American Shakespeare Center Conference- Shakespeare and Ethics

deadline for submissions: 
May 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
American Shakespeare Center- Blackfriars Conference
contact email: 

The American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriar’s Conference presents: Shakespeare and Ethics in Times of Uncertainty

The crux of this discussion rests on the deceptively simple question: Why do we treat people the way we do? As imperfect humans, it is not uncommon to find ourselves being amiable toward others when we need something, only to turn against them when it is to our advantage. Shakespeare’s plays are a trove of examples of this characteristic mutability: Characters forge relationships which change or alter when a crisis arises and their ethical or moral judgements are thus abandoned or reconsidered. This colloquy asks participants to examine the way Shakespeare explores ethical dilemmas, especially in times of uncertainty or crisis. Questions that might be explored: How does political turmoil sway a character into abandoning or forming relationships to their advantage? What are the ethical implications of characters pursuing strategic relationships? How does a character’s justifications affect their categorization as a villain, hero, or a something else entirely? Any theoretical lens or approach is appreciated to elucidate why the characters treat each other the way they do in times of crisis. Colloquy members can also draw upon current political events to build their argument.


This will be a held as a Research Paper Discussion: 

Participants are required to submit an 8-10 page paper and abstract on the subject of their colloquy by September 1, 2019. Papers will be distributed to all colloquy participants and each paper should be read by participants prior to the start of the conference. Abstracts will be shared with all conference attendees and auditors, who will receive a copy at the start of the colloquy. Participants will briefly provide an overview of their paper during the colloquy; the majority of the colloquy will be dedicated to a discussion led by the colloquy leader and a question and answer with both the colloquy participants and auditors.


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