“The King is But A Man”: William Shakespeare & 21st Century Culture, Politics, and Leadership

deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Kristin M.S. Bezio & Anthony Russell
contact email: 

The editors are soliciting chapter proposals for an edited volume, tentatively entitled "The King is But a Man": William Shakespeare and 21st Century Culture, Politics, and Leadership, which examines Shakespeare as relevant to contemporary questions of global culture, politics, and leadership.

This volume seeks to examine problems, challenges, and crises in our contemporary world through the lens of the plays and poems of William Shakespeare, one of the best-known, most-admired, and often controversial authors of the last half-millennium. Probably the most frequently-cited author (aside from the anonymous writers of the Bible), Shakespeare is often considered a sage with manifold insights into the “universal human condition,” capable of encapsulating the good and bad qualities which we share with all people across time and space.  We intend to leverage that sibylline reputation in this volume as we explore what the Bard might tell us about ourselves today.

 The volume editors seek chapter proposals from scholars of literature, history, political theory, and leadership—among others—which use Shakespeare’s works and/or historical contexts as a lens through which to examine 21st century politics, leadership, and society, whether in the West or around the globe. For example, chapter proposals might engage with interpretations, performances,  adaptations, or other approaches to Shakespeare’s works (films, modern stage productions, etc.); they might trace salient parallels between early modern and contemporary sociopolitical contexts brought to light by Shakespeare’s works; or they might examine the lessons included in such works as having the potential to comment directly on 21st-century concerns about race, gender, sexuality, arts, media, culture, social movements, or politics.

 The editors hope to have each chapter focus on a different play or poem (or set of plays or poems) from Shakespeare’s oeuvre, and thus are willing to accept multiple proposals on different works from interested authors, although authors should not expect to have more than one proposal accepted. We are interested in a wide variety of approaches to the subject, so we encourage all interested parties to submit abstracts of their ideas, as the above list cannot hope to be fully inclusive.


Please submit 300-500 word chapter abstracts by 31 March 2019 to ShakesPolitics@gmail.com. Questions about the volume may also be directed to Drs. Kristin M.S. Bezio and Anthony Russell through ShakesPolitics@gmail.com