45th Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia
1. Accident and the Archives
How do archival accidents influence our textual and literary histories? Can we read meaning in the received arrangement of pre-modern compilations, commonplace books, and finding aids? What chance encounters (and new points of friction) are effected by warped scans on EEBO and erasures of blank pages from digital facsimiles? Papers might focus on confrontations between bibliography and material texts, technological glitches and oddities, or the conflicted temporalities of objects assembled over time.
This seminar invites papers on any aspect of the afterlives of medieval English drama: props, staging, notions of time and action, structures of feeling, the strategic uses of medieval drama to make political statements. Extreme violence and the complex interplay of comic and tragic were staples of medieval biblical drama, not classical sources. Where do we draw the line between medieval and Renaissance/early modern drama, and why? What are the advantages and disadvantages of periodization itself?
Recent debate about the authorship of All’s Well That Ends Well has brought renewed attention to the complexities of the play, from its undated inception to its performance possibilities. The play’s generic assignment, its attitude toward gender and sexuality, its theological orientation, its textual cruxes, its uncertain attribution, and its striking variations in popularity and performance are all ripe for reconsideration. This seminar invites new thoughts on the play from any perspective.
Over fifty years after Donald Lach’s monumental Asia in the Making of Europe, this seminar seeks to reassess how Europe’s encounters with the East influenced Western culture. Papers might consider works featuring Asian characters and settings; European or Asian representations of the encounter; intra- European rivalries; the appropriation of Asian knowledges into European cultures or vice versa; tactics of accommodation or adaptation; cross-cultural exchanges and networks; shared histories and mythologies.
This seminar invites participants whose interest in dramatic genre challenges or ranges beyond the classic tripartite division of the First Folio. Studies might attend to the defining influence on Shakespeare of early modern genres unnamed there; social and political conditions that made some genres popular; genres devised by later editors and critics; the models Shakespeare’s canon provided the novel and its subgenres; more radical reimaginings of Shakespearean genres in new media, film, and fan fiction.
6. Bloody Talk, Talking Blood
This seminar focuses on blood on the early modern stage. Studying “bloody talk” or “talking blood,” papers might analyze the words, gestures, and other non-verbal cues used to express and inflict bodily violence, notably gendered bodily violence, and how this violence was performed and conceptualized in past centuries. Also welcome are presentist approaches about staging such plays now: what is acceptable to show on stage, what is not, how lines are drawn, and what happens when they are transgressed.
What are the concepts and terms with which Shakespeare and his contemporaries spoke about and understood mental life? How do early modern ideas about cognition relate to classical or medieval ones? How does Shakespeare handle these in his depictions of perceiving, thinking, and feeling? What does the medium of theater add to such depictions? Papers might engage topics such as memory or madness, or else explore notions such as intuition or skill, giving attention to history, philosophy, or form.
This seminar invites contributions on the way Shakespeare’s work emerges out of a culture of commonplacing and is in turn taken up and distributed as quotation. Possible topics include the early modern commonplace; how plays became a resource for sententious (and parodic) quotation, especially through print; the vexed relationship between quotation and literary value; the influence of technologies of communication on the circulation of commonplaces; viral Shakespeare on contemporary social networks.
The relationships between and among cosmological bodies—atomic, biological, meteorological, planetary—were sources of awe and debate in early modern texts. This seminar invites thematic, theoretical, or speculative treatments of literal or metaphoric cosmological bodies in motion; of the influence of these bodies upon each other by way of sympathies and contagion; of wonders and marvels; of Shakespeare’s appropriation of Aristotelian, Lucretian, and other paradigms; of emerging cosmologies in the period.
10. Disability and Subjectivity in Shakespeare
This seminar pursues ways Disability Studies can help us explore new understandings of Shakespearean subjectivity. What do Shakespeare’s representations of affliction, disability, or dependence tell us about the nature of human experience? How do engagements with Shakespeare’s work by readers with disabilities, and theatrical productions which feature disability, speak back to his representations of personhood? How might non-disabled scholars incorporate these insights into their work?
Our diverse histories of engaging with Shakespeare call for reconsideration of the means by which we read cultures, identity, and types of performance. This seminar invites papers that attend to a specific production, festival, genre, or style of performance, from amateur to celebrity, whether multilingual or in translation, musical adaptations as well as original practices. Especially welcome is work on “diversity” more broadly. What methodologies hold the most promise to diversify Shakespeare studies today?
This seminar aims to recover traces of performance practices in early modern texts, from festival books to medical treatises. Diverse approaches are welcome, from aesthetics and semiotics to cognition and cultural studies. How can textual study account for performances outside the theater—the countless embodied, everyday acts that transmit social knowledge? Does the early modern era offer a distinct set of practices that might challenge or invigorate broader theories of performance?
How did literary, cartographic, and mechanical technologies alter the means by which landscapes and seascapes, roads and rivers, counties and colonies were measured, codified, crossed, “practiced” (de Certeau), and “produced” (Lefebvre) in early modern England? This seminar welcomes work on transportation, surveying manuals, estate plans, maps, globes, portolans, astrolabes, chronometers, sextants, and almanac calendars, as well as on theatrical devices and machinery and the use of stage space.
14. Early Modern Trans*Historicity
This seminar explores the intersections between trans* studies and early modern studies, with special attention to trans*historicity and trans*temporality. Papers might analyze representations of gender-variant bodies, characters, cultural types, or historical figures; address the use of contemporary terms and concepts for early modern phenomena; or attend to the methodological and theoretical alliances and/or tensions between early modern feminist, queer, and trans* studies.
This seminar invites papers exploring the drama of John Fletcher. Participants might consider: particularly Fletcherian themes or concerns; collaborations with Beaumont, Massinger, Shakespeare, others; Fletcher’s role in the emergence of tragicomedy; his position succeeding Shakespeare as King’s Men’s playwright; Fletcher’s dramatic responses to plays of his contemporaries; his influence on his contemporaries or on the drama of the next several decades; performing, editing, or teaching Fletcher.
This seminar examines early modern history plays not widely considered in the critical conversation, including those authored by lesser-known talents and written or performed after the genre’s vogue had passed. What do they reveal about the literary or political landscape, the material culture of theater, the printing house? How do they illuminate our sense of the genre? What possibilities do they present for performance or teaching? Papers with new insights on more prominent history plays are also welcome.
This seminar addresses productions of Othello created outside Anglophonia: stage, operatic, cinematic, and televisual performance; translations, adaptations, and appropriations; Othello’s reception in non-Anglophone contexts; international theatrical tours and intercultural performances; Othello in global digital culture. How do local interventions contribute to Othello’s privileged place in the “global Shakespeare” canon? What continuities and contrasts can be found? What national and transnational concerns?
18. Hamlet: Shifting Perspectives
The complex history of the reception of Hamlet on stage and on the page, and across different cultures and art forms, shows the extent to which engagement with this play has shaped Shakespeare studies and its neighboring disciplines. This seminar therefore invites contributions from across different fields of enquiry— text, performance, critical and historicist approaches, other media—with a specific focus on how current work on Hamlet is changing established critical and creative paradigms.
What happens when we reorient our study of “ecologies” from sweeping landscapes (terrestrial or oceanic) to the more localized material environment of the home? This seminar maintains an ecological emphasis on material bodies and objects but includes how physical environments, living and non-living, inform our understanding of exchange in and around the home in early modern texts. Papers are welcome on symbolic or material forms of exchange and diverse definitions of the “home” or “household.”
This seminar explores connections between early modern law and poetics in Shakespeare. How do the aesthetic experiences of literature relate to law? Papers might examine how the arrangement of a line, the shape of a scene, or the structure of an act stage legal practices (pleading, judgment), concepts (equity, citizenship, sovereignty), and feelings (guilt, shame, pity). Papers that theorize the relationship between historicism and formalism, book history, rhetoric, and performance are welcome.
This seminar aims to develop models and techniques for thinking about lost plays and other lost early modern works. Papers might consider texts from the Lost Plays Database and lost pamphlets from the Stationers’ Register; changing ideas of how playscripts relate to plays; the place of lost texts in genealogies and corpora of surviving texts; applications of our understanding of plays as collaborative and provisional to non- dramatic works; the role of digital and non-digital resources.
This seminar juxtaposes Renaissance scenes of lyric reading with theories of reading that might help us interpret them. What do early modern poems expect of their readers, and what do those readers expect of their poems? How might these scenes of reading help us reconsider the changing status of reading and readers in contemporary criticism? What room is there in our theories for readerly misprision? Discussion will begin with a bibliography of case studies and theoretical models.
23. John Marston: New Directions
Marston is one of the most problematic and neglected of Shakespeare’s contemporaries; even the boundaries of his canon are uncertain. This seminar invites papers on any aspect of his works: the attribution and authorship of his plays; the collaborative writing; the plays in performance, especially with the boys’ troupes; his relations with other writers, especially Shakespeare; intellectual influences and friendship groups; his significance for the modern reader and playgoer.
This seminar considers the relationship between materiality and digital presence. What can a material approach to digital tools teach us? What can be gained by exploring the physical attributes of a textual object through a digital interface? What happens when we think of digital facsimiles as objects in their own right, rather than as providers of transparent access to texts? How do the material conditions of creating a digital project shape its use?
This seminar focuses on “meta-ness” in the poetry and drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. How and why did early modern authors consistently, even compulsively, introduce elements of self-reflexivity into their works? Possible topics include poems about poetry; plays within plays; prologues and epilogues; depictions of poets, playwrights, actors, and/or audiences; references to the playing space; invocations of manuscript and/or print culture; paratextuality; staging the book.
This seminar invites participants to explore the urban engagements of plays and performances with the aim of rethinking the “theater of a city” with Shakespeare at the center. How might Shakespeare’s plays and performances have given meaning to the expanding metropolis? Or have provided a self-reflexive medium through which city residents participated in new modes of urban experience and belonging? Theoretical, historical, text-based, and performance-based approaches are welcome.
Shakespeare’s plays explore, test, and modify ideas about mystery, from practical craft mystery, through the arcana imperii, to the unknowable mysteries of the divine. This seminar invites contributions that evaluate early modern dramatists’ engagement with mystery, including invisibility, secrecy, stage effects, magic, the supernatural, craft knowledge, religion. How do dramatists create mystery? Are certain literary forms particularly amenable to the mysterious? When is mystery subjected to satire?
28. Negative Affects in Shakespeare
Many of the most characteristic Shakespearean affects are negative in valence: hatred, despair, aversion, jealousy, envy, grief, and heartbreak. But what characterizes them as negative? Their outcome? Their objects? These content questions lead to critical questions. Must we repair such negativity? Can we attend to negativity as negativity and allow it to remain useless or harmful? Or must critical attention necessarily transvalue and redeem its objects? How might genre modulate negativity?
How might post-new-historicist scholarship differentiate itself from early “pre-theory” empiricist versions of history? How can we bring contemporary modes of theoretical inquiry to bear on the archival turn? How might materialist and textualist histories be productively entangled? Should we distinguish between history and literature? How do object-criticism, the new economic criticism, and ecocriticism complicate those distinctions? This seminar engages future directions for historicist theory and practice.
Notions of “the economic” appeared in political theory, husbandry manuals, Utopian literature, account books, religious tracts. This seminar invites papers on overlooked aspects of period economic discourse: how were buying, selling, borrowing, lending, and negotiating conceptualized, lived, and represented on the Renaissance stage? Especially welcome are readings of plays that are not typically associated with money, and work that applies later economic theory to early modern texts in fresh ways.
This seminar explores restrictions on and innovations in dramatic production and publication, 1640-1695. With drama banned (1642-1660) and only two London playhouses licensed (1660-1700), performance continued at fairs, inns, and homes, and print publication exploded. Work is welcome on alternative stages and illegal theaters; drolls, ballads, civic pageantry, court performances; touring companies; censorship; performance enacted on the page through paratext, typography, layout; theatrical annotation.
This seminar welcomes papers about the period’s queer ways of “measuring” language. What non-normative dimensions of language do meter and versification invite and uncover? How might queer theory and gender studies allow us to return afresh to “feminine” rhyme, Sapphic verse, the Marlovian line, and other of the period’s metrical kinks? How might book history and media studies allow us to reimagine what counts as verse in the first place, and how is it queered through editing and adaptation?
This seminar examines the intersection of sexuality and theology in Shakespeare’s work. Beyond prohibition and repression, how can religious language and logic challenge normative views of love, gender, marriage, friendship, homoeroticism, and subjectivity? How do Shakespeare’s plays illuminate the contradictions and perversities of religious ideals and institutions? What can Shakespearean texts tell us about the erotic dimension of confessional identity, faith, grace, and spiritual obligation?
The early modern production of races has been located in the historical contexts of the Atlantic slave trade, racial capitalism, legal racism, and the Linnaean revolution in natural science. This seminar asks whether these supposedly nonperformative realms share materials and practices with text, theater, and other forms of culture. Papers are welcome on how attention to early modern performance—in its broadest sense— shifts the geography, temporality, and social history of race.
This seminar investigates the ways that early modern English texts and culture imagine regulating feminine bodies through virtuous exempla, cautionary tales, education and conduct books, medical diagnosis and advice, literary plots or tropes, fashion, or physical disciplines such as needlework, dance, or music lessons. How are prescriptive limitations and rebellious evasions mutually constitutive? How can we understand failed self-regulation? Diverse methodologies, theories, and texts are welcome.
Fictional and scholarly representations of the Renaissance respond and contribute to contemporary political and aesthetic debates, raising crucial questions about how the past has been fashioned and how it is appropriated. This seminar invites papers that examine modern representations of or allusions to the Renaissance, its works, or its people. Especially welcome is work on productions that produce the Renaissance in untraditional ways and on the academic and cultural significance of such re- imaginings.
This seminar seeks to shed light on the vital role of Shakespeare in Black America. It aims to recover the understudied history of performance beyond the professional stage in racially marked spaces such as homes, colleges, schools, libraries, reading clubs, churches, concert halls, and amateur theaters. It also welcomes inquiries into the present moment, the transnational reach of Shakespeare and Black politics, and the significance of digital technologies and pedagogies for Black communities.
This seminar examines the role of forged and spurious forms, both literal and metaphorical, in early modern literature, considering counterfeiting as cultural practice, literary motif, and theoretical framework. Papers are welcome on positive and negative concepts of counterfeiting in the time and afterlives of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, including artistic creation or imitation; value and authenticity; theatrical practice; pirated editions; authorship and canon formation; scholarly fabrication.
Shakespearean film scholarship tends to privilege “literary” interpretation over technical attention to the medium. This seminar, inspired by Eisenstein’s Film Form, invites participants to engage directly with cinematographic language. Papers might explore the tensions between the autonomy of the aesthetic prevalent in the new formalism and the more progressive methodology known as “activist formalism.” What new directions for Shakespearean film scholarship might be prompted by a return to form?
As a first step into the new field of Shakespeare geek studies, this seminar accommodates a broad range of critical approaches. Papers might consider such topics as the apparent geekiness of academia; Shakespeare’s links to other areas of geek culture (in fantasy and sci-fi fandom, for instance); the historical roots of geek culture; and the possibility that Shakespeare has, in some ways, always been associated with elements we might see as geeky: the arcane, the fantastic, or the marginal.
Amid renewed interest in incorporating the humanities into medical education and practice, Shakespeare is a source for what it means to be “fully human.” How can medical or bioethical issues in Shakespeare open up these issues for contemporary practitioners? How does work in medical humanities help us understand and explore early modern texts? This seminar welcomes work on scholarship, pedagogy, curriculum, institutional connections, community engagement, the role of scholarship in public humanities.
This seminar considers Middleton and Shakespeare as collaborators on Timon of Athens; Shakespeare’s influence on Middleton in terms of plot, characterization, and theme; Middleton’s influence on Shakespeare before and after Timon; and Middleton as possible adapter of Macbeth and Measure for Measure (and, perhaps, other plays). Papers are welcome on the present state of (and debates about) studies in attribution, the Shakespeare and Middleton canons, and new directions for future research.
This seminar invites participants to write about nonhuman creatures and creaturely interactions in Shakespeare’s texts and Shakespeare’s time. Contributions are welcome on a world that saw both humans and animals as creatures; particular creatures; the theological dimension of the creaturely; material objects made from and by creatures; the natural world from a creaturely perspective; classifications of creatures; interactions between and among human and nonhuman creatures in texts.
The 1610 “Orbis Spike,” a dip in global carbon dioxide coinciding with the commingling of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, locates Shakespeare in an epoch of human influence upon geology. What does it mean to experience Shakespeare in this context? How do his genres express themes associated with anthropocenic existence? How do his plays shape or enable a post-human awareness of this interconnection? How do his eco-aesthetics react to and potentially alter our uncertain geopolitical scene?
What is the status of memory as a way of understanding the performance of Shakespeare? What is the relationship between performance studies, trauma studies, and cognitive studies? How does technology—from crowdsourcing to distance collaboration to online videos— shape our relationship to performance and its records? This seminar welcomes papers on material culture, theater archives, digital humanities, Shakespeare festivals, anniversary commemorations, reconstructed theaters, original performance practices.
With the diminished sway of New Historicism, scholars have increasingly turned from a synchronic idea of “context” to the broader, stranger chronologies in which literary works take shape. This seminar considers the particular relationship of book history to diachrony, polychronicity, deep time, and anachronism in literary study. What are the implications for our theoretical, literary- critical, periodizing, and digital practices of thinking about books as multi- or trans- historical objects?
This seminar invites papers that examine how overreliance on Shakespeare distorts understanding of early modern drama: how truisms from the Shakespeare industry shape received wisdom; how Shakespeare’s stature structures thinking about periodization, audience, print and the author function, and relationships between drama and culture; aspects of drama that have been obscured by focus on Shakespeare. Also welcome are reconsiderations of Shakespeare’s work from the perspective of a broader theater culture.
This seminar considers early modern texts in relation to both early modern and present-day migrations: the impact of Protestant refugees and provincial migrants arriving in Renaissance London; historical contexts for the Syrian refugee crisis and Mexican / U.S. border crossings; the cultural, economic, or environmental impacts of human migrations; onstage use of foreign languages; how recent performances and translations provide new contexts for thinking about Shakespeare, migration, and exile.
This seminar examines cross-fertilizations between sixteenth-century drama and prose in the work of Baldwin, Nashe, Lyly, Greene, others. The aim is to enrich our understanding of the soundscapes of Renaissance literary culture. Potential topics include friendship and collaboration; allusion and adaptation; borrowing; literary quarrels on and off the stage; satire and pastiche; marketing; print and performance. Also welcome are contributions that open up any aspect of the orality and literacy debate.
How did Shakespeare represent the earth? This seminar encourages dialogue between approaches to the early modern globe that have focused on geography, race, empire, and economy, and those that have adopted an ecological and materialist attention to the earth and oceans. What kinds of histories are stored in land, rock, and water? What epistemic possibilities circulate in drama’s terrestrial lexicon? How might a focus on the earth transform a “global” understanding of the Renaissance?
This seminar welcomes papers that challenge or deepen the commonplace that Shakespeare’s plays explore an epistemological skepticism. Do neo- Aristotelian, Thomistic, or emerging scientific epistemologies illuminate the plays? Do the Academic skeptics or early modern philosophers (Bacon, Descartes) add to our understanding of Shakespeare? Is drama particularly suited to skepticism or liable to be misinterpreted as skeptical? What new approaches can be brought to bear on Shakespeare and Montaigne/Pyrrhonism?
This seminar focuses on Shakespeare performance between the Restoration and the twentieth century, with contributions welcome from scholars (Shakespeareans, theater historians, musicologists) and practitioners (directors, actors, musicians, dancers). Papers might problematize binary reductions of Shakespeare to an artist either remotely past or perpetually present; engage directly with performance; or reflect upon research-led creative practice by means of multimedia documentation or performances.
How can knowledge of the material practices of time-reckoning in the early modern period illuminate the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries? Topics might include studies of clocks, hourglasses, almanacs, sundials, and astrolabes; the time-reckoning attributes of the church, court, or theater; cultural beliefs and controversies—medical, scientific, political—that informed the calendar; or the time-measuring functions of English textual forms, such as diaries, metrical poetry, or plays.
The field of early modern reading history has expanded rapidly in its texts, methods, and technologies. This seminar welcomes both traditional work on print or manuscript marginalia and new digital approaches to reading history. Papers might address reading histories and the reception of Shakespeare; representations of reading; methodological studies of marginalia as digital objects and the copy census as methodology; the future of access to commonplace books, miscellanies, and annotated book-copies.
55. Typography and the Material Text
This seminar invites papers considering the silent commotion of typography as it generates the early modern Shakespearean playtext. What does a close looking practice, uniting bibliography with close reading, look like? Topics might include orthography; punctuation; white space; non-alphabetic and decorative features; metrical line printing; relationships between various forms of print and manuscript, ink and paper; new technologies for reading; contemporary editions and media; textual variants; cruxes.
What are the consequences of early modern women’s theatricality for the dramatic canon, early modern dramaturgy or performance practices, present-day Shakespearean performance, or theater history? Papers might explore the evidence base for female performance; theoretical or methodological approaches to performance, transnationality, feminism, and gender; connections to Continental practice. Fresh interpretations of Shakespeare plays in light of women’s theatricality (broadly defined) are also welcome.
57. Adapting Shakespeare: Contemporary Theory and Practice
This workshop seeks to attract practitioners, scholars, dramaturgs, playwrights (or any combination of those identities) for a collaborative exploration of the theory and practice of adapting Shakespeare for live performance in the twenty-first century. Participants will consider the ways in which “adaptive traits”—microscopic, medium-sized, and radical interventions—may allow a Shakespearean text to flourish in new habitats, vis-à-vis particular audiences, locations, and/or historical moments.
58. Alternatives to the Term Paper
This pedagogically oriented workshop focuses on three types of classroom assignment that reflect methodologies central to the study of early modern drama: editing, performance, and contextualization through hypertext. Emphasizing the contingency and instability of drama, these approaches encourage students to engage with Shakespeare actively and with authority. Participants will build a website to develop a practical and theoretical bibliography, share successful assignments, and develop new ones.
59. Audience Engagement on the Shakespearean Stage
Audience interplay is a key element of Shakespearean performance today and a growing historical and theoretical topic for scholars. This hands-on workshop examines the nature and effects of such interplay, articulating and testing assumptions about early modern stages and audiences that inform such practices. Participants will explore possibilities for audience address in particular scenes, learn about varieties of engagement, and consider their significance for early modern actors and audiences.
60. A Digital Textbook for DH Shakespeare
Participants in this workshop will collaborate on a free, online, open-access textbook for use by those looking to make digital methods a central focus of Shakespeare and early modern literature courses. Work might include reviewing related textbooks; brainstorming about the structure, content, and aesthetic features of this textbook; drafting content for chapters; developing reading and writing assignments. The workshop welcomes those who are comfortable with digital tools and those who are new to DH.
61. Playwrights in Parts
This workshop extends research into actors’ parts in Shakespeare’s plays to the rest of early modern drama. Were playwrights with acting experience better able to manipulate parts and cues? Are there qualities of parts playing that Shakespeare did not use? Or that belong to particular playwrights or companies? Participants will be encouraged to re- divide extant plays into their parts and to test out their findings in workshop rehearsals, generating and reflecting on discoveries through practice.
62. Shakespeare by the Numbers
This workshop introduces scholars to a range of Shakespearean datasets, to techniques and best practices for interpreting data, and to digital tools to facilitate interpretation. Participants will evaluate these datasets’ suitability for answering particular kinds of research questions and write brief position papers on future research possibilities, what kinds of data ought to be collected, and ideal visualization tools. Also welcome are scholars with existing projects and datasets.
44th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana
Shakespeare’s plays are often complicated by what they lack. Key characters go suddenly missing from scenes, absent characters exert influence over present ones, plots turn because of mislaid or immaterial objects, and cuts to scripts help shape contemporary performances. This seminar invites papers that examine how absences—of characters, objects, text, etc.—enrich, extend, or undercut the effects of what is present. Participants might explore questions related to early modern dramaturgy, contemporary representation and reception, text and genre, agency and materiality, and more.
While Shakespeare has often been used to support particular political or cultural beliefs, his plays have also been used as a means of bridging cultural divides. This seminar invites scholars to examine those moments in which Shakespeare becomes an ambassador. Possibilities include looking at intercultural performances that bring together actors from more than one nation, examining the use of Shakespearean texts or performances to bridge cultural divides in the multicultural classroom, or exploring other moments in which Shakespearean diplomacy decreases the distance between cultures.
This interactive workshop explores the significance of dance in Shakespeare’s plays from three perspectives, beginning with pre-conference reading on dance in early modern English culture and its significance in the text of one or two exemplary plays. With both teaching and research in mind, participants are invited to suggest clips of dance scenes in notable modern productions for review prior to and discussion during the workshop. Finally, participants will learn some Renaissance dance steps under the tutelage of Dibble and Winerock.
Arden has exploded into prominence as a result of new claims that Shakespeare wrote part of it—or did not. England’s first (and best?) domestic tragedy, and the first English play dominated by a woman character, has seen recent modern-dress productions in Stratford, Washington D.C., and Indianapolis. How does performance illuminate it? Is the play misogynist? How does it relate to the 1580s? To Holinshed? The evolution of history plays? Domestic violence? Unemployed military veterans? The rise of Protestant capitalism? Black comedy? Who wrote it?
This seminar explores the intersection of native English and continental visual arts traditions and Shakespearean-era drama. How are features or techniques of the visual arts—natural landscapes, por- traiture, chiaroscuro/sfumato, perspec- tive, decorative/material objects, other depicted elements, etc.—embedded or “painted” into early modern playtexts or stagecraft? Alternatively, how do Renais- sance artworks represent the world of the theater, perhaps in actors’ or individuals’ portraits or other illustrations? Rather than focusing on later periods’ representations of Shakespearean subjects, this seminar considers the contemporary interrela- tionship between Renaissance art and drama.
Since the 1980s, scholars have recognized that the final decades of London commercial theater are poorly understood. The first decades of the playhouses, however, have not received similarly comprehensive revision: it is not only Shakespeare for whom the 1580s are lost years. This seminar explores the place of the early playhouses in London’s wider literary, cultural, and commercial landscape, seeking to connect theater history to other disciplinary forms, such as performance studies, book history, and the fields of poetry and prose fiction.
Four hundred years after the publication of Jonson’s monumental first folio, this seminar explores the Jonsonian use of, and engagement with, spatiality. Contributions may focus on any relevant aspect of the topic, including the spaces of the theater, the printed page, or manuscript. Jonson’s interest in architecture, emblems, and site-specific or itinerant performance, as well as his handling of social or symbolic space, might also feature in participants’ work. Is there a spatial practice distinctive to Jonsonian writing that helps to make it precisely Jonsonian?
The commercial enterprises of performing plays and running early modern playhouses were hedged around by negotiations with the Master of Revels, civic authorities, and patrons. Within the theatrical profession, obligations and fellowship colored contractual relationships. That players’ activities were preparatory “to do his majesty service in their quality” was not just a convenient fiction. This seminar’s central question asks how service, quality, profit, and reputation fed one another.
How was Shakespeare imagined in the Caroline period? What were the responses to his work? Who were the readers of his posthumous printed editions, and how did they interpret him? How did Shakespeare influence Caroline theatrical practice and, conversely, how did Caroline theater, and the attacks against it, affect his reputation? Most broadly, how did Shakespeare influence writing of all kinds from 1625 to 1649? This seminar invites participants in and dialogue between the fields of book history, theater history, genre studies, and reception history.
The goal of this seminar is to help its participants (and potentially others) reckon with the contribution of Stanley Cavell to Shakespeare studies. The aim is not praise but understanding and assessment. Papers can be appreciative as well as critical so long as they are analytical. They can consider readings of or particular claims about individual plays, or his methodology, or the ways in which his work on Shakespeare is affected by his other work: his “straight” philosophical work; his work on film; etc.
Seminar papers can be either close readings of individual plays or theoretical arguments about the methodologies of close reading, the reasons close readings have fallen out of favor, and/or arguments for their continuing value.
In 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death will be celebrated worldwide. This global commemorative enthusiasm leads us to interrogate the phenomenon of “commemorative Shakespeare” and its socio-political ramifications. This seminar invites examinations of Shakespearean festivities from Garrick’s Jubilee to the present, reflecting on motivations for commemorating Shakespeare. How do commemorative events enable social groups to construct collective identities in opposition to or in collaboration with other groups? How does commemoration generate cultural, social, or monetary capital? What makes Shakespeare a privileged site of commemorative activity?
This seminar asks how the senses interacted with one another in early modern performance, literature, and culture. How might attention to more than one sense at a time yield new insights into early modern subjects as readers, playgoers, performers, or writers? Papers may explore subjects’ multi-sensory responses to literature or performance; how literary and other writings convey entangled or overlapping sensory experiences; the playhouse environment; material text approaches to the experience of books and manuscripts; and synesthesia in early modern texts, performances, and contexts.
This seminar invites papers that engage the topic of early modern women and travel from theoretical, critical, archival, and pedagogical perspectives. How do scholars understand “travel writing” in terms of early modern women’s movements locally and globally? How do the imaginative works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries promote and undermine women’s travel? What possibilities for teaching early modern women’s travels emerge from an assessment of documentary, literary, and other sources? What sorts of critical editions, anthologies, or electronic databases can emerge out of these discussions?
This seminar explores the intimate and local moments after environmental crisis. Participants are encouraged to look past vulnerability and consider individual and communal resilience in the aftermath of the storms, plagues, blights, fires, droughts, floods, and wars that affected early modern populations. In considering how these populations moved on in the wake of devastation, the seminar asks participants to think about the ways humans persist and how the human and nonhuman environment is indelibly marked by the experience of ecological calamity.
Over the last decade, an editorial/ commentary practice to facilitate performance and experiential exploration (rather than silent study) of Shakespeare’s texts has been increasingly theorized, but as yet there has been little practical application. This hands-on workshop, designed for both actors and editors, introduces and explores emerging proposals about editing for practitioners. Prior to the conference, participants will edit and/ or annotate one Shakespearean scene, modeling possible formats, types of annotation, or editorial principles. Conference time is given over to on-our- feet readings of resultant scripts.
This seminar aims to place form at the center of discussions of early modern literature and science. How do writers deploy scientific notions of form in imaginative works? How do literary forms—from the macro-level of genres to the micro-level of figures of speech—shape practices in natural philosophy? Papers might focus on: reflections on form in Shakespeare and his contemporaries; explorations of the concept of form in natural philosophy; and interactions of “new formalism” with science studies, object criticism, and forms of “new materialisms.”
18. Intention in Early Modern Literature
How can scholars talk rigorously and precisely about intention in early modern literature? How do they detect an author’s purpose? What critical commitments subtend such an approach? Do playwrights have a relationship to intention different from poets or prose writers? What of non-authorial agents (compositors, copyists, performers)? Do “things” have intentions? Do genres, forms, and even texts? How were notions of deliberation and purposiveness understood by early modern writers themselves?
This seminar investigates the performative male body as a source of meaning and an adaptive site in its own right. In what ways do celebrity, queer, sexualized, wounded, militarized, aging males signify? How does race or nationality cut across the politics of bodily branding? When does a concentration on male body plays affect conceptions of the canon? Where does a focus on masculinity leave women? Papers on male bodies, dead or alive, are invited.
When is a bastard kin and when not? Servants? Poor cousins? Such figures on the fringe of family structures are a key locus for analyzing the working of contested definitions of family in early modern culture and literature. This seminar invites papers (drawing on plays, poetry, conduct manuals, pamphlets, sermons, and more) investigating how fringe members of families position themselves to exploit family ties, how strategies differ between different kinds—servants and tutors, widows and stepmothers—of kin, and how affective dynamics inflect those negotiations.
Merchant of Venice scholarship addresses a wide range of topics: religion, antisemitism, homosociality, race, usury, law, and animals. In addition to the stage, it has been adapted in film, as an opera, and in graphic novels. 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the 500th anniversary of the establishment of the Venetian ghetto. This seminar invites participants to consider broadly new perspectives from which
to view the text, performances, and adaptations of the play.
This seminar considers two kinds of objects: novel or new objects, and objects that travel or are mobile. Both kinds invite speculation about foreignness, familiarity, desire, and transformation. Questions for exploration include: What networks are formed or destroyed by objects as they move through time and space? How do objects deteriorate, become fixed, lost, recovered, refurbished, and what does that tell us about the objects (and, perhaps, the hands through which they have passed)? What is the relationship between current and early modern object theories?
Most specialists in Shakespeare teach at small liberal arts colleges, regional comprehensive universities, community colleges, or off the tenure track entirely. This seminar considers the place of these Shakespeare scholars working outside of the major research university environment. Papers might consider how institutional structures inform pedagogical decisions, how Shakespeare fits into the general education curriculum, the way teaching generalist courses affects a Shakespeare/early modernist research agenda, or what “part-time” Shakespeareans contribute to our understanding of Shakespeare.
This seminar considers the ways that performance studies scholarship might open up new questions and methodologies for the analysis of Shakespearean performance. Participants will read short excerpts from key performance studies theorists on issues currently being debated in the field, such as liveness, ephemerality, reenactment, and site-specificity (among other things) and use these ideas to frame their exploration of particular plays; issues in theater history; or theatrical and/or extra- or para-theatrical performances, including dance, hospitality, festivity, juggling, habits of everyday life, etc.
This seminar examines how disability intersected with performance in early modern England. How were bodily and cognitive disabilities performed in the early modern English theater? How was disability enacted and embodied in other performance venues—by fools and dwarfs at court, in displays of “deformity” at fairs, in ballads about “monsters,” and in poems about the madness of love? How can the work of disabled actors in recent performances of early modern drama inform scholarship?
This seminar explores the strategies used by early modern drama to negotiate the theatrical challenges of representing forms and processes of knowing. How are specific theatrical devices, properties, scenic structures, and spaces deployed to probe the affective, cognitive, and ethical aspects of knowledge? How do dramatic texts forge a theatrical “language” for giving such elusive and mobile functions a theatrical habitation and a name? Reflections on epistemic dialogues with non-dramatic modes, and how the global Shakespearean stage translates culturally specific knowledge transactions, are also welcome.
How is the aesthetic dimension related to an expanded conception of political subjectivities and communities during the early modern moment? To a revised understanding of affect and the human sensorium? How is the artwork related to issues of autonomy and origination and thus to the problem of political foundations? What is the relation between the aesthetic and history or historicization? The seminar explores literary and visual material by way of Renaissance conceptions of the work as well as through current aesthetic theory.
This seminar aims to bring together queer theory with childhood studies. To what extent might the early modern child be seen as queer, and what role did drama play in creating “the child” as a social category that intersects with constructions of gender, sexuality, race, and class? When do children reinforce early modern notions of such differences, and when do they collapse them? Potential topics include children and queer temporalities, transgender theory and boy actresses, children as genderqueer, and the homoerotics of early modern childhood.
The “race and…” mode of inquiry—race and gender, race and religion, race and geography, for example—suggests that scholars primarily understand early modern racial formation as intersecting with other factors that help define kinship and community. This seminar asks participants to consider new or underexplored intersections for studying race in the early modern period or to introduce new models for thinking about often-considered intersections. Participants might also consider places of non-intersection where race seems to resist being put in conversation with other factors.
This seminar aims to synthesize the latest advances in literary criticism and theater history, including digital resources, to re-evaluate the plays and practices of the Admiral’s Men and their successor companies, the Prince’s and Palsgrave’s Men. To what extent did this playing company have a distinctive repertory, audience, and corporate identity? What methodologies and resources are most productive when approaching its plays? How is its relationship to Shakespeare’s company best understood, and how can a study of the Admiral’s Men illuminate our understanding of Shakespeare?
31. Re-Authoring Shakespeare in Contemporary Performance, Translation, and Adaptation
This seminar examines contemporary productions, translations, and theatrical adaptations of Shakespeare and assertions of authorship made by or about them. Contributors may wish to explore: productions in which the authorial status of either Shakespeare or the theater-makers involved has been significantly contested; claims to authorship made either implicitly or explicitly by methodologies for the direction, translation, or adaptation of plays; emerging debates over the authorial status of theater-makers such as directors, designers, and actors; and performances which seek to share authorship with their audiences.
32. Reality Shakespeare
Reality Shakespeare is aesthetically and generically diverse. It lays claim to a discourse of “the real” about content, makers and audiences, and/ or processes. In broadcast television and radio, it includes the game show, game-doc, docu-soap, pop-doc, make-over, and social experiment, e.g. with teachers and actors. Elsewhere, it encompasses “grassroots” audio-visual content, films, biographies, newspaper articles, academic writing, and hip hop. Seminarians may explore reality Shakespeare’s reception globally by critics and Shakespeareans; how it may be understand through work on quotation, appropriation, authenticity, and evidence; or related topics.
This seminar seeks new approaches to earlier generations of Shakespeare films (pre-Branagh), which may include perspectives on the silent era/early talkies, advantages of black and white or color storytelling, film marketing, Shakespeare as Auteur subject, studio shorts and screen tests, script revisions, and supplementations and corrections to extant film scholarship. Comparisons of pre-1989 and recent films might consider casting, play choice, screenplay text analysis, restricted and permissive use of nudity, violence, and language. Other new approaches are most welcome.
This seminar studies the role language plays in religious experience in Shakespeare and post-Reformation culture and reflects on the methodological questions germane to such study. How does religious language mean, and what does it do? What are its forms? What skills do scholars need to read religious language? How can theology, grammar, rhetoric, and logic help us? Which later theories of language seem most relevant? Both focused readings and broad considerations of these questions are welcome.
This seminar invites participants to continue in the path of recent scholarship on Ovid in the Renaissance but to branch out into new territory by exploring representations of Ovid’s poetry on the early modern stage. Papers may address the ways in which early modern playwrights and companies appropriated Ovidian subject matters, perspectives, genres, or poetic methods in their dramaturgy, modes of representation, or theatrical practices; the role of English translations in staging Ovid; or the affective impact of Ovidian-inspired plays on early modern audiences and/or culture.
Scholarship on early modern drama privileges first performances and publications, but this seminar explores the ways in which playwrights, acting companies, and stationers renewed plays in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, inviting papers on reprints, revivals, and/or the relationship between them. How do scholars know when a play is revived? How do printed and theatrical paratexts represent new publications and performances? Do some reprints and revivals coincide? How do revivals complicate ideas of repertory? How might the cultural and social climate of later performances/ publications have affected audiences/ readers?
Can scholarship expand upon recent attempts to read epyllia by Shakespeare and others in light of shifting definitions of masculinity, nationhood, and the nature of social distinction? What do these not-so-minor poems reveal about the institutions of rhetorical training— grammar schools, universities, Inns of Court—that made them possible? What kinds of cultural and poetic critique emerge if they are studied as a poetic conversation? As engagements with the commercial stage, the law, or new forms of trade? Theoretical, archival, and interpretive approaches are welcome.
This seminar invites papers on all forms of ritual in Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Topics may include religious ceremonies, spectacles of punishment, banquets, royal progresses, carnivals, and commemorations. How is ritual represented in serious and parodic registers? Do ritual practices differ according to sacred and secular uses? How does ritual connect religious practice to language and literary form? In what ways do rituals “do things with words”? And how has Shakespeare himself become the subject of ritual practice since the seventeenth century?
What do site, space, and design bring to Shakespeare? How does Shakespeare offer extended possibilities in scenography and mise-en-scène? This seminar is for scholars and practitioners whose interests lie in Shakespeare and the visual, in performance practice and theory, and in the interface between textual and performance analysis. Participants may consider various performance sites and scenic environments in which Shakespeare has been staged, explore theoretical models for understanding such spaces, and share accounts of the relationships between particular settings and the Shakespeare texts they host.
Are there differences between elite and low sexualities? Where have scholars looked for them, and where should they look? Could renewed focus on sexuality from below change our understanding of categories like elite/base, homo/hetero, and licit/illicit? Prompted by these questions, papers might examine the sexualization of specific figures (vagrants, prostitutes, gypsies, disabled persons); paranoid visions of low sexuality (sodomy, bastardy, promiscuity, incest, sexual violence); low sexuality in non-literary artifacts (crime narratives, legal records, illustrations); and elite invocations of low sexuality (disguise, mimicry, appropriation).
41. Shakespeare and Cognition
This seminar explores ways that cognitive methodologies can illuminate the language and performance of Shakespeare. Cognitive linguistics imagines language as creative and embodied, while current research in the cognitive sciences demonstrates the deeply embedded and distributed nature of cognition. More than just located in a body, thinking is distributed across and interacts with an environment. This seminar focuses on the processes and products of engaging with a Shakespearean environment on page and in performance, using cognitive approaches to theorize how Shakespeare moves an audience.
Does the reception of Shakespeare in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries still shape our understanding of his dramatic and non-dramatic contemporaries? How were his contemporaries read, reimagined, and received, in various media and in various contexts, across the two centuries? What have scholars gained or lost in their perception of early modern writing by approaching it through Shakespeare? Both theoretical and historical contributions as well as different national and transnational perspectives are welcome.
The collected works of Shakespeare and Montaigne serve perhaps better than any other body of writing to illustrate what could be thought, imagined, and felt in early modern Europe. How is our study of Shakespeare enhanced by familiarity with Montaigne—or vice versa? How and why might scholars teach or write about these authors in close juxtaposition? Jointly considered, how can their works deepen our understanding of the cultural worlds these men inhabited and the verbal worlds they have left us?
44. Shakespeare and Narrative (Theory)
This seminar invites essays that consider storytelling as intrinsic to the commercial, critical, and cultural success of Shakespeare’s plays as well as the long-term polity of his art. Papers might focus on stories produced and circulated within the plays or their various re-appropriations; or they might rethink theoretical accounts merging theater, narration, and cultural production in an effort to reappraise Shakespeare’s growing iconicity throughout early modernity and beyond. Participants are also invited to consider stories of and about Shakespeare produced through critical engagements with the man and his work.
From the depiction of angry mobs (e.g., in Coriolanus) to the provocation of theatrical unrest (e.g., the 1849 Astor Place Riot), this seminar explores the multiple connections between Shakespeare and riot across time and space. Papers might consider how early modern dramatists staged riot, instances of social unrest in response to performances of Shakespeare, and how Shakespeare and his works function as sites of disorder in the theater and the media. Our aim is to develop critical methodologies for the study of theatrical disorder.
Our growing sense of the early modern as a noisy polyglot space encourages us to think about dictionaries, not only as Shakespeare might have used them but as foundational texts we would later come to call “reference works.” This seminar invites papers on dictionary making, dictionary reading, the question of Shakespeare’s “vocabulary,” and related subjects. Participants are encouraged to look beyond a reading of a particular word to think more broadly about the role of dictionaries in bridging the gap between Shakespeare’s world and ours.
What might Shakespeare and his contemporaries contribute to multi- disciplinary conversations about sustainability? Do English Renaissance texts and institutions model “sustainable practices”? Do they resist such practices, imagine them differently, or figure their failure? Papers are welcome on such topics as catastrophe, climate change, debt and gift economies, excess and festival, husbandry, resource depletion and extraction, resilience, risk management, scarcity, sufficiency, and yields.
Digitization projects have made the documentary evidence that witnesses Shakespeare’s life widely available, but it now circulates free of its archival contexts. Pre-conference readings will allow participants to understand the early modern administrative processes that led to the rich collection of “Shakespeare documents.” Convened by archival specialists, this workshop models how an understanding of Renaissance bureaucratic structures can help corroborate known sources and lead to new ones. Ultimately, participants can build upon the contextual understanding developed in the workshop to consider what more these documents might reveal.
The Southern U.S. has a historically strong connection to Shakespeare and Shakespeare scholarship, having played a role in the founding of the SAA itself. It also figures in current productions and appropriations. The SAA asked us to lead a seminar on this topic in New Orleans over a decade ago; ten years later, our seminar revisits Shakespeare’s artistic and cultural function in the region broadly defined. Papers are welcome on a wide range of topics, especially on Shakespeare’s historical, critical, institutional, and performative role.
The “religious turn” and the “new materialism” have emerged at roughly the same time, both with a decidedly philosophical focus. This seminar seeks papers that put these two critical strands in dialogue. How do religious debates complicate claims that materialist thought dominated pre-Cartesian understanding? How are philosophical accounts of materiality and immateriality implicated in the religious rhetoric of the period? How else might scholars connect Shakespeare, religion, and philosophy?
Recent scholarship has shown the complexity of race in the early modern period, but what are the best ways to teach this complexity and deepen students’ responses to black lives in the Shakespearean text? What strategies can help students understand the past and recognize privilege, injustice, inequality, and racism in the present? Before the workshop, participants are asked to share essays, lesson plans, digital modules, assignments, lecture outlines, slides, or other pedagogical materials offering local and global perspectives on teaching Shakespeare and race.
This seminar asks how different communities create different ways of knowing in and around Shakespeare. How do shared practices, including the crafts of acting, writing, and teaching, foster communal identities and create particular kinds of knowledge? Papers are welcome that explore a variety of communities, practices, and users, from a theater company to a ship’s crew, an artisanal guild, or a professional society (like the SAA). What benefits and dangers attend the communal generation of bodies of knowledge and the communal validation of associated practices?
This seminar investigates early modern understandings of consciousness, asking how states like swooning, sleeping, wakefulness, and others were depicted in a range of texts. Could these states be conceptualized within a spectrum? How do liminal states of consciousness (half-asleep, sleep-talking, waking dreams, sleep- walking, drug-induced states) become conceptualized, and what might this imply about the relationship between consciousness and embodied personhood? Participants are invited to attend particularly to how these states trouble a variety of written discourses, especially in the act of fiction-making.
This seminar explores how spaces, both terrestrial and maritime, were remembered, reworked, and reimagined on and off the stage or page. Papers that consider how early modern inhabitants, writers, or performers transformed past places and practices through their labor are welcome. How might personal or collective memories alter spaces? How might built or natural spaces transform memories? Subjects of inquiry could include: site specific performance; memory and cognition; sensory geographies; material histories; or built or natural environments, such as cities, households, waterways, coastlines, forests, and ruins.
After the “textual” and “material” turns, textual studies and bibliography remain perceived as marginal, if not subservient, to literary criticism as practiced by most Shakespeare scholars. And yet close reading, arguably the principal tool of the literary critic, is also at the heart of editorial practice and teaching. This seminar welcomes papers investigating the role of pedagogy in bridging the gap between Shakespearean textual studies, bibliography, and literary criticism, from case studies
and histories to explorations of wider theoretical, institutional, and disciplinary concerns.
This seminar focuses on face-to-face encounters in Shakespearean drama and its cultural contexts. Participants are encouraged to consider moments of intimacy, exchange, interpersonal religion, hospitality, dining, conversation, collective storytelling, touching, dance, and confession as activities distinct from transcendence, publicness, and institutions. While forms of interaction may differ, the central concerns of the seminar unite around the question of how interpersonal intimacy, as performative and theatrical, critiques or reinforces histories of secularism and transcendence. How does the face-to-face perform a phenomenology of the human?
In recent years, some archival genres–letters, commonplace books, miscellanies, receipt books, diaries– have enjoyed analysis by literary scholars. But other archives have been neglected–wills, leases, bonds, accounts, inventories, maps, Exchequer records, guild papers, almanacs, etc. This seminar invites work that illuminates these forgotten archives. What can literary analysis tell us about an archival genre’s formal qualities, rhetorics, and social functions? How might interpretations of literary works change when considered alongside these forgotten archives as part an early modern textual world?
58. The Shakespearean Text and Contemporary Performance
Have postmodern perspectives compelled scholars to abandon the idea of an authoritative text that encodes a meaning that performance reproduces? Is there any objective way to gauge the legitimacy of a production’s inventions, its degree of Shakespearean-ness? On what basis do scholars separate the valid from the fraudulent? Is it ever appropriate to asperse a production for enacting a “misreading”? Papers are welcome from anyone currently wrestling with these questions, whether in the form of theoretical disquisitions performances histories, or reviews and analyses.
The surge in recent performances of Titus Andronicus suggests it is popular with current audiences. But is it still dismissed as an immature, gratuitously violent work by Shakespeare and his collaborator George Peele? This seminar is interested in papers that consider why Titus continues to appeal to audiences. What new light can be shed upon its disturbing cruelty? How has our critical vocabulary developed, particularly in light of theater history and contemporary performance? A range of approaches to Titus is welcome.
This seminar explores ways in which Shakespeare in performance can foster ecological consciousness and change. Papers are invited from conceptual, historical, and practical perspectives. They might address questions such as: What theories of performance enable ecocritical productions? How have (or could) Shakespearean tropes of degradation and sustainability been adapted in performance to address today’s environmental problems and solutions? How do different performance genres or media shape ecologically oriented representations and responses? What role can Shakespearean performance play in producing an environmental politics and posthuman ethics?
How do theories of sight shape psychology in early modern literature and culture? What role does vision
play in fear, jealousy, lovesickness, joy, aesthetic pleasure, and trauma, and how do competing theories of vision relate to early modern ideas of contagion, sympathy, and theater- going? This seminar aims to reopen discussions about vision in light of recent approaches to cognition, embodiment, and affect.
How may the unknown be framed, interpreted, and shared? Workshop participants use hands-on techniques to explore how to “frame” texts, objects, or images, including variant ways of editing, digitizing, anthologizing, contextualizing, and curating sources. Beginning with
the test case of Hester Pulter’s newly discovered manuscript, participants may then introduce their own archival “finds.” The aim is to experiment with how new material invites us to rethink assumptions about reading practices, editorial theory, authorship, women’s writing, canonization, digital tools, intellectual paradigms, genre, and/or manuscript studies.
This workshop explores Shakespeare, upward mobility, and the (re)production
of social class, especially as related to college access and success. Through shared readings, participants will engage Working-Class Shakespeares from critical, pedagogical, and even biographical perspectives. They will also query, among other questions, the responsibility in teaching working-class students; the relationship between Shakespeare and cultural capital; the ways class and status in the academy influence criticism and pedagogy; and what Shakespeare’s plays reveal about education’s role in the formation of class, status, and mobility.
43rd Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia
This seminar welcomes a wide variety of approaches to studying animals in the past. The collective goal is to examine the role of historical change in scholarship about animal lives, particularly in Shakespeare studies. How might the diverse range of methodological approaches that now define Shakespeare studies enrich animal culture studies? What narratives emerge from our collective encounters with animals in Shakespearean archives, broadly defined? What might the role of Shakespeare studies be within the broader field of critical animal studies?
This seminar invites essays on animals’ material presences in early modern environments—as objects, food, clothing, furniture; in menageries; as the objects of scientific experiments; as property, elements of landscapes, or the vehicles or objects of trade—to raise questions about the nature of embodiment, the fashioning of “culture,” animal agency and/or the definition of the human, or any other categories, histories, identities, or readings of texts that might be created or disrupted by attending to the matter of animals.
Is the apocalypse a form or the end of forms? Is form always a mediating screen ultimately annihilated by the face-to-face immediacy of revelation? This seminar invites papers that explore Shakespeare’s lyric, narrative, and dramatic depictions of apocalyptic or messianic events and his use of formal innovation (masque elements in the romances or alterations to the sonnet sequence, for example) to connote revelatory change. In sum, it asks whether and how Shakespeare imagines apocalyptic or messianic change as a present possibility inside of literary forms.
This seminar aims to establish a set of working methodologies for scholars writ- ing about Shakespearean appropriation so that they can develop a shared, even if contested, discourse. Papers might consider Shakespearean appropriations within contemporary cultural contexts: in current copyright law, in the so-called creative commons, in academic labor, in classroom and performance spaces. Participants may also consider to what extent it is worth distinguishing among adaptive media in terms of technical specifications and how or whether per- formance can be considered a kind of embodied appropriation.
This seminar proposes to explore Shakespeare in and as broadcasting. Participants might undertake a historically comparative approach exploring the relation of “new” media Shakespeares to “older” broadcast media. They might take a medium- specific approach, and address what qualities newer broadcasting forms (e.g., a YouTube vlog or Tumblr page) bring to Shakespeare studies. Papers also might address media change and its ideological consequences: do newer forms realize a heterogeneous, culturally diverse Bard? Or, do we need to queer the “new” in Shakespeare and new media?
The word “disgust” enters the English language around 1600. Yet, Shakespeare frequently makes use of this aversive affect, and contemporary studies of disgust turn to him for examples of disgusting behaviors and disgusted reactions. This seminar invites papers on any aspect of disgust in Shakespeare’s works. The papers might be informed by topical and analytic studies, those more deeply invested in questions of history and philosophy, theoretical studies focused on the political ramifications of disgust, or those that represent theory’s current “turn to affect.”
This seminar explores the aesthetic principles, practices, and problems that mattered to early modern authors. How do Shakespeare and his contemporaries set or upset the aesthetic standards of the age, and what might have been at stake — culturally, religiously, politically, economically, or philosophically — for early modern writers employing or discussing those standards? Papers might consider how particular literary texts represent beauty (or ugliness), how aesthetic making and aesthetic judgment are thematized in poetry and drama, or how they are schematized in critical prose.
While food studies have afforded ways of comprehending early modern habits of preparing, consuming,
and regulating food for particular eaters, this seminar invites papers that configure the field more broadly. Focusing on food systems—the interactions of constituents involved in food production, processing, transportation, exchange, distribution, consumption, and disposal—papers may attend to the operations and coordinates of edible things beyond the context of eating and digestion, such as the role of food in community formation, customs, hospitality, justice, land use, labor, travel, and trade.
9. Early Modern Prose
This seminar invites papers on works of nonfictional prose that broaden our ideas about the production, circulation, or consumption of the literary in Shakespeare’s England. How and by whom was nonfictional prose read, and how did early moderns categorize these works? What do we learn from taking a careful look at form, style, and format, as well as contemporary reception? How are form and history, aesthetics and materialism mutually informing? A variety of theoretical and methodological approaches are welcome.
What are the institutional, professional, and research challenges of working both in early modern studies and also in such areas as Critical Ethnic Studies, African Diaspora Studies, and Native American / Indigenous Studies? The governing assumptions for each field can be at odds, but this seminar asks whether the space between the presentism of race studies and the push against anachronism in Shakespeare studies can be energizing and productive. Papers are welcome on how the disciplines can learn from each other for scholarship and teaching.
Popular entertainments (such as bear baitings, jigs, musicians) were frequently offered with plays in the early modern playhouses, yet scholarship has tended to keep drama partitioned off from peripheral entertainments. How might we re-imagine early modern plays as being shaped in anticipation of entertainments or as incorporating them in plays themselves? How did drama engage with mayoral pageants and royal progresses as part of the political and cultural landscape? Where might we blur the boundary between drama and paradramatic entertainments on the early modern stage?
This seminar examines negative knowledge and semantic lack in primarily (though not exclusively) Shakespearean contexts, considering its place in play-text and poetry as well as in performance, scholarship, pedagogy, and historical process. Participants should be willing to think creatively across topics including (for example) character miscalculations, representations or enactments of social or cognitive miscues, failures of knowledge, narrative contradictions, the matter of satire, mathematical mistakes, material for jesting culture, publishers’ misprints, errata slips, digital glitches, and our own engagements with error as scholars and teachers.
Papers might address any aspect of the fictional in Shakespeare and his contemporaries. What do we gain by letting fictions into our lives? What can we learn by studying them? Do fictional creatures inhabit this world, a different world, or do they leave unfilled holes in the world? How does fiction relate to history, philosophy, law, imitation, ekphrasis, fantasy, dream, play, artifice, or falsehood? Is theater fictional? Is poetry nonfictional? What about literary criticism? How would early moderns have thought about fiction?
This seminar explores deformity as a foundational concept and animating force for early modern performance and poetics. To declare a line, a character, a text, a shape, a figure, or a play “deformed” is to assert a judgment— aesthetic, moral, social—that appeals to a shared sense of form, but deformation may also mark literature’s capacity to introduce new forms into the world. Papers on deformity—with topics ranging from dramatic phenomenology to literary formalism, from embodiment and prosthetics to rhetoric and style— are welcome.
This seminar explores ways in which the complexity of literary texts can be expressed in computational terms. How can we represent verbal ambiguity, nuances of theme and structure, and intertextuality within quantitative frameworks? Papers may reflect on the processes of quantification or grapple with the computational difficulty presented by the inescapable ambiguity of literary data. Particularly welcome are those that engage contemporary statistical and information theoretic approaches to complexity and ambiguity in data — including probability, bias, entropy, information gain.
16. Gender, Sexuality, and Militarism
Bringing together deep archival work and broader theoretical conversations, this seminar crosses genres, periods, and methodologies to consider the nexus of gender, sexuality, and militarism in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including the civil wars and their immediate aftermath, debates about military theory and practice leading up to the wars, and representations of conflicts from the century’s second half. Possible topics include military subjectivity, the erotics of battle, just-war theory, rape and “civility,” sieges and the “domestic,” torture, states of exception, war martyrs, citizenship.
This seminar welcomes papers exploring any form of early modern writing that engages with space, place, landscape, and environment. Subjects of inquiry might include historical phenomenology and sensory geographies; body and environment; mobility studies; histories of travel or perambulation; regional and provincial literatures; urban studies, including buildings, neighborhoods, or habitats; performance environments; sites of performance, memory, and cognition; cartography or chorography; ecocriticism; oceanic or new blue studies; trans-disciplinary engagements with cognate disciplines.
Do Shakespeare’s later plays seem especially literary? Are there unique literary effects when romance mediates between stage and page, belief and disbelief, national and international identities? If the romance mode imagines gender, sexuality, race, nation, and religion as labile, how effective are their onstage embodiments? Seminar contributors may address plays by Shakespeare, his collaborators, and his competitors; romance elements or inter texts of any early modern play; romance’s involvement with classical and early modern national literatures; romance in contemporary fiction, drama, film, criticism, or translation.
This seminar engages both classical Marxist analyses of Shakespearean plays and Shakespearean analyses
of Marxist theory—that is, papers that discuss Shakespeare from a Marxist perspective and ones that discuss how Shakespeare’s plays influenced Marxism. Participants may use Marxism’s basic critiques to renew critical and cultural theory within Shakespeare studies, to re-invigorate current critical practices, to challenge the current hegemony of finance capital. Also welcome are papers that seek the roots of Marxist theory and practice in the imagery, poetics, and form of Shakespeare’s plays.
Music and memory intersected in numerous ways in early modern drama; even a brief textual reference would have prompted audiences to remember a ballad’s tune and full text. More recent presentations of early modern drama in multiple media also explore relationships between memory and musical performance. This seminar invites scholars from varied disciplinary perspectives to consider how music, performance, and memory weave together in dramas by Shakespeare and his contemporaries as well as in more recent theatrical, cinematic, and televised adaptations of early modern plays.
21. Non-Shakespearean Ontologies
What modes of being can we access in literature by Shakespeare’s contemporaries? This seminar invites papers that historicize early modern ontology in works by Shakespeare’s contemporaries as well as papers that bring non-Shakespearean literary texts into dialogue with theoretical approaches to ontology. How might these texts revise our histories of early modern ontology? How might these ontologies be activated for present purposes? Papers might also address how literature by Shakespeare’s contemporaries can revise our understanding of the modes of being available in Shakespeare’s work.
“Ovid in Early Modern Culture” invites participants to discuss Ovid’s multiple presences and functions in Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Papers on Ovid as source, the development of his genres, his narrative styles, Ovidian history, erotics and bodies, and Ovidianism in non-elite settings are all welcome, as are discussions of how Ovid modeled authorship, informed pedagogy, crossed generic borders, and re-narrated history. While papers on aspects of the Metamorphoses are welcome, the seminar also encourages papers turning on Shakespeare’s (and others’) uses of other Ovidian texts.
Signs of honesty or criminality in Tudor/ Stuart English culture demanded forms of testing defined in and by the theater. Religious, medical, and juridical authorities frequently imagine the performativity of guilt or innocence and position themselves as theatrical audiences, and the act of watching was itself a site of social judgment. Spiritual fact was thus known to be in part a spectacle, a social form of seeing and being seen. This seminar investigates how plays and related genres imagine, taxonomize, and generate these theatricalized reputations.
This seminar explores Renaissance drama’s conventional and unconventional methods with openings—techniques of exposition, strategies for audience engagement, and prefatory devices such as prologues and inductions—in terms of the challenges playwrights faced, charged with constructing plots, and the challenges members of the companies faced, charged with staging them. Participants may employ internal evidence from Shakespeare and English and Continental contemporaries or external evidence from Renaissance theater records and rhetorical handbooks. Also relevant are case studies of openings for twenty- first-century audiences at “original practices” productions.
The past generation has seen a transformation in our knowledge of early modern playing places. In addition to new archival discoveries, archeological digs have provided invaluable information about the shape, size, and other physical characteristics of several outdoor playhouses. Reconstructions— Shakespeare’s Globe and the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London, the Blackfriars playhouse in Staunton, Virginia—have provided insights into how these playing spaces affected performance. This seminar invites papers that explore these or any other aspects of early modern playhouses and other performance spaces.
“Popularity” identified strategies for eliciting the people’s love; it was also a byword for “democracy” and popular politics. What did early moderns gain or lose in courting popular favor? How did “the people”—as political subjects, parishioners, audiences, etc.—assert or define themselves through what they made popular? What constituted popularity in early modern politics, religion, theater, print, genre, style? What can “popularity” teach us about individual and collective identities, publics and public relations, elite or popular politics, puritan preaching, authorship, celebrity, or mass entertainment?
Scholars have only begun to explore the range of positive emotions that were understood, valued, and represented in Renaissance England. This seminar invites literary work on positive affect, happiness, and well-being informed by such fields as the history of medicine, psychology, cognition, the body, philosophy. Can we identify ideologies or institutions that encourage or pervert certain positive affects in Renaissance cultural products? Does early modern happiness bear resemblances to modern or postmodern (or posthuman) happiness that go beyond bodily or evolutionary similarities in human experience?
This seminar invites papers that explore questions of belatedness in early modern drama. Did dramatists writing after 1616 see themselves as inhabiting a “post-Shakespearean” moment? Is the best term for late-Jacobean and Caroline drama “derivative,” and if so can we understand “derivative” as a creative category? Topics for papers and discussion might include: how Elizabethan or “Shakespearean” drama was imagined, as a period or an aesthetic, by later dramatists; the critical and canonical identity of post-Shakespearean dramatists; Shakespeare as an imitative or derivative dramatist.
This seminar re-opens debates about queer Shakespeare by addressing questions of language, grammar, style, sources, and analogues. How does the question of queer style intersect with acts, figures, and objects of desire? What is queer about Shakespeare’s way of crafting ideas? What roles do Shakespeare’s sources play in the queer temporalities of intertextuality? How does queerness function as a mode of stylistic mediation among texts? When does Shakespeare’s style become a refuge from identity and an alternative to politics? Where is queer Shakespeare headed?
With persistent periodicity, the second Earl of Essex re-asserts his historical, literary, cultural, and theoretical significance for the modern era; the past three years alone have seen three scholarly books and four novels on Essex. But are we in danger of losing Essex to the historians? Undoubtedly, Essex is ripe for re-evaluation by the Shakespeare community. This seminar aims to balance the recent burst of Essexian political history with new approaches to reading Essex’s life
and legend within the worlds of literary production and consumption.
This seminar invites contributions— whether theoretical, performative, historical, material, or textual—on Revenger’s Tragedy. Where does it belong in conversations about Middleton’s work, the King’s Men repertory, the medieval morality tradition? How might recent reappraisals of the play affect our reading of the genre of revenge tragedy in particular and Jacobean drama in general? What can we say now about the role of parody, the theme of socio-economic injustice, the supposed absence of interiority in its characters, the place of memory in revenge, the grotesque?
“Re-Mediating Shakespeare” invites scholars interested in a range of methodological and bibliographical approaches to investigate the varied media forms in which “Shakespeare” is made manifest. Putting pressure on the lexicons of descriptive bibliography and media studies, on points of congruence and incongruence, and on the usefulness of each, this seminar explores established and emergent media forms designed to remake and remedy “Shakespeare” (and Renaissance literature). Focused studies as well as broader questions about past and future methodologies, textual forms, and modes of inquiry are welcome.
This seminar aims to stimulate and interrogate new perspectives on Shakespeare’s Roman imagination across his plays and poems. It looks afresh at the work Rome did for Shakespeare, his contemporaries, and his audiences, and the work it has continued to do across their theatrical and critical reception. Participants may review the reinventions of Shakespeare’s Rome in criticism, editions, and performance; rethink changing ideologies of Romanness with respect to recent research on colonialism, sexuality, and rhetoric; consider whether the category of “Roman play” is still useful.
This seminar reflects on Shakespeare’s role within the wide world of advertising, from the earliest uses of Shakespeare’s name to sell a product to the present day. Papers are welcome on all aspects of Shakespeare and advertising: Shakespeare’s own acknowledgments of the opportunism of markets, the use of his name in early printed editions or to elevate an author, literary work, form of entertainment, or advertising campaign; the selling of Shakespeare through film press books, posters, film shorts, and trailers; Shakespeare and tourism; Shakespeare souvenirs.
This seminar seeks to address the interactive, performative power of ballads and plays. At the same time, it extends our understanding of ballads beyond the oral to consider their multiple performative character as text, image, song, and dance. How do plays reflect upon, deploy, or redeploy such a complex “media ecology” of broadside ballads—and vice versa? How do both genres capitalize on their audiences within an early modern market of mass consumerism? The seminar seeks to pursue these and other related questions that arise.
This seminar invites papers that examine any aspect of book design— including but not limited to bindings, illustrations, typefaces/hands, ornaments, symbols, divisions, and mise-en-page—as it relates to the evolving practices of reading and performing early modern drama: dramatic manuscripts, promptbooks and playbooks, commonplace books, collections and anthologies, collector’s and vanity editions, scrapbooks, editions for teaching and private reading, editions of early modern plays in a global context, digital and alternate-media editions. Also welcome are papers that consider the designs of non-dramatic and multi-generic texts.
In the absence of germ theory, what constituted contagion on the Shakespearean stage? This seminar invites papers that consider how the language of contagion shapes dramatic narratives, contemporary understandings of theater-going, the history of emotion, and the perception of natural and preternatural phenomena. What might be transmitted by air, words, images, behavior, astral influence, the passions, the senses, or action at a distance? What is the relationship between different concepts of the body (Galenic, Fracastorian, Paracelsian, Lucretian, “hysterical”) and Shakespeare’s representation of early modern biopolitics?
What are the ethics of historical narrative? Which artifacts should be used as source material? Who is authorized to write history, and who may read it? This seminar examines the ways in which Shakespeare and his contemporaries acknowledge, appropriate from, and contribute to the culture of history writing in Britain. Papers are welcome on early modern archaeology, the artes historiae tradition, temporality in rural and urban spaces, the historian’s cultural status, Baconian “mechanical history,” literary appropriations of chronicles and life- writing, history plays, and related topics.
This seminar invites formal analyses of Shakespeare film adaptations, and especially those that invoke and reassess the “filmic mode,” a useful but elusive term for cinematic equivalents to poetic techniques. The filmic mode is how cinema most insistently claims a distinctive role in Shakespeare adaptation. Interrogating its operation and effects is a means to make “Shakespeare on film” studies more cogent. How do cinematic elements—camera work, soundtrack, editing—compete with, complement, or supplement Shakespeare’s language in ways that disrupt, enact, or remake Shakespearean meanings?
What do stage productions, translations, and adaptations of Shakespeare reveal about Canadian national, regional, or provincial identities? Seminar papers might address English Canadian, French Canadian, First Nations, multicultural, or intercultural responses to Shakespeare; regional approaches from the Atlantic provinces through the Prairies, Rockies, West Coast, or the North; specific productions, translations, or adaptations; allusions to Canada in global Shakespeares or reception on the global stage; or similarities and differences between Canadian and other national Shakespeares. How does Shakespeare articulate the imagined community that is “Canada”?
41. Shakespeare and the Matter of Wit
How is Shakespeare witty? What kind of social and cultural exchanges exist between Shakespeare and other writers around the “matter of wit”—meaning not only the subject of wit but also the context, contest, problem, and perhaps the physical substance of wit? This seminar welcomes essays on any combination of these issues, focusing on Shakespeare and/or his contemporaries, as part of an effort to survey the early modern “matter of wit.” Although the focus is thus historicist, theoretical approaches to wit are also very welcome.
This seminar asks how Shakespeare has been novelized and the novel as a genre “Shakespearized.” How have novelists appropriated Shakespeare’s works and cultural authority? What happens stylistically when drama becomes narration? Have novelistic criteria shaped Shakespeare’s reception? Have Shakespearean invocations helped to canonize the novel? How do different historical periods and national literatures configure this relationship? The goal is to discover what Shakespeare criticism can add to the history and theory of the novel, and what novel studies can contribute to Shakespeare scholarship.
What is the difference between an event and an action? At what point does the sphere of action (Hamlet kills Polonius) yield to the sphere of event (Ophelia’s death)? This seminar invites papers that explore Shakespeare’s fictions through distinctions (often blurry) between intention and accident, freedom and causation, reasons and reflex, human and natural, and so on. Seminar participants might engage classic and recent philosophical problems in describing human behavior: akrasia, moral luck, free agency, self-deception, ethical character, belief and deliberation, pretending, and more.
What do the seasons mean, physically and metaphorically, in the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries? How were seasons imagined in herbals, culinary and medicinal receipt books, diaries and journals, almanacs, and husbandry and garden manuals, and how were they both represented and referred to in literary texts? How did they influence life cycles and food sources? Whether concentrating on physical or metaphorical aspects of the seasons (or both), participants are invited to explore how seasonal time transforms the ecocriticism in the early modern period.
This seminar explores Shakespeare’s creative and speculative engagements with forms of transcendence. How do they gesture beyond predefined religious doctrines and systems of dogma, and in what ways might Shakespeare explore new kinds of religious life? Conversely, how might these engagements represent inventive deployments of earlier religious forms? Can such moments help us reflect anew on concerns in religion and theology, both in Shakespeare’s time and in our own? In what ways do they invite or challenge concepts of materialism, modernity, or secularity?
Shakespeare’s audiences are now constituted through digital, virtual, live-screened, filmed, and tweeted performance events. These take place in outdoor theaters, indoors, black boxes, reconstructions; they are on campuses, at festivals, on tour. Vox pops, comment sites, blogs, and social media make more data available but also make audiences differently responsible and responsive. If the audience is the co-producer of the performance event, how can researchers best account for the practice and significance of spectatorship? This seminar invites old and new methods for studying audience response.
This seminar explores instances of transformation effected by the figuration of horizons. In theatrical terms, this may involve thresholds—entrances, windows, vanishing points—by means of which embodied experiences are intensified by efforts to orient them. Papers may also consider movement, wandering, experimentation, and improvisation when in dialogue with mechanisms that classify, manage, and fix bodies and temporal processes (borders, boundaries). Also relevant are investigations of cultural forms (maps, inventories) or natural formations (skylines, coastal rims, forest verges) that constitute, or dismantle, horizons and expectations.
This seminar explores the cultural and dramatic importance of the concept of parentage. The familial topic unites several social concerns, including lineage, influence, right conduct, and surrogacy. In its extended senses “parentage” also encompasses distinctly literary, political, and scientific matters: conceptions of the family were tied to understandings of authorship, the monarchy, and human anatomy. Seminar participants will attend to parentage in its social, linguistic, and figurative manifestations, and they will examine the capacity of parentage
to challenge or confirm notions of authenticity or kinship.
This seminar invites papers exploring concepts of foreign policy in early modern drama by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Papers might examine the varied ways that early modern authors engage the ethical, domestic, national, or European considerations of foreign affairs, including but not limited to military conflict. Welcoming a wide-range of approaches to the question of how playwrights represent foreign affairs, the seminar is interested in how our understanding of early modern political theories of sovereignty might generate new understandings of the representation of foreign policy.
As we approach the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s death, this seminar considers the sonnets’ preoccupation with time, memory, and commemoration. How do the poems theorize—or historicize—the practice of making monuments? Work is welcome on questions of sequence, series, and narrative; on issues of psychology and affect; on the belatedness of Shakespeare’s sonnet writing; on stylistic borrowings and challenges to Sidney, Spenser, and perhaps Wroth; on the idea of play in Shakespeare’s language and in critical, pedagogical, and poetic responses to the sonnets today.
This seminar invites papers that examine the role of poïesis in Shakespeare studies. What happens when poetry is improvised, remediated, and remade in performance? How are varying forms of Renaissance “poesie,” from sonneteering to painting to playwriting, categorized and redefined in the theater? How were they theorized in the period and now? Attending to the messy “stuff” of literary production as it is worked out onstage, seminar members will think collectively about how musical, gestural, verbal, and other types of making are represented onstage.
This seminar explores Shakespeare’s relationship to drama from the reigns of the early Tudors until the establishment of the playhouses in London in 1576. Papers may discuss models of continuity and change in sixteenth-century theater; issues in the development of genres (e.g., tragedy, comedy, satire, history); boy players and theatrical professionalization; the vice, fool, and clown figures or other character types; Shakespeare’s sense of the past; the contexts of humanism; and revised narratives of the long reformation(s) and secularization in the theater.
Often popular in performance, Two Gentlemen has traditionally been less successful with critics, though recent work suggests productive new directions. This seminar invites new looks at the play’s master-servant relations, boy actors, women and civility, same-sex love and friendship, Ovidianism, pastoral, com media dell’arte, animals, rape cultures, comic form, intertextuality, or other topics. How has the play been reimagined interculturally? How has the play’s prominence in Shakespeare’s body of work varied, and what accounts for its frequent critical dismissal? A wide variety of approaches is welcome.
This seminar invites consideration of the un-Shakespearean within Shakespeare. Shakespeare evokes lingering associations with rich characterization, naturalism, depth psychology, and “timeless,” “universal” sentiments. But there are also unfamiliar Shakespeares to (re) capture, depictions that grate against Shakespearean conventions, startling, boring, alienating, and eluding notice. Papers might investigate: flat, crude, or inconstant speaking parts; stylized emotions; textual chimeras; Shakespeare imitating Marlowe or Jonson; distortion effects in reception or editorial history; attribution controversies; or Shakespeare rewritten by Cibber, Tate, and others.
This seminar on early modern women and their interventions in material textual production invites papers on women printers, publishers, binders, booksellers, scribes, scriveners, artists, calligraphers, readers, editors, collectors, patrons, or other roles in which women (individually, in networks, or in collaboration with men) shaped texts as material objects. Also welcome are theoretical discussions of feminist approaches to bibliography, manuscript studies, and book history. How has the archive obscured the material practices of women in textual creation? What methodologies or resources can make them more visible?
This seminar seeks to complicate understandings of the familial, political, religious, and literary networks of early modern women. This topic highlights challenges for women whose gestures of autonomy flaunted prescriptions about gender roles. Papers may address real or fictional women and explore questions such as: does viewing women as collaborators neglect individual accomplishments? How do discourses of community exclude women? Could alliances stifle creativity or enforce conformity? The goal is to look broadly at how women respond to the support and constraints offered by alliances.
Has the “turn to the body” finally produced “body fatigue,” or are there new kinds of bodily histories to be written? Will scientific discoveries in cognition, neuroscience, and molecular biology create fresh, interdisciplinary ways of conceiving early modern selfhood and its cognitive and biological environments? Can we locate bodily representations in genres other than drama, emotion scripts in playwrights other than Shakespeare, new descriptions of the embodied mind at work? This seminar invites speculative papers on new directions for early modern embodiments and cognitive ecologies.
Taking as its starting point Meisei University’s First Folio MR774, whose seventeenth-century marginalia covering all thirty-six plays are fully transcribed and freely available online, this workshop invites participants to share their experience of working with annotated Shakespearean early editions and digitized collections. The aim is to investigate the reading practices of Shakespeare’s first readers and to relate them to our own reading practices. Short scholarly papers, as well as specific examples of teaching involving First Folio digital archives, are welcome.
59. New Models for Mobilizing Undergraduate Research
With the massive increase of online tools, archives, and digital library collections, undergraduates now have the resources to do original research. How can Shakespeareans and early modernists make space for that to happen in the classroom? The Map of Early Modern London’s pedagogical partnerships provide instructors with materials, students with real-world publication opportunities, and burgeoning digital projects with scholarly content. In this workshop, participants will develop ways of incorporating Research-Based Learning approaches into their teaching and discover new models for engaging students in research.
Are there limits — and alternatives — to what criticism and analysis can teach us and our students about Shakespeare? What if knowing why Shakespeare produced language, characters, dialogue, pacing, plots, adaptations, allusions, entrances, exits, even aporias and cruces as he did depended on learning how (or at least trying) to do it ourselves? Drawing on humanist methods of imitate and early modern “maker’s knowledge traditions,” this workshop aims to create new “Shakespearean” scenes with period-specific diction, grammar, iambic pentameter. Responses may include scholarly notes, readings, performances.
61. Using Data in Shakespeare Studies
How do people engage with Shakespeare’s works on web sites, in publication databases, and through theater attendance and book sales? In this hands-on workshop, participants will be introduced to five large Shakespeare-related data collections. Collectively mining and exploring the datasets, they will analyze reader interactions with digital texts, identify ways in which data can function in research and teaching, and develop practical pathways toward increased use of quantitative analysis among scholars and students. Prior experience with this kind of analysis is helpful but not required.
42nd Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri
This seminar approaches Shakespeare’s afterlife by asking not “Is this Shakespeare?” or “How much of this is Shakespeare?” but “When and how does (not) Shakespeare become Shakespeare, and vice versa?” The title plays with the etymology of “accidental” as that which either is not essential or occurs by chance. Papers might address how afterlives and artifacts of all kinds can retrospectively become “Shakespeare” or, alternatively, lose their affiliation with Shakespeare; investigate theoretically what “inessential” qualities can produce “Shakespeare”; or consider otherwise the is/is not paradox.
This seminar welcomes papers on the alter ego in Renaissance culture. Papers might focus on such figures as the ambassador, avatar, impersonator, surrogate, sidekick, second, foil, rival, friend, soulmate, twin, spouse, or child. Papers might also treat the topic more abstractly, in terms of one’s reputation, credit, image, office, or persona. The objective is to examine what it means to imagine the other as an extension of the self and how the alter ego may raise, answer, or unsettle questions of identity, epistemology, and ethics.
3. Ben Jonson Now
This seminar assesses the current state of Jonson studies with respect to textual editing, dramatic production, and literary interpretation. Papers are invited on any aspect of Jonson’s work and from all theoretical perspectives: reinterpretations of major or neglected plays; Jonson’s role as a multi-media pioneer and theorist of media (in New Inn especially); his literary networks; Jonson editions (including the new Cambridge complete works), the chronology of composition and distinctions of genre; Jonson and disability studies, gender studies, and cultural studies; Jonson in classroom instruction.
This seminar examines forms and processes of knowledge that elude familiar categories and paradigms, but which Shakespeare and his contempo- raries explore: knowing and knowing- ness, doubt and unknowing, epistemic resistance, contingent knowledge, apprehension rather than cool reason’s comprehension. What theatrical and rhetorical devices are used to intervene in the wider conversation about knowl- edge and the means and ends (in both senses) of knowing? Do threshold states (dreaming, awakening, lucid confusion, or uncanny intimations) speak to inter- disciplinary thresholds that are yet to be systematically researched?
This seminar seeks alternatives to traditional binary models of “othering” in English prose and dramatic texts: spectrums of difference and similitude, cosmopolitanism, mimicry and hybridity, nomadism, disability theory, fluidity, conversion, transformation. Papers may also engage the role of the hermeneutics of suspicion as a reading practice and the un/desirability of presentism. Work on any geographic location is welcome, provided that it lends itself to discussions of the usefulness of alternative modes of analysis for early modern representation of continental European and non- European characters and cultures.
This seminar examines adaptations of Shakespeare as registers of alienation from the very figure they celebrate. What differentiates adaptations from other forms of alteration and appropriation? What has worked on stage, what has not? How have playwrights, directors, and performers articulated the need for, or defended, their specific endeavors? What tensions emerge as adaptations shift from performances to printed texts? How can we incorporate the rich history of adaptations into graduate and undergraduate classrooms? Papers are welcome on adaptations from the Restoration to the present.
This seminar takes the language of conversion as central not only to the rhetorical and linguistic but also to the conceptual and material structures of the Renaissance. How are the terms of conversion developed, re-articulated, and expressed across a variety of literary forms (drama, travel narratives, sermons, lyric verse, household books)? Themes include: conversion as material change, the fine discriminations and wider cultural import of the language of religious alteration, the deliberate sidestepping of religious terminology in key accounts, the importance of the dialogue form.
With the release of the Arden III edition and Ralph Fiennes’ film adaptation, this seminar seeks to push scholarship on Coriolanus forward in new directions. Participants may explore pedagogical, textual, or performance questions. Possible topics include the place of women and children in a society defined by war and aggressive masculinity, new approaches for bottom-up readings of agrarian issues and peasant revolts, the depiction of the body politic (or political bodies) and how these resonate with classical and Renaissance texts as well as readers today.
The range of creative responses to Shakespeare has expanded recently to include critical writing that is evocative, affective, and performative. This seminar invites papers—on any Shakespeare-related topic—that integrate creative and critical modes of writing. The aim is to examine how creative modes of writing might facilitate new or different types of critical engagement with Shakespeare. What kinds of critical insights are made possible only or especially via creative strategies? And, indeed, how do critical perspectives impel creative (re) engagement with Shakespeare?
Weber’s treatment of the world’s progressive disenchantment (Entzauberung) as an intrinsic, inescapable aspect of its turning modern has been seriously questioned. This seminar reconsiders dealings with the wondrous, magical, holy, sacred, sainted, numinous, auratic, and uncanny in early modern drama. Does dramatic representation of magic “de-magic” or does it instate magic’s uncanniness? Potential concerns include “moldy tales” and the imaginative empowerment of culturally dépassé narrative material, dealings with the classical divine, an optically reconfigured supernatural, represented magic and the other worlds of travel and romance.
Reading Shakespeare as an elemental ecotheorist, this seminar asks several questions: how do the elements challenge human/inhuman divides, separations between nature and culture, and bounded notions of the “human”? How do the elements disturb ways of knowing, disrupt systems of order, and even expand definitions of “life”? How can Shakespeare’s ele-mentalities help us listen to the silenced in/humans of the world and, in response, usher in new worlds? Especially welcome are engagements with new critical modes such as vital materialism, object-oriented ontology, and actor-network theory.
This seminar explores the early modern contexts that drive the studies of memory and sexuality together: in the acts of memory deemed erotic and the acts of eroticism deemed memorial. Are sexual experiences heightened or deflated by memory? Can erotic acts be commemorative? Can an act of memory be eroticized? How do forms of romantic desire underwrite forms of memory? Various critical approaches are welcome, as is work on elegies, epitaphs, dedications, and life writing as well as plays by Shakespeare and other early moderns.
This seminar invites papers on any aspect of the eroticism of Shakespeare’s poetry, including queer erotics, anti- eroticism, issues of sexual aggression and violence, friendship, lovesickness, and the relation between sexuality and affection, as well as between the erotic and the spiritual. Papers may focus on the narrative poems and sonnets or on the theatrical representation of poems or poetry in Shakespeare’s plays. Papers addressing the textual transmission of Shakespeare’s poems and the erotics of poetic exchange are also welcome.
What counts as evidence in early modern drama studies? How do we select, reject, categorize, grade, emphasize, suppress, create, and ignore the evidence for our claims? What are the buried assumptions of our engagements with evidence? What do we gain or lose by unearthing them? This seminar welcomes
essays of three kinds: theoretical discussions of these topics, reflections on evidence within and as critical arguments about plays, and meta-arguments that correlate manifestations of evidence within plays with the evidence pursued in the criticism of plays.
How are theatrical meaning, memory, and history connected to properties, gestures, bodies, and spaces? How are the physical dynamics of early modern drama transposed into present-day performances, spaces, objects, and media? This seminar invites papers that explore stage directions and blocking challenges, physical aspects of performance, actor training, and rehearsal in any era. Particularly welcome are papers that consider innovative uses of space, early modern objects and object theories, exhibitions, installations, and museology, as well as studies of particular objects or gestures in theater history.
This seminar explores the commerce between operations of time and operations of form. What understandings of pastness, presentness, sequentiality, temporality, or polychronicity sponsor particular literary, rhetorical, theatrical, political, or hermeneutic forms? Possible topics include time in history, comedy, tragedy; temporality and lyric form; expectation, delay, repetition in prosody or rhyme; temporality in musical, visual, architectural, botanical, or animal forms; archetypal, historical, or Messianic time; repertory, repetition, and memory; pastness, presence, and futurity in theoretical models from Frye to Agamben and concerning character, adaptation, or archive.
The Globe to Globe Festival, which featured all thirty-seven plays in thirty-seven different languages, is just one example of the way international festivals can provide a platform for national traditions of Shakespeare in performance. This seminar debates how watching the plays together in an international performance context can develop international dialogues about “nation,” “language,” “identity,” and “gender,” and also about religious intolerance, racism, and sexism. The seminar is designed to consider the Shakespeare festival, the Shakespeare academic audience, and their combined political potential.
This seminar explores early modern attitudes to visual culture by focusing on the icon. How do visual and material icons instantiate stories and ideas? Who uses, interprets, and circulates icons? What does iconic function tell us about the nature of early modern knowledge and its transmission? Papers may consider icons in the theater: where icons are found on stage, how they are represented, what role they play in dramatic action. Material discussed may also include other iconographic matter: sculpture, painting, printed illustration, embroidery, graffiti.
19. Intercultural Shakespeare: Theory and Methodology
Much scholarship on intercultural Shakespeare employs a “show and tell” mode, providing cultural background and visual aids while comparing a production to its source. This seminar invites alternative modes. How can we theorize diverse theatrical practices without generalizing and oversimplifying? Can the theory accommodate “non- festival” interculturalism, such as Asian Shakespeare in Western dress and in English? How can we bypass the authenticity test and focus on the core issues exposed by each production? Studies beyond performance, such as film adaptation and cultural translation, are welcome.
Shakespeare closely adapted or quoted outright other poets and songwriters in his own poems and plays. This seminar seeks to identify as fully as possible his immediate indebtedness to other writers; to determine where Shakespeare might have obtained this material, especially verse and song that had not been printed at the time and therefore bears witness to his access to oral and scribal culture; and to consider why he sometimes relied on the works of others rather than draw on his own substantial poetic talent.
This seminar explores whether the Inns were a distinct literary environment. How did law and legal education influence literary reception and output at the Inns? What educational, social, or other traditions, discourses, and experiences influenced writers associated with the Inns? Did the Inns’ real or imagined distinctiveness manifest itself in particular modes (Senecan drama, satire, epyllia, masques)? Did practices of adaptation evidence an Inns ethos? Do Shakespeare’s engagements with law and genre differ in works associated with the Inns (Errors, Love’s Labor’s, Troilus, Twelfth Night)?
Though scholars describe Julius Caesar as one of Shakespeare’s least problematic texts, difficulties remain: the two reports of Portia’s death; Brutus’s culpability; Antony’s deception of the mob; Caesar’s “just cause” line ridiculed by Jonson; puzzling phrases such as “objects, rots, and imitations.” Is the study of such issues still worthwhile? Which trends currently inform the study of the play? What keeps Caesar so conducive a vehicle for engaging local politics? This seminar welcomes essays that address questions regarding textual and interpretive criticism, performance, and pedagogy.
It may be time for the current generation of theater historians to reassess the narratives on which their work relies. Were plays with legendary popularity as popular as has been assumed? Are there notations in Henslowe’s diary where guesswork has hardened into fact? Are we trying to understand play-company histories with too little evidence? How do recent paratextual studies reflect on accepted storylines? This seminar invites papers that question agreed-upon narratives and/ or offer new information. Especially welcome are papers on little-known archival materials.
24. New Approaches to Visualizing Shakespeare
How do digital visualization tools augment research and teaching? What are their limitations? This seminar welcomes work with 3D renderings of theater spaces, immersive character and scene simulations, geospatial information systems, video games, and timeline tracking software. It promotes dialogue among scholars interested in the visual representation of Shakespeare’s works and encourages reflection upon emerging digital tools. Those who are familiar with the visual aspects of the Digital Humanities are welcome, as are those who are new to them.
This seminar revisits the four post- Enlightenment categories queried in de Grazia and Stallybrass’s seminal essay: work, word, character, and author. Twenty years on, how has the study of material texts illuminated the print cultures of early modern Europe and colonial America? What opportunities has the “textual turn” opened for critical discourses— postcolonial, feminist, queer, performance, and others? How has it influenced the editing of modern printed editions, the burgeoning production of digital texts? What new forms of textual materiality can be found in archival research?
26. Object-Oriented Environs
This seminar stages a confluence of two important trends in critical theory: the environmental turn and object- oriented ontology (vibrant materialism, new materialism, speculative realism). These modes of inquiry move beyond anthropocentrism to examine nonhumans at every scale, their relations to each other, and the ethics of human enmeshment with a material world that possesses its own agency. How does our apprehension of the inhuman change when texts become laboratories for probing the liveliness, mystery, and autonomy of objects, in their alliances and in performance?
The year of The Witch of Edmonton, Fletcher’s The Island Princess, Jonson’s Gypsies Metamorphosed, and Middleton’s The Sun in Aries, 1621 has long been viewed as a pivotal moment in late-Jacobean culture and politics. This seminar invites participants to take 1621 as their starting-point for a close examination of dramatic production in the Jacobean fin de siècle. Topics might include: new works and revivals, drama in print, drama and political/ news culture, interactions between plays and works such as The Anatomy of Melancholy and Urania.
Are early modern dramatic depictions of labor inflected by contemporary notions of sex and gender? How are gender categories and relations delineated by commercial and economic exchanges in the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries? This seminar focuses on representations of production, consumption, service, and trade in early modern drama, particularly in relation to early modern concepts of sex and gender. It welcomes papers exploring how trades and occupations, including the tools, products, bodies, and practices associated with those vocations, were freighted with gendered significance.
Queer heterosexualities complicate definitions of normative and non- normative sexual fantasy and practice by resituating sex acts and desires as queer regardless of the anatomies involved. Where do we find—and what do we do with—early modern texts, moments, and subjects that resist both queer and straight categorization? How does performance enact social ideals, like monogamy, alongside affective possibilities, like sympathy with polyamory? Topics might include gender play, BDSM, technologies of sex and the body, fantasy, sexuality in print culture, love and intimacy, and more.
This seminar invites readings of Shakespeare and contemporaries that offer new ways to construe the relations between broad historical shifts or movements (secularization, the growth of print, emerging capitalism, state formation, global expansion, etc.) and more targeted moments or particular events, scandals, institutions, or cultural practices. How do we navigate between larger scale histories and specific regional, cultural, or textual locales? How might we organize such projects? When is close-reading the ideal strategy for making these moves? What are its drawbacks?
This seminar examines the codes of signification through which early modern drama was produced, interpreted, and made meaningful. The goal is twofold: to examine how specific poetic and performance practices function (e.g., generic conventions, soliloquies, jigs), and to ask how these shaped the theater as an institution. How did intertheatrical references foster cultural competencies, or entrain audiences to particular modes of reception? How did repertoires and performance styles inform companies’ identities? How did revision of familiar conventions occasion reflection on what theater is and does?
Despite academic interest in movement, materiality, and the body—and the growth of dance studies as a disciplinary field— Shakespearean dance in all its variety remains understudied. This seminar invites papers on early modern choreography, Shakespeare’s dance sequences, dance as metaphor, comic resolution and post-performance jigs, dance etiquette and pedagogy, dance and sexual innuendo, ekphrasis, dance and affect, Morris dance and masques. Work is also welcome on dance adaptations of Shakespeare, dance and visual culture, movement direction in Shakespearean performance, notation and choreographic language.
This seminar invites papers on Shakespeare’s language from a variety of perspectives: digital text analytics, linguistic theories (then and now), language economies, language philosophies, the phenomenology of language, the history of rhetoric, performance and performativity, translation and adaptation, silence, noise. A principal objective is to promote informed discussion of a question exercising scholars in the digital humanities as well as literature departments: how to negotiate distant and close reading as this bears on Shakespeare.
What do Shakespeare’s habits of writing reveal about the discursive and disciplinary practices of Tudor pedagogy? What kinds of emotion scripts do school texts and plays provide, what affective responses do they solicit? Does an institutional perspective change our understanding of early modern “classicism,” masculinity, bodies? How might feminist, queer, materialist, or rhetorical theory be brought to bear on pedagogy and its effects? Papers may be archival, interpretive, or theoretical; reactions from Shakespeare’s contemporaries or comparisons to other educational institutions welcome.
This seminar explores a neglected area of Shakespeare’s print history, from the 1642 closure of the theaters to the 1737 Licensing Act. Participants might examine Shakespeare’s changing cultural presence and the development of the book trade by considering the form and contents of Shakespeare editions (folios, drolls, “players’ quartos,” Rowe, Johnson, Pope, Theobald), owners of books
by Shakespeare, how individual book trade agents shaped Shakespeare’s textual afterlife, links between the theater and print industries, and the print history of Shakespeare’s contemporaries (Beaumont and Fletcher, Jonson).
36. Shakespeare and the Liberal Arts Curriculum
Shakespeare’s role in the “new” liberal arts curriculum continues to evolve. More than ever, he is the site of curricular and pedagogical negotiations over the materials and methods presumed vital for the production of well-rounded, responsible citizens. Despite this element of change, “liberal educators” remain united by a range of unique challenges and opportunities. This seminar invites papers that explore the status and meaning of Shakespeare for a style of education that, even as it changes with the times, seeks somehow to remain the same.
37. Shakespeare and the Limits of Cognitive Theory
This seminar invites papers that examine the limits of cognitive approaches to Shakespeare. What of those Shakespearean principals whose unpredictable and irreducible actions seem to belie the presuppositions of neurocriticism? To what extent does Shakespearean skepticism elude some of the newly enshrined canons of cognitive science? Can a cognitive approach to Shakespeare be aligned with an ideological approach? Does/can cognitive theory offer a robust theory of character that is not overly naturalistic, and that accounts for the influence of genre on Shakespearean character construction?
38. Shakespeare and Theories of Spectatorship
This seminar explores theories of spectatorship that influenced Shakespeare and his contemporaries and that inform modern actors’ and directors’ expectations and practices. How did Renaissance playwrights conceive of the imaginative processes that theater generated, even mobilized? How did early modern theater practitioners refashion theories of perspective, optics, reading, affect? In what ways are modern Shakespearean practitioners working on stage and screen indebted to pre-modern spectatorial theories, and how have modern technologies of production and communication influenced their ideas about audiences, performance, even Shakespeare’s works themselves?
Early modern playgoers more often spoke of “seeing” than “hearing” a play, suggesting that what is often dismissed as “unrecoverable” may have constituted the most powerful part of their experience. As a playwright/actor in a theater where there was no director to orchestrate effects, Shakespeare had a practical interest in controlling the staging and performance of his plays. This seminar invites attention to non-verbal techniques (primarily visual, but including silence and pausing) by which Shakespeare and others sought to shape the presentation of their work.
Many who have never read a Shakespeare play have seen a Shakespeare documentary. This seminar considers the hundreds of programs produced for radio, film, and television that have served educational, marketing, and propaganda purposes. Possible avenues include: documentaries about a single play or Shakespeare’s life, film-strips, DVD extras, audio/visual classroom materials, the personalities or corporations behind documentaries, changes in documentary treatments of Shakespeare over time and across media, how and why documentaries matter. Those who have produced or participated in Shakespeare documentaries are most welcome.
41. Shakespeare in Contemporary Fiction
Whether finding new ways to retell Shakespearean stories, rethinking Shakespeare himself, pursuing his lost plays, or populating his world with new characters, many contemporary fiction writers are preoccupied with Shakespeare. What versions of Shakespeare are in play in these novels? What might they tell us about his status in popular culture? What brands of authorship, of art, and of history do such tales manifest? In what ways do they enact a ghosting of the plays’ cultural traces for a readership increasingly distanced from the originals?
42. Shakespeare in Motion
Looking backward and forward, this seminar examines the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries in relation to the early modern reconsideration of motion. How did literature engage the legacy of Aristotelian thought, and in particular its broad sense of motion as encompassing all forms of change? What relationships subtended both scientific thought and literary production in the period? How did the re-thinking of physics enter Shakespeare’s oeuvre? The topic may be approached from science studies, vitalism, humoral physiology, the emotions, the dynamics of stagecraft, more.
How does the sensual body figure into performance and the interpersonal exchange between performer and auditor/spectator? In what ways was/ is the theatrical experience contingent upon the multi-sensory effects produced by performance? This seminar invites work on reception and phenomenology; music, sound effects, and voice; audience sounds; costume as haptic or spectacle; movement and proprioception; architecture and the senses; tactile theater (props, instruments); spectacle; olfactory effects; taste. Also welcome are papers exploring strategies for representing the senses through the media of text and image.
Without Africans to play certain roles, how was blackness staged in the early modern English theater? While interest in race in the Renaissance has produced substantial scholarly inquiry, the practical question pertaining to performance history—white actors or characters imitating Moors using cosmetics, ointments, and prostheses— has been mostly left unattended. The seminar invites papers that investigate the phenomenon of early modern blackface and the specific materials of racial impersonation in relation to ideas of race, subjectivity, language, audience reception, particular players, playhouses, and companies.
Everything we know about Shakespeare is preconceived by print, although print may obscure rather than clarify our thinking about a wide variety of early modern cultural products and productions. “Shakespeare without Print” invites papers from a range of material and conceptual perspectives, from those that focus on the handwritten, to those that examine manuscript culture, to those that consider the metaphorical and material ways in which print has shaped our understanding of early modern writing, performance, life, and thought.
This seminar focuses on texts representing the circulation of bodies in a violent maritime marketplace. How did these commercial practices replicate or trouble social hierarchy? How did writers indicate or blur the difference between a legitimate and a criminalized commerce? What kind of gender work did these representations perform? How did emerging practices of slavetrading draw upon traditions of Mediterranean captivity? What was at stake in early modern representations of pirates, slaves, or captives? Participants may refer to legal, political, commercial, literary, or other discourses.
47. “A Smack of All Neighboring Languages”
This seminar welcomes papers that engage the cohabitation of languages and dialects in Shakespeare, his fellow dramatists, and early modern London. It takes “language” as a ductile term that can be applied to genres of media, cultural norms, and ways of reading, and it makes room for considerations of Shakespeare performances in an ever-increasing array of linguistic, epistemological, and cultural modes. With reference to Derrida, Bakhtin, Venuti, and Spivak, the seminar will also address the semiotics and problematics of translation in multiple traditions and genres.
While the names of early modern London’s theatrical neighborhoods are well known (Bankside, Clerkenwell, etc.), surprisingly little has been written about the neighborhoods themselves and even less about the relationship between playhouses and their local communities. Papers are welcome that examine all aspects of the impact of playhouses upon their neighborhoods and vice versa. Participants might focus on questions of evidence and methodology or on the details of a particular playhouse neighborhood, taking account of local governance, residents, social and religious institutions, and businesses.
Both a concept and a practice, judgment is fundamental to law and religion and is a key term for aesthetics and the discourse of sociality. Early modern plays have compelling things to tell us about the place of judgment in intellectual history, and judgment offers an illuminating framework for engaging early modern plays. Topics might include: courtroom scenes, judges and judge-figures, judgment and spectatorship, the prehistory of taste, legal-historical contexts, divine judgment, medieval inheritances, the rhetoric of judgment, modern philosophical and theoretical perspectives (including Arendt).
This seminar speculates that the digital Shakespearean archive exists in alternative cultural forms to traditional embodiments of textual studies and therefore calls for innovative theoretical approaches. Digital textuality de- centers the text as the object of study, instead making the platform the artifact. As a result, the question arises whether authority resides in the text or its use. This seminar seeks not only to examine specific examples of digital publication but also to theorize how we might talk about Shakespeare online.
51. Words and Things
Early modern performance, writing, and visual art frequently test the limits of signification not only through the plasticity of language and the materiality of the text but also through the interplay of words, things, and ideas. This seminar engages the super-linguistic power of words and things in early modern culture, history, and theory: words that animate and perform functions and metamorphoses on stage and in material texts, things that operate linguistically, and words and sounds that deliberately resist signification in one or more registers.
52. Curating the Digital Folio of Renaissance Drama for the 21st Century
This workshop welcomes Shakespeareans interested in joining the Folger Digital Folio of Renaissance Drama for the 21st Century. Participants may work solo or collaboratively to develop research projects based in 400+ dramatic texts that comprise this state-of-the-art digital corpus of Renaissance English drama, supporting machine-assisted critical studies. Participants are encouraged to design, implement, and assess lightweight, generative digital curation assignments for small teams of undergraduate curators. What social and intellectual factors must we take into account for this type of collaborative work to succeed?
53. Digital Resources for the Early Modern Book Trade
This workshop considers the digital resources available for studying the early modern English book trade (EEBO, ESTC, USTC, EEB, DEEP, etc.). Based on the structure of current databases, talking points may include metadata, variant spellings, searchability, and integration with other resources. The workshop will also assess three electronic book- trade projects in development, and will imagine what new resources might be desirable in coming years. Those engaged in digital projects or who use digital tools in their teaching or research are encouraged to participate.
54. Finding the Signals for Performance in a Shakespeare Text
What are the pointers for actors in an early modern cue script? What information does the text provide about status, tone, movement, and person? The workshop’s premise is that limited time for rehearsal required early modern actors to rely on their parts for clues to performance signaled by such markers as metrics, rhetorical figures, embedded stage directions, and terms of address. The workshop leader will guide participants interested in stage or classroom performance in reading these signals for acting choices as they explore selected passages.
55. Playing the Thing: Practice-as- Research in Shakespeare Studies
This workshop aims to bring together theorists and practitioners to investigate theater practice as a research methodology, from the “original practices” experiments of Shakespeare’s Globe and the American Shakespeare Center to explorations in modern performance practice. Participants are asked to contribute position papers for advance circulation, as for a seminar. The session itself will follow a workshop format, with short performances, video screenings, practical exercises, and demonstrations of the advantages and problems of practice-as-research. Both skeptical and enthusiastic voices are welcome.
56. Transnational Theatergrams in Shakespeare and Early Modern Performance
This performance-centered workshop invites a composite of performers and scholars to materialize and theorize early-modern “theatergrams”— moveable units of action, dialogue, character, physical routine, and socio- spatial configuration—that might have passed from Italy to England (perhaps via France), between English actors traveling on the continent and German- or Dutch-speaking actors, or through other international means. Participants presenting performance demonstrations will be asked also to write short papers regarding their presentations. Other participants may present longer papers (without also performing) that address transnational units of performance.
41st Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario
1. Anti-Social Shakespeare/Early Modern Anti-Social
The anti-social is the object of the most fundamental taboo there is, and the obligation to be social the most fundamental obligation. But what might there be beyond the social? Is it possible to be both human and anti-social? This seminar invites work that puts pressure on the felt inevitability of the social. Topics might include: skepticism; misanthropy; anti-natalism; asceticism; incest, virginity, masturbation; radical thing-orientation. All work exploring the early modern anti-social, however understood, in Shakespeare or elsewhere, is welcome.
2. Aristotle, Jonson, Shakespeare
What new perspectives on Jonson or Shakespeare arise from recent work on Aristotle’s Poetics (including translations by Halliwell, Heath, Janko, Sachs, or Whalley)? Do reconstructions of Aristotle on comedy apply to these playwrights? Is Shakespeare’s concern for “some necessary question” allied with Jonson’s that “necessity ask a conclusion” in his plays, and does either take his bearings from Aristotle’s seminal thinking on the role of probability and necessity? The seminar welcomes reassessments of the practicing dramatists and the arch theorist.
This seminar explores whether emotion is colored in Shakespeare’s plays and poems by social difference. Why does Ophelia suffer from love melancholy whereas the jailer’s daughter suffers from mopishness? Do kings and commoners feel love, anger, joy and shame in the same ways? Are faith and doubt determined by class allegiance? How did people of different social origins encounter Shakespeare’s works? Papers will consider, from a variety of perspectives, how the habitus of class shapes cognitive and somatic experience.
This seminar welcomes papers that address the status of collaborative writing in Shakespeare’s time and its relation to contemporary concepts of authorship; historical attitudes to collaborative Shakespeare; the instruments developed to establish Shakespeare’s collaborative practice; the consequences of collaborative writing for editorial practice and the presentation of texts; the perception of Shakespeare as a collaborative writer in fictional texts about the author’s life; and the stage history of Shakespearean collaborative plays.
5. Contemporary Actors as Evidence
This seminar invites papers that use new or preexisting actors’ interviews, memoirs, and essays, not as sources of interpretive insight into the roles and plays, but as evidence of contemporary histrionic aesthetics and attitudes about character and dramatic action. What assumptions about character and action prevail even as scholars are problematizing character? What mainstream assumptions do actors bring to their work outside of the mainstream, whether post-modern or “Original Practices?”
6. Elizabeth Cary’s The Tragedy of Mariam and Early Modern Drama
Criticism on Mariam has moved from a focus on biography, gender and voice to an engage- ment with geography, race and intertextuality. To mark the 400th anniversary of the play’s publication, this seminar welcomes fresh perspectives on Cary’s drama. How does the play connect with work by other dramatists? In what ways might it be read inside theories of manuscript circulation and book production? Do recent performances allow for a re-evaluation of the text? Does Mariam remain important for feminist critics?
7. Future Directions in Performance Studies
The past decade has positioned Shake- speare within the theoretically heterodox discourse of performance studies. Critics have explored Shakespearean performance as cultural practice and intercultural exchange; approached productions through the lenses of post-colonial, gender, and queer theory; and assessed how new technologies have revolutionized the way we view performance. Where will the next decade take us? What areas should be explored? What new questions should be asked? Papers on any topic related to future directions in Shakespearean performance studies are welcome.
This seminar places Shakespearean adaptation in dialogue with critical and theoretical discussions of gender and sexuality. Using a broad, multi-media definition of adaptation, we shall discuss how the process of adaptation represents, engages with, and critiques historical and/or contemporary constructions of gender and sexuality. Possible topics include: film and theatrical adaptation; online and Web 2.0 Shakespeares; feminist, queer and transgendered Shakespeares; fiction, fanfiction and the graphic novel; visual arts; Shakespeare for girls, boys and the classroom; Shakespeare in critical theory.
9. Geography and Literature
Early modern geography had many different modes, from atlases to mathematical handbooks to travellers’ narratives and beyond. What can these materials and their concerns do for us as literary scholars? This seminar invites work that considers the intersections of early modern literature and geography: applications of literary analysis to geographical texts; reflections on methodology, strategies, and outcomes; or considerations of how geography—as a body of knowledge, a practice, a set of questions—may afford useful perspectives on literary texts.
This seminar will explore the impact of Greek texts on Shakespeare and contemporary dramatists. Greek texts began to circulate in this period in translations, adaptations, and original versions. Connected with Protestantism, heretical philosophy, and the origins of literary forms, they sparked fascination and controversy, yet their resonances remain largely unexcavated. Papers might explore Shakespeare’s Plutarch, Galen’s humors, antitheatricalists’ Plato, Aristotle’s Poetics and genre theory, Jonson’s Aristophanes, Chapman’s Homer, staging Heliodoran romance, and English translations, printings, and performances of Greek plays.
11. Health, Well-Being, and Happiness in the Shakespearean Body
This seminar investigates health and happiness in Shakespeare through the complex relations among bodies and systems, rhetoric and objects, and character and genre. Participants might discuss health in Shakespeare’s plays and poems alongside measures of “well-being” such as prosperity, employment, youthfulness, strength, peace of mind, friendships, or physical comfort; the role of imagination in Shakespearean health; and the effects on health of reading, watching, or viewing Shakespeare, both in its own right or as a proxy for the humanities.
Shakespeare has long been a mainstay in high schools, colleges, and universities. But the ways he has been taught have changed dramatically. Or have they? How might research on Shakespeare in education, on influential figures, texts, course records, and other hard evidence complicate standard professional narratives? This seminar is not interested in current approaches to Shakespeare in classrooms. Instead, it welcomes papers that examine any aspect of the history of Shakespeare and education and the development of institutional Shakespeare studies.
This seminar on experimental language in Shakespeare’s sonnets and other poems considers the relation between poetic speech and the codes or systems that enter the poetry from various practices and disciplines (economics, grammar, horticulture, law, medicine, natural science, rhetoric, theology, etc). How do different languages compete for space in these texts? What interpretive opportunities does technical language make available? How do practices like commonplacing or imitation influence the poems? How are Shakespeare’s lyrics in conversation with the work of drama?
This seminar posits protest as a subject of literary representation. When does Shakespeare in either poetry or drama employ literary expression to represent protest or give contour to social unrest? Does Shakespearean drama or poetry engage itself in protest? How has early modern literature been deployed over time, for or against social protest? Also, how might the tension of plot or of the poetic turn, through figure, inform our cultural relationship to protest? Theoretical approaches and non-dramatic attentions are welcome.
There are at least 550 early modern plays for which there survives some evidence, but not a full playscript. Papers in this seminar might attend to specific lost plays, considering repertory practices, playhouses and playing companies, audiences and playwrights. Alternatively, participants may engage with issues pertaining to “clumping” vs. “splitting” of titles; what it means to speculate “responsibly” about lost plays; the nature of scholarly collaboration in researching lost plays; the role of digital resources in theater history.
Pleasure and poetry, inextricably linked in the early modern period, become increasingly associated with Lucretius’s De rerun natura. How does Lucretian influence, direct or transversal, transform depictions of desire, sexuality, poetics, and the passions in Shakespeare and other writers? The seminar invites papers that interrogate figurations of pleasure in Shakespearean texts and contexts. It aims to open a dialogue between models of pleasure derived from psychoanalysis, feminism, and post-structuralism, and the ancient defense and critique of pleasure in Lucretius’s poem.
Early modern theatrical performances began with someone organizing players, properties, and space. Narratives of theater history often contain assumptions about management that deserve closer examination, including how and when the “manager” emerged as a recognizable professional category. This seminar invites participants to reevaluate the lives of acting company leaders and playhouse owners, the organization of courtly and civic production, the cultivation of patrons and social networks, patent and contract economics, repertorial competition, audience manipulation, or any other aspect of management.
18. Nomadic Subjects and Objects
Taking as its point of departure contemporary theories of “the nomadic subject,” this seminar invites papers that explore subjects and objects (including commodities, texts, language, scientific ideas, and social practices) that circulated between early modern England and other parts of the globe. The seminar encourages a variety of critical approaches, from historical accounts of individual travelers, to studies of mercantile theory and practice, to book historical analysis or translation studies of specific texts such as foreign language ethnographies or memoirs.
19. On Beyond Rabbits and Ducks: Re-engaging Henry V
This seminar invites re-evaluations of Henry V, including the polarizing tendencies in the criticism: Christian rabbit or Machiavellian duck? How are we reading this play today? What new directions are we pursuing in our critical and theoretical attempts to understand this play and its relation to nation? to political violence? and to topicality? How do we understand the nature of the divergent Q and F texts? And what place does Henry V hold in our understanding of Shakespeare’s dramatic career.
20. Patrons, Professional Drama, and Print Culture
This seminar builds on studies of patronage in early modern theater by focusing on connections between theater patrons, the patronage system, and the early modern print industry. Suggested topics include: direct interventions by theater patrons in publishing play texts; investigations into patron-publisher networks; representations of patrons in plays, epistles, etc.; views expressed by patrons toward printers and print culture; post-Renaissance depictions of the intersection between patrons and print.
This seminar focuses on the use, staging, and performance of pedagogy in the dramas of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. What is the relationship amongst literary and non-literary texts and the representation of teaching, learning, and literacy on the early modern stage? How is the gendered and classed aspect of learning either affirmed or challenged? In particular, participants are invited to consider learning in light of the technologies of reading and writing, including the use of material objects as theatrical props.
22. “Popular” Discourses of Race in Comic Representations
Whereas finding a late emergence of racial distinctions has depended upon elite discourses (e.g., geohumoralism), this seminar invites explorations of “popular” early modern understandings of racial difference in stereotypical comic representations of Moors, Jews, Turks, “Gypsies,” etc. How did laughter at “strangers” address serious concerns, whether about religion, protonation, global exchange, or gender/sex? What notions of difference did the comic promote in such plays as Jew of Malta, Anthony and Cleopatra, Renegado, Island Princess, or English Moor? On what bases?
What role has quotation played in Shakespeare’s reception? How has selective quotation, from seventeenth-century commonplacing to twenty-first-century advertising, shaped Shakespeare’s image? Is there any connection between Shakespeare’s proverbial borrowings and the fragments admired as his ‘beauties’ or ‘wisdom’? What is it about Shakespeare’s language that invites extraction? Topics might include allusion and intertextuality; creative misquotation in popular culture; critical and pedagogical quotation practices; and digital technology’s potential both for changing, and understanding, the way Shakespeare quotations work in the world.
24. Race/Religion and Gender: Medieval Continuities
In recent debates on the medieval emergence of the concept of race, some argue that Jewish and Muslim identity is constructed in somatic, hierarchical, and hereditary terms. Medieval questions of religious alterity frequently engage gender, also imagined in terms of corporality and subordination. A range of medieval discourses—medical, religious, literary and ethnographic—address these intersections. Participants in this seminar will challenge periodization in considering how medieval discourses help shape representations of religion, race and gender in early modern drama.
Were women’s political activities in Jacobean England associated with carnivalesque disruptions of social order or simply marginalized? Or, during a time of increasing public discontent with James’s policies, did official images of royal father and husband spawn rival representations of female power? Welcoming a range of approaches to texts from The Winter’s Tale to Arbella Stuart’s letters, this seminar invites papers on representations of women’s actual and/or fictional political engagements in Jacobean works by women and by men.
It is said that one never reads Shakespeare for the first time. Since we approach Shakespeare inevitably through re-reading, this seminar invites considerations of all aspects of re-reading, whether in or of Shakespeare’s (and contemporaries’) texts. Papers might address moments of re-reading in the works, examine Shakespeare’s “re-reading” in his repeated use of the same sources, forge connections between book history and literary criticism, or theorize Shakespearean reading practices, whether material or cognitive, early modern or contemporary, recursive or revisionary.
27. Sexuality and Sovereignty in Early Modern Drama
What light does early modern drama shed on the intersection between sexuality and the “political theology” perspective of Agamben and Schmitt? How do political communities founded on sovereign power call forth, shape, energize or manage sexuality? Does sovereign power itself have a distinctive sexuality? And must we accept political theology as a master theory and simply apply it to sexuality or does a foundational commitment to sexuality require a reworking of the theoretical assumptions of political theology?
This seminar considers Shakespearean intersections with “business” as a subculture with its own ethos and implicit epistemologies. Participants might discuss Shakespeare from perspectives of early modern business culture—e.g., businesses of theater, printing and publishing, trade and colonialism; representations of businesspeople like merchants and artisans; or practices like accounting. Instead, participants might examine Shakespeare within recent business culture—e.g., the business/branding of “Shakespeare” in books, theater, film, etc.; Shakespeare’s role within corporatized universities; Shakespearean insights employed within contemporary business.
Even after auricular confession was no longer a required sacrament in Protestant England, Shakespeare and his contemporaries continued to represent confessional acts in their drama and poetry. This seminar will investigate the broad range of literary treatments of confession in the early modern period. Paper topics might include: staging confession; gender, sexuality, and confes- sion; the relationship between confession and life writing; the influence of confessional speech on complaint, lamentation, and lyric; and confessional acts and their effects on jurisprudence.
Recognizing that consciousness is of renewed interest in psychology, philosophy, and brain science, this seminar considers what a more nuanced understanding of consciousness might bring to Shakespeare studies. Can a consideration of consciousness, ancient or modern, help us to re-imagine the relationship between the immanence of text and performance and the cognitive assemblage of such stimuli? Papers should investigate connections between states of mind, emotion, and sensation that constitute consciousness and our phenomenological encounters with Shakespeare’s works.
According to Aristotle, distributive justice pertains to the fair allocation of a community’s wealth and honors. How did notions of distributive justice inflect Shakespeare’s and other early modern dramatists representations of material inequality? Questions considered might include: the meaning of distributive justice in a late feudal/mercantile economy, the relation between charity and the claims of justice, how distributive justice might challenge or reinforce principles of decorum, the relevance of clowning, and the kinds of plots that speak to distributive justice.
How do routines of greeting, feeding, entertaining, and providing shelter animate the traffic patterns and socio-symbolic worlds of Shakespeare’s plays? How does hospitality contribute to notions of political theology, ethics, and economy? Where are its boundary-lines drawn, especially in terms of gender, community, nationality, and race? What are its environmental resonances? How do productions of the plays, and the playhouses themselves, take up and scenographically engage hospitality? How do Shakespeare’s works make themselves hospitable—or inhospitable—to interpretation and performance?
How does Shakespeare, and the early modern period more generally, engage with memory? How might Shakespeare’s plays, Renaissance drama, or the memory culture of early modern England encourage us to respond to constructs of memory offered by theorists in the modern period, such as Freud, Bakhtin, Marx, Bergson, Ricoeur, or de Certeau? Through close reading, historicised discussion of the Renaissance debate of memory and exploitation of theoretical materials, this seminar concentrates upon showcasing the multifariousness of memory in Shakespearean texts.
34. Shakespeare and Metamorphosis
Shakespeare and his contemporaries mined Ovid’s Metamorphoses for its stories of transformation. This seminar invites a broad range of questions and explorations concerning the relationship of Shakespeare and his contemporaries to ideas of metamorphosis, figures of transformation, and the slippage between human and nonhuman worlds. How do Ovidian moments work within Shakespeare’s plays and poems? What do transformations out of human form tell us about agency and limitation? Do people really change? And if so, into what?
How do Shakespeare and early modern theater inhabit and create arenas of knowledge and non-knowledge? Possible issues: (1) Theater or Shakespearean plays or poems as venues for introducing and organizing disciplines of knowledge. (2) How knowledge is affirmed, verified, organized, and transmitted. (3) What constitutes logical proof. (4) Ignorance, stupidity, and obfuscation. (5) Philosophical theories of epistemology: empiricism, skepticism, idealism, etc. (6) Historical epistemology: what Shakespeare’s culture can and cannot know. (7) How Shakespeare displays his own knowledge and ignorance.
Do new interpretive frameworks and historical information alter how we understand the relationship between Shakespeare and his sources? Do the reframing of a global early modern period, the examination of heterogeneity within European cultures, the turn to religion, historical formalism, intertheatricality, or developments in literary or performance theories, for instance, prompt us to reconsider the politics of terms like source, origin, and adaptation? Is Shakespearean source study a special case? This seminar invites papers that do and/or theorize source study.
37. Shakespeare and/in Manuscript
Where do we find Shakespeare in manuscript? Miscellanies, promptbooks, accounts, marginalia, and other manuscript sources offer evidence of the varied and contingent responses to Shakespeare’s work. How can manuscripts be of use to theater and cultural historians, literary scholars, and textual editors? This seminar encourages participants to consider the wide range of Shakespearean manuscripts, to showcase a variety of critical approaches to these primary texts, and to explore some of the new (and often digital) ways to access these sources.
This seminar invites phenomenological approaches (broadly defined) to Shakespeare’s contested role as an icon for the emergence of the “early modern” out of the “medieval.” Papers might consider historical phenomenology, embodied cognition, time and anachronism, political theology, or the “theological turn” in phenomenology. How do these diverse modes of phenomenological inquiry inform one another? How might they help us to rethink Shakespeare’s relation to problems of periodization, including his role in secularization narratives and genealogies of modernity?
39. Shakespearean Adaptation and the World’s Religions
This seminar brings together adaptation studies and the religious turn. How have adaptations produced within and for Moslem, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Native American, and indigenous African communities, among others, challenged or transformed Shakespeare’s representations of religion? Possible topics include religion’s relationship to race, gender, nation, or diaspora; transpositions of religious conflict; translations of Shakespeare’s religious language; and secular, “humanist,” and atheistic adaptations. We also invite reflection on concepts (hybridity, universality, pluralization) that might link historical religious and contemporary global Shakespeares.
40. Shakespearean Exceptionalism: The Case of the Sonnets
This seminar explores the relationship of Shakespeare’s sonnets either to other sonnet sequences; other early modern literary or cultural texts; their treatment in relationship to the rest of Shakespeare’s work; or one another—that is, one or more sonnets in relationship to the rest. Are the sonnets more or less peculiar than we’ve been led to believe? How do beliefs about Shakespearean exceptionalism shape the way the sonnets are represented or taught?
41. Shakespeare’s Earth System Science
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Aiming to expand our understanding of the early modern worldview that charged earthquakes and tempests with preternatural significance, this seminar considers the material composition of the sublunary system and its literary representations. Appropriating terms from NASA, we will attend to “the processes within and interactions among the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, biosphere, and geosphere”—what comprised early modern physics and meteorology. New historicist, ecocritical, field-specific (anemological to volcanological), and other approaches are welcome.
This seminar seeks to enrich our understanding of Irish contexts for Shakespeare’s works and to construct a new canon of texts that shed light on Anglo-Irish relations in early modern literature more broadly. We invite papers that complement and complicate perspectives offered in Shakespeare and Spenser by addressing a wide range of texts, from proclamations and statutes to diaries and letters, as well as works by later writers such as Jonson and Milton. Papers related to pedagogy are especially welcome.
43. Shakespeare’s Social Networks: Players, Patrons, and Playwrights
Coleridge’s image of Shakespeare seated alone on the summit “of the poetic mountain” has been displaced in recent years by a more contingent historical picture. Scholars now focus on the playwright’s local, practical, places of association and this seminar sets out to explore the literary implications of that approach. Its emphasis is on personal connections. Co-authorship, audience, and individual actors will be important, but the depiction of social networks in Shakespeare’s drama will also be relevant to this debate.
44. Shakespeare’s Theater Games
Shakespeare’s company were “players”, their venue the “playhouse”, “playing” their trade. Can their work be analyzed as “play”? What models of play are relevant? Do the conditions of late medieval and early modern drama support such a picture? Is dramatic play comparable to play in other early modern artists, venues or circumstances? How do early modern plays deploy “play”, games and game-like sequences? How may performance practices— historical, contemporary, reconstructed— respond to a ludic view of early drama?
This seminar asks how skill was inculcated, appraised, displayed, and evaluated in the early modern theater. Topics include methods of training of boy actors; gesture and skill; the terms of art used in describing theatrical skill; inset skill displays such as music, dancing, and fencing; clowning; and verbal dexterity and other means of demonstrating writerly skill. Papers on theories of skill and embodiment are welcome, as are case studies of particular skill sets and inset skill displays.
The exponential growth of social media platforms has enabled multifaceted engagements with Shakespeare’s texts. They serve as a living archive of materials but also foster vernacular creativity. But to what extent is Shakespeare on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and apps, impacting on the cultural currency of Shakespeare? What kind of Shakespeares are being produced through such intermedial interventions? We invite papers that explore the diverse presence of networked Shakespeare in our mediascape, and reflect on the implications of this “virtual” presence.
47. Staging Allegory
While theories of allegory tend to dwell on modalities of language, accounts of Renaissance theatricality often neglect allegory. This seminar addresses the critical lacuna that results. Topics may include: allegory and anti-theatricality; allegorical dramas; allegorical irruptions in non-allegorical plays; religion and allegory on the post-Reformation stage; character, personification, and the (non)human on the stage; stage properties and allegorical objects; allegory and emblem; tensions between visuality and textuality; economy and allegory; gender, sexuality, and the staging of allegory.
This seminar considers the role of the church in Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Taking up the significance of various holy places—churches, chapels, cathedrals, temples, tombs, sanctuaries—to the literature of the period and to early modern people, papers might consider the following: the church as a structure and the ways the fabric of the church shaped and was shaped by its users; religious activities (quotidian services, baptisms, marriages, coronations, funerals) and/or secular activities (social gatherings, business transactions, misuse).
49. The Singing Body in Shakespeare
Within the predominantly oral but increasingly visual culture of early modern England, songs were inseparable from the sensing bodies of performer, listener, and spectator alike. How does the physiology of the singing body and the acoustic, visual, and affective impact of song performance inform our reading of Shakespeare’s songs and singers? What are the methodological implications of considering Shakespeare’s songs not only as lyric texts and musical settings, but also as instances of embodied and gendered performance?
What does The Tempest mean to the 21st century? Shakespeare’s play has become a touchstone for discussing race, gender, power, language, and the New World. In January 2012, as part of a state-wide initiative against ethnic studies, the Tucson school district even banned The Tempest from its curriculum. This seminar invites papers that reframe the play and question such entrenched positions. What brave new worlds can critics explore in these contested times? Interdisciplinary and theoretical approaches particularly welcome.
51. Theater Boundaries
This seminar invites participants to explore the specifics of audience/stage relations in early modern plays (not just Shakespeare): including, but not confined to, characters’ awareness of their genre, language and style (“nay, God be wi’ you an’ you talk in blank verse”: AYLI); theater history (responses of known audience members); literal interpretations (Nashe’s “wise justice” in Pierce Pennilesse); soliloquy; character versus actor; plays based on real events or on other plays; representations of the professions; audience awareness and attitude.
How does repetition—understood variously as mirroring, duplication, recurrence, renewal, transmission—productively articulate or complicate existing historiographies, epistemologies, and theoretical models? Taking repetition as a site of intersection between text- and performance-based modes of analysis, this seminar invites ambitious, argument-driven case studies and metacritical accounts. Papers might address theatrical imitation, rehearsal, or adaptation; genre formation; literary or discursive citation; recursive temporalities or spatialities; commodity culture; social protocol, religious ritual, or modes of reproduction. All periods, places, and media welcome.
53. Translating Shakespeare Beyond Absolutes
The power and contributions of translation have rapidly increased in a world no longer approaching Shakespeare as a source of indisputable truths, but as a dense yet pervious core of matters to converse with in every possible language, culture and medium. This seminar will address the state and impact of Shakespeare translations from as many “post-” perspectives as may be imagined: the post-bardolatrous; the post-national, post-colonial and post-racial; the post-historic and post-human; the post-print and the post-dramatic—even the post-posts.
The seminar addresses distinctiveness and diversity of staging Shakespeare in Europe. It invites papers on continental, national and local patterns of European Shakespeare production. Are there similarities in translation and staging that define European Shakespeare performance? Can we identify analogies among European nations in the Romantic period? How to describe differences between productions of Shakespeare in Eastern versus Western Europe during the Cold War? And finally, what distinguishes European Shakespeare in an increasingly globalized world?
55. White People in Shakespeare
Including race and postcolonial studies, what are some of the historical, critical, and theoretical methods that can facilitate or advance discussions of whiteness in/and Shakespeare? Is there a relationship in Shakespeare between whiteness as a universal principle and as a site/citation of particularity? Is there a specificity to whiteness that identifies some Shakespearean characters/moments and not others? What are the institutional implications and possibilities for bringing sustained attention to whiteness in/and Shakespeare?
Early modern England witnessed remarkable innovations in both biography and autobiography. This seminar examines these life-writings through their myriad forms, both generic and material, to explore what the early modern period understood by the concept of a “life”, and what it meant to “write” a life. Participants are encouraged to attend to the remarkable range of genres—from martyrology to spiritual examination—and of physical forms—from printed lives to manuscript account-books, miscellanies, and notebooks—that early modern lives took.
57. Wrong Shakespeare
Is Shakespeare ever not “good for you”? This seminar will focus on contexts in which Shakespeare is or has been used as a force for moral good, such as the curriculum, adaptation and performance studies, and social programs (in prisons and other locales). Who decides the right/wrong way to teach, perform, edit, read, and appropriate Shakespeare? And how are the borders of “wrong” Shakespeare policed? What’s at stake in arguing that Shakespeare is “good” or “not good” for you?
58. Close Reading without Readings
This workshop invites participants (1) to give meticulous attention to the minute particulars of particular passages from Shakespeare; (2) to analyze those passages without insisting on limiting—or even attempting to limit—their range of consideration to elements that might be useful in formulating an interpretation of—a reading of—the play in question; and (3) to consider the possible value of such analysis to an understanding of why the culture values Shakespeare so highly.
59. Dancing in Shakespeare: A Practical Introduction
Shakespeare’s plays contain numerous references to dance, some of which are used to create puns, others to illuminate a particular character or dramatic situation. Through a combination of physical participation, video examples, examination of primary sources, and discussion, this workshop will introduce participants to a number of dances that are mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays, including the measures, brawl, coranto, canary, galliard and cinquepace. Participants will also gain first-hand experience in reconstructing a dance from historical sources.
60. Editing Shakespeare for the Web
The purpose of this workshop is to imagine, analyze, and perhaps call for specific developments in the electronic editing of Shakespeare texts. How could and how should the edition of the future look? What kinds of things will we expect it to do? What potential pitfalls should the editor consider? Participants will address these questions both in practice and in discussion.
61. “Performing Archives”: The Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Participants will work with material and documentary remnants of scenes from three Stratford Festival productions: Romeo and Juliet (1968), The Merchant of Venice (1984), and The Tempest (2010). Archival resources for study will include prompt books, design bibles, photographs, blocking diagrams, musical scores, archival videotapes, films, and various written records. Our aim is to study what survives in one major theater archive, discover what we may reconstruct of past productions, and discuss what are the best practices in doing so.
40th Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts
1. Annotating Shakespeare: Old Words, New Tools
How do digital technologies affect the ways we historicize Shakespeare’s words in annotations? What insights do they afford about the ways Shakespeare’s words made meaning in their own time? What kinds of historical or historicizing arguments can digital annotation make? How does technology challenge scholarly practice? This seminar understands the terms “annotation” and “language” broadly. Approaches to the topic will be informed by participants’ individual interests in, for example, lexis, grammar(s), editing, textual transmission, coding, performance history, historiography, mediatization, pedagogy.
2. Chronologies in Theater History
Chronology is a vexed issue for theater historians, whose field relies on time lines, order, and coincidence. Dates seem set in stone, yet pressure reveals unstable foundations. Papers may assess established chronologies, external vs. internal evidence, recent studies in stylometrics, dates on documents, documents or play texts without dates, the assignment of dates in the absence of evidence, or the significance of chronology generally to the discipline of theater history. Jackhammers, as well as a chisel and mallet, are welcome.
This seminar welcomes historicist research and theoretical speculation on citizen and non-citizen ways of being: citizenship and notions of philosophical subjectivity; freedom and liberty as ethical concepts; sovereign subjects, denizens, aliens, foreigners; women in livery companies, citizen wives, poor working women; aristocrats as freemen; citizens of imagined cities and polities; the political theology of citizenship. The aim is to approach citizenship from its outsides, without reaffirming the citizen as symbolic center. Who or what comes after the citizen in Shakespeare?
4. Drama and the New World: Beyond The Tempest?
This seminar examines the place of the Americas in English drama in the wake of the turn in early modern studies to “the East,” Islam, and “the multicultural Mediterranean.” It welcomes papers that explore the complex representations of New World peoples, places, and commodities in playhouse drama, civic pageants, and/or court masques, as well as papers that situate the Atlantic world in English cultural and imaginative life—in, for example, travel accounts, promotional tracts, religious writing, lyric, epic, balladry, romance.
5. Early modern Institutional Drama
Jaques’ schoolboy might creep “like snail/ Unwillingly to school” but, like many early modern dramatists, Shakespeare was less reluctant to engage with educational institutions. This seminar will explore drama at schools, universities, and Inns of Court. Papers are invited on—but not limited to—institutional performance contexts and playing practice, pedagogy and drama, adolescence, institutional interactions with the court (e.g. on progress visits), amateur (schoolboys) vs. professional (boys’ companies), staging scholarship in private and public theaters (e.g. Greene, Lyly, Marlowe, Shakespeare).
6. Early/Modern Queer Colonial Encounters
How do sexuality, gender, affect, the non-human, disability, and temporal estrangement motivate and transform “encounters” in early modern colonialism? How do Shakespearean adaptations, citations, and translations in postmodern culture carry or efface the traces of coloniality, and how to understand this as a queering (or a straightening of the queer)? What meta-encounters — theoretical, disciplinary, linguistic — shape and are shaped by the materiality of encounter? What can alternative temporalities contribute; what gets foreclosed in assertions of “the future that will be”?
7. Economic Criticisms: Old and New
What does “the new economic criticism” inherit from “old” methods? How might these models inform or enrich one another? This seminar considers relations, agreements, contrasts, and antagonisms between earlier work on literature and culture (R. H. Tawney, L. C. Knights, Louis B. Wright) and newer approaches (postcolonial, ecocritical, transnational). Amid recent trends away from “theory” and towards the re-valorization of “close reading” and “literary” matters, why do economic concerns still matter? Papers might include reviews, appreciations, critical genealogies, acts of economic criticism.
8. Emotion in Shakespeare
This seminar invites various theoretical and critical approaches to the increasingly complex study of emotion in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature. Work is welcome in the history of the passions, the senses, the humoral body, Renaissance rhetorical and theatrical manuals, stoicism and other philosophies of emotion, or theories of subjectivity, the social and the human. Also of particular interest are the intertextual constructions of emotion in Renaissance literature or the emotional scripts that are translated from other contemporary or classical sources.
9. Feeling Medieval: The Affects of the Past in Early Modern England
This seminar invites papers exploring early modern conceptions of medieval feelings. How are passions that were associated with the Middle Ages invested with significance? Do they seem more legitimate as a consequence of historical continuity, or less authoritative because of their cultural belatedness? How does the “affective turn” in queer theory help us think about the social encodings of feelings? Do medieval affects imbue certain genres or traditions? Participants are encouraged to consider how early modern writers imagine “feeling medieval.”
10. Foreign Policy in the Age of Shakespeare
How political is Shakespearean drama, really? This seminar addresses an elusive topic by examining relationships between writing and larger-level events. What new can we learn by refocusing on political history and “foreign affairs” narrowly conceived: consolidating nation-states and violence in Europe, Asian encounters, American resources and European inflation, emergent empire? Studies of less predictable works—such as the comedies—are particularly welcome, as are well-grounded comparative analyses with works by other writers or with political documents such as State Papers.
11. Forms of Service in Early Modern England
This seminar welcomes papers, on Shake- speare and other authors, that address the intersection of literary form with categories of service, broadly understood. What formal innovations did service make available to early modern texts? Can we speak of generic strategies of service? How did print culture interact with service? How did early modern women writers adapt genres associated with service? Did authors’ service roles affect their representations of service? How might servant readers and auditors have understood various textual forms?
12. Is Shakespeare Our Only Contemporary?
Presentism has recently opened up new avenues of inquiry in Shakespeare studies. This seminar explores the promises and limitations of presentism, however, by asking participants to consider its purchase outside Shakespeare studies. Can we imagine Shakespeare’s contemporaries in presentist terms? Does presentism’s currently Shakespeare-centric focus preclude certain questions about temporality, about the relationship between past and present, and about variants of historicism? To what extent is presentism simply a Shakespearean-universalist wolf in sheep’s clothing?
13. Literature and History/Literature as History
The seminar invites papers that address the relationship of literature and history in an effort better to understand the historical turn literary studies have taken (and in places have retreated from) as well as to investigate what kinds of historical claims literary studies are now making. What counts as evidence for historical claims? Do critical arguments and historical ones use evidence the same way? What does literature serve as evidence of? What does it mean to understand a work historically?
14. Literature and Theater as Skeptical Labs
This seminar aims to expand our understanding of the renaissance in skepticism and of the function of the theater as a skeptical lab. Two challenges: first, to situate the skepticism of drama to the equally fervent skepticism of non-dramatic literature and, second, to work out working out the relation of literary skepticism, not only to the epistemological formalities of Cicero and Sextus, but to what might be called “vernacular skepticism,” those idioms of discredit that animate mockery, insult, and polemic.
15. “Love”? Affective Bonding and Kinship in Renaissance Drama
We normally say love differs fundamentally, as a structure of feeling, from use, with its associations of distance and manipulation. Yet Pierre Bourdieu argues that kin relationships are something people make, with which they do something. This seminar invites triangulation among these views and the subject matter of Renaissance drama. How, taken together, do they unpack issues of instrumentalities and ends in early modern family formation: filial/sibling/spousal/same-sex relations, courtship, dowries, cuckoldry, bigamy, legitimacy, inheritance, wardship, service, dynastics?
16. Matter, Perception, and Cognition in the Renaissance
This seminar takes as its point of departure the assumption that early modern matter theory influenced experiences of perception, cognition, and passion. In the most mundane acts—eating, seeing, thinking, and reading—the human body was understood to be involved in the transformation of physical matter. How did such transformations become important to the form and experience of literature? Papers might consider historical phenomenology, Galenism as a materialist psychology, atomism and mechanism, the staging of the body and its senses.
Despite its earlier popularity, The Merry Wives of Windsor now occupies a relatively marginal position in the Shakespearean canon. This seminar is designed both to take a new look at the play and to explore the reasons for its devaluation. Participants may wish to compare the female protagonists in this play with those in Shakespeare’s other comedies, with the female protagonists in plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries, and/or with accounts of the lives of real women in Shakespeare’s world.
18. Negotiating Confessional Conflict in Early Modern England
This seminar explores ways of discussing confessional conflict in post-Reformation England in terms of negotiation rather than dissent and escalation. Was it possible to sidestep religious controversies in textual and dramatic representations? How can we conceive of literature and drama as possible sites of de-escalation? Does dramatic practice in particular allow for a suspension of faith impossible in theological or polemical discourses? How do textual or dramatic works both reflect on and perform such an erasure, suspension, or displacement of confessional conflict?
19. No Respect: Re-theorizing Comic Theory for Shakespeare
Comedies were prime theatrical commodities, but they remain undervalued and under-theorized compared to tragedy. How did Shakespearean practice differ from the available theories of Aristotle, Horace, Scaliger? What are the uses and limitations of such modern theorists of comedy, laughter, and humor as Bergson, Bakhtin, Cixous? What aspects of Shakespearean comedy practice cry out for, or seem resistant to, new theoretical treatment? Topics might include comic types, generic hybrids, the comic body, magic, gender, the politics of laughter, the accidental.
20. The Nonhuman Renaissance
This seminar considers what lies beyond humanity in the age sometimes credited with “inventing” it for modernity. Instead of assuming Renaissance anthropocentrism, discussion will focus on perspectives from which nonhuman creatures or things (organic and inorganic) interact with humans in a larger ecology of culture, or in which human-ness itself is either decentered or made the object of critique. Participants are invited to explore the various forms of nonhuman being that inhabit the material and imaginary worlds of the Renaissance.
Shakespeare’s contemporaries have begun to compete with him for dominance in theaters, films, editions, and the study of Renaissance drama. This seminar explores how studying non-Shakespearean productions affects Renaissance performance studies, cultural studies, and editorial practices. What impact do such performances have on our understanding of Renaissance dramaturgies—including Shakespeare’s? Papers are also welcome that consider issues of methodology and terminology that arise in these studies. The aim is to explore new critical directions beyond a focus solely on Shakespeare.
22. Oceanic Shakespeares
This seminar takes Shakespeare offshore, asking participants to stretch familiar scholarly boundaries by exploring the literary meanings of the early modern ocean. A wide variety of literary, historical, and theoretical approaches are welcome. Topics might include Shakespeare’s responses to the “transoceanic turn”; literary depictions of different oceans, especially the Mediterranean and the Atlantic; tropes of shipwreck, piracy, and homecoming; sailing ships as venues for cultural exchange; oceanic narratives and historical progression; and how an oceanic perspective might revise literary history.
With Othello we engage issues of race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion in the Renaissance; women, patriarchalism, and domestic violence; sexual identity, sexual practice, and pornography; social distinction, occupational mobility, and class resentment; state aggression, imperialism, and surveillance. This seminar welcomes papers on the play in its own time and since. Was it racist then? Can it be anything other than racist now? Why are its sexual politics overshadowed by its racial politics? What new questions should be asked of Othello?
24. The Past, Present, and Future of Shakespeare Studies
This seminar considers the past, present, and future of Shakespearean scholarship. Papers might focus on important trends in Shakespearean criticism, groundbreaking scholars or approaches, critical or theoretical genealogies, or underplayed or overplayed interven- tions. How has the field been shaped by close reading, feminism, new historicism, Marxism, postcolonialism, cognitive theory, theater history, performance studies, or cross-textual mediation? Speculation about what’s next or what’s missing is also welcome.
25. Performing Age in Early Modern Drama
Aged figures—children, youths, the elderly—have gained prominence in recent criticism and performance. What does age mean to Shakespeare and his contemporaries? To what extent is it determined by chronology, physi- ology, economics, law, sex, or status? This seminar explores multiple categories of aged identity with a particular focus on theatrical representations. Papers might consider the significance of age in early modern performance cultures; modes of signifying age on stage; the methodological challenges for investigating age in Shakespeare’s theater.
Property, crucial to people’s lives in early modern England, is also a battleground of contemporary political and social thought. This seminar asks how Shakespearean norms and narration shape how we understand what property is and why it matters. Papers may explore: legal definitions of “personhood”; citizenship; the relevance of Hobbes, Locke, Marx, and Macpherson; proprietary logics; property rights/human rights; property as contract; liberty and bondage; possession and ownership; labor as property; gender and sexuality as property; global properties.
27. Q1 Hamlet
Given recent developments in book history, theater and performance studies, and editing, how should we now understand Q1 Hamlet? What are the relationships among the Hamlets, the Ur-Hamlet, Der Bestrafte Brudermord? How does Q1 shape narratives about Shakespeare and the Chamberlain’s/King’s Men? What can we learn from the history of scholarly and theatrical approaches to the “problem of Q1”? How can Q1 inform readings of other “bad quartos” and editorial cruces? This seminar welcomes critical readings, cultural histories, technical analyses.
This seminar reconsiders Shakespeare’s Roman plays in light of contemporary political theory, particularly the questions about justice, law, sovereignty, or empire that motivate the concepts of radical democracy initiated by Agamben, Schmitt, Laclau, Mouffe. How did Shakespeare’s Roman imagination re-conceptualize political and theological allegory? Is violence constitutive of the nation-state? Does Shakespeare’s radical Rome shed light on our own concepts of justice, democracy, empire? The seminar also welcomes papers on other playwrights who represent England’s investment in Roman political history.
29. Reading Shakespeare and the Bible
A great deal has been written in recent years on Shakespeare and religion, often in the interest of identifying Shakespeare’s own confessional affiliation. Setting biography aside, and turning to a larger context of belief, this seminar approaches the question of religion in terms of how the plays and poems incorporate biblical and theological language. Participants are invited to explore ways in which Shakespeare’s systems of allusion respond to the methods of biblical reading that emerged from religious controversies and reformations.
30. Reading Shakespeare through Clothes
This seminar welcomes papers on any aspect of Shakespeare and clothing. Participants are encouraged to draw on an infinite variety of sources, reading Shakespeare through clothing that is material and/or metaphorical. Papers may address references to dress and adornment in plots, ideas, language, and images; costume and theoretical issues of gender, identity, age, power, and class; current work in material culture, textual studies, and fashion studies; the important if underexplored role of theater and film costumes in Shakespeare performance history.
Secularization has been used to account for transitions from Middle Ages to modern and from medieval cultic mysteries to the London commercial stage—with Shakespeare playing a key role in both. In the face of the present “religious turn” in Shakespeare studies, can his central role be maintained? This seminar invites papers on the secularization thesis (and debate), medieval mystery plays, the Church, sacramental theater, political theology, the Pauline revival, Christian hermeneutics, and Shakespeare’s relation to the worldly and otherworldly.
32. Shakespeare and Hollyworld
This seminar invites consideration of an international range of Shakespearean productions, both cinematic and theatrical. The global film industry, still strongly based in Los Angeles, relies on the construction of sameness; what film and stage productions counter the homogenizing forces of “Hollyworld”? How do contemporary adaptations trouble our understanding of authorship? of reception? our perspectives on the world? Participants are asked to enter into critical dialogue with theatrical and cinematic histories and with legacies of identity, politics, and economics.
33. Shakespeare and Philosophy
The organizing principle of this seminar is that to engage Shakespeare philosophically is to engage the history of Shakespeare interpretation. Rather than “apply” theory to Shakespeare, the seminar aims to leverage Shakespeare’s work to look anew at philosophical modernity. The seminar is keen to ask: How does Shakespeare’s work shed new light on problems such as skepticism, self-consciousness, finitude, secular reason, autonomy, citizenship, biopolitics, terror, rights, or human dignity? How does Shakespeare complicate philosophy by making thought “dramatic”?
This seminar seeks to illuminate the underlying, often conflicting, value-systems that enable and define Shakespearean drama. Papers may examine Shakespeare in light of the Bible, Greek and Roman writers, Patristics, medieval traditions, contemporary homiletics, Catholic and Protestant teaching, legal and political imperatives. Participants may discuss classical and Christian texts and contexts and explore various ethical consonances and dissonances. The seminar stages an inquiry into the nature of virtue and vice on Shakespeare’s stage.
This seminar explores Shakespeare’s relationship to the range of poetic and dramatic satiric modes available to him: was he practitioner, detractor, or passive observer of the period’s formal and ideological experimentation? What was the nature of his engagement with Juvenalian cynicism, Horatian didacticism, allegorical morality tales, Roman New Comedy, Lucianic Menippeanism? Essays addressing the influence and purposes of the conspicuous satirists of the period (Jonson, Nashe, Middleton, Marston, Dekker) are welcome, as are those employing Bakhtinian methodologies.
Rather than focus on film or animation, this seminar invites papers that open new discussion of Shakespearean “afterlives” in the visual arts. Papers may consider any plastic media —paintings, sculpture, installations, mixed-media, prints, photography — that re-imagine Shakespearean themes, characters, visual aesthetics. How do artworks render scenes, characters, objects, tableaux vivants, the unseen, the bard himself? What special reciprocities knit Shakespeare-focused arts and critical scholarship together? What do exhibitions—by galleries, museums, curators — indicate about producers and consumers of Shakespeare-themed art?
37. Shakespeare and the Power of the Face
Inspired by James Elkins’ provocative thesis that a face “is the place where the coherent mind becomes an image,” this seminar focuses on the power of the face in Shakespeare and Shakespeare studies broadly defined. Possible topics may include but are not limited to: the role of the face in the plays and poetry from any theoretical perspective, cultural fascination with the face of the author, the power of the face (and facial expression) in performance.
“Shakespeare in Place” explores Shakespeare’s presence (through performance and as cultural concept) in place making and meaning. The seminar encourages a range of geographically and historically diverse case studies to explore different kinds of place-based relationships. These may include the proliferation of contemporary global circulations and the utility of Shakespeare to emergent cultural economies but, equally, examples from more remote historical periods and less often cited geographies are welcome so as to better chart a trajectory for Shakespeare “in place.”
39. Shakespeare in Public
This seminar aims to resume and reposi- tion suspended conversations about “political Shakespeare.” What ideological functions does Shakespeare retain in the twenty-first century? Has “cultural capital” outlasted its explanatory utility, especially given the dominance of mass culture and newer media platforms? Has mass education made Shakespeare public property? Many approaches and objects are invited: from theatrical performances and institutions to reading and interpretive practices; from older media to new; from the role of culture in the public sphere to “public culture.”
40. Shakespeare on the Campus Stage
What versions of Shakespeare are being performed at our colleges, and where do those productions’ defining impulses originate? What effects have political and economic upheavals had on student identity and priorities as manifested by their theatrical interests? Are campus productions more dramaturgically astute, more intellectually or formally adventurous than those staged by professionals or community players, and if not, why not? What is the place of the Shakespearean scholar in such activities; what might we have to learn from them?
41. Shakespearean Theater as Mass Entertainment
How did a “multitude,” a “throng,” a “swarm” of theatergoers affect the writing, acting, and reception of plays? How did arena theaters compare to other contemporary forms of mass entertainment (for example, preaching or bear-baiting)? If many commercial plays were also staged at court, what difference could mass audiences have made to those plays? Whatwerethetheoriesofmassentertainment then, and how do they relate to theories now? How dissimilar was the Shakespearean theater from modern mass entertainment?
42. Shakespeare’s Errors
A word largely lost from recent textual criticism is “error.” Papers are invited that consider its current application to Shakespeare. They might endorse or challenge the concept of “error” in relation to textual relativism, versions, authorial legitimation, authorial mistakes, transformations in early modern theater, transcription, print culture. They might present new work on textual cruxes, engaging with theoretical as well as practical issues. The seminar will debate what if anything can be characterized as “wrong” in the text of Shakespeare.
43. Shakespeare’s Life Story
Why Shakespeare biography, why now? What continues to impel the surprising revival of the genre? New knowledge or new sources? Newly recognized historical contexts or dynamics? New fictional or biographical models? New ways of imagining the life of the artist? New ways of legitimizing Shakespearean biography as a scholarly enterprise? A new appreciation of critical biography as a genre? A newly felt necessity to “publicize” Shakespeare? New pressures on academic publishing? Papers addressing these or other related questions are welcome.
44. Shakespeare’s Sentences
“The sentence” lies at the heart of Shakespeare’s language. A key feature of his poetry is the deployment of unexpected word orders, and this seminar invites formal linguistic work on Shakespearean and early modern syntax and morphology. The notion of sententiae simultaneously opens the seminar to the topics of rhetoric and formal classical influence. Papers are also welcome on punctuation, textual transmission, and editing—that is, orthographic aspects of the sentence fixed by compositors and scribes rather than by Shakespeare.
45. Shakespeare’s Theories of Translation
Do Shakespeare’s works offer theorized approaches to translation? But also: do our theories of translation derive from his works? Claims to Shakespeare’s “universality” are attached also to claims that his work is untranslatable. Do the works reflect upon the contradiction between universalism and untranslatability? Have theories of translation inherited from them this contradiction? The point is not to apply these theories to Shakespeare’s works, but to ask how translation is conceptualized in the plays and poems, and with what consequences.
This seminar invites papers investigating the early modern English discourses, practices, and gendering of sprezzatura. Papers may consider the illusion or realization of effortless mastery—written, verbal, or physical—in the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Was sprezzatura the sole domain of the (male, noble) courtier or could women, commoners, and racial others achieve its effects? Could subordinate subjects raise their status by performing successful acts of sprezzatura in poetry, music, riding, fencing, athletic contests, dancing, translation, expressive silences?
47. Theater and Geography: Comparative Perspectives
How do the territories and trajectories of early modern English theater compare with those of European vernaculars? What aspects of geography shaped or threatened the places and networks of performance? This seminar explores theater’s intellectual geography by scrutinizing actors, stages, and texts within spatial environments and processes. Participants interested in drama, translation, book history, and mapping are welcome. Topics include cultural mobility; political conflict and diplomacy; ecology, ethnography, and epidemiology; and the recent emergence of the “spatial humanities.”
48. Thomas Heywood and the Theater
Acting, playwriting, translating, collaborating, revising others’ scripts, working with many companies and playhouses, describing social and political effects of theater in his Apology for Actors —Thomas Heywood had a varied and influential career. How did acting inform his drama and his relationships with actors? What do his dedications, prefaces, and prologues suggest about the printing and performance of his plays? What insights into gender and culture do his plays provide? This seminar investigates all aspects of Heywood’s life and afterlife.
49. Tropes of Turning, Conversion, and Translation in Early Modern Drama
This seminar will consider representations of “turnings” in early modern drama—whether religious, political, ethnic, geo-humoral, passional, cognitive, or linguistic. Do the social valences of turning vary according to context and discursive frame? When is “the turn” deplorable, and when laudable? What generic modes enable such tropes, and how do staging practices shape them? How can they enlarge the understanding of early modern conceptions of mind, body, and subjectivity? With what political, economic, and social projects do they intersect?
50. The “University Wits” and the Late-Elizabethan Culture of Writing
The “University Wits” (Lyly, Marlowe, Peele, Greene, Lodge, Nashe) were first assembled by George Saintsbury in 1887 as harbingers of Shakespeare’s genius. This seminar invites work on this energetic group: their role in London’s diverse profession of writing, intersections between their dramatic output and Shakespeare’s, their formal and poetic innovations, their contribution to an emergent canon of vernacular literature at the end of Elizabeth’s reign. Particularly welcome are ruminations upon the effects of Saintsbury’s long-lived agglomeration on early modern scholarship.
51. Visual Studies and Early Modern Drama
The field of visual studies analyzes images, image making, perception, and the consequences of vision itself. This seminar invites papers that explore the relationship between the visual and the verbal in early modern drama. How does language enter into the visual, and vice versa? How does the dynamic of visuality and textuality influence the conditions of spectatorship, staging and stage directions, and characterization? How do the workings of dramatic media interact with other art forms (such as dance, emblematics, masques)?
This seminar invites papers exploring all aspects of non-professional and semi-professional live Shakespeare across time. Topics might include: the origins, uses, and demographics of amateur and summer-stock Shakespeare in North America; domestic performances of Shakespeare; Shakespeare and military theatricals; Shakespearean pageants; Shakespeare’s own representations of unpaid performance and their significance for real-life amateurs; the relations between voluntary Shakespeare and subsidized Shakespeare as forms of non-commercial theater; kinds of early modern recreational theater and their influence on professional dramatists.
53. Women as Creators and Consumers of Early Modern Plays
An investigation of women’s participation in dramatic and cultural history — as creators (devisors, writers, translators, actors, singers, dancers, and publishers) of plays and as consumers (audience members and also owners, readers, transcribers, and annotators of manuscript and printed copies). Papers may focus on British women such as Mary Sidney, Anne Maxwell, Anne Bracegirdle, or Elizabeth Puckering; on women whose names are presently unknown; and/or on women from the Continent or other parts of the early modern world.
54. iShakespeare: New Media in Research and Pedagogy
This workshop explores the invigorating possibilities and understandable concerns of Shakespearean forays into the digital domains of iPads, Twitter, Dipity, Digital Storytelling, Skype, and Vidyo. The workshop leaders will demonstrate their digital teaching partnership, which links the U.S., the U.K., and India; will offer practical advice on implementation; and will facilitate discussion of the philosophical, social, cognitive, and financial aspects of electronic Shakespearean research and pedagogy. They will welcome reports of other new-media initiatives, including for technologies new to 2012.
55. The Physicality of Shakespeare’s Language
Performing simple acting exercises, participants will examine the physical experience of reverberations and interactions among sound and meaning in speaking, interpreting, and teaching Shakespeare’s plays. Preparation will include readings, memorization of both roles in one brief two-person scene, and one set speech. Book discussion and etymological research will be shared in advance of the session. Open enrollment in the workshop is limited to ten people who have not taken part in workshops conducted by this leader at earlier SAA meetings.
56. Pitiful Goers-Between: Teaching Intertexually
This workshop is devoted to developing and sharing concrete methods for teaching Shakespeare’s work in dialogue with other texts, including but not limited to: sources, analogues, pamphlets, treatises, histories, sermons, theatrical records, paratextual matter , intratextual collaboration, theory , performance, and adaptation. All pairings and approaches are welcome, but each must involve texts that can be assigned to students and discussed in the classroom. Pairings need not be original, but must result in clear insights and be fully articulated for adoption.
This key-word workshop interrogates the question of sovereignty as a fundamental axiom of political thought, referring to the supreme power inside any state and to the “independence” with which states confront one anoth- er outside their borders. Participants will read and discuss classical theories of sovereignty (Bodin, Hobbes, Rousseau, Hegel), as well as Schmitt, Agamben, Foucault, Derrida. The goal is a more rigorous understanding of sovereignty, brought to bear on Shakespeare and on urgent political dilemmas of our own era.