A Symposium at George Washington University

Conference Report in The Shakespeare Standard.                                              In states unborn and accents yet unknown

-- Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare was interested in the larger world when he wrote his plays 400-years ago, naming his theatre The Globe. The “Global Shakespeares” symposium at George Washington University seeks to explore Shakespeare through the lenses of world markets and archives. Performances of Shakespeare in different cultural contexts are changing the ways we think about scholarship and globalization. In this symposium, practitioners and scholars will challenge audience members to approach the postnational spaces and fluid cultural locations in many global Shakespeares.


Presentations will explore the promise and perils of political articulations of cultural differences and suggest new approaches to performances in marginalized or polyglot spaces.


Featured speakers include film director Julie Taymor, actor Harry Lennix, and leading scholars in the field including Thomas Cartelli, Ayanna Thompson, Adele Seeff, Sujata Iyengar, Christy Desmet, Eric Johnson, Richard Burt, Jeffrey Butcher, Kendra Leonard, Alexa Huang, and Amanda Bailey.

Please REGISTER SEPARATELY FOR EACH DAY if you plan to come to both days.


  • RSVP for Friday January 24, 2014


  • RSVP for Saturday, January 25, 2014



The event and the book exhibit are free and open to the public.


The Symposium is co-sponsored by the George Washington University Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute, Digital Humanities Institute, Dean's Scholars in Shakespeare Program, Department of English, and the Gelman Library.



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Conference Report in The Shakespeare Standard by Jason Demeter




               RSVP for Friday; download Program & Directions Packet or just the program


Venue: Gelman Library room 702: International Brotherhood of Teamsters Labor History Research Center

7th Floor

2130 H St NW, Washington, DC 20052
     The library's entrance is located on H Street NW between 22nd St NW and 21st NW



Opening Remarks by Ayanna Thompson and Alexa Huang


10:00AM-12:00PM     Methodologies and Media, Part 1 // Chair: Holly Dugan

     Amanda Bailey (University of Maryland), “Early Modern Planet Thought

     Kendra Leonard (independent scholar), “The Past is a Foreign Country: World Musics Signifying History in/and Elizabethan Drama

     Jeff Butcher (GWU), “Comrade Fortinbras and Bourgeois Hamlet: Global Leftist Hamletism



12:00PM-2:00PM      LUNCH BREAK



2:00PM-4:30PM     Methodologies and Media, Part 2 // Chair: Patrick Cook

     Alexa Huang (GWU), “Global Shakespeares as Methodology: World Maps and Archival Silence


     Richard Burt (University of Florida), “'Reading Madness' in the Archive: Shakespeare’s ContagiousCu(n)t

     Eric Johnson (Folger Library), “Shakespeare’s Digital Global Marketplace

     Christy Desmet (University of Georgia), “The Art of Curation: Searching for Global Shakespeares in the Digital Archives











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Conference Report in The Shakespeare Standard by Jason Demeter


               RSVP for Saturday; download Program & Directions Packet or just the program


Venue: Jack Morton Auditorium, School of Media and Public Affairs

805 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

     Intersection of 21st St NW and H St NW


8:45-9:00 AM    COFFEE


9:00AM-11:00AM      Performing Global Shakespeares // Chair: Jeffrey Cohen


     Sujata Iyengar (University of Georgia), “Beds and Handkerchiefs: Moving Objects in International Othellos


     Tom Cartelli (Muhlenberg College), “‘High-Tech Shakespeare in a Mediatized Globe


     Adele Seeff (University of Maryland), “Race, Post-Race, Shakespeare, and South Africa


11:00AM-11:30AM    COFFEE BREAK


11:30AM-1:30PM     Julie Taymor’s Shakespeare in the Global Marketplace // Chair: Ayanna Thompson
     Julie Taymor in conversation with Harry Lennix


1:30-2:30 PM    RECEPTION IN HONOR OF JULIE TAYMOR AND HARRY LENNIX. Art Gallery Lobby (2nd Floor, above the auditorium)





Download the program with directions packet, just the program, poster for Friday, or poster for Saturday



Program and directions packet or just the program (smaller file)


View the symposium poster as a JPEG image file or a PDF file.



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Conference Report in The Shakespeare Standard by Jason Demeter




Early Modern Planet Thought

Amanda Bailey (University of Maryland)


Recent productions of Romeo and Juliet set in Iraq, Rwanda, and South Africa have staged the enmity driving the play as an ethnic conflict with geopolitical dimensions. Romeo and Juliet, however, does not leap to mind as a likely candidate for an exploration of global issues. In particular its preoccupation with planetary influence seems out of sync with our postmodern sensibilities. Yet it is the play's investment in the "star crossed," and the early modern habit of thought the phrase references, that makes it an apt vehicle for a politically motivated and globally oriented staging. In the early modern period, astrological imagination provided a way of conceptualizing belonging that connected all human beings across time and space. A belief system based on the invisible interconnectedness of everything, astrological thinking encouraged an empathic awareness of interdependency and a deeply paranoid perspective. Postcolonial scholars have called for imagining ourselves as planetary subjects rather than global agents so as to embrace an inexhaustible taxonomy of interrelation. Yet, as I will show, planetarity predated -- and anticipated -- globalization, and for this reason Romeo and Juliet offers a rich repository of planet-thinking and planet-feeling.






The Past is a Foreign Country: World Musics Signifying History in/and Elizabethan Drama

Kendra Leonard (independent scholar)


Research on global Shakespeare has focused on the ways in which the plays have been adapted for indigenous languages and customs. Less attention has been paid to the ways in which non-British directors have treated the Elizabethan drama. Yet there are a number of works that create direct musical dialogues between Elizabethan drama, history, and the cultures of England’s colonies. In Supple’s 2003 Twelfth Night, Indian music signifies the divide between Viola and Sebastian’s origins and a British Ilyria; a 2006 Danish Ur-Hamlet uses music from former British colonies and a faux-medieval score that serve as “an exchange of cultural manifestations.” And both the BBC’s Virgin Queen (2005) and Kapur’s 2007 Elizabeth: the Golden Age use Indian music to represent the empire’s colonial enterprises. I will examine how these musics function in the context of screen works, and what their use might signify in Elizabethan drama and historical pieces overall.






Comrade Fortinbras and Bourgeois Hamlet: Global Leftist Hamletism

Jeffrey Butcher (George Washington University)


In Bend Sinister, Vladimir Nabokov creates the world of Padukgrad: a dystopian society symbolic of Stalin’s tyrannical regime. In the novel, an obscure scholar proposes an adaptation of Hamlet to be performed at Padukgrad’s state theatre. This adaptation transforms Fortinbras into the hero of the play and presents the tragic fall of Hamlet as secondary. I use Nabokov’s anti-Stalinist appropriation of Shakespeare as a point of departure to legitimize Marxist-Leninist appropriative deployments of Hamlet that precede the taint of Stalin. German, Soviet, and American Leftists alike incorporated Hamlet as a negative prototype—a representation of bourgeois individualism and of uncommitted Leftist sympathizers—into political rhetoric so as to advocate commitment and reform. I argue that global Leftist “Hamletism” not only illustrates a clear (political) distinction between proletarian and popular appropriations of Shakespeare, but also demonstrates a theory crucial to the re-politicization of Shakespeare’s social function today.





Global Shakespeares as Methodology

Alexa Huang (George Washington University)


The idea of global Shakespeares has caught on because of site-specific imaginations involving early modern and modern Globe theatres that aspired to perform the globe. Seeing global Shakespeares as a methodology rather than as appendages of colonialism, as political rhetorics, or as centerpieces in a display of exotic cultures situates us in a postnational space that is defined by fluid cultural locations rather than by nation-states. This framework helps us confront archival silences in the record of globalization, understand the spectral quality of citations of Shakespeare and mobile artworks, and reframe the debate about cultural exchange. Global Shakespeares as a field registers the shifting locus of anxiety between cultural particularity and universality.





"Reading Madness" in the Archive: Shakespeare’s Contagious Cu(n)t

Richard Burt (University of Florida)


     After first asking "what is an archive?" and “what does ‘global’ mean?” (as opposed to world as in “Welt Literatur” or Jacques Derrida’s preferred word, “mondialization,” literally French for “worldization”), I frame the archive in relation to biopolitics and “bare life” (Giorgio Agamben's extension of the zone of exceptionas the norm, realized in concentration camps and detention) to include the entire planet. Reading the camp as an archive that comes with its own archive fever, I then reframe biopolitics as planetary biobibliopolitics (paper/less persons; the “sur-vivance,” or living on / living death of a text, the “Uberleben” or afterlife of a translation of a text that never lived). I then consider Shakespeare’s First Folio as a multi-media, audio-visual archive and delivery hit and miss delivery system that sometimes comes with feverish, sometimes friendly fire. Overdosing on Derrida’s Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression and “Plato’s Pharmacy,” I discuss archival effects such as multi-media open and “cut” letters, both in the alphabetic sense and in the sense of so-called material supports of postal letters sent off to be delivered or not, as the case may be. What happens if we go with our delirium, our archive fever when reading Shakespeare as an archive of impressions, and give up the notion that there was ever an originary moment when pen hit paper? What happens if we give up the idea that one medium can be totally translated into another, as digitalization does, according to Friedrich Kittler? My concern is with the audiovisual “anarchivity” of the Folio archive, with the way postal letters in Shakespeare’s works that are never read but only reported on or letters to be read aloud on stage produce unreadable effects that only become readable through various kinds of compulsive delusions. Postal letters in the Folio involves media and linguistic translation in which “reading” or “auditing” them requires one to hallucinate seemingly coherent and comprehensible performances. At stake in the reading and recitation archived in the Folio is whether that archive installs a kind of repetition that is compulsive, a reading drive already destined for self-destruction or initiates a less radically anarchivic and destinerrant reading and recitation of letters that go missing. I focus on three moments in which letters are repeated but not letter by letter, so to speak: Lady Macbeth (5.1.) as writing machine (her unwitnessed, unreported, unread letter) before she turns television broadcaster when sleepwalking); the postal letter reader supplying alphabetic letters that aren’t there, as when in Twelfth Night (5.1.) Malvolio thinks he has identified Olivia’s handwriting by attending to her “c”s, “u”s, and “t”s, (the word “and” is heard as the letter “n”); Olivia’s refusal to allow Feste to “read madness,” that is, read Malvolio's letter to Olivia (Fabian reads it instead); and alphabetic letters in the translation scene (3.4) in Henry V (“foot” misheard as “foutre,” glossed as ejaculate, more often as “fuck”; “la robe” translated as "gown" mispronounced as “coun” (phonetically, “cown”) yet also heard as French for “con,” glossed by editors as "cunt"). I close by considering the Folio’s archiving of reading and translating letters as “open and cut” cases of un/reading that no textual forensics could fully decipher, the Folio audio-visual archive being a pharmacy that goes viral, both deescalating and upping the stakes of the politics of (not) reading as it delivers the delusional hits of phantom referents and fantasies of a theological delivery from the madness of reading, the reading that never drops its payload even when if does occasionally deliver.




Shakespeare's Global Digital Marketplace

Eric Johnson (Folger Shakespeare Library)


In order to evaluate the "global market" for Shakespeare, I will assemble as much data as possible to show which works are being read and researched. This data will be taken from major Shakespeare-related web sites (Open Source Shakespeare, Folger Shakespeare Library sites, and others); book sales; and conference attendance. If possible, these sources will include entertainment figures as well, such as ticket sales.


     These statistics will show which works receive the most attention, and will suggest some answers as to why that might be. Data derived from web sites will be particularly important, since it measures actual usage (i.e., a web page request is a verifiable event, whereas a book sale does not guarantee that the book will be read). This data will include web page view counts, as well search data from Open Source Shakespeare (see "Most Searched Keywords" and "Most Searched Works" in http://opensourceshakespeare.org/stats).


     This data collection will give an idea of which countries are most interested in Shakespeare, relative to the rest of the world. It will also show which countries are under-represented in the "market," and thus represent potential growth areas for Shakespearean pedagogy and scholarship. This paper will pay particular attention to why developing countries with large English-speaking populations, particularly India, do not seem to make as much use of Shakespearean resources as might be expected.






The Art of Curation: Searching for Global Shakespeares in the Digital Archives

Christy Desmet (University of Georgia)


Scholarly sites are strictly curated, usually by one or two persons with impeccable credentials. By contrast, YouTube, as the quintessential crowd-sourced and user-structured video archive, depends on individual contributions for its raw material, and on a combination of imitation, dialogue, and a complicated computer algorithm to establish relationships among the videos. I want to consider how differences in curation and context between these two kinds of archives might affect the understanding and reception of global Shakespeares. The paper compares cognitive and intellectual strategies brought to bear in the YouTube environment with the more structured methods of curating and providing intellectual paratexts in three sample scholarly archives: Bardbox (now defunct), CASP (Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project); and the Global Shakespeares Video & Performance Archive (MIT).






Beds and Handkerchiefs: Moving Objects in International Othellos

Sujata Iyengar (University of Georgia)


This paper argues that a viewer watching Othello in an unfamiliar language can more narrowly focus upon the life of things in the play and adaptations. Jane Bennett argues in Vibrant Matter for a renewed vital materialism — an emphasis on objects in the world and on attributing agency or actantial ability to them. In Shakespeare’s Othello two objects dominate the play: most obviously, the handkerchief; less obviously, because it is sometimes part of the stage, the bed in which Desdemona is smothered. In this paper I consider the ways in which a South Indian art film, a North Indian “Bollywood” movie and an Italian teen adaptation of Othello permit these objects to act expressively. These adaptations (Kaliyattam; Omkara; Iago) indigenize and transform both the handkerchief and the “tragic loading” of the bed, in the last case turning (or returning) the Shakespearean source from tragedy to comedy.




High-Tech Shakespeare in a Mediatized Globe

Tom Cartelli (Muhlenberg College)


In successive single-set productions of Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, and Antony & Cleopatra, Ivo van Hove’s The Roman Tragedies transforms the stage into a high-tech version of Shakespeare’s Globe, mimicking how global media stage political debates and generate the simulacrum of war rather than the thing itself. Mixing live actors with video projections displayed on monitors spaced on and above the stage, van Hove encourages spectators to move from one viewing space to another, to order drinks, check email or tweet on desktop computers. Extending Shakespeare’s “all the world’s a stage” conceit to a world connected by “clouds” of information transported on viewless wings and deposited in airy dropboxes, van Hove’s stage is everywhere and nowhere at once, trafficking on the uniform look and feel of the world’s cathected centers of privilege and power. But in designedly conforming to the politics of global media, while suppressing the crowd-sourcing potential of Coriolanus and Julius Caesar, van Hove arguably extends only the illusion of emancipation to spectators distracted by competing demands on their attention.





Race, Post-Race, Shakespeare, and South Africa

Adele Seeff (University of Maryland College Park)


In a newly democratic South Africa, the South African Broadcasting Company commissioned updated re-tellings of Shakespeare’s plays using local settings, vernacular languages, and black actors. They sought local programming that could be projected into a global entertainment market. These stories would help heal a nation’s trauma and provide a broader representation of black South African scriptwriters, directors, and actors speaking African vernacular.


I focus largely on two re-versionings of Macbeth (a King Lear and a Romeo and Juliet were produced) to argue that these made-for-television appropriations are reclamation projects. Each employs different filmic and rhetorical strategies to represent a utopian post-racial world using the once imperial icon, Shakespeare, as a point of access to global audiences. Thoroughly exploiting Shakespeare’s cultural capital, these programs show us that “African” indigeneity and identity are shifting and fluid, and infused with desire; that discourse(s) can be democratized but that hierarchies persist; and that strategies of identity formation remain hostage to apartheid’s continuing afterlife. These Africanized re-versionings surrogate Shakespeare’s text to dramatize and experiment with linguistic, national, and gender identities.





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Speakers and Moderators in the order of appearance


Holly Dugan, Associate Professor of English, George Washington University


Professor Dugan’s research and teaching interests explore relationships between history, literature, and material culture. Her scholarship focuses on questions of gender, sexuality, and the boundaries of the body in late medieval and early modern England. She is currently working on a book-length project, co-authored with Scott Maisano, that examines the pre-modern history of primatology through the lens of Shakespeare.


She is the author of The Ephemeral History of Perfume: Scent and Sense in Early Modern England (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011) and co-editor of the special issue on “The Intimate Senses,” Postmedieval, Vol. 3, Issue 4 (Winter 2012). (For more information, here is an interview in GW Today)

Amanda Bailey, Associate Professor of English, University of Maryland College Park


Renaissance scholar Amanda Bailey specializes in early modern drama, masculinity studies, political theory, and New Economic Criticism. Professor Bailey has written several monographs, including the newly-published Of Bondage: Debt, Property and Personhood in Early Modern England (University of Pennsylvania Press), and her articles have appeared in journals such as Shakespeare Quarterly, English Literary Renaissance, and Renaissance Drama. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan. She has taught at the University of Connecticut before joining the University of Maryland. Her newest project takes up the idea of personhood in ancient, early modern, and contemporary political thought. It investigates how various discourses came to shape how we think about consent and embodiment, which in turn, informs our assumptions about the human and the posthuman.

Kendra Preston Leonard, musicologist


Kendra Preston Leonard is a musicologist whose work focuses on women and music; music and screen history; and music and disability. She is the author of Shakespeare, Madness, and Music: Scoring Insanity in Cinematic Adaptations, and has published on music and Shakespearean film in Upstart, Global Shakespeares, This Rough Magic, and Early Modern Studies Journal. She has chapters forthcoming on the topic in Bollywood Shakespeare (Palgrave), Gender and Song in Early Modern England (Ashgate), and The Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies (OUP). Her current research project is on the musical representation of the English early modern period on screen.

Jeffrey Butcher, George Washington University


Jeffrey Butcher is a PhD. Candidate at George Washington University. His interests in the early modern period, namely Shakespeare studies, are complemented by his engagement in political interventions into Marxist critical theory. Although he focuses mostly on American movements, he takes part in research on global Shakespeares as well. Publications emerging from his theatrical interests include articles such as “The Failed Literary Revolt: Shakespeare and the Early American Left” and a reconstruction work titled “Review of Robert Lewis’ Red Hamlet” appearing in Shakespeare: Journal of the British Shakespeare Association. Upstart Crow: A Shakespeare Journal is publishing his article “Recovering the Political Left: Leninism and Shakespeare in America” in 2014. Jeffrey is scheduled to defend his dissertation, “Recovering and Reconstructing Leftist Shakespeares: An American Leninist Intervention,” in March 2014.

Patrick Cook, Professor of English, George Washington University


Professor Cook’s research and teaching interests include Milton, early modern European literature, classical and biblical humanities, literary theory, and film adaptation. His current projects include the neuroscience of cinema and applying the psychoanalysis of Melanie Klein to the study of literature. His books include Cinematic Hamlet: the films of Laurence Olivier, Franco Zeffirelli, Kenneth Branagh, and Michael Almereyda (Ohio University Press, 2012) and Milton, Spenser, and the Epic Tradition (Ashgate, 1996).

Alex Huang

Alexa Huang, Professor of English, Theatre, and International Affairs, George Washington University


Professor Huang teaches and publishes on the mobility of early modern and postmodern cultures in their literary, performative, diasporic, and digital forms of expression. At GW she has co-founded and is co-directing the Digital Humanities Institute. She also directs the Dean's Scholars in Shakespeare Program and graduate studies in English. She recently edited a special issue on "Global Shakespeares" for Shakespeare (Journal of the British Shakespeare Association, vol. 9 issue 3, 2013). As research affiliate in literature at MIT, she has co-founded and co-edits the MIT Global Shakespeares open-access digital video archive. Her books include Chinese Shakespeares; Weltliteratur und Welttheater: Ästhetischer Humanismus in der kulturellen Globalisierung; and Shakespeare in Hollywood, Asia and Cyberspace. She currently serves as the chair of the MLA New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare committee; co-general editor of The Shakespearean International Yearbook; and editor of the book series on "Global Shakespeares" for Palgrave Macmillan.

Richard Burt, Professor of English, University of Florida, Gainesville


Professor Burt is the co-author, with Julian Yates, of What’s the Worst Thing You Can Do to Shakespeare? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and the author of Medieval and Early Modern Film and Media (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008; rev. paperback 2010); Unspeakable ShaXXXspeares: Queer Theory and American Kiddie Culture (St. Martin’s, 1998; rev. paperback, 1999); and Licensed by Authority: Ben Jonson and the Discourses of Censorship (Cornell UP 1993). He is also the editor of Shakespeares After Shakespeare: An Encyclopedia of the Bard in Mass Media and Popular Culture (Greenwood Press, 2006); Shakespeare After Mass Media (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002); and The Administration of Aesthetics: Censorship, Political Criticism, and the Public Sphere (UMinn, 1994). Burt is the co-editor of Enclosure Acts: Sexuality, Property, and Culture in Early Modern England (Cornell UP, 1994), Shakespeare the Movie: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, and Video (Routledge, 1997), and Shakespeare the Movie, II: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, Video, and DVD (Routledge, 2003).

Eric Johnson, Director of Digital Access, Folger Shakespeare Library


Eric Johnson is the Folger’s new Director of Digital Access, heading the new Digital Media and Publications division. He has developed successful projects and programs for U.S. Department of State, the Washington Times, the World Bank, the state of Georgia, and other public- and private-sector organizations. He is best known in the Shakespearean community as the creator of Open Source Shakespeare, one of the most widely-used online resources in the field. Eric holds an M.A. in English and a B.A. in history, and he serves on the board of advisors for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Christy Desmet, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, Department of English, University of Georgia


Christy Desmet's (Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles, 1984) book Reading Shakespeare's Characters: Rhetoric, Ethics, and Identity was published in 1992 by the University of Massachusetts Press and reprinted as an electronic book by netLibrary in 2000. She is the co-editor (with Robert Sawyer) of Shakespeare and Appropriation (Routledge, 1999) and of Harold Bloom's Shakespeare (Palgrave, 2001). With Sujata Iyengar, she is co-founder and co-general editor of Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation, which can be found at http://www.borrowers.uga.edu. Her research interests include Shakespeare and New Media/Web 2.0, the rhetoric of reading and writing English history, theory, practice, and assessment of ePortfolios, and teaching writing and literature in digital contexts. Her most recent books are Shakespearean Gothic, co-edited with Anne Williams and published in 2009 by the University of Wales Press and Helen Faucit (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011).

Jeffrey Cohen, Professor of English and Director of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute, George Washington University


Professor Cohen's research examines phenomena that are paradoxically alien and intimate to the human. His publications examine the multilingual literatures of the British archipelago; what monsters reveal about the cultures that dream them ; the ways in which postcolonial studies, critical animal studies, queer theory, postmodernism and posthumanism help to better understand the texts and cultures of the Middle Ages (and might be transformed by that encounter); the limits and the creativity of taxonomic impulses; the complexities of time when thought outside of progress narratives; vibrant materialism, object-oriented ontology, and other methods for discerning the complicated vitality of what is supposed to be inanimate; and ecological theory. His research has been funded by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Guggenheim Foundation. His forthcoming book is entitled Stories of Stone: An Ecology of the Inhuman (University of Minnesota Press, 2015). He blogs at In the Middle http://www.inthemedievalmiddle.com/

Sujata Iyengar, Professor of English at the University of Georgia


Sujata Iyengar, Professor of English at the University of Georgia, co-founded and co-edits (with Christy Desmet) the award-winning, multimedia, online, scholarly journal Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation. Her single-authored publications include the books Shades of Difference: Mythologies of Skin Color in Early Modern England (Penn, 2005), Shakespeare's Medical Language (Arden Shakespeare Dictionaries, 2011 and 2014), as well as articles in the journals Shakespeare Survey, ELH, MaRDiE and in many edited collections. She is currently editing a scholarly collection on health, well-being and happiness in the Shakespearean body and writing two monographs, one about Shakespeare and print culture in the modern era, called "Shakespeare and the Art of the Book," and another on distributed agency and bodily health in Shakespeare.

Thomas Cartelli, Professor of English, Muhlenberg College


Thomas Cartelli is Professor of English & Film Studies at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is the author of Marlowe, Shakespeare, and the Economy of Theatrical Experience and of Repositioning Shakespeare: National Formations, Postcolonial Appropriations; co-author (with Katherine Rowe) of New Wave Shakespeare on Screen; and, more recently, editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Shakespeare’s Richard III and of two additional, single-text versions of Richard III for the forthcoming Norton 3 Complete Works of Shakespeare. His current work on the Wooster Group/RSC collaboration forms part of a book project provisionally titled Experimental Shakespeare in Theory and Practice.

Adele Seeff, Director of the Center for Renaissance and Baroque Studies, University of Maryland College Park


Adele Seeff earned her doctorate from the University of Maryland in Renaissance drama and the history of Shakespeare production. From 1986 to 2011, she directed the multidisciplinary Center for Renaissance & Baroque Studies at the University of Maryland, developing humanities programs for regional and international audiences, and winning awards for service and for building school-university relations. She has co-edited seven conference proceedings volumes associated with the “Attending to Early Modern Women” conference series, and co-founded and co-edited the first scholarly journal in the field, Early Modern Women. She has published on Shakespeare and performance and is currently revising a book on Shakespeare performance in South Africa. Courses include Shakespeare performance on stage, screen, and television.

Ayanna Thompson, Professor of English, George Washington University


Ayanna Thompson is Professor of English at George Washington University. She specializes in Renaissance drama and focuses on issues of race in/as performance. She is the author of Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage (Routledge, 2008), and she is the editor of Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) (co-edited with Scott Newstok) and Colorblind Shakespeare: New Perspectives on Race and Performance (Routledge, 2006). Professor Thompson is a Trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America. Professor Thompson has been Professor of English and Associate Dean of Faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University.

Julie Taymor is an Academy Award-nominated director of theatre, operan, and film. Her latest stage production is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is running as the inaugural production at Theatre for a New Audience’s new home in downtown Brooklyn. In 1998, Taymor became the first woman to win the Tony® Award for Best Direction of a Musical for her production of The Lion King. Her 1996 Broadway debut, Juan Darién: A Carnival Mass, earned five Tony® nominations. Other theatre credits include The Green Bird, Titus Andronicus, The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew, The Transposed Heads, Liberty's Taken, and Spiderman: Turn off the Dark. Taymor's feature films include Titus starring Anthony Hopkins, Frida, Across the Universe, and The Tempest starring Helen Mirren. Taymor has also directed five operas internationally, including Oedipus Rex with Jessye Norman, as well as Salomé, The Flying Dutchman, Die Zauberflöte, The Magic Flute, and Elliot Goldenthal's Grendel. Taymor is a 1991 recipient of the MacArthur "genius" Fellowship.

Harry Lennix is an accomplished film, television, and stage actor who appears in Warner Bros."Man of Steel". Other recent credits include The CW's "Emily Owens, M.D.", Fox's "Dollhouse," HBO's "Little Britain," as well as the critically acclaimed series "24" as Walid Al-Rezani. Lennix made his Broadway debut in August Wilson's Tony nominated play, Radio Golf. He was seen on the big screen in Working Title's "State of Play." In 2006, Lennix starred in the Golden Globe nominated ABC show "Commander in Chief" as Jim Gardner, the Chief of Staff. His other appearances include the Oscar winning film "Ray," "The Matrix: Reloaded," and "The Matrix: Revolutions." Lennix received critical acclaim and a Golden Satellite Award as Aaron in Julie Taymor's "Titus" starring Anthony Hopkins.


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Directions, Parking, and Hotels


The official hotel for the event is State Plaza Hotel, 2117 E Street N.W. Washington D.C. 20037, tel: 202-861-8200. The hotel is located on campus and within easy walking distance from the metro station "Foggy Bottom / GWU" and from the event venues.





Foggy Bottom Campus Public Transportation Options:



George Washington University's Foggy Bottom campus is centrally located three blocks from the White House. The Foggy Bottom GWU Metro Stop, located on the Blue and Orange Lines, is right on our Foggy Bottom Campus at 21st and I Streets, NW.



Click on the following Metro map for a full map of the DC Metro system:





Click here for GW campus maps


Venue for Friday January 24, 2014: Gelman Library 7th floor Room 701


Venue for Saturday January 25, 2014: School of Media and Public Affairs Jack Morton Auditorium (first floor)


One block from the Foggy Bottom/GWU metro station and across the street from the Whole Food's and GW Hospital.






Visitor Parking




Parking on campus is currently a challenge due to ongoing construction, so we strongly encourage the use of public transportation. If you choose to drive to GW, a limited number of visitor parking spaces is available in --


  • The Academic Center Parking Garage (801 22nd Street, NW; entrance on I Street, NW, between 21st and 22nd Streets); open 24 hours a day 7 days a week


  • The Marvin Center Parking Garage (800 21st Street, NW; entrance on H Street, NW, between 21st and 22nd Streets); open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. until midnight daily


The parking fee is $18 per day or for a portion of the day (subject to change). On-campus street parking is available, but it is also limited and time limits are strictly enforced.


A few public parking garages (not run by GW) are also available nearby. Click here for a detailed map.



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Hotels on or near the GW Foggy Bottom Campus (all within walking distance)


George Washington University Inn



Courtyard Washington, DC/Foggy Bottom

515 20th Street NW · Washington, DC 20006; tel: 202-296-5700



One Washington Circle Hotel



Hotel Lombardy



State Plaza Hotel



DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel



Washington Marriott



Renaissance Washington DC (Dupont Circle)



Best Western Georgetown



The River Inn



Washington Suites Georgetown



Fairmont Washington, D.C.



Click on the following map for details:




More options here: http://www.gwu.edu/explore/visitingcampus/lodgingdining



Note: Rosslyn (Arlington, VA)--across the river--has some great hotels at affordable rates, and it is only one stop from Foggy Bottom-GWU by metro (and these hotels are next to the Rosslyn metro)


Options include: Hyatt, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Hotel Palomer, Best Western, Residence Inn, Courtyard, and more.







Emily Russell, Graduate Assistant to the Digital Humanities Institute (until January 2014)


M. Bychowski, Graduate Assistant to the Digital Humanities Institute (starting January 2014)



Haylie Swenson, Graduate Assistant to the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute (throughout 2013-2014)




Department of English
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Suite 760
Washington, DC 20052
Phone: (202) 994-6180






The symposium is co-sponsored by the George Washington University Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute (MEMSI), Department of English, Digital Humanities Institute, Dean's Scholars in Shakespeare Program, and Gelman Library, and co-organized by Alexa Huang, Ayanna Thompson, Haylie Swenson, Emily Russell, and M Bychowski. GW MEMSI brings the study of early Europe within a global perspective to students (from undergraduate to doctoral), teachers and researchers, and an interested public. Special thanks to The Shakespeare Standard for covering the symposium in a conference report.