Sarah Karim-Cooper first came to public attention at the cosmetics counter. Her book on makeup in Renaissance theater, Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama, was published in 2006. Its enduring popularity is not so much a testament to her scholarly insights on powdered hogs’ bones mixed with poppy oil — the old stage recipe for pale skin — or Shakespeare’s sardonic references to the kind of beauty “purchased by the weight” in The Merchant of Venice, as to Karim-Cooper’s celebrity: for more than a decade she’s been one of the leading racializers of Shakespeare’s work.
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