Shakespeare and the City: The Negotiation of Urban Spaces in Shakespeare's Plays; Deadline: 11/30/2009
Shakespeare's plays were conceived and first performed in a political, cultural and economic metropolis, London around 1600, which drew audiences from different social spheres and countries to its theatres. While England was foremost a rural country, London radiated a climate of social change that was negotiated in theatrical presentations of the city, often evoking a non-civilised, barbaric, or utopian other. Our seminar aims at tracing the negotiation of urban spaces on the early modern stage, in contemporary theatrical productions and film adaptations. Which influences did London around 1600 exert on Shakespeare's plays, and in how far can non-English settings of the plays tell us something about early modern notions of these cities and countries? In how far did the presentation of urban life in Shakespeare's plays contribute to the self-fashioning of Londoners (and other citizens) in his time and perhaps even today? Which topographies of the city (and its other – the countryside, the forest, the island) do Shakespeare's plays present and how do they relate to cultural, social and economic concerns? How do the plays enact the demarcation and intersection of public and private spaces? How are spaces gendered? Which allegorical conceptions of the city can we trace?
Our seminar plans to address these and related questions with a panel of six papers during the annual conference of the German Shakespeare Association, Shakespeare-Tage (22-25 April 2010 in Essen, Germany), which will focus on "Shakespeare and the City" and include keynote addresses by Steven Mullaney (Michigan) und Mary Bly (Fordham, NY). As critical input for the discussion and provocation for debate, panelists are invited to give short statements (of no more than 15 minutes) presenting concrete case studies, concise examples and strong views on the topic. Please send your proposals (abstracts of 300 words) and all further questions by 30th November 2009 to the seminar convenors:
Dr. Felix Sprang, Universität Hamburg, Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Christina Wald, Humanities Center at Harvard: email@example.com