Gender-Switching and Queer Opportunities in Web-Native Shakespeare

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
European Shakespeare Research Association (ESRA), Montpellier, June 2019
contact email: 

We seek submissions to a seminar on Gender Switching and Queerness in Web-Native Shakespare at the upcoming ESRA conference (http://www.ircl.cnrs.fr/francais/sos2019.htm) in Montpellier, France, in June 2019. We welcome papers exploring the interpretive possibilities generated by queer and gender-switched casting in web series and other digitally-native media adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays. By shifting the means of production and distribution beyond traditional mainstream media channels, new digital platforms like YouTube, Tumblr, and Netflix offer a creative process through which more people can adapt Shakespeare in their own image. So, too, can queer and gender-switched characters manifest the application of theoretical approaches such as queer theory, girls’ studies, and disability studies to Shakespeare’s work. Amateur web series such as A Document of Madness and Hamlet the Dame, for example, prominently feature gender-switched, trans, and queered interpretations of characters from Hamlet. We seek seminar contributions that consider the intersection of Shakespearean adaptation in web-native media (broadly construed) with various approaches to adaptation and popular culture. How does amplifying girl and/or queer voices in Shakespearean adaptation shift the interpretive possibilities in a particular play? Is gender-switching always queer? How might looking at web-native productions help us understand the history of Shakespeare on Screen, especially those productions that assimilated or actively erased the presence of girls, women, and queer artists? How might digital media address the challenges faced by women and nonbinary performers, for whom traditional Shakespearean theatrical productions provide very few roles? Do amateur Shakespearean web series exist within Michael Wesch’s notion of “context collapse,” or does Shakespeare’s author function – manifest in theatrical, cinematic, or pedagogical iterations – fundamentally shape the way these web series are consumed and appreciated?

We invite contributors to send their abstracts (300 words) and biographical notices (200 words) to the seminar leaders by October 31st, 2018. Full drafts of accepted submissions of 3,000-5,000 words will be due to seminar participants in February 2019. 

Seminar Leaders: Ariane Balizet, Texas Christian University (a.balizet@tcu.edu); Marcela Kostihová, Hamline University (mkostihova01@hamline.edu)