Dartmouth Hosts ‘Teaching Shakespeare’ Symposium


Beginning Friday, Oct. 17, Dartmouth hosts “Teaching Shakespeare,” an open symposium. Sponsored by the Leslie Center for the Humanities, and organized by Jonathan Crewe, the Leon Black Professor of Shakespearean Studies, the two-day event brings together a group of preeminent scholars and educators who will consider the past, present, and future of the teaching of Shakespeare.

“Teaching Shakespeare,” a two-day open symposium sponsored by the Leslie Center for the Humanities, begins on Friday, Oct. 17. (Photo by Shutterstock)

Provost Carolyn Dever will address the symposium on Friday evening. “For centuries, Shakespeare’s plays and poetry have served as a mirror, reflecting a culture back to itself,” she says. “It is a pleasure to welcome these leading Shakespeare scholar-teachers to Dartmouth for a weekend of work to illuminate the Shakespeare of the here and now, and in the process teach us more about ourselves.”

Shakespeare courses, says Crewe, have traditionally anchored the English major at Dartmouth and elsewhere. But changing circumstances, “including the full-scale arrival of digital and video technology, the waning importance of large lecture courses, perceived national threats to the humanities and/or the liberal education, and increased emphasis on modern and contemporary works rather than earlier ones,” he says, raise questions about how and why Shakespeare is taught. “The symposium aims to take stock of the situation and present new ideas and contexts for teaching Shakespeare,” he says.

The event opens Friday with a talk by Peter Saccio, the Leon Black Professor of Shakespearean Studies emeritus and professor of English emeritus. Also on Friday is the conference’s keynote address by Marjorie Garber, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English and of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard.

The conference’s second day includes three sessions of presentations—“Teaching Shakespeare, Past and Future,” “Teaching Shakespeare, Here and Now,” and “Performance and/as Pedagogy.” Panel presenters from Dartmouth include Lynda Boose, professor of English, and Brett Gamboa, assistant professor of English. Panel chairs include Crewe as well as Dartmouth’s George Edmondson, associate professor of English, and Laura Edmondson, associate professor of theater.

A group discussion, in which attendees are encouraged to participate, concludes the conference. The panel for that event, “Partners in Teaching Shakespeare,” includes its chair, Thomas Luxon, professor of English and founding director of the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning; Laura Braunstein, librarian for English, Dartmouth College library; Morgan Swan, special collections librarian, Dartmouth College library; and Jasmine Sachar ’16, an English major.

The conference begins at 4 p.m. on Oct. 17, and concludes Oct. 18. All sessions will be held in Haldeman 041, and are free and open to the public.

Kelly Sundberg Seaman