Seminar and Workshop Descriptions for 2015
1. Animal Encounters
Seminar Leaders: Holly Dugan (George Washington University) and Karl Steel (Brooklyn College, CUNY)
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?
2. Animal Materialisms
Seminar Leader: Karen Raber (University of Mississippi)
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.
3. Apocalypse and Form
Seminar Leader: Ryan Netzley (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale)
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.
4. Appropriation, Adaptation, or What You Will
Seminar Leader: Sujata Iyengar (University of Georgia)
This seminar aims to establish a set of working methodologies for scholars writing 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 performance can be considered a kind of embodied appropriation.
5. Broadcast Your Shakespeare
Seminar Leader: Stephen O’Neill (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
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?
6. Disgusting Shakespeare
Seminar Leader: Natalie K. Eschenbaum (University of Wisconsin, La Crosse)
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.”
7. Early Modern Aesthetics
Seminar Leaders: Katherine Attie (Towson University) and Joel Slotkin (Towson University)
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.
8. Early Modern Food Systems
Seminar Leader: Hillary Eklund (Loyola University New Orleans)
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
Seminar Leaders: Brooke Conti (State University of New York, Brockport) and Todd Butler (Washington State University)
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.
10. Early Modern Race / Ethnic / Diaspora Studies
Seminar Leader: Kim F. Hall (Barnard College)
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.
11. Entertainment and Early Modern Plays
Seminar Leaders: Laurie Johnson (University of Southern Queensland) and James Mardock (University of Nevada)
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?
12. Error in Early Modern Studies
Seminar Leader: Adam Zucker (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
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.
13. Fiction in Shakespeare
Seminar Leaders: Aaron Kunin (Pomona College) and Henry S. Turner (Rutgers University)
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?
14. Form and Deformity in Early Modern Literature
Seminar Leaders: Colleen Rosenfeld (Pomona College) and Katherine Schaap Williams (New York University, Abu Dhabi)
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.
15. Form, Complexity and Computation
Seminar Leaders: Joseph Loewenstein (Washington University) and Anupam Basu (Washington University)
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
Seminar Leader: Erin Murphy (Boston University)
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.
17. Landscape, Space, and Place in Early Modern Literature
Seminar Leaders: Julie Sanders (University of Nottingham) and Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr. (Pennsylvania State University)
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.
18. Literary Romance
Seminar Leader: Lori Humphrey Newcomb (University of Illinois)
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 intertexts of any early modern play; romance’s involvement with classical and early modern national literatures; romance in contemporary fiction, drama, film, criticism, or translation.
19. Marxist Shakespeares / Shakespearean Marx
Seminar Leaders: Hugh Grady (Arcadia University) and Christian Smith (University of Warwick)
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.
20. Memory and Musical Performance
Seminar Leaders: Linda Phyllis Austern (Northwestern University) and Amanda Eubanks Winkler (Syracuse University)
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
Seminar Leader: James M. Bromley (Miami University)
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.
22. Ovid in Early Modern Culture
Seminar Leader: Joyce Green MacDonald (University of Kentucky)
“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.
23. Performing Guilt and Reputation in Renaissance Drama
Seminar Leader: Elizabeth Hodgson (University of British Columbia)
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.
24. Play Openings
Seminar Leaders: Joel Benabu (University of Ottawa) and Richard L. Nochimson (Yeshiva University)
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.
25. Playhouses and Other Early Modern Playing Venues
Seminar Leader: David Kathman (Chicago, Illinois)
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.
26. Popularity in Early Modern England
Seminar Leader: Jeff Doty (West Texas A&M University)
“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?
27. Positive Affect in Renaissance Literature
Seminar Leader: Cora Fox (Arizona State University)
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?
28. The Post-Shakespearean Seventeenth Century
Seminar Leader: Jeremy Lopez (University of Toronto)
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.
29. Queer Shakespeare
Seminar Leader: Goran Stanivukovic (Saint Mary’s University)
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?
30. Reading Essex
Seminar Leader: Hank Dobin (Washington and Lee University)
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.
31. Reappraising The Revenger’s Tragedy
Seminar Leader: Gretchen E. Minton (Montana State University)
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?
32. Re-Mediating Shakespeare
Seminar Leader: Joshua Calhoun (University of Wisconsin)
“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.
33. Rome Revisited
Seminar Leader: Emma Smith (Hertford College, Oxford)
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.
34. Shakespeare and Advertising
Seminar Leaders: Deborah Cartmell (De Montfort University) and Siobhan Keenan (De Montfort University)
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.
35. Shakespeare and Ballads
Seminar Leader: Patricia Fumerton (University of California, Santa Barbara)
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.
36. Shakespeare and Book Design
Seminar Leaders: Claire M. L. Bourne (Virginia Commonwealth University) and Jonathan P. Lamb (University of Kansas)
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.
37. Shakespeare and Contagion
Seminar Leaders: Mary Floyd-Wilson (University of North Carolina) and Darryl Chalk (University of Southern Queensland)
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?
38. Shakespeare and Early Modern Historiographies
Seminar Leader: Dan Breen (Ithaca College)
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.
39. Shakespeare and Film Form
Seminar Leader: Brian Walsh (Yale University)
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?
40. Shakespeare and / in Canada
Seminar Leader: Jennifer Drouin (University of Alabama)
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
Seminar Leader: Ian Munro (University of California, Irvine)
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.
42. Shakespeare and the Novel
Seminar Leader: Daniel Pollack-Pelzner (Linfield College)
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.
43. Shakespeare and the Philosophy of Action
Seminar Leader: Andrew Escobedo (Ohio University)
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.
44. Shakespeare and the Seasons
Seminar Leader: Amy L. Tigner (University of Texas, Arlington)
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.
45. Shakespeare and Transcendence
Seminar Leader: Travis DeCook (Carleton University)
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?
46. The Shakespeare Audience
Seminar Leader: Penelope Woods (University of Western Australia)
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.
47. Shakespearean Horizons
Seminar Leader: Patricia Badir (University of British Columbia)
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.
48. Shakespearean Parentage
Seminar Leader: Erin Ellerbeck (University of Victoria)
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.
49. Shakespeare’s Foreign Policy
Seminar Leader: Thomas P. Anderson (Mississippi State University)
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.
50. Shakespeare’s Sonnets Now
Seminar Leaders: Hannah Crawforth (King’s College London) and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (King’s College London)
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.
51. Staging Poiesis
Seminar Leaders: Scott A. Trudell (University of Maryland) and Thomas Ward (United States Naval Academy)
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.
52. Tudor Shakespeare
Seminar Leaders: Katherine Steele Brokaw (University of California, Merced) and Kent Cartwright (University of Maryland)
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.
53. The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Seminar Leaders: Elizabeth Rivlin (Clemson University) and Melissa Walter (University of Fraser Valley)
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, commedia 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.
54. Uncharacteristic Shakespeare
Seminar Leader: Lara Bovilsky (University of Oregon)
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.
55. Women Making Texts in Early Modern England
Seminar Leaders: Elizabeth Zeman Kolkovich (Ohio State University) and Tara L. Lyons (Illinois State University)
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?
56. Women’s Alliances
Seminar Leaders: Deborah Uman (St. John Fisher College) and Mary Trull (St. Olaf College)
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.
57. Writing New Histories of Embodiment
Seminar Leader: Gail Kern Paster (Folger Shakespeare Library)
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.
58. Reading the First Folio Then and Now
Workshop Leaders: Jean-Christophe Mayer (French National Center for Scientific Research) and Noriko Sumimoto (Meisei University)
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
Workshop Leaders: Jenelle Jenstad (University of Victoria) and Kim McLean-Fiander (University of Victoria)
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.
60. Shakespearean Scene-Writing
Workshop Leader: Scott Maisano (University of Massachusetts Boston)
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 imitatio 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
Workshop Leader: Eric M. Johnson (Folger Shakespeare Library)
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.