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Roundtable discussion

Shakespeare and ‘the world out there’: Publication, dissemination, circulation

Shakespeare studies remains an intense area of inquiry, and one that is often seen as epitomising the humanities in the varying perceptions they obtain: as defined by an ‘openended search for deeper understanding,’ guided by aspirations to critical and intellectual ‘autonomy’ (Collini 2012: 14); or as endemically affected by a sense of crisis and a set of ‘ailments’ that, in their diversity, may include ‘the amount of time humanists spend talking about what ails the humanities’ (Menand cit. Belfiore and Church 2013: 18). The proposed session will set off from such claims and misgivings about the humanities, with Shakespeare at their centre, to prompt a discussion of some of the channels and instruments through which the discipline currently fashions itself with a view to producing and circulating knowledge. This discussion, launched by the panel but prominently geared towards audience engagement, will involve a broad consideration of opportunities and constraints that arise within academia in general and Shakespeare studies in particular; but it will especially aim at the following topics: – Publication: policies and outlets; indexation and open access – the challenges, the opportunities in a changing academic and institutional context; – digital media: alternative, rivalling or complementary outlets? Patterns of academic legitimation; – the conference as public forum: in-person, online and hybrid events. Academic communication after the pandemic; – academic societies – their evolving roles. Public perceptions, scholarly expectations.


  • Collini, Stefan. What Are Universities For? Penguin, 2012
  • Belfiore, Eleonora and Anna Upchurch (ed). Humanities in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Utility and Markets . Palgrave Macmillan, 2013