The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0399  Friday, 22 June 2007

From: 		Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, June 22, 2007
Subject: 	Shameless Plug

This is a shameless plug that members take a look at the current issue 
of B&L 2.2. In the first place, many of the essays in it are by members 
of SHAKSPER, and they are all worthy of your attention.

Further, my contribution to the cluster constitutes a reflection upon my 
moderating and maintaining SHAKSPER since 1992 when I became its editor. 
A sister essays to this one is forthcoming in College Literature. The 
College Literature piece will recount the early history of SHAKSPER, 
some of its most unforgettable threads, as well as three extended 
discussions that I consider to be SHAKSPER exchanges at their best. On 
the unforgettable side, I give an account of the announcement of the As 
You Like It Hike: "a performance of 'As You Like It' (by Equity actors) 
performed at various locations throughout an actual forest.  The actors 
and audience will walk together to each new location, covering about 4 
miles all told.  The audience is told to bring a sack lunch, which 
everybody will eat together during the supper scene in 2.7."  Or Terence 
Hawkes's subsequent: "We may have to abandon our annual 'King Lear' 
Cakewalk. Persuading the audience to jump off the cliff was always 
difficult. However, guests will continue to be welcome at the Titus 
Andronicus Lunch (no substitutions)."

In the B&L essay, I reflect upon growth of the list and subsequent 
difficulties that I have had as editor with the contributions of the 
increasingly more diverse membership. The following summary leads up to 
1995 when I a sea change in the nature of some of the discussion swelled 
over the list.

Summary: SHAKSPER: An Academic Discussion List

[ . . . ]

Two years after its founding when I became its full-time editor, 
SHAKSPER's 293 members were virtually all from academia. Commercial 
Internet Service Providers were just getting started in the early 1990s. 
The January 1, 1992 membership list of 223, for example, contains only 
eight addresses that ended in ".COM," and none of these are from the 
Internet service providers with which we are familiar today. The 
remaining addresses, except for one with an "ORG" extension (i.e., an 
organization) are Bitnet or Internet addresses from academic 
institutions. Through the early 1990s, the number of members increased 
steadily, and since the late 1990s, it has remained above the 1,200 level.

On Tuesday, December 13, 2005, the SPARC 10 Unix server that had been 
SHAKSPER's physical home for almost ten years died. About eight weeks 
later, on Wednesday, February 8, 2006, we were back online. That 
eight-week hiatus between the crash of the old server and the launch of 
the new one was the longest interruption in SHAKSPER's history. During 
this time, I did a lot of thinking about SHAKSPER's past and future.

 From the beginning, SHAKSPER's target audience was scholars; however, 
from its roots, we also encouraged diversity and inclusiveness: "No 
academic qualifications are required for membership in SHAKSPER, and 
anyone interested in English Literature, the Renaissance, or Drama is 
welcome to join us." A cursory glance at the current membership list 
indicates that the e-mail addresses are about equally divided between 
accounts from academic accounts (such as EDU and AC.UK) and accounts 
from commercial internet providers (such as AOL, EARTHLINK, COMCAST, 
ATT, and MINDSPRING) and free Internet service providers (such as 
HOTMAIL, YAHOO, MSN, GMAIL, and NETSCAPE). Some of these later addresses 
are no doubt accounts belonging to academics, professors, and students 
who would rather receive their e-mail at their home addresses than their 
institutional ones. Nevertheless, the fact remains that one consequence 
of the Internet Revolution is that a significant number of SHAKSPER's 
present members are not academics and that the often strikingly 
divergent concerns of the academics and non-academics constitute the 
source of many of the difficulties that I, as the list's moderator, have 
encountered as I strive to maintain a scholarly focus in the discussions 
among what has become a highly diverse membership.

S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

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