“Something Rich and Strange”: Remapping Shakespeare’s Utopia

Country: Italy

City: Rome

Abstr. due: 01.10.2018

Dates: 09.07.19 — 12.07.19

Area Of Sciences: Humanities; Arts; Cultural science;

Organizing comittee e-mail: remappingutopia@gmail.com

Organizers: The European Shakespeare Research Association (ESRA); Roma Tre University.


ESRA 2019 will have a special focus on processes of remapping,
with consequences for early modern discourses on borders, nations, territories, the world. It will prompt discussions of the place held by such processes in the culture of the period, but it will also foreground the various ways in which they are relevant for current preoccupations and concerns.

Tischner European University, Krakow, Poland akowalcze@wse.krakow.pl ; Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway delilah.brataas@ntnu.no

In its various forms, utopia and monstrosity are situated against or beyond the given order, be it political, aesthetic or epistemological in nature. Utopia interrogates the ideal topos, or space and place in relation   the hic et nunc, or the here and now; the monstrous interrogates the ideal/idealized self in relation to the other. For the early modern, the monstrous still aroused a sense of wonder, while allowing for a transgression and transformation that was essential to the construction of the world and the self. From its earliest classical models, visions of the ideal society required constructs of a humanity that was conceived of as perfect in its divine rationality; yet, its essence was drawn from differentiation from the other. Since the early modern period both the monstrous and the utopian have undergone major conceptual shifts, possibly affecting the understanding of the Shakespearean playtext and leading to encounters with Shakespeare’s drama as “something rich and strange”.

This seminar seeks to explore the intersections between monstrosity and utopia in Shakespeare’s works and their rewritings that mobilize the polysemous meanings of both utopia and monstrosity, and share in their richness and strangeness. We seek papers that consider diverse ways, in which the monstrous and the utopian are mapped and remapped in Shakespeare’s texts and their adaptations, appropriations, translations, and interpretations in any format and language, in text and in performance, across media and cultures. The possible areas of interrogation may include Shakespeare, utopia and:

monstrous geographies

animality and materiality

the monstrous feminine/masculine

hybridity and the post-human


transformation and metamorphosis

performing monstrosity

queer/trans bodies as idealized/monstrosized

monstrous body in politics and conflicts

monstrous authority and ideal knowledge

digital re-visioning through video games, social media, fan fiction and online forums.


Conference Web-Site: https://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/cfp/2018/07/30/%E2%80%9Csomething-rich-and-strange%E2%80%9D-remapping-shakespeare%E2%80%99s-utopia