Shakespeare's Things (essay collection)

deadline for submissions: 
November 16, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Brett Gamboa, Dartmouth College


Shakespeare’s Things:

Agency, Materiality, and Performance


Co-edited by Brett Gamboa (Dartmouth College)

and Larry Switzky (University of Toronto)


We invite contributions for a peer-reviewed essay collection solicited by Palgrave Macmillan on the liveliness, actual or apparent sentience, and uncanny autonomy of objects in Shakespeare’s plays. The surge of new materialisms across disciplines, including thing theory, actor-network theory, speculative realism, and object-oriented ontology, opens up new possibilities for understanding the latent forcefulness of things—from stage props to statues to dead bodies to coastlines—and the social, economic, and ecological assemblages of human and non-human matter that collude in the creation of Shakespeare’s theatrical worlds.

We welcome essays that address this renewed focus on the potency ofthings through individual plays and props as well as specific subject-object relations that emerge in text and/or performance. We also encourage essays that approach Shakespeare’s plays through the cluster of recent theoretical approaches, loosely gathered under the heading of New Materialism, that propose that all matter is agential and that non-human matter exerts force with and against human agents (who can also be understood as a kind of matter). We envision the collection as a combination of historically situated analyses and readings of the plays through contemporary theoretical concerns. Essays might address the plays through one of the following cruxes:

--Early modern theories of matter and materiality

--Anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism

--Fetishes, gifts, and other things that function as virtual persons

--Challenges and opportunities in staging actor-object relationships

--The operation of non-human forces on and in the human

--The body politic as a combination of human and non-human actors

--Moral responsibility and motivation in assemblages of persons, objects, and forces

--Animation and the refusal to be animated as political acts

--Environmental formations (e.g. storms and geographical features) as agents

--Stagings and adaptations with puppets and other performing objects

Please send abstracts of 250-500 words (for essays of 5000-6000 words in length) and a brief c.v. to by no later than November 15, 2016. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about individual topics or the volume as a whole.