CFP Shakespearean Journeys: ASA Conference Seminars (5/15-17/2014; 12/10/2013)

full name / name of organization: 
Bi-qi Beatrice Lei / Asian Shakespeare Association


Shakespearean Journeys:
The Inaugural Conference of the Asian Shakespeare Association

Taipei, 15-17 May 2014

By land or sea, across city and country, journeys comprise an important motif in Shakespeare's works, be they smooth or perilous, round trip or to an undiscovered country from whose bourne no travelers return. The journeys undertaken can be physical, emotional, spiritual, or a combination. Though not in person, Shakespeare also journeys extensively, crossing not only time and space but also language, culture, and media. A most versatile and protean voyager, Shakespeare sometimes travels light and does as the locals do, yet sometimes carries heavy baggage and remains a stranger in a foreign land. "Shakespearean Journeys" aims to explore all aspects of this theme.

Keynote Speakers:

--Peter Holbrook, University of Queensland (Australia), Chair of the International Shakespeare Association

--Kawachi Yoshiko, Kyorin University (Japan)

--Dennis Kennedy, Samuel Beckett Professor and Fellow Emeritus, Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)

--Lena Cowen Orlin, Georgetown University, Executive Director of the Shakespeare Association of America (USA)

--Perng Ching-Hsi, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, National Taiwan University; Visiting Professor, Fu Jen Catholic University (Taiwan)

--Shen Lin, Central Academy of Drama (China)

Special Guests:

--Rustom Bharucha, Jawaharlal Nehru University (India)

--Ing K(anjanavanit), filmmaker, journalist, painter, writer (Thailand)

--Nehad Selaiha, Higher Institute of Artistic Criticism, the Academy of Arts (Egypt)

Live Performances:

--Betrayal (an adaptation of Cardenio by Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe from Taiwan, dir. Wu Ziming)

--King Lear (a modern rock adaptation by Nomad Theatre from Korea, dir. Son Jeung-Woo)

--Sintang Dalisay (an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in traditional music and dance by Tanghalang Ateneo from the Philippines, dir., Ricardo Abad)

Film Screening:

--Shakespeare Must Die (an adaptation of Macbeth from Thailand, dir. Ing K)

--Censors Must Die (documentary, dir. Ing K)

Submission Guidelines:

Please choose a seminar and submit a 250-word abstract and a short bio directly to the seminar leader(s). Acceptance will be based on relevance, quality, and space capacity.


Deadline for abstract submission is 10 December 2013. Results will be announced by the end of December. If accepted, complete papers of 8-12 pages must be submitted by 1 March 2014.


Conference registration starts 1 January 2014. All conference participants must be registered members of the ASA and must remit the conference registration fee. If you wish to apply for a need-based fee waiver or paid double-occupancy lodging, please add a paragraph of explanation.


Please send your query about the seminar to the seminar leader(s). General questions concerning the conference should be sent to


For conference updates, please visit


1. Translating the "Untranslatable": Trans-cultural and Trans-media Migration of Shakespeare (Minami Ryuta, Shirayuri College)

Shakespeare has travelled worldwide, crossing geopolitical, cultural and temporal borders and taking root in non-Anglophone countries and regions. Such transferences of Shakespearean texts, which are often treated as literary or theatrical translation/adaptation of the texts into a non-Anglophone language/ culture, almost always coincide with their transpositions from one media platform to another. While something is always lost in the verbal translation of Shakespeare's texts from English to the target language, the target media platforms such as stage, screen, manga, animation or YoutTube, along with socio-cultural differences, encourage artists and creators to add something new (and unexpected) to the source text in attempts at replacing or compensating for the "untranslatable" or simply updating the source texts. This seminar will discuss variegated forms of translation/adaptation of Shakespearean texts so as to expound and consider what happens to the "untranslatable" when Shakespeare migrates or is migrated to any media platform of non-Anglophone and/or unconventional contexts. (

2. The Journey: Scene of and Metaphor for Transformation (T. J. Sellari, National Chengchi University)

This seminar will approach various forms of transformation in Shakespeare's works, where change can take the form of a literal or metaphorical journey. Papers for this seminar will cover transformations and shifts in time and space, as well as the effects on character and consciousness that result from the recognition of change. They may also explore the representation of immaterial transformations, and question the ways in which such claims of transformation are, like the drama and poetry which bear them, both representational and wholly presentational, supposing referents while making none available for appeals to accuracy or verisimilitude. The variety of the transformations addressed in these papers will illustrate the diverse forms journeys take in the different genres in which Shakespeare worked, and test the limits of the usefulness of the journey as a metaphor for change. (

3. Shakespeare across Media (Yoshihara Yukari, University of Tsukuba)

Film, TV, comics, manga, games, gambling machines, farce, animation, Hollywood, Bollywood, musical— Shakespeare is everywhere across media. Some renderings attempt to faithfully reproduce Shakespeare's originals, while others dare to be vastly different from them. Baz Luhrman's Romeo + Juliet (1996) reproduces Shakespeare's original story relatively faithfully, while GONZO's animation Romeo X Juliet (2007) and Ryan Denmark's Romeo & Juliet vs. The Living Dead (2009) show us totally different scenes, employing only the very bare plot line and character names of the original. To take instances from comics/manga/animation, Classics Illustrated series Hamlet and Gianni De Luca's versions belong to the former; Neil Gaiman's Sandman series where Shakespeare appears as a Prospero-like character, is somewhere in the middle; Ophelia in Yagi's Claymore (2001-), a gigantic monster with a dragon's tail, has almost no resemblance to her original. We can think of varieties of Shakespeare/fakespeare films, such as Xiaogang Feng's The Banquet (2006), Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om (2007), Won-kuk Lim's Frivolous Wife (2007), Hou Chi-jan's Juliet's Choice (2010) and Connie Macatuno's Rome and Juliet (2011), with varying degrees of faithfulness to the originals. By examining these Shakespeare across media, this seminar attempts to locate their intertextualities within the larger cultural frames of vernacular literary adaptation, pop appropriation, use/abuse of Shakespeare. Intermedial Shakespeares, both faithful/unfaithful to the originals, are welcome. (

4. Cross-Cultural Performativity of Shakespearean Plays (Katrine K. Wong, University of Macau)

"[T]he purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature" (Hamlet 3.2.20-22). Hamlet lectures the players on principles of acting and explains the quintessence of acting, a concept prevalent since classical times. What is reflected in the mirror is "the very age and body of the time his form and pressure" (3.2.23-24). In terms of dramaturgy, this "nature" can be interpreted as an embodiment of the fundamental characteristics of the place and people which such playing features and, perhaps, upon which such playing is modeled. This seminar invites papers about cross-cultural interpretation of Shakespearean plays, including but not limited to a focus on performativity, translation and adaptation. Discussions may be about any ethnicity, nationality, historical period, style and genre of production. Though not necessary, seminarians are welcome to examine the correlation between textual and theatrical dimensions. It is hoped that this panel, through looking at cross-cultural renditions of Shakespearean plays that transcend temporal, geographical and cultural locales, will explore various elaborative and/or reductive treatment and representation of Shakespeare's narrative and mise-en-scène. (

5. Crossing Gender and Cultural Boundaries in Shakespeare: Cross-dressing in Plays, Adaptations, and Popular Culture (Yilin Chen, Providence University and Ian Maclennan, Laurentian University)

The theme of cross-dressing occurs frequently in Shakespeare's plays. In his romance and comedy, heroines disguise themselves as young men. The most frequently discussed plays in relation to the object of such transformation are probably The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona and Cymbeline. His earliest history plays also feature female characters, who probably appear in masculine battle-dress, such as Joan in Part I of Henry VI, Margaret in Part III, and Eleanor in King John. On some occasions, male characters are dressed in female clothes, like Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew and Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor. This seminar welcomes new ideas about these plays, and aims to explore the cross-dressing journeys that Shakespeare's characters have been through, with a consideration of how their journeys are adapted and appropriated in performance and popular culture. Shakespeare travels across borders. Thus, the seminar invites discussion about the inquiry into the variety of Shakespearean cross-dressing journeys in single-sex performance or adaptations. Furthermore, a close examination of the ways in which sexual pleasure is described and translated into specific cultural settings will be highly appreciated. (

6. Shakespeare Performance and Contemporary Asian Politics (Yong Li Lan, National University of Singapore)

Any performance of Shakespeare by Asians has a political resonance, if not always a definable agenda. In quite different socio-political and theatrical situations today, distinctive histories that have connected Shakespeare with Asian performers underpin why Shakespeare is a viable, even a necessary, choice; and that history forms an environment that defines a production's choices of how his play is to be adapted and staged, and in which those choices are received by audiences. Whereas the political roles played by Shakespeare in Europe and North America have been the subject of collective research in recent years, the utilization of his plays as a means of staging and negotiating power formations in contemporary Asian contexts is currently understood in terms of unique, discrete examples. This seminar aims to bring together accounts of the political usage of Shakespeare in Asian performance contexts, whether as a deliberate strategy or as an implication of the performance. The objective of the seminar is to elaborate the range of topics through which the political performativity of Asian Shakespeares may be articulated and compared. Papers are therefore encouraged to extrapolate from the concrete details of productions to the broader kind of political purposiveness that Shakespeare serves in each case. We invite papers that explore one of the following topics:
•the position created by using Shakespeare's work to represent local political issues and agendas, instead of an indigenous play
•the performativity of theatrical genre, music, translation, race and/or gender in presenting ideological relations
•re-formulations of the positionalities in Shakespeare's play with respect to local hierarchies
•production and rehearsal processes, mechanisms and infrastructures in relation to the cultural position that Shakespeare occupies
•the political significance and influence of a production
•the political "neutrality" of Shakespeare; or, his "universality" (

7. Travel and Identity: Renegotiating the Self in and through Shakespeare (Paromita Chakravarti, Jadavpur University)

This seminar focuses on how Shakespearean characters who travel from familiar locations to unknown destinations are compelled to challenge and renegotiate their identities. Their moorings in gender, class and nationality are rendered slippery as their encounters with "others" require them to reinvent themselves. While this creates a sense of disorientation, it also makes for a renewal of the self. By extension, the seminar will also examine how Shakespeare's plays, as they travel from their original sites of composition and performance to "foreign climes" and unfamiliar contexts, stage a "rehearsal of cultures." These relocations throw up profound challenges to notions of racial, cultural and national identities as well as to the idea of an integrated and "original" text and calls for new conceptions of hybridity. While examining these processes of renegotiating selfhood through experiences of travel, the seminar will question whether these disorientating encounters actually transform identities or in fact serve to recuperate and reinforce them? (

8. Nature, Human Nature, the Supernatural (Kien Ket Lim, National Chiao Tung University)

Nature, human nature, and the supernatural in Shakespeare are tied to an ethical issue of its own that must be resolved together in one fell swoop: they all involve how humans should act accordingly in Nature, and how, in the setting of the plays, the aristocrats should assume a proper, if not better, identity in a pastoral land as the forest of Arden, or on a far-flung island of The Tempest, where Nature is replete with supernatural beings that stake out what humans should and should not do. Nature is ethical: it is full of an ethical insight of its own that holds the human vision in awe. (