The SAA is governed by a board of nine Trustees who fulfill rotating terms of three years each. Every year, three members of the board retire and three are voted in by the membership. One of these three is elected as Vice-President, to serve as President during the second year of his or her term.
Trustees are responsible for setting Association policy, for planning conference programs, and for financial oversight. They also head the selection processes for grants, awards, prizes, and paper competitions. The Trustees appoint the organization’s Executive Director, who works with its Assistant Director and Senior Programs Manager.
The SAA is committed to democratic and transparent governance and to the advancement of knowledge about Shakespeare, his works, and his life and times.
Officers of the SAA
University of Pennsylvania
Lehman College, CUNY
Immediate Past President
Diana E. Henderson
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Texas, Austin
Julia Reinhard Lupton
University of California, Irvine
George Washington University
University of Otago
Lena Cowen Orlin
West Chester University
Senior Programs Manager
- President's Letter
Letter from President Rebecca Bushnell, January 2015
Last spring in St. Louis and all over the world, Shakespeareans celebrated the birth of “my beloved The Author” (in Ben Jonson’s words). Everyone seemed to forget for a moment what anyone has said about the “death of the author,” the collaborative process of playwriting, or even the dreaded authorship debate, just to be happy that there was a man such as William Shakespeare born in 1564. Heming and Condell wrote that they compiled the First Folio “to keepe the memory of so worth a Friend and Fellow alive, as was our Shakespeare”: well, it certainly did the job. A year from now, professional and amateur Shakespeareans will commemorate his death, and all the hoopla will begin again.
So while this is all great fun, I think we should enjoy this particular year between the birth and the death as a time of relief from commemoration. This is a year in which we can think of Shakespeare not “busy being born” or “busy dying” (to adapt Bob Dylan’s lyrics), but rather just busy being alive. We can imagine our “upstart crow” about his daily business, reading voraciously, acting, and scribbling, of course. We can picture him arguing and drinking with his colleagues, managing (or not) his family life and his finances, and worrying about his relationships with his patrons. Indeed, we can remember him living his life as many of us Shakespeareans do, as we write, read and talk about books, theater, and politics while trying to handle our own often demanding colleagues, students, patrons, and families.
That is, I like to think of Shakespeare as a practical man, as I also like to think of our SAA members as working hard in this world. We “Shakespeareans” do a lot of different things for a living: we teach, direct, act, and manage all sorts of things. And, of course, we read and write about an astonishing variety of subjects: just look at the exciting titles of the seminars and panels for our meeting in Vancouver, ranging from animals, apocalypse and appropriation to women’s alliances and writing the body.
All of that activity, I would argue, is work in the world. There is vast economy out there invested in the production and analysis of art, writing, entertainment, design, history and culture, both on-line and off-line, even in an age where cultural institutions, traditional forms of writing, and art appear imperiled. We are teaching our students the skills to enter into that world, while we participate in it ourselves.
This is one of the reasons why SAA is excited to present at Vancouver the second iteration of the popular “Digital Salon” that we launched at last year’s meeting in St. Louis. In the “Digital Salon,” our members demonstrate projects that draw on digital resources or that integrate digital technology into scholarship, teaching, and public work on Shakespeare and his contemporaries. These projects have included text analytics, smartphone and tablet apps, digital archives, and website development. At the St. Louis meeting we got to see projects on “The Map of Early Modern London,” “The Shakespeare and Dance Project,” the “Lost Plays Database,” “Six Degrees of Francis Bacon: Reassembling the Early Modern Social Network,” and the “MIT Global Shakespeares,” among many others. In Vancouver the Digital Salon will be open Thursday, April 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m, and we invite everyone to stop by then to talk with the exhibitors and experiment with the projects.
The Vancouver meeting will also offer a chance for members to hear about the exciting work of our new generation of scholars, in an innovative feature of the program that we have called the “Next Gen Plen,” which will also be held on Thursday, at 1:30 p.m.. This will be a plenary session of short papers by early-career presenters, selected via a blind screening process. As you will see, these papers will give us a glimpse of the future of the discipline, featuring new topics and fresh thinking about matters we have been debating for years.
So many of us look forward to the SAA Annual Meeting as a chance to refresh our research and pedagogy. But it is also a time when we get to mix work and play: to talk, think, have a drink or two, debate, read and listen to great papers, see old friends and make new ones, eat well, network, and, for some, dance. In this plethora of activity, again, I would like to imagine that we are emulating our “Beloved the Author,” who may have never attended a conference, but who, I am sure, knew something about taking time for cakes and ale with friends. So many people have spoken to me about how important SAA is in their lives, as a community of intellectual colleagues and friends. So I hope to see many of you in Vancouver, in this our year of Shakespeare alive.
Constitution of the SAA
The Constitution of the Shakespeare Association of America was adopted in 1973 and revised in 2002.