Something Rich and Strange”: Remapping Shakespeare’s Utopia: Deadline Extended

deadline for submissions: 
January 1, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
ESRA, European Shakespeare Research Association
contact email: 

“Something Rich and Strange”: Remapping Shakespeare’s Utopia

Anna Kowalcze-Pawlik, Delilah Bermudez Brataas

Tischner European University, Krakow, Poland ; Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

In its various forms, utopia and monstrosity are situated against or beyond the given order, be it political, aesthetic or epistemological in nature. Utopia interrogates the ideal topos, or space and place in relation   the hic et nunc, or the here and now; the monstrous interrogates the ideal/idealized self in relation to the other. For the early modern, the monstrous still aroused a sense of wonder, while allowing for a transgression and transformation that was essential to the construction of the world and the self. From its earliest classical models, visions of the ideal society required constructs of a humanity that was conceived of as perfect in its divine rationality; yet, its essence was drawn from differentiation from the other. Since the early modern period both the monstrous and the utopian have undergone major conceptual shifts, possibly affecting the understanding of the Shakespearean playtext and leading to encounters with Shakespeare’s drama as “something rich and strange”.

This seminar seeks to explore the intersections between monstrosity and utopia in Shakespeare’s works and their rewritings that mobilize the polysemous meanings of both utopia and monstrosity, and share in their richness and strangeness. We seek papers that consider diverse ways, in which the monstrous and the utopian are mapped and remapped in Shakespeare’s texts and their adaptations, appropriations, translations, and interpretations in any format and language, in text and in performance, across media and cultures. The possible areas of interrogation may include Shakespeare, utopia and:

monstrous geographies

animality and materiality

the monstrous feminine/masculine

hybridity and the post-human


transformation and metamorphosis

performing monstrosity

queer/trans bodies as idealized/monstrosized

monstrous body in politics and conflicts

monstrous authority and ideal knowledge

digital re-visioning through video games, social media, fan fiction and online forums.


Keywords: Shakespeare and rewriting, utopia, monstrosity

Deadline Extended: Abstracts of 150 to 200 words should be emailed to together with a brief CV by January 1.

Completed papers from accepted participants (no more than 8000 words) should be ready for circulation by March 15.

This is a seminar in a continuing project that will also include a seminar proposal for the upcoming International Shakespeare Association 2021 (to be held in Singapore). Successful seminar papers, subject to peer review, will be considered for inclusion in an edited collection.