Panel: Shakespeare and Transgender Theory

Is female-to-male cross-dressing liberating? What is the root of transmisogyny in feminist discourses? What difference might it make for transgender performers to play Viola in Twelfth Night, Jaquenetta in Love’s Labour’s Lost, Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Rosalind in As You Like It? Are all-female productions of Shakespeare empowering? Patriarchal institutions and some feminist positions are in fact misogynistic towards expressions of femininity.

With papers by Simone Chess, Colby Gordon, Will Fisher, and Lisa Starks, and chaired by Alexa Alice Joubin, this panel focuses on the questions of embodiment. There is a need for more conversations about transgender theories, ones that move beyond character analysis, as Shakespeare tends to play with gender but not necessarily offer transgender perspectives.  Moving chronologically from trans studies in early modern to our contemporary contexts, the panel brings emerging developments in trans studies to bear on Shakespeare’s plays, especially instances of socially-oriented interpretations of queer-bodied representations.

Examining the points of tension and common ground between feminist, queer, and transgender theories, the three papers promise to open up a rich discussion at the SAA.

Information on the date, time, location, and conference registration will be available in the June 2018 Bulletin of the Shakespeare Association of America.



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