Seminar and Workshop Descriptions for 2016
1. Absence and Omission in Shakespeare
Seminar Leaders: Darlene Farabee (University of South Dakota) and Brett Gamboa (Dartmouth College)
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.
2. Ambassador Shakespeare: The Bard as Cultural Bridge
Seminar Leader: Donna Woodford-Gormley (New Mexico Highlands University)
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.
3. Arden of Faversham: Performance, Authorship, Gender, and History
Seminar Leaders: Terri Bourus (Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis) and Gary Taylor (Florida State University)
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?
4. Artful Shakespeares
Seminar Leader: Kaara L. Peterson (Miami University of Ohio)
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, portraiture, chiaroscuro/sfumato, perspective, decorative/material objects, other depicted elements, etc.—embedded or “painted” into early modern playtexts or stagecraft? Alternatively, how do Renaissance 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 interrelationship between Renaissance art and drama.
5. Before Shakespeare: The Drama of the 1580s
Seminar Leader: Andy Kesson (University of Roehampton)
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.
6. Ben Jonson in Space
Seminar Leader: James Loxley (University of Edinburgh)
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?
7. “Both in Reputation and Profit”: Kinds of Capital in the Early Theater
Seminar Leaders: John Astington (University of Toronto) and Kara Northway (Kansas State University)
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.
8. Caroline Shakespeare
Seminar Leader: Andrew Mattison (University of Toledo)
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.
9. Cavell on Shakespeare
Seminar Leader: Richard Strier (University of Chicago)
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 as 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.
10. Close Reading
Seminar Leader: Phyllis Rackin (University of Pennsylvania)
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.
11. Commemorating Shakespeare: Conflict, Cooperation, and Capital
Seminar Leaders: Edmund G. C. King (Open University) and Monika Smialkowska (Northumbria University)
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?
12. Early Modern Sensory Interactions
Seminar Leaders: Simon Smith (University of Oxford) and Jackie Watson (London, United Kingdom)
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.
13. Early Modern Women and Travel
Seminar Leaders: Patricia Akhimie (Rutgers University, Newark) and Bernadette Andrea (University of Texas, San Antonio)
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?
14. Ecological Resilience
Seminar Leaders: Keith M. Botelho (Kennesaw State University) and Rebecca Laroche (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs)
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.
15. The Face-to-Face in Shakespearean Drama
Seminar Leader: Matthew J. Smith (Azusa Pacific University)
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 institution. 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?
16. The Forgotten Archives of Early Modern England
Seminar Leaders: Alan Stewart (Columbia University) and Lehua Yim (San Francisco State University)
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?
17. Imagining Scientific Form
Seminar Leaders: Jenny C. Mann (Cornell University) and Debapriya Sarkar (Hendrix College)
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 English Literature
Seminar Leaders: Adam Smyth (Oxford University) and Molly Murray (Columbia University)
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?
19. Masculinity and the Body in Contemporary Shakespearean Film and Performance
Seminar Leader: Ramona Wray (Queen’s University, Belfast)
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.
20. More or Less than Kind: Claiming Kinship in Early Modern Literature
Seminar Leaders: Judith Owens (University of Manitoba) and Roderick H. McKeown (University of Toronto)
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.
21. New Perspectives on The Merchant of Venice: Text, Performane, and Adaptation
Seminar Leader: M. Lindsay Kaplan (Georgetown University)
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.
22. Novel / Traveling Objects
Seminar Leader: Jennifer Linhart Wood (Folger Shakespeare Library)
This seminar considers two specific 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?
23. Part-Time Shakespeare
Seminar Leaders: Gregory Foran (Nazareth College) and Emily Ruth Isaacson (Heidelberg University)
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 in 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.
24. Performance Studies and Shakespeare: A Dialogue
Seminar Leaders: Susan Bennett (University of Calgary) and Gina Bloom (University of California, Davis)
This seminar considers the ways that performance studies scholarship might open up new questions and methodologies for the analysis of Shakespearean performance. Participants 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.
25. Performing Disability in Early Modern England
Seminar Leaders: Leslie C. Dunn (Vassar College) and Angela Heetderks (Oberlin College)
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?
26. Performing Knowledge on Shakespeare’s Stage
Seminar Leaders: Subha Mukherji (University of Cambridge) and Elizabeth Swann (University of Cambridge)
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.
27. Political Aesthetics
Seminar Leader: Christopher Pye (Williams College)
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.
28. Queering Childhood
Seminar Leader: Jennifer Higginbotham (Ohio State University)
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.
29. Race and…
Seminar Leader: Dennis Austin Britton (University of New Hampshire)
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 participates 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.
30. Reality Shakespeare
Seminar Leader: Sarah Olive (University of York)
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.
31. Reappraising the Admiral’s Men
Seminar Leaders: Todd Andrew Borlik (University of Huddersfield) and Tom Rutter (University of Sheffield)
This seminar aims to synthesize the latest advances in literary criticism and theater history, including digital resources, to reevaluate 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?
32. Re-Authoring Shakespeare in Contemporary Performance, Translation, and Adaptation
Seminar Leader: Tom Cornford (University of York)
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 either of 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.
33. Reevaluating Earlier Generations of Shakespeare Films
Seminar Leaders: Michael P. Jensen (Shakespeare Newsletter) and Toby Malone (University of Waterloo)
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.
34. Religion and / as Language
Seminar Leader: Kenneth J. E. Graham (University of Waterloo)
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.
35. Representing Ovid on the Early Modern Stage
Seminar Leader: Lisa S. Starks-Estes (University of South Florida, St. Petersburg)
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.
36. Reprints and Revivals
Seminar Leaders: Harry Newman (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Eoin Price (Swansea University)
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?
37. Rethinking “Minor” Epics
Seminar Leader: Lynn Enterline (Vanderbilt University)
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.
38. Ritual Shakespeare
Seminar Leaders: Katharine Cleland (Virginia Tech) and Jay Zysk (University of South Florida)
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?
39. Scenographic Shakespeares: Site, Space, and Performance
Seminar Leaders: Christian M. Billing (University of Hull) and Bridget Escolme (Queen Mary, University of London)
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.
40. Sexuality from Below
Seminar Leader: Ari Friedlander (University of Mississippi)
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
Seminar Leaders: Amy Cook (Stony Brook University) and Irene Middleton (Liverpool, United Kingdom)
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.
42. Shakespeare and His Contemporaries in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Seminar Leader: Ivan Lupic (Stanford University)
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.
43. Shakespeare and Montaigne
Seminar Leaders: Lars Engle (University of Tulsa) and Will Hamlin (Washington State University)
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)
Seminar Leader: J. F. Bernard (Champlain College)
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.
45. Shakespeare and Riot
Seminar Leaders: Edel Lamb (Queen’s University Belfast) and Fiona Ritchie (McGill University)
From the depiction of angry mobs (i.e. in Coriolanus) to the provocation of theatrical unrest (i.e. 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.
46. Shakespeare and the Dictionary
Seminar Leader: William Germano (Cooper Union)
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.
47. Shakespeare and the Histories of Sustainability
Seminar Leader: Vin Nardizzi (University of British Columbia)
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.
48. Shakespeare and the South: Ten Years After
Seminar Leaders: Christy Desmet (University of Georgia) and Robert Sawyer (East Tennessee State University)
The Southern U.S. has a historically strong connection to Shakespeare and Shakespeare scholarship, having played a role in the founding of SAA itself. It also figures in current productions and appropriations. 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.
49. Shakespeare, Materialism, and Religion
Seminar Leaders: James A. Knapp (Loyoal University Chicago) and Jennifer Waldron (University of Pittsburgh)
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?
50. The Shakespearean Text and Contemporary Performance
Seminar Leader: David McCandless (Southern Oregon University)
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.
51. Shared Practices and Shakespearean Communities
Seminar Leaders: Matt Kozusko (Ursinus College) and Steve Mentz (St. John’s University)
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?
52. Space, Memory, and Transformation in Early Modern Literature
Seminar Leaders: Jemima Matthews (Queen Mary, University of London) and Laurence Publicover (University of Bristol)
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.
53. Sleeping through the Renaissance
Seminar Leaders: Margaret Simon (North Carolina State University) and Nancy Simpson-Younger (Luther College)
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.
54. Teaching Texual Studies in / through Shakespeare
Seminar Leaders: Brett D. Hirsch (University of Western Australia) and Sarah Neville (University of West Virginia)
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.
55. Titus Andronicus: The State of Play
Seminar Leader: Farah Karim-Cooper (Shakespeare’s Globe)
The surge in performances of Titus Andronicus recently 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 are welcome.
56. Towards Ecocriticism in Performance
Seminar Leader: Randall Martin (University of New Brunswick)
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) Shakespearian 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 Shakespearian performance play in producing an environmental politics and posthuman ethics?
57. Vision and Emotion in Early Modern Literature and Culture
Seminar Leaders: Eric Langley (University College London) and Lesel Dawson (Bristol University)
How do theories of sight shape psychology in early modern literature and culture? What role does vision play in 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.
58. Approaching Dance in Shakespeare: Text, Context, and Performance
Workshop Leaders: Susan Dibble (Brandeis University), Linda McJannet (Bentley University), and Emily Winerock (University of Pittsburgh)
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.
59. Editing for Performance: An Interactive Workshop for Practitioners and Editors
Workshop Leader: Kurt Daw (San Francisco State University)
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 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.
60. Shakespeare, Race, and Pedagogical Practice
Workshop Leaders: Marianne Montgomery (East Carolina University) and Gitanjali Shahani (San Francisco State University)
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.
61. Shakespeare’s Documents
Workshop Leader: Hannah Crumme (National Archives)
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 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.
62. What to Do with a Discovery in the Archive: Hester Pulter’s Manuscript and Other Found Objects
Workshop Leaders: Wendy Wall (Northwestern University) and Leah Knight (Brock University)
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.
63. Working Class Shakespeares: Shakespeare in Class and Class in Shakespeare
Workshop Leaders: Timothy Francisco (Youngstown State University) and Sharon O’Dair (University of Alabama)
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 engage Working Class Shakespeare from critical, pedagogical, and even biographical perspectives. They 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.