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Seminars

1. Filming Shakespeare’s plays: Reduction or Enlargement?

Tony Davies and Jose Ramon Diaz Fernandez Contact: Falstaff@waitrose.com 

 jrdiazfernan@gmail.com

Does film hold Shakespeare captive or provide a means of dramatic emancipation? While each submitted paper will no doubt concentrate on one chosen film, or perhaps, on two or three film adaptations of one play, a general orientation from each participant along the lines of the seminar’s underlying question is invited. The broad theme of the conference, covering interpretation by directors, actors, teachers, editors and critics affords an ideal opportunity for a consideration of cinematic adaptation and for the nature and degree of control which a film director will impose.

 

 2. Nineteenth-century Shakespeare

Kathryn Prince Contact: k.prince@english.bbk.ac.uk

In the nineteenth century, Shakespeare attained unprecedented circulation. On the stage, aquatic and equestrian spectacles vied with antiquarian and original practices productions. On the page, inexpensive editions and articles in the penny press disseminated knowledge of Shakespeare to a general readership while scholars and critics discovered (and invented) facts about his life and works. Papers are invited on any aspect of nineteenth-century Shakespeare (popular or elite, national or international, page or stage).

 

3. Writing about Performance of Shakespeare

Gabriel Egan Contact: g.egan@lboro.ac.uk 

As Pascale Aebischer recently reminded us, writing about performance can be likened to tap-dancing about architecture: it is hard to see how one way of making meaning can relate to the other. In a recent exchange in the BSA's journal, W. B. Worthen and R. A. Foakes, coming from very different approaches, debated how discursive writing can describe, engage with, and critique performance, and this seminar will take the debate further. The seminar invites papers that consider all matters of how writing relates to performance, which might include: what theatre reviews ought to comment upon; how far can performance be theorized?; does the script 'contain' all the possible performances, or conversely does performance necessarily exceed the meanings in the script?; should insights about theatre practice in Shakespeare's time inform writing about his meanings?; what is theatre history for?; do we still think Shakespeare was essentially a man of the theatre and not a literary author?

 

4. Practical Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare through Performance

Hillary Fogerty Contact: hfogerty@mercyhurst.edu

Over the course of the past twenty years teaching through classroom performance has become an acceptable, if not standard, approach to Shakespeare. A number of scholars have set forth valuable practical suggestions and theoretical rationalizations for introducing/including performance. Performance approaches can be extraordinarily enlightening and conducive to student learning. However, what are the drawbacks and limits of performance approaches in the classroom? How can we establish, especially for resistant administrators or students, the value of experiential learning? What can we do, as instructors, when it simply isn’t working? Further, how can we tell when it is? Participants are encouraged to share assignments and syllabi, as well as practical tips and advice. Both scholars with a lengthy history of employing performance in the classroom and those just beginning to experiment, as well as elementary, secondary or university instructors, are welcome.

 

5. European Shakespeare

Ton Hoenselaars and Clara Calvo Contact: Ton.Hoenselaars@let.uu.nl 

 ccalvo@um.es

Over the past decade and a half, the field of Shakespeare Studies has gradually become Europeanised as critics, theatre and cultural historians as well as translation specialists have suggested that Shakespearean practice in England or Britain ought to be seen within the context of Britain’s relationship with the Continent, connections from which Shakespeare himself profited but also those which have affected the dissemination of his works abroad since 1600. How does our growing awareness of Shakespeare as a European phenomenon affect the way in which one performs, teaches, edits or writes about the man and his works? How does the European slant enhance the various fields of production or reception in the Anglo-oriented sphere? How do continental practitioners, editors, critics and teachers stand to profit from the inverse Channel Tunnel vision? Should we, perhaps, continue the distinction between British and Continental approaches to Shakespeare? This seminar invites papers that reflect on these issues and which come with challenging examples (historical or contemporary).

 

6. Showcasing Shakespeare: Celebration as Interpretation

Susanne Greenhalgh Contact: s.greenhalgh@roehampton.ac.uk

From David Garrick’s Stratford celebrations in 1769 to the current year-long RSC Complete Works festival, public awareness and understanding of Shakespeare have been shaped in large measure by the dedication of time, space and cultural practices solely to him and his works. This seminar proposes a wide-ranging investigation of the forms and effects of these regular, multifarious and international stagings of the ‘special’ nature of Shakespeare. Topics for consideration might include why and how Shakespeare has been linked to distinct locations and artefacts, whether in the form of reconstructions of his theatres, the commissioning of commemorative artwork, or the creation of memorial gardens and other public spaces; Shakespeare anniversaries and celebrations, whether annual, centennial (as in 1864, 1916 or 1964) or millennial; Shakespeare exhibitions and festivals; theatre and media special seasons; Shakespeare prizes and competitions; special editions and publications; and even Shakespeare conferences. Interdisciplinary perspectives would be welcome, especially those engaging with the problematics of investigating events and visual and material culture. Approaches might range from historical contextualization to theoretical considerations of the performativities and ideologies of different celebratory acts, and their role in influencing interpretations of plays and changing concepts of Shakespeare’s meanings and significance over time.

 

7. Postgraduate Shakespeares/ Postdiscipline Shakespeares

Maria Jones and Claire Cochrane Contact: mariajones@ajwebmaster.co.uk 

 c.cochrane@worc.ac.uk

This seminar invites papers from postgraduate students on any aspect of Shakespeare Studies. ‘First papers’ are welcome. Additionally, the seminar invites reflection on ways of working that might be considered ‘interdisciplinary’, ‘multidisciplinary’ or ‘across disciplines’. Participants may consider the usefulness of these terms as a minor or major part of their papers. The ‘cultural turn’ encouraged us to consider the idea that literary texts in English and performance texts might be understood in relation to other bounded disciplines such as history, politics, economics, geography and art. Are these boundaries now so imprecise and malleable, and untenable in the context of a global aesthetic (whose geography? whose history?) that Shakespeare inhabits a postdisciplinary present? Importantly, the study of English, as a bounded discipline cannot itself escape these challenges, requiring us to re-examine our reader positions and to rethink Western and Eurocentric mindsets.

 

8. NEW Shakespearean Surfaces

Alison Findlay and Liz Oakley-Brown Contact: a.g.findlay@lancaster.ac.uk , e.oakley-brown@lancs.ac.uk 

Recent Shakespeare studies have variously explored ways in which a sense of inwardness is constructed through overlapping discourses of anatomy, subjectivity, and psychological character. By contrast, this panel seeks to examine “surfaces” as a means to understand early modern identities in Shakespearean performance and writing. Surfaces are a threshold between the body and the world, inner and outer, private and public, imagination and production, actor and spectator, writer and reader, teacher and students. As such, they are all sites for interpreting Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Permeable, opaque or transparent, surfaces are the material means by which our experience is structured and meaning is translated and mediated. The seminar will further previous critical work that has sought to probe beneath the surfaces by re-focussing attention on surfaces themselves as complex elements in the ways meanings about Shakespeare are generated, by or from the multiple perspectives of directors, editors, actors, critics, readers, spectators, teachers, students. Examples might include (but are not limited to): manuscripts, printed text, inscription, skin, prosthetics, props, textiles (including costumes), architectural structures, places of performance, settings, design. The session will consist of five 5-minute position papers followed by an interactive discussion. If you would like to present a position paper, please send a title and a short proposal (200-300 words).