Friday, August 04, 2006

Representing the Renaissance in Modern Popular Culture

Research Seminar: Shakespeare Association of America, San Diego, CA, April 5-7, 2007
Call for Papers.

Given the proliferation of work on Shakespeare and popular culture in recent years, we might be surprised to discover that relatively little work has been done either on popular engagements of the Renaissance - as an imagined historical period, culture, or concept - popular adaptations of non-Shakespearean Renaissance texts. Rather than focusing on how particular literary texts or characters (Hamlet or Hamlet) are engaged in popular culture, this seminar will encourage participants to think about how the very concept of "Renaissance" is adapted, appropriated, perpetuated, or transformed by modern popular cultural texts of various kinds.

How is sixteenth-century London depicted, for instance, in works as different as Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth, John Madden's Shakespeare in Love, or the BBC Rowan Atkinson vehicle, Black Adder, and what does a specific genre or form of media have to do with it? How are largely period-specific concepts such as Reformation or humanism communicated visually or even musically to modern audiences? In what ways have popular adaptations of Shakespeare's plays - say, Zefferelli's comedies or Welles' tragedies - served to inform or infect wider popular ideas about what the Renaissance was actually like? And how have these popular notions about the Renaissance, in turn, affected, limited, or enabled our teaching, and our students' learning, about early modern literature and/or history? Studies are invited that address questions such as these, as well as others that consider how Renaissance is taken up by film, television, pop music, advertising, popular literature, and the popular visual arts.

Seminar Leader: Greg Colon Semenza, University of Connecticut
Format: Registrants in SAA research seminars are expected to complete significant work in advance of the meeting: research papers, common readings, and bibliographic compilation. Seminars are appropriate for college and university faculty, independent scholars, and graduate students in the later stages of their doctoral work.

Register for this seminar and become a member of SAA online at:

Please email inquiries to


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