modernity.” Her research interests include: Renaissance Lyric Poetry and Drama, Early Modern Race Studies, Gender and Sexuality, and Postcolonial Theory.