Call for Papers – 2024

Click HERE for a PDF of the Call for Papers

Announcing the 47th Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference

October 24-26, 2024

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

“Shakespeare and the Mind”

Image of Shakespeare combines with FreudThe study of Shakespeare has long informed modern and contemporary understandings of the mind. From Sigmund Freud’s influential account of the Oedipus complex in Hamlet to Stanley Cavell’s readings of Shakespeare’s tragedies as interrogations of epistemological skepticism to the recurring focus on Shakespeare in interdisciplinary subfields like cognitive literary studies and the neurohumanities, Shakespeare’s plays and poems continue to impact the sense of what, and how, we know about ourselves. At the same time, some communities have felt excluded from these conversations, reflecting how readings of Shakespeare have also influenced troubling assumptions about a “normative” mind.

The OVSC welcomes papers and roundtables on all topics related to a general theme of Shakespeare and the mind. How did the early moderns conceptualize thought, emotion, and instinct—and how does Shakespeare’s corpus reflect or resist those models? How has the renaissance influenced modern and contemporary understandings of thought, insight, or the unconscious? Do Shakespeare’s texts—or their adaptations or staging—provide any value for clinicians or therapists treating patients suffering from trauma or psychiatric disorders? In short, what did Shakespeare think about the act of thinking?

We welcome papers and projects taking any number of critical approaches, be they formalist, historicist, or theoretical. Projects focused on Shakespeare’s reception, adaptation, and performance, as well as papers focused on Shakespeare’s contemporaries (i.e., other early modern authors, artists, and thinkers) are also welcome. We especially encourage papers that adopt an interdisciplinary approach. The conference is open to graduate students for regular sessions and to undergraduate students for roundtable seminars. Graduate students and undergraduate students are encouraged to submit papers for the M. Rick Smith Memorial Prize and the Julia R. Lupton Graduate Prize.

Plenary Speakers:

Richard Strier, Frank L. Sulzberger Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago. Author of Shakespearean Issues: Agency, Skepticism, and Other Puzzles (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022), The Unrepentant Renaissance from Petrarch to Shakespeare to Milton (University of Chicago Press, 2011), Resistant Structures: Particularity, Radicalism, and Renaissance Texts (University of California Press, 1995), and Love Known: Theology and Experience in George Herbert’s Poetry (University of Chicago Press, 1983).

Heather Hirschfeld, Kenneth Curry Professor of English, the University of Tennessee–Knoxville. Author of The End of Satisfaction: Drama and Repentance in the Age of Shakespeare (Cornell University Press, 2014) and Joint Enterprises: Collaborative Drama and the Institutionalization of the English Renaissance Theater (University of Massachusetts Press, 2004).

Please submit 200-300 word abstracts by September 9, 2024 to The OVSC also offers an Early Decision option, with the deadline of June 10, 2024.