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CFP: Shakespeare and the Jews: A Global Exploration

In 1992, James Shapiro discussed ‘Shakespeare and the Jews’ in the James Parkes Lecture at the University of Southampton, a lecture that would form one of the cornerstones of his ground-breaking book of the same title. Thirty years later, in 2022, the journal Shakespeare pays homage to his research, both by looking back and reflecting on the issues Shapiro raised, and by looking around us in today’s world where the topic is as relevant as ever. Shakespeare and the accusation of anti-Semitism have long been intertwined, with The Merchant of Venice being central in this discourse. Today, the evidence of rising anti-Semitism has become almost impossible to ignore. There is a growing sense of urgency, as an increase in incidents is reported across the world, while in Europe, the continent most directly confronted with the horrors of the Shoah, anti-Semitism is no longer an issue confined to extremist parties but seems to have entered the political and cultural mainstream.

This special issue of Shakespeare invites submissions that analyse the topic ‘Shakespeare and the Jews’ in local and/or global contexts and a wide spectrum of thematic, methodological and disciplinary approaches. We are interested in representing a broad geographical range, and invite essays from both academics and practitioners in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, and the Americas. While the topic is of obvious interest to Shakespeare scholars, we also encourage essays from other disciplines (or inter- and transdisciplinary essays), including Theatre Studies, Film Studies, Philosophy, Political and Historical Science, Ethics, Judaism, Middle Eastern Studies, Religious Studies and Anthropology.

Possible areas of interest include:

  1. Dressing Jews: costuming in contemporary productions
  2. Depicting Jews: representations in movie/performance posters, book covers or program notes
  3. The ghetto in Shakespeare’s text and/or Shakespearean productions
  4. Shakespeare, Jews and performance in the local (national or regional) context
  5. Shakespeare and the Jews in amateur productions
  6. Shakespeare, Jews and (de)constructing stereotypes
  7. Shakespeare and the Jews in a multicultural society
  8. Shakespeare, Jews and acting: movement and gestures on stage
  9. Shakespeare’s Jews and religious encounters: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
  10. Shakespeare and anti-Semitism on/off stage: local, national or transnational perspectives
  11. Shakespeare and the Jews: a political perspective
  12. Shakespeare, Jews and propaganda
  13. Shakespeare, Jews and props on stage
  14. Jewish themes in Shakespeare’s plays
  15. Representing Jews in Shakespeare translations
  16. The reception and/or adaptation of Shakespeare in Jewish communities across the world
  17. The reception and/or adaptation of Shakespeare’s Jews in Israel and neighbouring countries
  18. Jewish directors/actors responding to Shakespeare
  19. A view from the classroom: on teaching Shakespeare and the Jews
  20. A view at the screen: Shakespeare and Jews in films and on tv
  21. Audience responses to Shakespeare’s Jews
  22. Shaming Shakespeare: bans and censorship
  23. The Merchant of Venice and the conflict in the Middle East
  24. Shakespeare, Jews and pogroms
  25. Affecting change through Shakespeare’s Jews
  26. Money(lending) and anti-Semitic myths
  27. Shakespeare, ethics and Jews
  28. Shakespeare’s Jews, Gender and Sexuality
  29. The impact of modern appropriations and adaptations of The Merchant of Venice

Guest editors: Coen Heijes (University of Groningen) & Sabine Schülting (Freie Universität Berlin)
Afterword: James Shapiro
Lengths of submissions: 6,000 – 7,000 words
Deadline for abstracts: April 15, 2020
Deadline for submissions: January 15, 2021
For further information, please contact or

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