New Readings of The Merchant of Venice; RSA Washington D.C. 2012 (abstracts by May 15; conference 22-24 March 2012)

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The last seven years has seen a spate of high-profile presentations of The Merchant of Venice: the 2004 Michael Radford film, 2010's New York City "Shakespeare in the Park" production, as well as the play's 2010-11 Broadway run. Likewise, new scholarly works such as Kenneth Gross's Shylock is Shakespeare (2006) and Janet Adelman's Blood Relations (2008) have offered poignant insights into this play. Why has this play garnered so much attention of late? What else can we learn from this contentious comedy? How else can we read the drama's characters? Where do studies of the play go from here?

Papers can consider but are not limited to the following topics:

Analyses of mainstream press reviews and discussions of recent stage and film versions
Pedagogical approaches in the inclusive, multicultural classroom
Problematic comedy vs. "problem play"
Analysis of the 2004 film
Merchant as an update/reinterpretation of Marlowe's Jew of Malta
Bonds and markets in the time of a financial crisis
Marxist, Queer, and/or Feminist readings
Portia's gender performance
Antonio and Bassanio's relationship

This is a panel for the Renaissance Society of America conference in Washington, D.C., March 22-24, 2012. Presenters must be members of the RSA by the time of the conference. Send an abstract of 150 words (maximum) and a one-page CV to by May 15.