Readings in Shakespeare

L625 — Spring 2018

Ballantine Hall 142
Days and Times
2:30-3:45 TR
Course Description

Topic: Shakespeare, Politics, and the Theater of Critique; This course will explore how critique materializes during eras when existing political systems are under severe stress or trauma. Shakespeares culture operated less than one hundred years after the infamous War of the Roses. But it also preceded the English Civil War by less than forty years. How did England get from the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings (massively reinforced under Tudor and Jacobean Stuart rule) to Miltons Of the Tenure of Kings and Magistrates in less than a century? Well examine Shakespeares political and history plays, including the two tetralogies and the Roman plays, to see how the staging of historical events, filtered through Shakespeares creative lens, served as real-time critique during an era when direct articulated opposition to sovereignty was life-risking. Well use political psychologists such as Agamben, Elster, Agnew as well as Latours work on Actor-Network-Theory, affect theory (starting with Raymond Williams structures of feeling) and Austins speech-act theory as guideposts for analyzing the many ways in which direct critique can seem silent while nonetheless being modeled and enacted on the stage. The public playhouse and other early modern theaters really were the abstract chroniclers of their time _ a time of surveillance, censorship, and domination by the wealthy and powerful. Any analogies with contemporary political psychology and events will be purely intentional. Students will write two ten-twelve paged papers. Attendance and participation will be crucial. Instructor: Linda Charnes

Interested in this course?

The full details of this course are available on the Office of the Registrar website.

See complete course details