Podcast: Interview with Michael D. Bristol

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.382  Friday, 18 November 2016


From:        Neema Parvini <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 18, 2016 at 7:38:26 AM EST

Subject:    Podcast: Interview with Michael D. Bristol

Neema interviews Michael D. Bristol (McGill) about a wide range of topics including: Mikhail Bakunin, LC Knights’s famous attack on A.C. Bradley “How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth?”, the importance of character to Shakespeare criticism, is Shakespeare a philosopher?, moral agency and much more.



Podcast: Interview with Stephen Greenblatt

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.373  Friday, 11 November 2016


From:        Neema Parvini <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 11, 2016 at 6:22:14 AM EST

Subject:    Podcast: Interview with Stephen Greenblatt


Ahead of the publication of his forthcoming book Shakespeare and New Historicist Theory (for the Arden Shakespeare and Theory series), Neema interviews new historicism’s most influential exponent, Stephen Greenblatt (Harvard). Topics include the cultural and political moment of the late 1960s, Louis Althusser, the genesis of new historicism, how and why Shakespeare has endured across history, and, yes, Donald Trump.




Book Announcement: Sanctified Subversives: Nuns in Early Modern English and Spanish Literature

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.372  Friday, 11 November 2016


From:        Horacio Sierra <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 8, 2016 at 12:03:58 PM EST

Subject:    Book Announcement: Sanctified Subversives: Nuns in Early Modern English and Spanish Literature


Hello, Colleagues!


I am happy to announce the publication of my book, Sanctified Subversives: Nuns in Early Modern English and Spanish Literature. The book has a chapter that focuses on the role of Isabella in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, so it may be of interest to many of you.


I hope you will ask your college librarian to order a copy of the book. He/she can get a discount for libraries by ordering directly through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Here is the publisher's page on the book:


Book Description:

As chaste women devoted to God, nuns are viewed as the purest of the pure. Yet, as females who reject courtship, sex, marriage, child bearing, and materialism, they have been the anathema of how society has proscribed, expected, and regulated women: sex object, wife, mother, and capitalist consumer. They are perceived as otherworldly beings, yet revered for their salt-of-the-earth demeanor. This book illustrates how both English and Spanish Renaissance-era authors latched onto the figure of the nun as a way to evaluate the social construction of womanhood. This analysis of the nun’s role in the popular imagination via literature explores how writers on both sides of the Catholic-Protestant divide employed the role of the nun to showcase the powerful potential these women possessed in acting out as sanctified subversives.


The texts under consideration include William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Margaret Cavendish’s The Convent of Pleasure, María de Zayas’s The Disenchantments of Love, Aphra Behn’s The History of the Nun, Catalina de Erauso’s The Lieutenant Nun, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s autobiographical and literary works. No other book addresses these issues through a concentrated study of these authors and their literary works, much less by offering an in-depth discussion of the literature and culture of seventeenth-century England, Spain, and Mexico.


Measure for Measure Chapter Summary:

The central figure of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure is Isabella, a would-be nun of the Order of Saint Clare who must delay her novitiate when her brother has been sentenced to death. His crime? Premarital sex with his girlfriend. Who better than the innocent Isabella to save his life? This is the thinking when she is summoned to plea on his behalf to Angelo, a stand-in for the Duke of Vienna. Shakespeare ingeniously transforms his source material, George Whetstone’s 1578 Promos and Cassandra, by having Isabella, who despite not yet being a professed nun is viewed by the audience as an austere nun, serve as the catalyst for a discussion of sexual ethics and the dichotomy between justice and mercy. Angelo demands that Isabella sleep with him in order to spare her brother’s life. Shakespeare cleverly renovates Whetstone’s Cassandra into the ultimate avatar for female purity – a nun. Isabella’s insistent denials only further excite Angelo. 


As the complexities of the drama’s rising action unfold, readers are given the opportunity to consider how the Catholic Church’s religious vocations for women challenged early modern Protestant ideals of womanhood. For a Jacobean audience still anxious about King James I’s commitment to a Protestant England, Isabella’s presence helps this “problem play” question conventional ideas about the supposed freedoms followers of Protestantism enjoyed and the alleged oppression Catholics suffered.


By studying dynamics between the sexes and gendered power structures in early modern England, this chapter examines how ideas about nuns invite the play’s characters and audience to consider Isabella’s dialogue and actions as representative of the queer female agency that Catholicism, ironically, affords Isabella as she challenges conventional notions about female identity and patriarchal prerogative. Isabella’s decision to reject traditional family structures and expectations that she become a wife and a mother positions her as someone who challenges heteronormativity. Isabella’s desire to take a vow of chastity marks her as asexual. She denies her sexual reproductive abilities, and she distances herself from women who follow a path of reproductive futurity. Doing so renders her as non-heterosexual or asexual; if we see acts constituting identities, however anachronistic some critics may deem such labeling, Isabella thus fits within Judith Halberstam’s inclusive reclamation of “queer” as a term befitting those who reject mainstream culture through sexual practices, or, in this instance, lack thereof.


Book Review:

“Horacio Sierra’s study of nuns in British and Spanish early modern texts illuminates the complexities of conventional life for nuns and analyzes the portrayals of nuns as “sacred subversives” in Protestant and Catholic literary texts. Using archival materials of writers such as Maria de Zayas and well-known texts such as Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Sierra interrogates the intersectionality of religion, class, place, and gender that informs our conception of nuns. He analyzes the duality of the nun in popular imagination as the pure woman and the free woman who rejects heteronormativity and reproduction. This study is an innovative comparative examination across religions, languages and locations that scholars and students alike will find revelatory.” -Catherine E. Hoyser, Professor of English and Director of Women’s Studies, University of Saint Joseph


Horacio Sierra

Assistant Professor of English

Bowie State University

Horacio Sierra Bowie State University Profile




Podcast: Shakespeare and Film Theory

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.361  Friday, 28 October 2016


From:        Neema Parvini <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         October 28, 2016 at 10:43:28 AM EDT

Subject:    Podcast: Shakespeare and Film Theory


Neema interviews Scott Hollifield (University of Nevada) about his forthcoming book Shakespeare and Film Theory for the Arden Shakespeare and Theory series. Topics include: Roman Polanski's Macbeth, Orsen Welles's Chimes at Midnight, Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, and the differences between Shakespeare on film and on television. 




CFP: Bedchamber Scenes/Scènes de lit in European Early Modern Drama

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.360  Friday, 28 October 2016


From:        Sujata Iyengar <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         October 28, 2016 at 9:25:55 AM EDT

Subject:    CFP: Bedchamber Scenes/Scènes de lit in European Early Modern Drama


Call for Papers: Bedchamber Scenes/Scènes de lit in European Early Modern Drama (APRIL 12-13, 2017; Abstract due Jan 31 2017)

The University of Georgia (UGA) and the Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 (UPVM) and IRCL (UMR5186 CNRS) are delighted to announce a conference, “Bedchamber Scenes/Scènes de lit,” as part of their new collaboration, “Scene-Stealing/Ravir la scène,” sponsored by UGA, UPVM, CNRS, the Partner University Fund of the French Embassy, and the FACE Foundation.


Dates: April 12-13, 2017


Location: University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries, Athens, Georgia, USA, 30602


Activities: Planned conference activities include seminars, paper sessions, plenary lectures, a staged reading, and a poster session for undergraduate research. Delegates will also have the opportunity to attend the UGA Theatre and Film Studies Department’s production of Titus Andronicus in the Cellar Theatre.


Call: We solicit seminar and panel papers from faculty and graduate students in English, French, Theatre, Film Studies and other related disciplines on the topic of bedchamber scenes in French and English or more broadly European drama, from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment. Such scenes appear in, for example, Edward IIA Woman Killed with Kindness; The Revenger’s Tragedy; Volpone; The Maid’s Tragedy; The White Devil; ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore; All’s Lost by Lust; Monsieur Thomas; Romeo and Juliet; Othello; Cymbeline; The Man of Mode; The Country Wife; Le Malade Imaginaire; and so on.


We invite individuals or groups of scholars to share different perspectives on the same scene and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and exchange. Topics might include: well-known bedroom scenes from Shakespearean drama, such as the murder in Othello or Iachimo’s voyeurism in Cymbeline; bedtricks in early modern and Restoration comedy, on stage or screen; death-bed and sick-bed scenes; film adaptations of scenes that re-set them to bedrooms, as is frequently done with the “closet scene” in Hamlet; comparative approaches to bedroom scenes in early modern drama from England and France; appropriations of famous farcical bedroom scenes in television sit-coms or feature film romantic comedies; bedroom scenes in novelizations of early modern drama, including Shakespeare; theoretical investigations of intimate theatrical spaces; sex and sexism in early modern drama and its appropriations; Orientalism as a theatrical trope in bedchamber scenes in script and on stage; and many others.


We also welcome proposals from actors or performers who would like to participate in the conference, and from undergraduate students who would like to submit a presentation for a planned undergraduate poster session.


Contributions in both French and English are invited, although we will ask French-language authors to be willing to make an English translation of their work available at the conference.


Please send by January 31, 2017 the following: 


a) 250-word abstract for 20-minute conference papers or for performances of various lengths, or a 200-word abstract for a manuscript to be circulated in a seminar or for an undergraduate research poster


b) 3-5 sentence biography


c) a brief sentence clarifying whether you would prefer to participate in a seminar, to lead a seminar, to deliver a paper, to offer a performance, or to present a poster.


Send all materials to Sujata Iyengar (iyengar[at] and Christy Desmet (cdesmet[at] The conference committee comprises representatives from both UGA and UPVM from English, French, Theatre, and related departments.


Selected papers will be eligible for publication in the peer-reviewed multimedia online journal Scene Focus/Arrêt sur Scène.


Sujata Iyengar, Professor of English

Co-general editor of Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation

Department of English

University of Georgia




Hamlet”—Black Theatre Live

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.359  Friday, 28 October 2016


From:        Scott Newstok <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         October 27, 2016 at 5:18:57 PM EDT

Subject:    “Hamlet”—Black Theatre Live


FYI this is livestreaming, and will be recorded for playback for the next 10 days:


Directed by Jeffery Kissoon (RSC, National Theatre, Robert Lepage, Peter Hall and in Peter Brook’s seminal production of The Mahabharata) and adapted with Shakespeare’s text by award-winning playwright Mark Norfolk, this fast-moving version gets straight to the heart of a young man’s dilemma. Starring Mark Ebulue, Joy Elias-Riwan, Trevor Laird, Patrick Miller, Offue Okegbe, Abiona Omonua, Victor Power, Theo Solomon and Raphael Sowole.




2016 Critical Language Scholarship Program

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.354  Thursday, 27 October 2016


From:        Laura Paul <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         October 24, 2016 at 8:15:41 AM EDT

Subject:    2016 Critical Language Scholarship Program


Critical Language Scholarship Program is available for the U.S. citizen who are enrolled in an undergraduate (associate’s, bachelor’s) or graduate (master’s, doctoral, professional degree) level program.


The Scholarship Deadline is November 16, 2016.


We thought your students might find this information useful.

Critical Language Scholarship Program



USA Scholarships

Scholarships and Financial Aid Adviser


For more information of Scholarships, Fellowships, Awards and Competitions you can also check the given link:




CFP Ira Aldridge at 210 and 150

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.351  Thursday, 20 October 2016


From:        Sujata Iyengar <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         October 20, 2016 at 9:36:53 AM EDT

Subject:    CFP Ira Aldridge at 210 and 150


Ira Aldridge at 210 and 150: Race in European Theatrical Cultures (ESRA 2017; Due: Jan 31 2017)

Seminar accepted for “Shakespeare and European Theatrical Cultures: An Atomizing Text and Stage,” European Shakespeare Research Association Biennial Convention, July 27-30, 2017

University of Gdansk and the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre, Poland

Co-organizers: Krystyna Kujawinska-Courtney, University of Łódź (Poland); Christy Desmet and Sujata Iyengar, University of Georgia (USA)

In 2017 we commemorate a double anniversary of Ira Aldridge, the well-known nineteenth-century African American Shakespearean actor. Born in 1807, he found it impossible to work professionally in the United States, the land of his birth, because of racial and color prejudice. He took refuge in Europe, eventually dying in Łódź, where he is buried, in 1867. Aldridge crossed not only geographical but also methodological boundaries in his work, deploying what we might now call color-blind or rather color-conscious casting. An early role was Rollo, the hero of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s Pizzaro, who was of Peruvian descent. In addition to Othello and Aaron, the Shakespearean roles for which he was most famous, Aldridge sometimes played caricatured figures, such as Mungo the black servant in Isaac Bickerstaffe’s comedy The Padlock. But he also played white characters, wearing white-face make-up to play R.C. Maturin’s Bertram, the title roles in Richard III and Macbeth, and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, and adding a long white prosthetic hair-piece to play Lear (for which, as Théophile Gautier noted, he carefully and symbolically refused to whiten his hands).

This seminar welcomes papers investigating Aldridge’s life and work but also explorations of the major research questions surrounding race and European theatre that Aldridge’s career foregrounds, such as:

What are the functions of and future of white- and blackface makeup on European stages?

How does the concept of race change with transatlantic or transnational movement?

How are both color-blind and color-conscious casting choices complicated by a change of place?

How do celebrity and star-power inflect an actor’s or character’s perceived race, ethnicity, or national affiliation in different locales and contexts?

Send 200-word abstracts and a 3-5 sentence author biography to all the organizers: Krystyna Kujawinska-Courtney (krystyna.kujawinska52[at]; Christy Desmet (cdesmet [at ] and Sujata Iyengar (iyengar [at] by 31 January, 2017. Completed papers will be due no later than 31 May, 2017. Accepted seminar members must join ESRA, the European Shakespeare Research Association, in order to participate in the seminar.




Podcast: Melissa E. Sanchez

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.345  Tuesday, 18 October 2016


From:        Neema Parvini <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         October 18, 2016 at 7:26:08 AM EDT

Subject:    Podcast: Melissa E. Sanchez


Neema interviews Melissa E. Sanchez (University of Pennsylvania) about her forthcoming book Shakespeare and Queer Theory for the Arden Shakespeare and Theory series. Discussion includes queerness in Shakespeare, whether or not it is important to ask if Shakespeare himself was gay, Shakespeare’s view of sexuality, and misogyny in the current US presidential election. 




CFP: Constitutions of Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.344  Tuesday, 18 October 2016


From:        Simon Ryle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         October 18, 2016 at 10:53:06 AM EDT

Subject:    CFP: Constitutions of Hamlet


CFP: Constitutions of Hamlet: Afterlives and Political Theologies of Trauerspiel

University of Split, Croatia

16th December 2016 (abstract deadline: 20th November 2016)

Keynote speakers: Prof. Andreas Höfele and filmmaker Ken McMullen


Tragedy and mourning plays stage, for Walter Benjamin, the point of failure around which absolutism constitutes itself. And the trauerspiel, or sorrow play, is never more acutely realized than in Hamlet’s melancholic Prince who, as Benjamin describes, “holds history like a sceptre in his hand,” but who is “incapable of declaring the emergency his very function is to prevent.” Yet this site of failure is also an intimation of futurity. As Carl Schmitt notes, modern European culture has never produced a constitutional myth with as great a reach as Hamlet. For Schmitt, the play signals an emergent modernity in its presentation of the Jacobean monarchy as historical intrusion into the drama, whose kingship has been emptied out - or “desacrilized” as Franco Moretti will later state - but whose absolutism agonistically obscures this fact from itself. This tension is met in Jacques Derrida’s notion of the play’s spectre as the ghostly presentation of that presence which “seems to remain as ineffective, virtual, insubstantial as a simulacrum.” Constituting for Derrida a “hauntology” of political theology, Hamlet speaks of a crisis in political representation by undoing the difference “between the thing itself and its simulacrum.”


Derrida’s hauntology pinpoints one reason why, following the crisis of language, or Sprackrise, that seizes major thinkers and works of high modernism, Hamlet recurs as constitutive text across vital moments of the European twentieth century. The play reopened the Deutsche Theatre in the Soviet occupied zone of Berlin following the collapse of the Nazi regime with Gustav von Wagenheim’s production, and forty-four years later the same theatre reopened for business following the collapse of communism with Heiner Müller’s Hamletmachine. The melancholic Dane took a recurrent role in aiding revolutionary fervour to evade the censorship of communist regimes. In Romania, Alexandru Tocilesau’s 1985 Bucharest Hamlet strongly inferred parallels between Claudius and Ceaucescu. In Bulgaria two pre-independence productions used Hamlet as a mode of cultural reconstruction, and in Poland the Dane had played repeatedly since Wyspiański’s 1905 interpretation as a tool of political subversion; Wajda’s 1990 post-independence production was a key moment in national reconstitution.


Hamlet’s afterlives also show us how in modernity political theologies are transmitted as mass technological event. Benjamin’s analysis of melancholy and mass media technology, and Friedrich Kittler’s media archaeology are here invaluable. For it is the case that the age of analysis, the teletechnological episteme initiated in the newly established discourse networks of the 1880s and 90s (enabled by the technological development and mass uptake of the phonograph, cinema and typewriter), constitutes an unprecedented constitutional moment for Hamlet. Taking a central place in Freud’s theory of the unconscious, and critiqued in academic discourse vastly more than any other narrative, Hamlet is a quintessential object of analytic desire. Likewise, filmed more than any other story, the play wielded a constitutive influence upon the early cinema. Jointly in the institutional verification of analysis and the technological implementation of cinema, Hamlet haunts modernity.


This one-day symposium will explore how Shakespeare reworks early modern political theologies, and why modernity finds itself speaking of politics and subjectivites so frequently with and through Hamlet. In the context of Britain’s melancholic contemporary quest for political isolation, a quest arguably bound to an updated form of the very failure of political absolutism that Benjamin identifies as the heart of trauerspiel, it is perhaps more timely than ever to consider the political theologies constituted by Shakespeare's sorrowful Danish play.


The conveners welcome paper proposals that explore the subjective, philosophical, epistemological constitutions and political theologies of early modern tragedy, melancholy and trauerspiel, and the various ghosts, hauntologies and afterlives that reconstitute Shakespeare across modernity.


Please send abstracts of about 200 words to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 20th November 2016.




CFP: Offensive Shakespeare Conference, Northumbria University

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.340  Monday, 17 October 2016


From:        Edmund King <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         October 17, 2016 at 11:56:13 AM EDT

Subject:    CFP: Offensive Shakespeare Conference, Northumbria University


CFP: Offensive Shakespeare Conference, Northumbria University, UK, 24 May 2017


Dear all,


We invite abstracts for the forthcoming “Offensive Shakespeare” conference, to take place at Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, on 24 May 2017. This conference is sponsored by the British Shakespeare Association.


Offensive Shakespeare


Keynote speakers:  Prof. Douglas Lanier (University of New Hampshire)

                                  Dr. Peter Kirwan (Nottingham University)

‘Outrage as BBC bosses “use Shakespeare to push pro-immigration agenda”’.
This was a headline in The Daily Express on 25th April 2016, after the BBC included what has become known as the ‘Immigration Speech’ from Sir Thomas More in a programme celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. From Thomas and Henrietta Bowdler expurgating passages from their Family Shakespeare, through campaigns in the early 20th century to remove The Merchant of Venice from American classrooms, to this recent ‘outrage’, people have been offended by what Shakespeare wrote or by the uses to which others have put him. But what is it that offends us and how do we deal with it? What makes Shakespeare and his appropriations such a sensitive issue? We welcome 200-word abstracts for 20-minute papers that might address the following (or related) topics:


  • Case studies of individuals or groups taking offence at Shakespeare’s texts.
  • Examples of Shakespearean rewritings aimed at addressing ‘offensive’ issues. 
  • Shakespearean plays or performances which have been banned, censored, or campaigned against. 
  • Debates around removing Shakespeare from educational curricula, or making the study of his work mandatory. 
  • Appropriations of Shakespeare by anti-democratic or repressive movements (e.g. ‘Nazi Shakespeare’, ‘racist Shakespeare’). 
  • Iconoclastic uses of Shakespeare that ‘offend’ against established orthodoxies. 
  • Adaptations of Shakespeare into popular genres or idioms. 
  • Means of teaching or tackling plays which include morally, ethically, or politically problematic passages (e.g. The Taming of the Shrew, Othello, The Merchant of Venice).
  • Uses of Shakespeare in propaganda, inflammatory speeches, or heated political debates.
  • Authorship controversies.

    Read more: CFP: Offensive Shakespeare Conference, Northumbria University

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