European Shakespeares and Asia - 31 May 2009

full name / name of organization: 
Alexander Huang / Penn State University
contact email:

Local/Global Shakespeares: 4th British Shakespeare Association Conference

King’s College London & Shakespeare’s Globe
11 – 13 September 2009

Seminar: Asian Shakespeares in Europe

From Ariane Mnouchkine's controversial "Orientalised" of 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 people of Asian descent 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?

Please send your proposal to: Alexander Huang ( Proposals should be submitted by 31 May 2009.

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