Call for Statements 2009

Wissenschaftliches Seminar im Rahmen der Shakespeare-Tage 2009

(Post-)Modernist Responses to Shakespeare

While critics keep arguing whether we live in postmodern times, and if we do, whether the ‘post-’ of postmodernism indicates a break with modernism or a more continuous development, it is safe to say that the early twentieth-century reception of Shakespeare, which turned against Victorian bardolatry, has shaped our understanding of Shakespeare until the present day. Our seminar aims at tracing responses to Shakespeare’s plays since the 1920s from an interdisciplinary and international perspective and will thus also re-examine the (dis-) continuities between ‘modernist’ and ‘postmodernist’ Shakespeares. We invite contributions on theatrical stagings, literary, dramatic and filmic adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays as well as on the academic reception of his work in and beyond Europe. How have modernist aesthetics, e.g. German expressionism, affected stagings of Shakespeare and how has Shakespeare affected the modernist project? Which impact did the development of film have on our understanding of theatre in general, and of Shakespeare in particular? Which developments can we trace in Shakespeare criticism, which has undergone a number of ‘turns’ and methodological innovations in the twentieth century? How have European societies responded to Shakespeare’s plays in times of devastating world wars and the Holocaust? In which ways have Shakespeare’s plays been read to underpin particular aesthetic, but also political or ideological endeavours? For example, to which uses have Shakespeare’s plays been put in colonial and postcolonial contexts?

The Shakespeare-Tage 2009 will take place from 23rd to 26th April in Weimar. In the context of the conference’s focus on Shakespeare: Aufbruch in die Moderne, our seminar plans to address these and related questions. As critical input for the discussion and provocation for debate, panelists are invited to give short statements in either German or English (of no more than 15 minutes) presenting concrete case studies, concise examples and strong views on the topic (“Thesen statt Exegesen!”). We would in particular like to encourage younger scholars to contribute to the seminar. Please send your proposals (abstracts of ca. 300 words in English or German) and all further questions by 30th November 2008 to the seminar convenors:

Susanne Rupp (susanne.rupp(at)
Christina Wald (christina.wald(at)