Thursday, March 10, 2016

Shakespeare! Help!

He's still dead.  So it's not that.

Nope, I'm scheduled to teach our upper level Shakespeare course again this fall.  I hadn't taught it for like 8 years, and suddenly, two years in a row.  Very cool.

I posted before, asking for suggestions, and now I'm going to ask again for help with ideas for a topics in the study of Shakespeare sort of class.

Last semester, I did a "Green Shakespeare" course, focusing on ecocriticism and Shakespeare.  Before that, I did an ecocriticism and early modern drama senior seminar.  This semester, I'm doing a senior seminar on race in/and early modern drama.

I'm thinking a Shakespeare and Race course would be good.  It would be nice to teach some of the other Shakespeare plays and use critical race theory, which I'm using in the current senior seminar. 

I don't have to worry much about students taking a senior seminar and then a junior level course, so it would be an opportunity for a different group of students, and I'm feeling pretty well read on race and early modern drama stuffs.

On the other hand, I'd like to think further about ecocriticism stuffs, and have an idea for a paper on a Shakespeare play to work on.

I've thought about Feminism and Shakespeare, but it seems like the heyday of Feminist criticism was in the 90s, and I want to look more foreward.

Thoughts, please?


  1. My Shakes-heroes are bringing back a resurgence in Marxist Shakespeare criticism. With all the focus on the economy during the election, you might think about doing something with Shakespeare and class, in terms of the nobles versus the average Joes. But then, my bias is toward the history plays, so I would work that angle pretty hard. In fact, I'll be teaching Shakespeare in the fall, too, so maybe I'll focus on "what makes a good leader?" in the class. (Not really a Marxist topic, per se, but an interesting one, to me.)

    1. I really enjoy teaching the second tetralogy, but the H6 plays not so much. What theory would you read for Marxism these days? Who's doing exciting work I could use for the readings?

    2. Hugh Grady, Jean Howard, and Christian Smith just did a panel at MLA on Shakespeare's influence on Marx. Here's a link to the titles of their papers. I don't know what Grady or Howard have published recently, but they are my favorite Shakespeareans, so I'll be following up with interest.

      I like all the serial histories. The H6 ones are not as good as the H4/5 ones, but still fun. There are so many people to keep track of, though. It's sort of like my obsession tracing all those people.

      When I was in the SAA seminar last you on Marx, I got two books that I found interesting:

      Bartolovich, Crystal, Jean E. Howard, and David Hillman. Marx and Freud: Great Shakespeareans Volume X. London: Bloomsbury, 2012.

      Egan, Gabriel. Shakespeare and Marx. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004.

      Those are good places to start.

  2. I'm al interested in commodities right now. I don't know what the critical lit is on it,but..,,

    1. Susan, can you tell me more, please? (I'd be happy for an email if that works better for you, thanks.)

  3. No ideas for you (not a Shakespearean), but I always learn so much from these posts.

  4. Bardiac, I'm just thinking about the stuff that's being traded - within Europe and around the world, and about the ways the plays might be a way of thinking about England in the world through the things mentioned. Spices, silks, tobacco, gold and silver, etc. all coming from someplace else. So that rather than focusing on race as a way to see the world in the plays, what about stuff?

    This may just demonstrate that commodities and trade have been one of the themes of my "World Since 1500" course this semester.

    1. And, of course, people as commodities (slaves, women, workers) extends this further. And land/conquest as a commodity? That also opens the door to scholarship on the Atlantic world (and The Tempest). Of course, IANASS (I Am Not a Shakespeare Scholar).