Accessible Shakespeare: Radical Inclusion in Shakespeare Studies

deadline for submissions: 
March 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Sonya Freeman Loftis / Mardy Philippian / David Houston Wood
contact email: 

Accessible Shakespeare: Radical Inclusion in Shakespeare Studies

Shakespeare has a central place in the university curriculum, and making Shakespeare accessible to students has long been a common classroom goal for the teacher of Shakespeare. Although teachers of diverse subjects are interested in accessibility, Shakespeareans, in particular, are strongly invested in this area: four hundred years have already reduced the accessibility of the source text for lay readers and audiences. One driving force in the search for accessible Shakespeare is the concept of ‘inclusion’—a desire to be welcoming to and accepting of people with diverse backgrounds, bodies, and minds. Ranging from inclusion for people with disabilities to inclusion for first-generation college students, from pedagogy that embraces universal design to performances that engage specific minority communities, what discoveries are made when scholars, teachers, and directors work to create inclusive texts, classrooms, and theaters? This edited collection invites essays that consider and examine the complex and multifaceted ways in which teachers, scholars, and theater practitioners are (or aren’t) making Shakespeare accessible, including (but not limited to): 

-       Access for First-Generation Students (What does it mean to foster access and inclusion for first-generation college students in the teaching of Shakespeare?)

-       Disability Access (What new work is being done to make Shakespeare accessible for people with disabilities? How can access for people with disabilities be understood as a part of the art of Shakespeare?)

-       Intersectional Access (What new work can be done regarding the intersectionality of minority identities interfacing with Shakespearean spaces and contexts?)

-       Applied Shakespeare and Access (How does “applied Shakespeare”--Shakespeare in prison, Shakespeare as therapy--make Shakespeare more accessible for specific audiences? Do these efforts aid in inclusion?)

-       Theoretical Approaches (What is the relationship between access and inclusion? What does it mean to make the use and expression of Shakespeare’s work inclusive of a variety of diverse communities and minority identities? What does it mean to practice “radical inclusion” in Shakespeare studies?)

-       Ideologies of Access (What are the ideological frameworks that have taught us that Shakespeare is inherently inaccessible? What do we learn from such ideologies and how do they impact the teaching of Shakespeare and/or Shakespeare in performance?)

-       Misapplying Inclusion and Access (How can inclusive Shakespeare projects avoid the dangers of facile—and false—comparison between one minority experience and another [as theorized by Ellen Samuels] or the possibility of neo-colonial agendas and rhetoric [as outlined by Ayanna Thompson]?)

-       Textual Fidelity and Access (What is the role of textual fidelity--if there is one--in translating and performing Shakespeare’s work into diverse cultural and linguistic contexts?)

-       Technology and Access (How are online Shakespeare texts and other digital Shakespeare projects and resources changing who has access to Shakespeare and how Shakespeare is accessed?)

-       Economics and Access (Is there a relationship between economics and inclusion?)

-       Pedagogical Approaches (What are teachers doing to make Shakespeare more accessible, more inclusive and/or more relatable?)

-       The Limits of Access (What are the potential limits in the endeavor to make Shakespeare inclusive for all?)

Please send a 350-500 word abstract and CV as one Microsoft Word document to Sonya Freeman Loftis (sonya.loftis@gmail.com), Mardy Phillipian (philipmd@lewisu.edu), and David Houston Wood (dwood@nmu.edu) by 3/30/2021.