Big-time bard conference co-hosted by McGill
Top academics from around the world to assemble in Montreal this week to discuss Shakespeare.
Shakespeare Association of America draws international experts
Seven hundred of the worlds preeminent Bard scholars, from top universities across the globe, are assembling in Montreal this week for a unique learning conference and literary love-in: the twenty-eighth annual meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America.
Co-hosted by McGill University, the Université de Montréal and the Shakespeare Association of America, among others, the three-day meeting is the largest global scholarly event devoted to the study of the 17th-century English poet and playwright. Consider it an intensive Bard review, where some 65 academics will give workshops, seminars and lectures on Shakespeare from April 6 to 8. Journalists interested in attending the conference or obtaining a complete list of speakers should contact Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins at 514-398-6752.
This is the second time in the conferences three-decade history that Montreal has been selected as the host city. Several local Shakespeare scholars are scheduled to speak at the event, including conference co-chairs and McGill English professors Michael Bristol and Leanor Lieblein.
With so many Bard authorities here at once, says Professor Bristol, the conference promises to be intellectually stimulating. "It would be hard to add up all the books that these people have written on Shakespeare," he says. "These conference-goers are some of the highest-profile scholars, directors, actors and drama teachers in their field."
Indeed, conference participants have been drawn from such illustrious institutions as Oxford, Columbia, Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley. Another special aspect of the conference, says Lena Cowen Orlin, executive director of the Shakespeare Association of America, is how it permits Shakespeare academics a rare chance to exchange amongst themselves on their favourite literary genius: "This is a special opportunity for scholars to meet their best working colleagues."
Professor Bristols co-chairing of the twenty-eighth annual meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America coincides well with his current research at McGill, as supervisor of the Shakespeare in Performance Research Team (SPRT).
A collaborative venture between McGill and Concordia University, the six-member SPRT has been examining contemporary reproductions of Shakespeare works in film, television and other media. The group is also studying modern public reception of the Bards plays and their current cultural significance. "If Shakespeares characters remain relevant today," says Bristol, "its because their problems are so contemporary."
Co-funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Fondation des chercheurs et daide à la recherche, and assisted by graduate students, the SPRT was launched three years ago in a bid to reveal how Shakespeares rich literary heritage is alive and well in the 21st century.