2007 - Shakespeare and Europe: Nation(s) and Boundaries (Iaşi)

Shakespeare and Europe: Nation(s) and Boundaries was held between 14-17 November, 2007 in Iaşi, being part of a series of scholarly events devoted to Shakespeare in Europe initiated in Antwerp in 1990. The aim of the conference was to engage European scholars in an exploration of Shakespeare’s engagement with a variety of sites, with their religious allegiances and political contours, the ways in which his political geography of Europe and its borders intersect with the present. Thus, the plenary speakers dealt with notions of empire, state and nation in the work of Shakespeare and two of his contemporaries (Michael Hattaway), the reception and use of Shakespeare’s plays in the Great War prisoner camp of Ruhleben, to illustrate how notions of the nation and of Europe are variable (Ton Hoenselaars), Shakespeare’s attempt to replace the political geography of his world with a “geography” of the mind/symbolic loci (Alexander Shurbanov), multilingual Shakespeare productions and their contribution to staking out territories (Balz Engler), translation strategies as dictated by various agendas, national(istic), cultural and moral (Marta Gibinska and Madalina Nicolaescu), filmic adaptations by filmmakers outside the Hollywood system, giving voice to an ethics of colonisation while, at the same time, striving to articulate an alternative perspective (Mark Thornton Burnett), the implicit comment on the politics of England and Europe of Shakespeare’s time in Titus Andronicus, a play about the dissolution of an empire and its survival in Renaissance European thought (Lisa Hopkins), the culturally-motivated textual interventions involving Shakespearean plays in the two decades prior to and during the Restoration (Carla Dente), or the English Romantic and modern reworkings of sonnet 66, with a political thrust (Manfred Pfister). Some of these concerns were also addressed by the papers presented in the seminars, organized around the following broad topics: The “Other” in Terms of Religion, Ethnicity and Race (moderator Markus Marti); Shakespeare’s Blank and Imaginary Spaces: Heterotopias and Identities (moderator Monica Matei-Chesnoiu); Shakespeare in /and Translation (moderator Keith Graham Gregor); Shakespeare Relocated. The Creation of Alternative European Settings in Rewrites, Stage Productions, Film Versions (moderator Werner Brönnimann); Performance:Performance / Appropriations / Adaptations after 1989/90 and Performance across Boundaries (moderators Lawrence Guntner and Michael Dobson); Shakespeare and Film (moderator Mariangela Tempera).

Apart from providing the context for academic and informal meetings for participants from all over Europe, the “Al. I. Cuza” University of Iaşi was also the place where ESRA (the European Shakespeare Research Association) was founded, enabling Shakespeare specialists with a research focus involving “Europe” to communicate and establish research partnerships with greater ease.