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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: March ::
Re: Is Shakespeare sexist?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0174  Sunday, 1 March 1998.

[1]     From:   Helen Ostovich <
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        Date:   Friday, 27 Feb 1998 11:32:50 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0168  Re: Is Shakespeare sexist?

[2]     From:   Matthew Bibb <
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        Date:   Friday, 27 Feb 98 10:31:30 -0800
        Subj:   Is Shakespeare Sexist?

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Saturday, 28 Feb 1998 16:51:14 -0500
        Subj:   Re:  Is Shakespeare sexist?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Helen Ostovich <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Feb 1998 11:32:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 9.0168  Re: Is Shakespeare sexist?
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0168  Re: Is Shakespeare sexist?

In reply to Chris Fassler's question, why did I post the "article", I
can only say that I found it ridiculous, and wanted to hear if there
were any truth attached to it.  My curiosity is satisfied.  Both the
SHAKSPER mail and my private email suggest that the ASU "report" on the
theatre department is a distortion.  I'm delighted to hear it.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Bibb <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Feb 98 10:31:30 -0800
Subject:        Is Shakespeare Sexist?

SHAKSPERians,

I'm forwarding this response to the list concerning the "Is Shakespeare
Sexist?" article with the permission of its author, Bonnie Eckard. Ms.
Eckard is the Chair of the Department of Theatre at ASU.

     Matt Bibb
     Lost Dog Productions


****************************
I had not seen this article.  It's totally misinformed.  Unfortunately,
the writer did not check with the Department of Theatre before
publishing her article.  Please be assured that the Department of
Theatre is not abandoning the classics (particularly Shakespeare) and
certainly not abandoning the cannon of Western literature.

Every year, for the past four years, we have produced a major
Shakespearean play as a part of our mainstage season.  This  year, we
produced King Lear, directed by Marshall W. Mason, an Obie winning
director who is a member of our faculty. Professor Mason, who has
directed on and off Broadway for many years, is a white man who was
hired the same year Sakren was hired.  Mason received tenure and
promotion after two years; Sakren received a terminal contract (he never
stood for tenure).  One can only ask why Sakren was terminated.
Unfortunately, because Sakren has refused to allow us to discuss his
case, I cannot give you more information.  You need to know, however,
that our faculty is a professional faculty including Marshall W.  Mason,
Artistic Director Victoria Holloway, playwright Guillermo Reyes, and
Scenographer Jeff Thomson, among others.  (The writer's assertions are
so easy to disprove, it's laughable!)

Although I was not Chair at the time, my faculty tell me Mr. Sakren was
never told how to interpret his productions.  He was never told how to
teach or direct or what to teach or direct.  These accusations are
false, and I believe they have been published by newspapers in order to
sell papers that appeal to a sexist feminist backlash.  There is no
truth in his accusations.  Mr. Sakren has been terminated because of
extreme problems in his job performance.

The evaluation process has been complete and fair.  The evaluation
process here at ASU involves a five level peer review process.  The
writer has misrepresented the grievance process and the recommendation
of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure who heard his case.  We
are prevented to sharing the report from the committee because Sakren
has refused to allow us to do so.

I urge you not to believe everything you read.  Remember, Sakren has
refused to allow us to open his files to reveal the real reasons for his
termination.  Without that permission, I am prevented from discussing
any more details regarding his personnel situation with you.

I appreciate your concern, and I hope this information will reassure you
that diversity of thought is alive and well at Arizona State
University-particularly in the Department of Theatre.  If you wish to
talk with me directly,  I can be reached at (602)965-9547.

Bonnie J. Eckard, Chair, Department of Theatre
602-965-9547  FAX 602-965-5351
e-mail  
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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Saturday, 28 Feb 1998 16:51:14 -0500
Subject:        Re:  Is Shakespeare sexist?

Marilyn Bonomi writes that she would be "thrilled" the celebrate the
Bard, but only provided we "equally" acknowledge "all those who aren't
D, W, E, or M."  I hope that by "equally" Ms. Bonomi really means justly
proportionate to their achievements.  We cannot justify giving equal
prominence to, say, the poetry of a living African-American woman
because of her sex or race (or the fact that she is not
life-challenged).  We celebrate Shakespeare and his works because of
their brilliance, not because the author is dead, white, European or
male.  Millions of people who meet those criteria are consigned to
oblivion.  If Ms. Bonomi or anyone else can identify a living non-white
non-European woman whose literary achievements match Shakespeare's, I
will be "thrilled" to accord her equal respect.  Maya Angelou does not
qualify.
 

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