Shakespeare Association of America

2020 Seminars and Workshops

Enrollment in SAA seminars and workshops is open only to members in good standing who are college and university faculty, independent scholars, and graduate students at the dissertation stage. Any member who has been found in violation of SAA policies is ineligible to enroll in SAA seminars and workshops.

Enrollments for 2020 seminars and workshops are accepted beginning on 1 July 2019. All enrollees are required to submit four different choices. Spaces are filled on a first-received, first-enrolled basis. Seminar and workshop leaders, as well as those appearing in panel sessions, are ineligible to enroll in seminars and workshops. The closing deadline for seminar and workshop enrollment is 15 September 2019.

Scroll down for the Guidelines for Seminars and Workshops.


01. Atrocity and Early Modern Drama

Sarah Elizabeth Johnson (Royal Military College of Canada)
Georgina M. Lucas (Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham)

This seminar invites papers that consider how early modern drama handles, and is used to handle, atrocities. What constitutes an atrocity? How might atrocities be staged? Are there distinctions within this category, dependent on actor, time, or victim? Who decides? Who leverages early modern drama and dramatists in post-atrocity societies? The seminar welcomes a variety of approaches to these questions, including text, television, film, performance history, and cultural studies.

02. Bad Philology 

Jenny C. Mann (Cornell University)
Brian Pietras (Princeton University)

Early moderns could be very bad philologists, mis-translating classical works, creating false etymologies, and constructing improbable cultural histories. This seminar explores “bad philology” as an object of study and a fruitful methodology for early modern studies now. How might bad philology spur us to be more global in our scholarship and foster more imaginative connections among the classical, medieval, and modern? Can bad philology explode dominant paradigms of race, class, and gender?

03. Breathing in/with Shakespeare

Kathryn Prince (University of Western Australia)
Naya Tsentourou (University of Exeter)

“How can we start to think about something we cannot see?” (Quinlivan 2014, 1). This seminar focuses on the circulation of breath in Shakespeare’s texts and their performance. How does breath open up physical, spiritual, and emotional worlds? How is breath work part of the Shakespearean actor’s training and practice? Can spectatorial breathing offer insights into emotional communities and emotional contagion? The seminar offers the first sustained engagement with Shakespeare’s pneumatic economy.

04. “But is it any good?”: Evaluating Shakespeare Adaptation

Douglas M. Lanier (University of New Hampshire)

Scholarly study of Shakespeare adaptation has largely neglected the question of principles by which we assign value to Shakespeare adaptations, in themselves and relative to one other. How to evaluate adaptation–for its fidelity to or deviation from Shakespeare, its political or ethical orientation, its aesthetics, its novelty, its capacity to please or shock, its popularity or relevance, the different audiences it serves, or other principles? Or should we suspend the question of value?

05. Chaucerian Resonances in Tudor and Stuart Performance Contexts 

Lindsay Ann Reid (National University of Ireland, Galway)

This seminar considers Chaucer’s reception in Tudor and Stuart performance contexts. New readings of Shakespeare’s most overtly Chaucerian plays (The Two Noble KinsmenA Midsummer Night’s Dream, Troilus and Cressida) are welcome, as are analyses of previously unidentified/understudied Chaucerian resonances within and beyond the Shakespeare canon. Papers might treat balladry, masques, entertainments, or stage plays such as Women Pleased, Four Plays in One, Patient Grissil, or Sir Giles Goosecap.

06. Conspiracy

Lisa M. Barksdale-Shaw (Michigan State University)

As evidenced in the trials of Nicholas Throckmorton or Walter Raleigh, fears about conspiracy abound in Shakespeare’s world. How does the representation of criminal collaboration differ from one trial to another and one literary text to another? Might disparate judgments occur if we control for race, gender, class, or nationality? What happens when we consider the results of such judgments alongside dramatic depictions of trials? How might the requirement for proofs and judgment provide insights into the presentation of conspiracy?

07. Critical Methodologies in Early Modern Studies, Post-Historicism

Rebecca Bushnell (University of Pennsylvania)
Alice A. Dailey (Villanova University)

This seminar explores the methodological possibilities emerging in historicism’s wake. Aiming to move beyond presentism and periodization, we investigate new methods for approaching early modern literature, including modes of inquiry adapted from other disciplines and those some see as anachronistic, such as methods that engage with media and technology. The seminar invites literary analysis papers that experiment with method as well as metacritical reflections and methodological manifestos.

08. Digital Approaches to Book History

Andie Silva (York College, CUNY)
Whitney Trettien (University of Pennsylvania)

Digital platforms expand opportunities for scholars to study rare books; to trace early modern textual production and circulation; and to remediate texts using OCR, 3D modelling, multispectral imaging, text encoding, and social network analysis. We invite papers that engage with or produce new resources, including upcoming or in-progress tools, electronic editions, digitization, digital bibliography. We especially encourage papers working at the intersection of digital pedagogy and book history.

09. Disability in the Global Renaissance

Elizabeth B. Bearden (University of Wisconsin)
Katherine Schaap Williams (University of Toronto)

How might attention to concepts of early modern disability productively “crip” critical constructions of the global Renaissance? In Crip Times, Robert McRuer suggests that to crip scholarly discourse is to recenter disabled bodies and minds and expose how demands for ability become naturalized within cultural norms. This seminar invites papers that consider the forms of physical and intellectual difference that Renaissance texts engage as they take stock of an emerging global imagination.

10. Dramatic Verse

Andrew Mattison (University of Toledo)

Why did dramatic verse continue to exist once plays in prose were common and blank verse made line breaks harder to hear? In other words, what difference do the distinctions between verse and prose make? This seminar will explore treatments of verse by playwrights, scribes, compositors, readers, and actors to explore the importance of verse to genre and theater. Both small- and largescale approaches are welcome, from analyses of individual passages to treatments of historical trends in dramatic writing.

11. Early Drama and Performance: Contexts and Challenges

Thomas Betteridge (Brunel University London)
Eleanor Rycroft (University of Bristol)
Greg Walker (University of Edinburgh)

This seminar will focus on the secular and religious drama of the early sixteenth century. It invites papers that explore or exemplify approaches informed by practice-based research, exploration of space through performance, and/or historical contextualisation. It will examine the challenges of using practice to illuminate often partial traces of ephemeral performances, and how they might be addressed, and/or the benefits of exploring later playhouse drama in the context of earlier traditions.

12. Early Mod Cons

Rob Carson (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)
Eric Francis Langley (University College London)

This seminar invites papers about topics beginning with the prefix “con-” and its variant forms—and thus topics such as conspiracy, contagion, conscience, consent, commodity, constancy, commonwealth, correspondence, collaboration, confession, and conversion—in order to open up a conversation about early modern collectivity. How did shared experience shape early modern conceptions of community and of the self? Approaches via queer philology and historical phenomenology are particularly welcome.

13. Early Modern Women’s Anger

Lara Dodds (Mississippi State University)
Laura E. Kolb (Baruch College, CUNY)

The Renaissance inherited a strong tradition of delegitimizing women’s anger. Yet early modern women and female characters experienced and expressed anger: in letters and diaries, plays and poems, prose and verse. This seminar explores representations of women’s anger alongside the structures that both motivated and suppressed it. Collectively, we will consider anger’s sources, its forms, and the kinds of knowledge and action it makes possible.

14. Ecologies and/of Resistance

Jennifer A. Munroe (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
Amy L. Tigner (University of Texas, Arlington)

“Ecologies and/of Resistance” aims to consider questions of the “ecological” with those related to gender, race, and/or class both to identify alternative modes of resistance in the early modern period and to rectify what are and will continue to be their complex intersections. We look to foster conversation about how the various strands within early modern ecostudies might redress these crises by accounting for both for “nature” and “culture” as we posit alternative pathways of resistance.

15. Edition/Copy: New Approaches to Reading and Editing Early Modern Books

Sponsored by SHARP, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing

Claire M. L. Bourne (Pennsylvania State University)
Andrew S. Keener (Santa Clara University)

This seminar invites participants to reflect on the treatment of early modern printed texts as exceptional (i.e., as unique copies) rather than exemplary (i.e., as representatives of larger editions) in the way we have come to practice book history, theater and performance studies, and textual editing. We welcome papers that explore the history, historiography, uses, methods, readings, and dramaturgical implications of “edition vs. copy,” in addition to any potential pitfalls of either approach.

16. Experiential/Experimental Knowledge in Shakespeare

Pavneet Singh Aulakh (Vanderbilt University)
James Kearney (University of California, Santa Barbara)

This seminar invites papers that reflect on experiential or experimental knowledge in early modern drama. We encourage contributors to cast a wide net in exploring how new or old forms of knowing intersect with the art of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Papers might address these issues from historical, phenomenological, political, or ethical perspectives or in terms of cognitive studies, histories of science, histories of the emotions, or discourses of the body.

17. The Favorite

Julie A. Crawford (Columbia University)

The favorite benefited from some of the privileges enjoyed by the friend, but also much of the opprobrium heaped on the flatterer. This seminar is interested in the philosophies that subtended the favorite’s position and ethics; the categories of social difference that rendered them legible; their key postures and other bodily practices; the challenges they pose for editors; and their renascence in current popular takes on the Renaissance.

18. Global Performance and Adaptations of Macbeth

Sponsored by the European Shakespeare Research Association

Maurizio Calbi (Università degli Studi di Palermo)
Juan F. Cerdá (Universidad de Murcia)
Paul Prescott (University of Warwick)

We invite papers that chart Macbeth’s non-Anglophone reception from the seventeenth century to the present in any media or form; we particularly welcome papers that address the relocation of the play’s ideological or identity boundaries within specific historical and theoretical contexts, connecting local interventions and reception to the play’s history and their role in broader regional, national, or transnational contexts.

19. Good Governance

Mark Netzloff (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)

This seminar examines early modern governance and the relation of literary production to practices of political life. It also explores literary, historical, and theoretical models of good governance: civic virtue; advice and counsel; diplomacy and other forms of governmental service; the political and/as the happy or good life. Papers dealing with non-Shakespearean literary texts, political writings, historical case-studies, and theoretical or transhistorical approaches are encouraged.

20. Keeping Care in Early Modern England

Rebecca Totaro (Florida Gulf Coast University)

This seminar will examine “keeping care” for others in post-Reformation England, especially as represented by Spenser, Shakespeare, and women writers. Natural disasters and the halt of Catholic relief efforts renewed questions of who needed, provided, and paid for this care. Papers might consider caregiving and characters (e.g., Spenser’s Belphoebe, Shakespeare’s Ariel, Wroth’s Denia) and/or in A View; associated affective dimensions; care networks; archival finds; and/or uncompensated labor.

21. Locating Lucrece in the Twenty-First Century

Miriam E. Jacobson (University of Georgia)

Shakespeare’s second narrative poem, The Rape of Lucrece, was hugely popular in its time, enjoying multiple publications, citations, and even a poetic sequel by Middleton. What accounted for this popularity then, and how can we read Shakespeare’s Lucrece (the character, the poem) today, in light of current cultural and political conversations? This seminar invites papers that examine Lucrece from multiple perspectives.

22. London’s Indoor Playhouses

Christopher Highley (Ohio State University)

This seminar invites participants to explore the identities of, and relationships among, London’s indoor playhouses in the early modern period. Why did these “private” houses open when and where they did? Were they in a competitive or codependent relationship with each other and with the public ampitheaters? Did each indoor venue develop a distinct house style and repertory and were these different repertories in conversation with one another? And what do we know about actual playgoers?

23. Marlowe and Early Shakespeare

Sarah Dustagheer (University of Kent)
Andrew J. Power (University of Sharjah)

What does it mean to say a work is early? This seminar invites papers on Marlowe and Shakespeare that address “earliness” in relation to the length of both authors’ careers, to the arc of their lives, to the educational and developmental factors that influenced their work, or to other literary and theatrical aspects of authorship, performance, and criticism. Papers that address new discoveries and new developments that contextualize Marlowe and Shakespeare scholarship and/or early modern theater are particularly welcome.

24. A Midsummer Night’s Dream: New Perspectives

Sarah Lewis (King’s College London)
Gillian Woods (Birkbeck University of London)

This seminar invites fresh investigations of all aspects of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Possible themes include: New Formalist explorations of its linguistic, spatial and ideological structures; eco-critical and animal studies approaches to its climatic concerns and metamorphic action; analysis of desire through queer theory; work on embodiment, phenomenology and the senses; investigations of the comedy’s music and dance; and studies of its global performance history and multi-media adaptations.

25. Money and Magic on the Renaissance Stage

David Hawkes (Arizona State University)

In early modern England, the legitimization of usury allowed financial signs to reproduce, while the fetishistic adoration of liturgical icons gave rise to Reformation iconoclasm, and widespread anxiety about the magical deployment of performative symbols produced the pan-European witch-hunts. The theater provided an apt medium in which such developments could be debated and displayed. This seminar will study treatments of performative representation on the early modern English stage.

26. Multiple Worlds: Early Modern Theater and Reformation Cosmology

James A. Knapp (Loyola University Chicago)

The early modern period witnessed important debates over the existence and nature of multiple worlds. This seminar invites papers that explore the intersections of these debates and the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. All approaches are welcome. Topics may include: analogies between actual and imagined worlds, world making, Leibnitzian compossibility, the Americas as a “new world,” human and non-human worlds, among other cosmological subjects.

27. New Philologies

Marjorie Rubright (University of Massachusetts)
Stephen Spiess (Babson College)

This seminar will examine the (re)turn to philology and explore new avenues for thinking philologically in our early modern engagements. We invite methodologically self-conscious papers that address the recent scholarship of new, queer, feminist, trans*, transnational, race, and/or eco- philologies. Participants might: introduce a new method for reading early modern words; explore the benefits and limitations of related hermeneutics; and/or attend to broader aspects of English lexical culture.

28. “New Worlds,” New Approaches

Olga L. Valbuena (Wake Forest University)

Who noticed “the augmentation of the Indies”? This seminar addresses England’s global aspirations and permeable borders in light of colonial bodies, territory, objects, and privateering in Mexico and the Indies. Did the theater naturalize, commoditize, or further estrange new “wonders”? Did audiences gain perspectives different from official state discourses? Topics might include religion, trade, invasion, and trans/nationalism in plays, polemic, and narrative in well- and lesser-known texts.

29. Performing Digital Shakespeare

Aneta Mancewicz (University of Birmingham)

Recent applications of motion capture and virtual reality in Shakespeare productions (e.g. the RSC’s The Tempest, 2016) suggest that as digital tools are becoming more interactive and immersive, they offer new opportunities for performing Shakespeare. The seminar proposes to evaluate digital productions in a global context, examine how Shakespeare’s plays lend themselves to such practice, and explore the cultural implications of digital Shakespeare performance on stage, film, online, and beyond.

30. Pericles, Prince of Tyre

Tom Bishop (University of Auckland)
Deanne Williams (York University)

Review and discussion of recent approaches and new concerns in the evaluation of Pericles, Prince of Tyre. One of the most popular Globe hits, the play later fell into contempt and obscurity. In the midtwentieth century, it was an object of more favorable critical scrutiny, and has recently had widespread and repeated success in performance, and been a key work in arguments about attribution. What ways of thinking through this history and its implications are of current critical interest?

31. Playing in Rep

Laurie Johnson (University of Southern Queensland)
Elizabeth E. Tavares (Pacific University)

Early English professional players relied on the repertory system—performing a different play every day of the week rather than runs of a single play—for financial success. This seminar invites archival, practitioner, and theoretical explorations of the ways in which performing “in rep” conditioned the early modern performance event. How did the rep system influence enskillment in players? The playgoer experience? What is its role in Shakespeare festivals today? Or in video-on-demand services?

32. Public Shakespeares and New Media: Critical Approaches

Devori Kimbro (University of Tennessee, Chattanooga)
Michael Noschka (Paradise Valley Community College)
Geoffrey Way (Arizona State University)

This seminar explores how new media foster engagement between Shakespeareans, institutions, and public audiences through evolving frameworks and methodologies. What are the benefits and pitfalls of such new media engagement? How can fostering such engagement offer new ways of reaching the public with our work in Shakespeare and humanities education in general? We encourage critical and creative work around inventive approaches of all types that connect public audiences with Shakespeare.

33. Queer/Race/Global: Early Modern Crossings

Bernadette Andrea (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Abdulhamit Arvas (University of California, Santa Barbara)

This seminar aims to bring together scholars of race, sexuality, and transcultural studies to explore early modern intersections of sexuality, gender, and race from a global critical lens. We welcome diverse methodologies and approaches that deploy “race” and “queer” as analytical tools, that advance comparative or contrapuntal perspectives, and that engage noneurocentric texts and contexts to complicate gender binaries, racialized hierarchies, and sexualized identities on the stage and page.

34. Reviving Phillip Massinger

Gina M. Di Salvo (University of Tennessee)
John M. Kuhn (SUNY, Binghamton)

This seminar invites papers that address any aspect of the work of the Caroline playwright Philip Massinger (1583-1640). Papers might address Massinger’s work in relation to: religion, meta-theater and ritual, history, geography, questions of genre, economic ideas, or representations of gender, race, or nation. Papers are also welcome on Massinger as a theater professional, his lost plays, his biography, his poetry, his place in the canon, his afterlives, or his work as a collaborator.

35. Shakespeare after Queer Theory

Anthony Guy Patricia (Concord University)

This seminar invites papers that engage with queer theory and the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Topics participants may explore include: critiques of extant queer readings; the crafting of new queer interpretations; the role of queer theory in textual editing; the possibilities for queer theory in performance studies and histories; the queer pleasure(s) the study of early modern literature engenders; and the debate between historicism and unhistoricism.

36. Shakespeare and Civil Unrest

Mark Bayer (University of Texas, San Antonio)
Joseph Navitsky (West Chester University)

What happens when both parties to a dispute enlist Shakespeare to support their cause? We welcome papers that examine any aspect of how Shakespeare has been implicated in civil conflict, rivalry, resistance, competition, or polemic. Participants might examine how Shakespeare has been appropriated in armed conflicts like the English Civil War or the American Civil War, but also in less familiar civil contests, or even the wars of words that abound during these critical historical junctures.

37. Shakespeare and Class

Chris Fitter (Rutgers University, Camden)

The New Social History has revealed not only plebeian anger and resistance to elite rule, but Shakespeare’s familiarity with underclass protest. We ask: Can we speak of class-consciousness in Shakespeare’s England? Should we reassess class conflict in Shakespeare’s, or others’, plays? Are they consistent towards poverty? What reflections are there of social policy (bastardy, drunkenness, vagrancy, curfew, dancing, Poor Law)? Did performances manipulate class divisions within the theaters?

38. Shakespeare and Linguistic Creativity

Daniel Allen Shore (Georgetown University)

How should we theorize the linguistic creativity of Shakespeare and his contemporaries? Can we extract the concept of creativity from the ideological matrix of bourgeois individualism? How might we move beyond debates over whether Shakespeare possessed or coined the most words? This seminar welcomes papers that draw on recent developments in linguistics, quantitative and qualitative corpus methods, and advances in Natural Language Processing, as well as those that practice close reading.

39. Shakespeare and Sanctuary

Urvashi Chakravarty (George Mason University)
Ross Knecht (Emory University)

This seminar explores the relationship between early modern literature and legal and social concepts of sanctuary. In light of the current sanctuary city movement, papers might attend to representations of official and informal sanctuary in Shakespeare’s plays and contemporary texts; the role of immigrants and “strangers”; sanctuary as a “state of exception”; and the stage as a space of refuge. We welcome work which intersects with race and diaspora studies and with queer and disability studies.

40. Shakespeare and the Mind: Cognition, Emotion, Affect

Bradley J. Irish (Arizona State University)

What does it mean to think about Shakespeare and his contemporaries in terms of the “mind”? This seminar will consider early modern literature through all manners of psychology, both historical and modern. Approaches might include cognition, emotion, affect, theory of mind, historical psychology, Freud, Lacan, Kristeva, etc.

41. Shakespeare and Virtual Reality

David McInnis (University of Melbourne)
Stephen Wittek (Carnegie Mellon University)

This seminar will consider representations of Shakespearean drama in virtual reality and speculate as to how the medium might impact the production, teaching, and meaning of Shakespeare in years to come. Projects that intersect with performance studies, film studies, and media studies are particularly welcome. Potential areas of focus include: soliloquies and interiority; documentation of theatrical experience; pedagogy; spatiality; embodiment; production; affect; interactivity; and adaptation.

42. Shakespeare and Virtue

Julia Reinhard Lupton (University of California, Irvine)
Donovan H. Sherman (Seton Hall University)

In antiquity, virtue was in no way simply synonymous with morality or a code of behavior but instead concerned the powers, capacities, and ends of human and nonhuman actors. Shakespeare’s plays stage both virtue (the capacity of ensouled beings for action) and virtues (the palette of attributes and skills that shape conduct in the world). We invite approaches to the virtues that cut across philosophy, performance and pedagogy and contribute to environmental and medical humanities.

43. Shakespeare in/on the Borderlands

Elizabeth V. Acosta (El Paso Community College)
Victoria Muñoz (Hostos Community College, CUNY)

In light of the current political climate around immigration and borders, this seminar considers the teaching of Shakespeare and/on the borderlands. We are especially interested in papers from scholars living in borderland communities. How does teaching on the borderlands shape your pedagogy or scholarship? How does Shakespeare factor into the everyday lives of those living on the border? We also welcome papers that consider how a methodological focus on the borderland contributes to teaching about power, identity, struggle, and agency, and related issues in Shakespeare.

44. Shakespeare Studies and the Idea of the Interface

Lauren Shohet (Villanova University)

What Shakespeare scholarship might emerge from considering the “interface”: the liminal space where deeply different entities must somehow be functionally mediated? How could ideas of interface help us think about intersections of past and present, actor and character, stage and page, figurative and real? How might the simultaneous transparency and undeniable fictiveness of computer interfaces like “windows” and “desktops” and “trashcans” illuminate parallel problems in Shakespeare studies?

45. Shakespeare, Music, and Dance

Lynsey McCulloch (Coventry University)
Amy Rodgers (Mount Holyoke College)

This seminar brings together specialists in literature, music, and dance to discuss Shakespeare’s use of sound and movement as features of his staged output. Shakespeare’s employment, and enjoyment, of music and dance has since been matched by the frequent adaptation of his works by composers and choreographers. But, despite the co-dependant nature of music and dance, Shakespeareans have been slow to examine this intermedial relationship. This seminar will provide a forum for such discussion.

46. The Shakespearean Death Arts

William E. Engel (Sewanee: The University of the South)
Grant Williams (Carleton University)

This seminar invites a range of historical and comparative investigations of how Shakespeare and his contemporaries mobilized the death arts—the period’s plurality of memento mori allusions and artifacts, meditative exercises, commemorative practices, and funereal rituals. Which plays from the period engage most pointedly and extensively with these arts; what about the theatrical, philosophical, and sociological rationale behind staging them; how did these plays differ in their staging?

47. Shakespearean Poetry: Manuscript, Print, and Digital Textualities

Francis X. Connor (Wichita State University)

This seminar will discuss how recent innovations in book history, textual scholarship, and digital humanities have refined our understanding of Shakespeare’s poetic canon. We welcome papers that offer new perspectives and methodologies relevant to the textual and material conditions of Shakespearean verse, including the printers, publishers, editors, and others who, from the time of their initial publication to the present, have contributed to the poems’ publication and reception.

48. Shakespeare’s “Other Race Plays”

David Sterling Brown (SUNY Binghamton)

What are Shakespeare’s “other race plays?” Why have they been marginalized in critical race discourse? How can reading those 33 plays through a racial lens enhance our scholarship? This seminar moves the issue of Shakespeare and Race forward by sidelining the five “race plays” and asserting that Shakespearean dramas containing all-white characters also permit generative discussions about race. We invite both play-centric and theoretically-oriented papers that mine these alternative literary sites in search of new racial knowledge.

49. Shakespeare’s Divination

Aaron Wells Kitch (Bowdoin College)

Peter Struck defines divination as an “ontology of universalist materialism” that uncovers secret bonds between things in the cosmos. This seminar considers divination in its broadest sense as any conjunction of human and divine forces, including modes of belief and practice that resist both Protestant and Catholic orthodoxies. Participants may wish to explore augury, oracles, miracles, or prophecies in Shakespeare’s works. Classical, philosophical, and non-Western approaches are also welcome.

50. Shakespeare’s Shameful Histories

John S. Garrison (Grinnell College)
Kyle A. Pivetti (Norwich University)

Across Shakespeare’s work, the word “shame” appears with striking frequency in the history plays, behind only The Rape of Lucrece. What in this genre inspires consideration of shame? How is shame contained in the past or shared with present audiences and readers? The seminar encourages essays that combine various theories—queer theory, affect studies, or memory studies—with a number of potential sources, such as diaries, conduct manuals, or sermons.

51. Short Scenes in Shakespeare

William Germano (Cooper Union)

Do not blink or you may miss them: this seminar invites work on the shortest scenes in Shakespeare’s plays. Why are they there? What thematic, psychological, or dramatic function can such brief scenes provide? Our purpose will be to examine the theatrical function of “unnecessary” scenes in Shakespeare, not only to consider their thematic and dramatic purpose within the playtext as a literary construct but to encourage fresh directorial perspectives on the plays in performance.

52. The Short Script: Forms of and Formulas for Action

Jacqueline Wernimont (Dartmouth College)
Seth S. Williams (Barnard College)

This seminar explores relationships between literature and the wide range of “short scripts,” or formulae, that structured everyday embodied actions: receipts, mnemonics, music and dance notations, books on prayer or penmanship, and more. We welcome submissions involving both recognizable and unexpected kinds of formulaic doing. How do short scripts render daily life performative, or turn making into a form of knowing? Explorations of form, relationality, materiality, and more are encouraged.

53. The Supernatural and Transcendent in Shakespeare on Screen

Melissa Croteau (California Baptist University)
Lisa S. Starks (University of South Florida, St. Petersburg)

Shakespeare’s plays are replete with supernatural and transcendent moments; however, when his plays are adapted for the screen, the spiritual material poses particular problems for artists. This seminar invites essays from various critical perspectives that explore supernatural and transcendent elements in Shakespearean audio-visual media (adaptations and offshoots) in relation to technological, cultural, historical, political, and theoretical contexts.

54. The Theatrical City: Performance and Ceremony in Early Modern London

Sponsored by Records of Early English Drama

Tracey Hill (Bath Spa University)

The early modern City of London was a community with rich and enduring dramatic traditions which have been largely overlooked. However, writers including Dekker, Heywood, Jonson, Middleton, Munday, Peele and Webster, actors like Burbage and Alleyn, and impresarios such as Heminges were employed both in the City and on the professional stage. This seminar will explore the manifold connections between civic and non-civic theatrical repertoires, performers, and audiences.

55. Teaching Identity, Inclusion, and Exclusion through Early Modern Drama

Brinda Charry (Keene State College)
Matteo Pangallo (Virginia Commonwealth University)

This seminar invites papers on teaching Shakespeare and other early modern dramatists through explorations of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, or socioeconomic status. Contributions might focus on pedagogical theory, class activities, course design, resources, assignments, or similar topics. The seminar’s goal is to share effective methodologies for helping students connect the study of Shakespeare and early modern drama with the pursuit of equity, inclusion, and social justice.

56. “Tread the Ooze”: Early Modern Slime

Brent Dawson (University of Oregon)
Lynn M. Maxwell (Spelman College)

This seminar is interested in how Shakespeare and his contemporaries use slime, muck, and other viscous materials. How do early modern authors figure differently “the common muck of the world”? What is the value of these less than savory materials and how are they used to explore issues of gender, procreation, and otherness? To what extent does their status as semisolids matter, and what is their relation to other semi-solids like clay and wax that are attached to more positive possibilities?

57. Villains and Villainy in Renaissance Drama

David Hershinow (Baruch College, CUNY)

The 16th and 17th centuries witnessed a change in dramatic tastes from the allegorical Vice of an earlier era to a new breed of cunning, psychologically complex stage villain. This seminar invites papers that reflect on the period’s appetite for new kinds of villains and new forms of villainy. Papers across a range of approaches are welcome, including those that focus on gender and sexuality, critical race studies, theodicy, political theory, performance studies, and the new economic criticism.

58. Watery Thinking: Cognitive and Ecocritical Perspectives on Water in Early Modern Literature

Nicholas Ryan Helms (University of Alabama)
Steve Mentz (St. John’s University)

This seminar will blend cognitive and ecocritical approaches to early modern literature, questioning what role the watery environment plays in how authors think, and how they think about thinking. In particular, we’re interested in how water, as metaphor and feature of the environment, creates affordances and constraints for early modern thought. We would like the seminar to explore how both early modern ecocriticism and contemporary cognitive sciences draw upon water and watery environs.

59. Women Writers and Political Frameworks

Sponsored by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender

Mihoko Suzuki (University of Miami)
Joanne Wright (University of New Brunswick)

This seminar explores how early modern women writers challenged, subverted, or revised prevailing political frameworks, and attendant philosophical, scientific, and economic categories. Topics can include the disruption of the division between royalist/parliamentarian; understandings of citizenship, family, the church and the rise of capitalism; the hierarchy between human/non-human; literary-historical periodization; and, in light of #MeToo, women’s experiences of violence and abuse.

60. Young Adult Shakespeare

Jennifer Flaherty (Georgia College)
Deborah Uman (St. John Fisher College)

Starting as early as Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare, the impulse to make Shakespeare accessible to young people has inspired adaptations across all forms of media. For this seminar we will consider a range of contributions to YA and children’s Shakespeare, including novels, films, comic books, plays, music, television, games, and web series. We will encourage a variety of approaches, considering the implications of this pop culture phenomenon for our students, our classrooms, and our scholarship.


61. Academy and Practice: A Mutual Exchange of Research and Discovery

Ralph Alan Cohen (American Shakespeare Center)
Sarah E. Enloe (American Shakespeare Center)
Amanda Giguere (Colorado Shakespeare Festival)
Kevin Rich (University of Colorado, Boulder)

How can the Academy and theater practitioners work together to engage communities? How can scholarship inform the practice of Shakespeare? And how can performance approaches inform research? This session explores case studies of theater companies partnered with academic institutions.Through the examination of successful partnerships including Colorado Shakespeare Festival and American Shakespeare Center, participants in this workshop will identify opportunities for further collaborations.

62. #MeToo: Staging Sexual Violence in Early Modern Drama

Erin Julian (University of Western Ontario)
Nora J. Williams (Independent Scholar)

The acute visibility of the #MeToo movement has spurred reflection about how we “do” early modern plays in ways that are ethical and intersectional, while acknowledging them as culturally valuable texts. This workshop will explore the limits of current approaches and of what a scholar/practitioner can or should represent, as well as models of successful praxis. We encourage work on dramatists beyond Shakespeare, and we particularly welcome participants identifying as LGBTQI, disabled, and POC.

63. On Difficulty

Eric S. Mallin (University of Texas, Austin)

This workshop is about interpretation and diplomacy, which is to say, pedagogical problems. Specifically: how can we cope with verbal and ideological difficulty in the classroom? As teachers, how much attention should we pay to the wholly unattractive or utterly obscure moments in Shakespeare plays? We will try to frame some practical solutions for defining and confronting “difficulty”—verbal and cultural entanglement that has become opaque to modern sensibilities—without erasing it.

64. Shakespeare and Graduate Education

Michelle M. Dowd (University of Alabama)

What is the place of Shakespeare studies in graduate education today? This workshop seeks to foster discussion of curricular structures, practical considerations, and scholarly developments relevant to graduate study and training. Materials produced for the session may include assignments, program requirements, best practices, exam reading lists, analyses of historical trends, or ideas for future directions. Participants at all levels, including current graduate students, are welcome.

65. Teaching 17th-Century Books with and without 17th-Century Books

Mara I. Amster (Randolph College)
Jason Elliot Cohen (Berea College)

Particularly at teaching institutions, print history and archival materials are represented in eclectic and incomplete holdings. What then are some of our best approaches to activate these often limited archival resources? The purpose of the workshop will be to collect pedagogical strategies and materials relevant to the history of the book and early modern culture in general with an eye toward investigating how our own research processes as scholars inflect those classroom practices.

66. Writing “Shakespearean” Fiction

Andrew James Hartley (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)

Many Shakespearean academics are—or aspire to be—literary artists, whether they think of themselves as novelists, short story writers, playwrights or screenwriters. How does our status as professors of the world’s most renowned writer affect the stories we write? What might we pursue in our own literary craft which is in some way “Shakespearean” in scope, genre, political representation etc., and how do such things make our fiction similar to or different from our research and teaching?

  • Seminar and Workshop Guidelines

    Guidelines for Seminars and Workshops


    How They Work

    Seminar and workshop participation is open only to SAA members in good standing who are college and university faculty, independent scholars, or graduate students at the dissertation stage. If you are a student, your status must be verified by your thesis supervisor. Seminar and workshop leaders, as well as those appearing on panels and roundtables, are ineligible to enroll. If you are found to have violated SAA policies and guidelines, you may also be found ineligible to enroll in an SAA seminar or workshop.

    To enroll, you should begin by reviewing the descriptions of seminars and workshops in the June Bulletin.  The online enrollment form requires you to make four selections from the total list, in rank order of preference. If you make fewer choices than four, you will be bumped and your enrollment will be delayed. If you revise your choices, you lose your initial place in the enrollment queue, the date and time of revision serving as the date and time of enrollment. First-choice placements cannot be guaranteed, and spaces are filled on a first-received, first-enrolled basis. You may not take more than one seminar or workshop place, and panel presenters may not enroll for places. The closing deadline for seminar and workshop enrollments is 15 September, after which a no-switch policy obtains.

    Placement notifications are issued in early October. You will receive your invitation via e-mail. We have found that formal letters of invitation help SAA members secure conference travel funds from their home universities.

    The work of each seminar or workshop is set by its leader(s). By late October you will receive guidelines, directions, and deadlines for work to be completed in advance of the conference.

    By mid-February or the deadline assigned by seminar and workshop leaders, you should send your work to other members of your group and receive theirs in return. You should assimilate this work thoroughly so that discussion at the conference can take place at an advanced level. The seminar enrollment cap of sixteen is designed to make this manageable. If you happen to be enrolled in a double-session seminar, you are responsible only for the work of one session. (You are of course welcome to audit the companion session.)

    Seminar and workshop leader(s) confirm to the SAA office the names of those who have completed all advance assignments by 15 February. Only with this confirmation are you eligible to be listed in the printed conference program. The schedule of seminars and workshops is announced in the SAA’s January Bulletin. Unfortunately, it is not possible to take into account the scheduling requests of individual seminar and workshop members.

    Accepting a place in a seminar or workshop, you agree to produce original work, to engage directly with the topic and scholarly objectives announced by the seminar or workshop leader(s), to attend the seminar or workshop meeting at the annual conference, and to engage with other seminar or workshop members in a professional and respectful way both in advance correspondence and during the meeting.


    Purpose: Each seminar and workshop is designed to serve as a forum for fresh research, mutual criticism, and pedagogical experimentation among members with specialized academic interests.

    Leader: The work of each seminar or workshop is to be determined and directed by a Leader or Leaders who are responsible to the Shakespeare Association’s Trustees and Executive Director. A Leader who has accepted a place on the program has undertaken a responsibility to attend the Association’s Annual Meeting. If attendance is in question, the Leader should contact the Executive Director immediately.

    Enrollment: Membership of the Shakespeare Association of America is required for participation in any SAA seminar or workshop. Enrollment in seminars and workshops is open only to those who are at the dissertation stage of research or who have achieved postdoctoral standing. The Leader(s) of each seminar and workshop may invite up to four participants to join in the work of the group. Remaining places in each seminar are filled through the Association’s open enrollment process. No one may participate in more than one seminar or workshop. No paper presenter may participate also in a seminar or workshop. No person who has been found to be in violation of SAA policies will be admitted to a seminar or workshop.

    Advance Work: As director(s) of the seminar or workshop, Leader(s) determine the extent and nature of work to be done in preparation for these sessions. This may involve common readings, papers (on either a voluntary or an assigned basis), critiques, bibliographies, or any other exercise or project devised by the Leader(s). All written materials used in a session are to be circulated to the full membership of the session and read in advance of the Meeting.

    Protocols for Seminar and Workshop Members: Acceptance of a place in a seminar or workshop represents a commitment to complete the work of the seminar or workshop and to attend the Annual Meeting. No member, even if registered in the seminar or workshop, may participate in the session at the Annual Meeting without completing the advance preparation set by the Leader(s). Seminar or workshop members should follow procedures established by their Leader(s), particularly regarding paper length and circulation deadlines. Any seminar or workshop member who has not completed the assigned work by the deadlines specified by the Leader(s) will not be listed as a seminar or workshop member in the Conference Program and may not join in discussion at the meeting. A seminar or workshop member who will not be in attendance should notify the Leader(s) immediately.

    Seminar and Workshop Sessions: Seminar and workshop meetings should be devoted to a discussion of major issues raised by work already completed. The sessions are not to involve either reading or summarizing papers. It is assumed that all participants are already familiar with one another’s work by the time the meeting begins. The Leader(s) assume responsibility for the direction and content of the discussion. Workshop sessions may be devoted to exercises organized by the Leader(s) as well as to discussion of major issues.

    Auditors: In advance of the Meeting, Seminar Leaders should submit abstracts for seminar papers to the SAA office, for posting on the SAA website. On the day of their session, they should also make available to auditors hard copies of abstracts. At the discretion of the session’s Leader(s), auditors will be permitted to join in the discussion during the final portion of the seminar or workshop.

    Academic Integrity: It is assumed that each paper or project submitted to a Shakespeare Association seminar or workshop represents original work that addresses the topic and agenda set out by the Leader(s). Work-in-progress is to be treated with the utmost respect, and members should follow established citation and copyright guidelines in handling the intellectual property of others, including all abstracts, papers, and talks presented at the SAA. No paper should be recirculated in any form or any venue without the author’s permission, and seminar abstracts should be treated in the same way as papers read or circulated. Permission must be obtained before citing unpublished work heard or read at the conference. Also to be observed are the SAA’s Social Media Guidelines for digital distribution, in real time or in retrospect, of the content of panels or seminars.

    Professional Behavior: All seminar and workshop members are entitled to be treated with respect and are expected themselves to engage with their fellow enrollees in a respectful manner. This applies to correspondence exchanged in advance of the conference and to participation in the seminar or workshop session.