Podcast: Shakespeare and Trump

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.394  Friday, 25 November 2016


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

Date:         November 25, 2016 at 6:26:23 AM EST

Subject:    Podcast: Shakespeare and Trump


Neema welcomes Jeffrey R. Wilson (Harvard) to discuss the election of Donald Trump and some of the ways in which Shakespeare was used in the coverage of the US election. Wilson’s essay, “Public Shakespeareanism: The Bard in the 2016 American Presidential Election,” is available upon request from the author; email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The instances of “public Shakespeareanism” discussed in the essay and the podcast include:


Andrew Cutrofello, “Shakespeare and Trump: What’s in a Name?” (December 15, 2015), .


Brian Leiter, “Shakespeare on Trump: Money Made the Man,” The Huffington Post (Feb 29, 2016), .


Charles McNulty, “The Theater of Trump: What Shakespeare can teach us about the Donald,” Los Angeles Times (May 26, 2016), .


Paul Hamilton, “Trumping Shakespeare: Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and the Rise of the Clown Politician,” Kingston Shakespeare Seminar (July 11, 2016), .


Peter C. Herman, “Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth,’ Donald Trump, and the Republican Party,” Times of San Diego (Aug. 7, 2016), .


Stephen Greenblatt, “Shakespeare Explains the 2016 Election,” New York Times Sunday Review (Oct. 8, 2016),




Call for Papers - Blackfriars Conference 2017

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.388  Tuesday, 22 November 2016


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

Date:         Monday, November 21, 2016 at 5:59 PM

Subject:    Call for Papers - Blackfriars Conference 2017


In this week of celebration, ASC Education wanted to give you one more thing to be thankful for: our 2017 Blackfriars Conference Call for Papers.

We are delighted to introduce our new website, which should simplify the process of finding information and submitting abstracts for all conference attendees. We look forward to hearing from you and to seeing a cornucopia’s worth of abstracts pouring in over the coming weeks.

Conference registration will open January 31st.


All the best,

Sarah Enloe

Director of Education

American Shakespeare Center


Blackfriars Conference website:




ASC Education and Research extends this call for papers on matters to do with the performance of early modern drama (historical, architectural, political, dramatical, sartorial, medical, linguistical, comical, pastoral) to all interested parties for our biennial conference to be held at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia, 24 October – 29 October 2017.


As in past years, participants may submit an abstract for consideration in one of 11 plenary sessions, each of which features only 6-7 papers. The deadline to submit an abstract for consideration in the plenary and staging sessions is 10 April 2017 (notification and announcement by 4 May).  Registration for participation in colloquies and workshops will end 1 June.





Blackfriars Conference:


In odd numbered years since the first October that the Blackfriars Playhouse was open, scholars from around the world have gathered in Staunton, during the height of the Shenandoah Valley’s famed fall colors, to hear lectures, see plays, and learn about early modern theatre. In 2017, the American Shakespeare Center’s Education and Research Department will once again host Shakespeareans, scholars and practitioners alike, to explore Shakespeare in the study and Shakespeare on the stage and to find ways that these two worlds – sometimes in collision – can collaborate. Past conferences have included such notable scholars as Andrew Gurr, the “godfather” of the Blackfriars Playhouse, Russ McDonald, Gary Taylor, Stephen Greenblatt, Roz Knutson, Tina Packer, Scott Kaiser, Stephen Booth, George T. Wright, and many more in five days full of activities. Each year we also honor a scholar who has made great impacts in the theatre field: previous honorees have included C. Walter Hodges (2005), Alan Dessen (2007), Andrew Gurr (2009), Stephen Booth (2011), George Walton Williams (2013), and Barbara Mowat (2015).  


This conference distinguishes itself from saner conferences in a variety of other ways. First, to model the kind of collaboration we think possible, we encourage presenters to feature actors as partners in the demonstration of their theses. For instance, in 2009, Gary Taylor’s keynote presentation “Lyrical Middleton” featured ASC actors singing and dancing to the songs in Middleton’s plays; in 2015, Tina Packer and James Loehlin worked with ASC actors on scenes from Antony and Cleopatra with Blackfriars Conference participants witnessing rehearsal room challenges. Second, we limit each paper session to six short papers (10 minutes for solo presentations, 13 minutes for presentations with actors). Third, we enforce this rule by ursine fiat – a bear chases from the stage those speakers who go over their allotted time.


One to four short paper sessions are held daily during the conference, with approximately four to six papers each. Each session lasts 60 to 75 minutes. Each day of the conference will also include roundtable discussions, chaired by MBU faculty or ASC research staff, with up to 12 participants discussing specific areas of interest, which could include cross gendered casting, race, staging disability, new media tools and the interaction with performance, original practice/staging, and rhetoric. Early risers can also take advantage of our one hour Wake Up workshops prior to the start of the day offered by the education staff. 


In 2017, we are extending the opportunity to take part in a staging session. Applicants should be experts on Shakespeare’s text who are willing to collaborate with ASC actors. After choosing a crux—a moment that as a director, scholar, or actor, you have struggled with—you will present a direction and your explication of your thinking to the actors. The actors will then collaborate with you to experiment with the crux moment. Two respondents will then have the opportunity to explore other possible options.


Delegates also have the opportunity to attend all of the plays in the ASC 2017 Fall Season: The Fall of King Henry (Henry  VI, Part Three), Peter and the Starcatcher, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Much Ado about Nothing.




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. 




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