Political Shakespeares


REVISED

Winter 2015 quarter

Taught by

English literature, theater studies

Shakespeare’s plays are in many ways notoriously conservative. Women dress up as men, only to be railroaded into marriage at the end of the play; Jews and people of color are regularly treated horribly by otherwise likeable characters; servants are routinely sidelined into supporting roles. Early in the 20 th century, E.M.W. Tillyard went so far as to argue that the plays were written expressly for the purpose of maintaining the Elizabethan social order. Since the 1960s, however, scholars and theater professionals have been working to draw out the subversive content of the plays, arguing that Shakespeare’s representation of oppressive social norms can be read as a critique of those norms—as well as a prefiguration of our own contemporary political struggles.

This program is designed for students who want to engage in the project of reading literary texts against the grain. Liking Shakespeare is not a prerequisite. Rather, our focus will be on studying and practicing various modes of literary criticism—Marxist, feminist, psychoanalytic, and post-colonial, as well as methodologies informed by queer theory and disability studies. Students will read one play (primarily histories and tragedies) per week, along with sample pieces of literary criticism, and will write essays applying particular modes of literary theory to the plays. At the end of the quarter, students will write a dramaturgical analysis informed by at least one mode of literary criticism, and will perform sample scenes that embody their interpretation of the play. Our central question is a simple one: “What, if anything, can Shakespeare’s plays DO for us? What kind of social work can we make them perform?”

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

graduate study in literature or other humanities disciplines, and careers in theater. This program is ideal for students considering graduate study in the humanities, or for student actors who are interested in creating performances informed by research and analysis.

Location and Schedule

Campus location

Olympia

Schedule

Offered during: Day

Final Schedule and Room Assignment

Books

Buy books for this program through The Greener Store.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

More information about online learning.

Required Fees

$25 fee for theater tickets

Revisions

Date Revision
March 13th, 2014 New opportunity added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 25

Winter

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 20157
So - Sr (1-16 credits): 20369

Go to my.evergreen.edu to register for this program.

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