Book Series

Editor, Global Shakespeares book series, Palgrave Macmillan [book proposal form]

  • Global afterlife of Shakespearean drama, poetry, and motifs in its literary, performative, and digital forms of expression in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including new media.
  • Scholarly polemic and up-to-date studies of 25,000 to 50,000 words that capture global Shakespeares as they evolve, published within three months of acceptance of final manuscript.
  • Dissemination of big ideas and cutting-edge research to a wide market in e-book and print formats.
  • Authors are encouraged to draw upon open-access resources such as Global Shakespeares digital archive.


Call for Papers - Upcoming

ESRA Research Seminar "Myths in Shakespearean Performance," Montpellier, 26-29 June 2013

Local and Global Myths in Shakespearean Performance. Heiner Müller observed that in Hamlet,”The incursion of the times into the play constitutes myth.” Over the centuries, intrusions of history have frequently invested Hamlet and other Shakespeare’s plays with a mythical status on stages in Europe and beyond. The Shakespearean plots have been used to construct the sense of nationhood, to voice political anxieties and to examine the meanings of power, heroism, and justice. Shakespeare’s works were performed at critical points in the development of numerous nations, participating in crucial political and cultural transformations around the globe. The mythical position of Shakespeare’s plays has encouraged the perpetuation of set images, ideas and values originating in the works themselves but also reflecting the times and cultures, into which they have been appropriated. As Müller explained, “Myth is an aggregate, a machine, to which always new and different machines can be connected.” Having achieved a mythical status, Shakespeare’s plots and protagonists have continued to generate myths that define, but at times also confine, the development of contemporary performance and culture.

Examining performances that have marked Shakespeare’s plays as myths with a historical and political significance, we are bound to explore not only the complexity of the dramatic texts and their stage versions, but also the intricacy of cultural and social conditions in which they were produced. Studying myths generated in performances of Shakespeare around the globe, we might discover the “global kaleidoscope” of sources and influences (Margaret Litvin) through “locality criticism” (Alexander Huang) and theoretical models that defy the binary of empire and colony, master and slave, authority and adaptation. Comparing the functions of myths in performances of Shakespeare, we may also describe common patterns of appropriation, as well as define the distinctions in the treatment of Shakespeare’s plays worldwide.

The topic encourages, thus, both case studies of performances rooted in local contexts, as well as investigations of the global nature of Shakespeare’s myths. Are there similarities in European productions of Shakespeare in terms of shared historical or political myths? Can we trace common patterns across different regions of the world, comparing, i.e. European, Asian or American myths generated by the intrusion of history into the staging of Shakespeare? What are the implications of mythical structures in performances of Shakespeare for the development of theatre and society? Do myths help us to express and comprehend the world, or do they hamper the aesthetic and social evolution by imposing specific patterns of interpretation onto Shakespeare’s plays and our experience of history?We welcome papers that critically examine specific productions or engage more broadly with global and local myths in Shakespearean performance.

Please send abstracts (200-300 words) with short bios (150 words) by 1st October 2012 to:


MLA, 3-6 January 2013 in Boston

Session sponsored by the Division for East Asian Literatures after 1900

Roundtable: Reciprocal Accessibility: What can the MLA and East Asiandivisions achieve together?

Anglo-European and East Asian literary studies stand to gain from mutual,reciprocal accessibility to the historical knowledge and theoretical modelsproduced in each other's field. However, the avenue of access is usuallyblocked. On the rare occasions when it is not, there is little reciprocitybetween the two, because Eurocentric theories and literary examples areoften perceived to be more effective in their explanatory power. East Asiantheories and materials often serve as the exceptional particular. What canthe more dominant fields at the MLA and East Asian divisions achievetogether? What structural and intellectual reform would be needed to createan avenue of reciprocal access between these fields? Speakers are invitedto present their views and debate on relevant issues.

300-word abstract and brief CV to Alex Huang or Douglas Slaymaker (

Note: This is a *guaranteed* session sponsored by the Division for East Asian Literatures after 1900 as part of its effort to diversify the MLA.


Digital Humanities Projects

GW's Inaugural Digital Humanities Symposium, George Washington University, January 25-26, 2013
     Co-sponsored by George Washington University Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Dean's Scholars in Shakespeare Program, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Department of English, Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute, Disability Support Services, Department of Computer Sciences, University Libraries, University Honors Program, Women's Leadership Program, Department of Theatre and Dance, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, and GW Language Center. Graduate seminar taught in conjunction with the symposium: English 6130 Digital Humanities Theory (Prof. Huang).

Global Shakespeares
A collaborative archive and research project providing free online access to striking and original performances of Shakespeare in various cultural and national contexts. There are five regional portals including the US/UK, the Arab World, Brazil, East Asia, and India with hundreds of theatre companies and studios. This archive provides global, regional, and national portals to Shakespeare productions within a federated archive.

       - news coverage in Gazeta do Povo, a Brazilian daily
       - reviewed in scholarly journals in the U.S. and U.K., including Shakespeare Quarterly, Shakespeare: Journal of British Shakespeare Association, National Association for the Teaching of English Newsletter, and elsewhere.


Global Chaucers, collaborator
Led by Jonathan Hsy and Candace Barrington, Global Chaucers is a multi-national, multi-lingual project to locate, catalog, translate, archive, and analyze translations and appropriations of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. It will provide a searchable online database of non-Anglophone adaptations dating after 1945.


The Tempest for iPad. Collaborator
Much more than a digital book, the Luminary edition of The Tempest (co-founded by Elliott Visconsi and Katehrine Rowe) is designed for social reading, authoring, and sharing, for all readers from students to professional scholars.

Links to Global Shakespeare Adaptations

Shakespeare Performance in Asia (SPiA)
Interactive catalogue of videos and texts with faceted browsing and dynamic maps that allow users to track the trajectory of internationall-distributed films and touring productions. The interactive, web-based resource center and work space is an extension of the MIT Shakespeare Electronic Archive.

GloPAD, Global Performing Arts Database
A digital archive of textual and multimedia materials related to the performing arts around the world (including cross-racial casting, black theatre, and intercultural theatre).

Shakespeare bust

Asian Shakespeares: A Visuals Database
Stanford Shakespeare in Asia
Links to Global Shakespeare Adaptations


Video Curator, Imagining China: The View from Europe, 1550-1700 (curator: Timothy Billings)
        Folger Library, Washington, D.C.; reviewed in Shakespeare (BSA), Shakespeare Bulletin, and elsewhere

Curator, Video Installation for the "Shakespeare Encyclopedia" Open House at the Shakespeare Association of America annual conference, Chicago, April 1-4, 2010 (--> public photos)


Call for Papers (past)

Deutsche Shakespeare-Gesellschaft and the European Shakespeare Research Association conference, Weimar, 28 April–1 May 2011

Research Seminar: Sea-Change Across the Intercultural Divide: Shakespearean Performance and Debates

Email your proposal to the seminar co-directors: Alexander Huang (Penn State University, USA) and Isabelle Schwartz-Gastine (University of Caen, France)

The seminar welcomes papers on Shakespeare in performance in any period that participate in or initiate debates—theory, praxis, reception—in Europe and worldwide. During his lifetime, Shakespeare’s plays were performed in Europe and subsequently taken to remote corners of the globe, including Sierra Leone, Socotra, and colonial Indonesia. Performances in England also had a global flair. European visitors such as Thomas Platter witnessed the plays on stage at the Globe (1599) and left behind diary records. Four centuries on, there has been a sea change. In theatre, Shakespeare has been recruited, exemplified, resisted, and debated in post/colonial encounters, in the international avant-garde led by Ariane Mnouchkine, Ninagawa Yukio, Peter Brook, Tadashi Suzuki, and others, and in the circuits of global politics and tourism in late capitalist societies.

The purpose of this seminar is to take stock of the worldwide histories of performanceand criticism to uncover any blind spots in current methodologies to study the theoretical and artistic implications of Shakespeare and the cultures of diaspora, Anglophone countries, Europe, Russia, Africa, the Arab world, Asia, Latin America and elsewhere.

Localized and globalized Shakespeares are undoubtedly prominent genres of national andintercultural theatres today. It is important to understand how this came to be, why Shakespeare has been called upon to help transform theatrical practices around the world, and what kinds of force—political, aesthetic or otherwise—are shaping the performative Shakespeare we know today. In the decades since J. L. Styan’s The Shakespeare Revolution (1977) which makes a case for “stage-centered criticism,” the study of Shakespeare in performance has come a long way, now established as a widely recognized field. Two challenges remain. As artists struggle with fixated notions of tradition, critics are no longer confined by the question of narrowly defined cultural authenticity. However, what are the new paradigms that can help us avoid replicating the old author-centered textuality in performance criticism? What critical resources might we bring to the task of interpreting sets of behaviors and signs in performance? What is the role of local and global spectators? More importantly, what is the task of criticism as it deals with the transformations of Shakespeare and various performance idioms?

Topics to be examined might include, but not limited to:

        • The place of Shakespearean performance in critical debates about authenticity and national identities
        • The role of Shakespeare in fostering productive exchanges between cultures
        • The role of Shakespeare in performance theories and practices
        • The tension between the spectator’s presence and performance


Asian Shakespeares on Screen: Two Films in Perspective, special issue of Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation

Essays on The Banquet (Ye Yan, China, 2006; based on Hamlet) and/or Maqbool (India, 2003; based on Macbeth) are invited. The Journal is an innovative forum for articles that provide contrasting perspectives. The Journal encourages contributors to use the online and multimedia format to its best advantage.


MAR-AAS, Penn State, Oct. 22-23, 2010
39th Annual Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies Conference


Asian Theatre Journal Special Issue

Nearly two centuries of Asian readings of plays such as Hamlet and Macbeth are now making a world of difference to how we experience Shakespeareand Asian theatre forms --both traditional and modern. The result is a new creativity that finds expression in different cultural and virtual locations.

The special issue invites papers that explore the theoretical implications of such ventures and critically examine the histories of how Shakespeare and the notion of Asian performativity became a signifier against which various artists and audiences define themselves. "Asia" is broadly defined and includes the Asian diaspora.

Queries and papers--conforming to the ATJ style and length requirements in WORD format--should be submitted by August 15, 2009.



Asian Shakespeares on Screen: Two Films in Perspective, special issue of Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation

Essays on The Banquet (Ye Yan, China, 2006; based on Hamlet) and/or Maqbool (India, 2003; based on Macbeth) are invited. The Journal is an innovative forum for articles that provide contrasting perspectives. The Journal encourages contributors to use the online and multimedia format to its best advantage.

MLA, Philadelphia, December 27-30, 2009
"Humor, Trauma, and Histories of East Asia"
Theoretical analyses of East Asian comic literature, film, or drama, and their interaction with narratives about trauma and the region's modern histories.

BSA, London, September 11-13, 2009
     "Asian Shakespeares in Europe"
     From Ariane Mnouchkine's controversial "Orientalised" Richard II in 1981 to Kenneth Branagh's Japanese-inflected As You Like It in 2006, from Yukio Ninagawa's Kabuki-Macbeth at the Edinburgh Festival in 1985 to Eugenio Barba's and Ong Keng Sen's adaptations of Hamlet with Euro-Asian casts at the Kronborg castle's Hamlet Sommer festival (2006; 2002), and from the Kathakali King Lear at the London Globe in 1999 to David Tse's bilingual King Lear at the RSC Complete Works festival in 2006, there is a rich history of interactions between Shakespeare performance and Asian idioms in Europe.
    The recent influx of artists of Asian descent (such as Prague-based Noriyuki Sawa) into Great Britain and Western Europe has fuelled cross-cultural blending, imposition, and appropriation. Whether "made in Europe" or "imported from Asia," these performances have compelled Anglo-European audiences to negotiate the unfamiliar and foreign forms of the familiar and "local" canon that is Shakespeare.
    Papers on critical issues raised by Asian-themed Shakespearean performance in Europe are invited. What resources are available in critical theory that we might bring to bear on the connections and disjuncture between Asian Shakespeares in Europe and more traditionally-defined national Shakespeares around the world? Papers may address but should not be limited to questions such as: Does watching bilingual or multilingual Shakespeares–through subtitles or surtitles–overcome or reinforce cultural boundaries? Are such encounters with otherness (other Asia, other Shakespeares) legitimising local reading positions or the operation of cultural imperialism?

AAP, New York, August 6-7, 2009
     "Tears and Laughter in Asian Comedy"
This panel investigates the political implications of tears and laughter in East Asian performance and literary cultures in the contexts of Republican China in the 1920s, Korea and Japan in the 1930s, and contemporary China. The papers will examine the politics and rhetorics of East Asian comedic forms. What do the audiences laugh at? How do comedies provoke laughter and tears? The panel will draw broadly upon theories of comedy in relation to expressions of humor on stage, on screen, and in literature. 

AAS, Chicago, March, 2009
     "Parodic China: Subversion and Mockery in Modern Chinese Entertainment Culture"
     From Lu Xun's Old Stories Retold to the e'gao spoofs of the blogosphere, parody has been a popular mode of experiencing the modern world across a wide swath of Chinese literary and mass culture. When have Chinese parodies had a measurable bite, and when have they contained (and thus delimited) the power of their own critique? This panel probes questions provoked by the parodic forms in modern Chinese entertainment culture. This panel will examine the parody phenomenon from historical, textual, and comparative angles, digging into its historical antecedents in the May Fourth era and contemporary variations.
    The three papers explore how parody has shaped and been shaped by China'ss literary, cinematic, and Internet arenas. From different perspectives, the panelists will consider what compels and is compelling about modern Chinese parody and when the use of the parodic mode is a mark of innovation or, conversely, a symptom of creative fatigue.

AAS, Atlanta, April 4-6, 2008
    "Familial and Cultural Circuits of Chinese Literary Identities"
Modern Chinese literary identities are part and parcel of the writers' emotional attachment to--or strategic severance from--different forms of cultural values, such as family and collective cultural memory. The purpose of this panel is to bring into dialogue four intersecting projects on these issues in the cinema and literature of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

ATHE, New Orleans, July 26-29, 2007
     Roundtable: "Remembering Shakespeare and Post/colonial Asia"
Shakespeare in Asia has become a significant site of collective cultural memory and post/colonial experiences. This roundtable explores a new set of questions generated by Shakespeare's presence in the undertheorized intercultural field of East and Southeast Asia. A diverse range of directors and scholars of Asian theater examine the fault line of politics and aesthetics, memory and history, focusing on regional multicultural Shakespeare performances in the Philippines, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

SAA, San Diego, April 5-7, 2007
     "Shakespeare, Appropriation, and the Ethical."
In what ways have the fields of Shakespearean interpretation, appropriation, translation, performance (film, theatre, online, TV, in English and worldwide, then and now) been informed by ethical questions? Are there patterns in the invocation of ethical concerns? What resources are available in critical theory that we might bring to bear on ethics and questions of authority, authenticity, and aesthetics? Participants may address these theoretical and other relevant questions, or problematize the ethical presumptions of all modes of confrontations including literary criticism as an act of appropriation.

WSC, Brisbane, July 21-26, 2006
     "Brave Old Worlds: Shakespeare Production and Reception in East Asia."
Shakespeare has been known in East Asia for at least a hundred years, and has thus been subject to the three contingent forces of colonialism, modernity and globalization. One topic of enduring interest is how this Elizabethan playwright comes to be perceived as modern in the context of East Asian traditions. Another related topic is the way that Shakespeare becomes a solution to tensions within the recipient culture. This seminar will suggest comparisons between Shakespeare's production and reception in East Asian cultures in the various periods of modernization and the present, focusing especially on Japan, Korea, and China.

AAS, San Francisco, April 6-9, 2006
     "Found in Translation: Rethinking the Foreign in East Asian Modernities."
It is said that colonial modernities are translated modernities. In recent decades, postcolonial theory has given us powerful conceptual tools to think about literary modernities in East Asia, but the status of the foreign remains poorly conceptualized. How does the colonial other become the colonized self? What role have exoticism and Occidentalism played in the making of East Asian social imaginaries? What counts as “foreign” under postcolonial conditions and in the age of globalization? This panel seeks to rethink the problematic status of the foreign in the invention of modern vernacular fiction, lyrical poetry, spoken drama, and park culture in Japan, Korea, and China.

ACLA, Penn State, March 11-13, 2005
     "Performing Imperialism and Cultural Otherness in Modern East Asia"
Modern East Asian drama and performance cultures (including Chinese huaju and xiqu, Japanese Takarazuka and shingeki, South Korean shinguk, and film from all three cultures) are arguably the products of military conflicts, responses to (cultural) imperialism, and the urgent need of these nations to re-invent their relationships to each other and to the West in light of rapidly changing contemporary realities. This research seminar explores such questions as: Is there a critical vocabulary particular to East Asian performance, beyond the basics of comparative drama and film studies? Conversely, how has East Asia figured in the comparative study of cultures? Are the tools of Western critical theory relevant to these cultures, or might they be re-inscriptions of cultural imperialism?

Shakespeare in Asia International Conference
     Stanford University, April 1-4, 2004




Research Projects

Shakespearean Orients, Early Modern to Postmodern
This book examines the references to Asian identities, goods, and locations in Shakespeare's plays, as well as the production and reception of the knowable and unknowable racial Others in modern and postmodern performances. It argues that both the technologies of knowing selected aspects of Asia and the cultural production of ignorance (through deliberate or inadvertent neglect) are part of the compensatory strategies that were used to sittuate early modern Europe in an Asia-dominated world economy, and Shakespeare in our globaizing world.

Reconfigured Localities: Translation, Transnationalism, Travel
Why do travelogues and translations frequently function allegorically? What is the relationship between abstract cultural roots and lived experiences in travel? Liang Qichao's travel narratives, ambassador Guo Songtao's diaries, and Lin Shu's ambitious translation projects construct "China" and the European West as two discursive modes through which different sets of values are articulated.

Dressing Up for the Part: Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre as a Performance of Hamlet
While Hamlet--in Wieland's and Wilhelm's reworking--is the Enlightenment model of nobility, Wilhelm embodies Goethe's idea of Strum und Drang sensibility. Theatre becomes the ultimate site for Wilhelm's self realization, and producing and performing in Hamlet becomes his ultimate challenge crossing from fiction to reality and back.

Lu Xun and the Invention of the "Tragic" in Modern Chinese Literature
As an unfamiliar yet poignant voice in the literary traditions of China, Lu Xun's writings epitomize the emergence of a tragic consciousness in the modern Chinese literary landscape. His prose poems in Yecao (Weeds , 1927) and short stories from Gushi xinbian (Old Stories Retold, 1927) contain a peculiar picture of darkness. He has invented a modern tragic consciousness through his rendition and mixture of three modes: the satiric mode, youhua (the playful, facetious mode) and the tragic mode.

Wartime Shakespeare on Stage and Screen
Wars often shape and filter the production and reception of Shakespeare, forming an important force in the transmission of ideologies. This tendency is especially evident in stage and screen adaptations of Shakespeare in England during the Second World War, where the processes of politicizing and depoliticizing Shakespeare are shaped by three decades of cultural politics.

Performing Cultural Otherness in Early Modern England
This project examines travel narratives and plays that deal with foreigners in early modern England. These texts share similar anxieties over the unfamiliar "Other" that arrive with the rapid expansions of horizons--geographically and culturally. Every homebound ship (or privateer) to London--with ambassadors, aristocratic travelers, sailors, and pirates on board--brings news of captivity, redemption, renegades, and wonders of unknown worlds. Since the East meant spices and gold, the European orientalists introduced the globe to their majesties with an agenda to enrich their country's material wealth.

The Dialectic betwee the Local and the Global in Lao She's Fictions
The Two Mas and other works by Lao She dramatize the dialectic between the global and the local and asks whether we can ever refuse to be defined by the local, either by birth or by acculturation. These narratives are informed by tropes of cultural diversity and pluralism.


Pedagogy Projects

Teaching in a Digital World by Alex Huang
Reference Website for Prof. Huang's Film & Literature Courses
Transcultural Asia: Literary & Visual Cultures of Asia and the Asian Diaspora
POCI: Proficiency-Oriented Chinese Instruction
PSU Summer Program in Shanghai