During the last three decades, early modern scholarship has drawn heavily on twentieth-century theorisation to analyse the socio-cultural conditions in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. An example of such scholarly endeavours is the attempt to appropriate the concept of hybridity to explain the constitution of cultural identity. This article re-evaluates this critical trend by reviewing the model of hybridity in relation to early modern cultures; it simultaneously proposes the existence of another cultural pattern that is here labelled ‘cultural transformation’. The article also contends that hybridisation is more manifest in the domain of material culture: the ethno-cultural characteristics of early modern communities made them more receptive towards accepting and integrating material objects but less welcoming towards assimilating beliefs, values or cultural practices from other nations.
Fatima Essadek is an assistant professor at the University of Bahrain. She has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Durham (2014), an MPhil in English Literature from the University of Bangor (2010) and an MA in Literary Studies from the University of Nottingham (2002). Her research interests lie in the field of early modern literature and culture, as well as literary theory and cultural studies.