Seminar and Workshop Descriptions for 2014
1. Accidental Shakespeare
Seminar Leader: Christy Desmet (University of Georgia)
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.
2. Alter Egos and Second Selves
Seminar Leader: Kent Lehnhof (Chapman University)
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
Seminar Leader: Sara van den Berg (Saint Louis University)
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.
4. The Blind Spots of Knowledge in Shakespeare and his World
Seminar Leaders: Subha Mukherji (University of Cambridge) and Graham Bradshaw
(University of Queensland)
This seminar examines forms and processes of knowledge that elude familiar categories and paradigms, but which Shakespeare and his contemporaries explore: knowing and knowingness, 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 knowledge and the means and ends (in both senses) of knowing? Do threshold states (dreaming, awakening, lucid confusion, or uncanny intimations) speak to interdisciplinary thresholds that are yet to be systematically researched?
5. Brothers and Others: New Directions
Seminar Leaders: Elizabeth Bearden (University of Wisconsin) and Julia Schleck (University of Nebraska)
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.
6. Contending with Shakespeare through Adaptation
Seminar Leader: Adam H. Kitzes (University of North Dakota)
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.
7. Conversions / Conversations: The Language of Religious and Cultural Encounter
Seminar Leaders: Matthew Dimmock (University of Sussex) and Helen Smith (University of York)
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.
Seminar Leader: Niamh J. O’Leary (Xavier University)
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.
9. Creative / Critical Approaches to Shakespeare
Seminar Leader: Rob Conkie (La Trobe University)
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?
10. Disenchantments / Re-Enchantments
Seminar Leaders: Nandini Das (University of Liverpool) and Nick Davis (University of Liverpool)
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.
11. Elemental Shakespeare
Seminar Leader: Lowell Duckert (West Virginia University)
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.
12. The Erotics of Memory in Shakespeare’s England
Seminar Leaders: John Garrison (Carroll University) and Kyle Pivetti (Norwich University)
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.
13. The Erotics of Shakespeare’s Poetry
Seminar Leader: Ian Frederick Moulton (Arizona State University)
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.
14. Evidence in Early Modern Drama Studies
Seminar Leader: Travis D. Williams (University of Rhode Island)
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.
15. Exhibiting the Early Modern: Gesture, Memory, Space
Seminar Leaders: Pascale Aebischer (University of Exeter) and Kathryn Prince (University of Ottawa)
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.
16. Forms of Time
Seminar Leader: Lauren Shohet (Villanova University)
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.
17. The Global Shakespeare Festival: Shakespearean Diplomacy
Seminar Leader: Christie Carson (Royal Holloway London)
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.
18. The Icon
Seminar Leaders: Sue Wiseman (Birkbeck College London) and Gillian Woods (Birkbeck College London)
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
Seminar Leader: Bi-qi Beatrice Lei (National Taiwan University)
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.
20. Intrusions by Others in Shakespeare’s Writings
Seminar Leader: Steven W. May (Emory University)
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.
21. Inn-wards: Literary-Legal Culture of the Inns of Court
Seminar Leaders: Jessica Winston (Idaho State University) and Virginia Lee Strain (Loyola University Chicago)
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)?
22. Julius Caesar
Seminar Leaders: Sarah K. Scott (Mount St. Mary’s University) and M. L. Stapleton (Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne)
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, orts, 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.
23. New and Revised Narratives of the Theater
Seminar Leader: June Schlueter (Lafayette College)
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
Seminar Leader: Diane K. Jakacki (Bucknell University)
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.
25. New Generations in “The Materiality of the Shakespearean Text”
Seminar Leaders: Kurt Schreyer (University of Missouri, St. Louis) and Cyrus Mulready (SUNY New Paltz)
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
Seminar Leaders: Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (George Washington University) and Julian Yates (University of Delaware)
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?
27. Performance, Print, and Politics in 1621 and Beyond
Seminar Leaders: Lucy Munro (Keele University) and David Nicol (Dalhousie University)
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.
28. Putting Gender to Work
Seminar Leader: Mark Albert Johnston (University of Windsor)
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.
29. Queer Heterosexualities
Seminar Leaders: Simone Chess (Wayne State University) and Melissa J. Jones (Eastern Michigan University)
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.
30. Reimagining Topicality
Seminar Leader: Barbara Sebek (Colorado State University)
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?
31. Rules of Playing and Theatrical Culture in Early Modern England
Seminar Leaders: Allison Deutermann (Baruch College, CUNY) and Musa Gurnis (Washington University)
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?
32. Shakespeare and Dance
Seminar Leaders: Lynsey McCulloch (Coventry University) and Brandon Shaw (Brown University)
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.
33. Shakespeare and Language: Close and Distant Reading
Seminar Leaders: Jonathan Hope (Strathclyde University) and Margaret Tudeau-Clayton (University of Neuchâtel)
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.
34. Shakespeare and Pedagogy
Seminar Leader: Lynn Enterline (Vanderbilt University)
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.
35. Shakespeare and the Book Trade, 1642-1737
Seminar Leaders: Emma Depledge (Université de Genève) and Peter Kirwan (University of Nottingham)
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
Seminar Leaders: Elizabeth Hutcheon (Huntingdon College) and Jeff Rufo (Rutgers University)
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
Seminar Leaders: Paul Cefalu (Lafayette College) and James Kuzner (Brown University)
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
Seminar Leaders: Meg Pearson (University of West Georgia) and Amy Rodgers (Mount Holyoke College)
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?
39. Shakespeare Beyond Words
Seminar Leaders: Michael Neill (University of Kent) and Abigail Rokison (Shakespeare Institute)
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.
40. The Shakespeare Documentary
Seminar Leader: Michael P. Jensen (Shakespeare Newsletter)
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
Seminar Leader: Andrew James Hartley (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
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
Seminar Leader: Shankar Raman (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
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.
43. Shakespeare, Performance, and the Senses
Seminar Leader: Farah Karim-Cooper (Shakespeare’s Globe)
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.
44. Shakespeare without Africans: Staging Blackness in the Early Modern English Theater
Seminar Leader: Ian Smith (Lafayette College)
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.
45. Shakespeare without Print
Seminar Leader: Paul Menzer (Mary Baldwin College)
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.
46. Slavery, Captivity, and Piracy in Early Modern Writing
Seminar Leaders: Laurie Ellinghausen (University of Missouri, Kansas City) and Daniel Vitkus (Florida State University)
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”
Seminar Leader: Michael Saenger (Southwestern University)
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.
48. Theater and Neighborhood in Early Modern London
Seminar Leader: Christopher Highley (Ohio State University)
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.
49. Theater and Judgment in Early Modern England
Seminar Leader: Kevin Curran (University of North Texas)
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).
50. Theorizing the Digital Archive
Seminar Leaders: Louise Geddes (Adelphi University) and Valerie M. Fazel (Arizona State University)
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
Seminar Leaders: Miriam Jacobson (University of Georgia) and Wendy Beth Hyman (Oberlin College)
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
Workshop Leader: Michael Witmore (Folger Shakespeare Library)
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
Workshop Leaders: Adam G. Hooks (University of Iowa) and Kirk Melnikoff (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
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
Workshop Leader: Ralph Alan Cohen (Mary Baldwin College)
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
Workshop Leaders: Andy Kesson (University of Kent) and Stephen Purcell (University of Warwick)
This workshop aims to bring together theorists and practitioners to investigate theatre 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
Workshop Leader: Robert Henke (Washington University)
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.