Ohio Shakespeare Notes

Archives - Winter 1997, Vol. 3

1996's Ohio Shakespeare Conference, entitled "Shakespeare and Multiculturalism," was jointly hosted by Central State and Wright State Universities. Robert Fleissner (CSU) and Cecile Cary (WSU) hatched a unique plan: by their splitting the conference between the two locations, spanning the 10+ mile distance from urban Dayton to rural Wilberforce, conference-goers visited two quite different environments, thus underscoring the conference theme of multiculturalism. To those who had been following the depressing financial battles of Central State, one of Ohio's historically African-American colleges, the opportunity to see the campus and its rich offerings, such as the African-American Museum in whose Great Hall our luncheon was held, and to be entertained by the university's stellar choir lent a certain degree of poignancy to a Shakespeare Conference focusing not only on multiculturalism but on that day also was narrowin the theme to "Shakespeare's African Queens" - at the very moment when faculty were being given pink slips and the state debating whether to continue funding the university. A further irony devolved from the fact that Central State hosted the first Shakespeare Conference in 1977. Our return visit to the campus, a much anticipated event, coincided with the political conflagration the university faced. Rather than dwelling on tehse issues, however, Fleissner and Cary opted to minimize local politics and focus our attention instead on a packed, exciting agenda.

The first day's sessions addressing the topic of "Shakespeare's African Queens" were a fine feature for the last day of Black history Month. Two keynote speakers, Kim F. Hall (Georgetown) and Arthur L. Little, Jr. (UCLA) set the tone for the day in their talks entitled respectively "Ending Black History Month with More than Just One African Queen" and "Signifying Cleopatra's Radical Virginity: Sacrifice and Race in Anthony and Cleopatra ." Additionally, three paper sessions comprised the day's remaining schedule: "The African Queen in Multicultural and Post-Colonial Discourse, "Cleopatra, Gypsies and Gender," and "Cleopatra, Sophonisba, and Feminism." At a reception in the African-American Museum's Great Hall Rupin Desai (U of Delhi) offered a brief overview of the presentations and a few personal comments about the conference's theme to cap off the afternoon.

From there we adjourned, trekking back to Dayton. The holding Commitee was entertained at a pleasant dinner at the Holiday Inn where plans for the 1997 and 1998 conferences were discussed. Following the dinner, vans shuttled us to Wright State's Celebration theatre for a production ofShakespeare's Lovers , a clever blend of speeches and passions from Shakespeare's great love scenes.

The next day and a half of sessions at the Fairborn Holiday Inn moved the conference's focus into broader concepts of multiculturalism. Friday's two keynote speakers had appropriately diverse topics: Richard Halpern (U Colorado, Boulder) presented "'Before Babel': Northrop Frye at the Threshold of Multiculturalism" while Janet Adelman (UC Berkley) discussed "Shylock and the Conversos: Whose Blood Is Reddest?" The paper sessions ranged from "Othello," "The Tempest," "Merchant of Venice,"  "The Henriad and Anthony and Cleopatra," to "The Sonnets and Anthony and Cleopatra." This day, an absolutely packed agenda of concurrent sessions with little time for discussions, left the participants ready to socialize, a need immediately met at the cash bar and annual banquet that followed. For those whose minds weren't overloaded, a video screening of the 1984 Franklin Melton production ofOthello  kept them going until 10:00 p.m.

Saturday's morning schedule followed the brisk pace of the other two days. Keynote speaker Rupin Desai (U of Delhi) launched the conference with "'What means Sicilia? He something seems unsettled': Sicily, Russia, and Bohemia inThe Winter's Tale ." The final keynote speaker, David George (Urbana U) spoke on "Cleopatra, African Queen." Sandwiched between two speakers, the morning paper sessions considered "Titus Andronicus " and "Theatre." In all, the conference offered a wide range of topics and approaches, giving us a fair view of the richly diverse interests such an umbrella as multiculturalism in Shakespeare can offer.

All of us appreciate Cecile Cary and Robert Fleissner's efforts to offer such a challenging conference.

Keynote Addresses

  • Ending Black History Month with More than Just One African Queen
    by Kim F. Hall, Georgetown University
  • Signifying Cleopatra's Radical Virginity: Sacrifice and Race in Anthony and Cleopatra
    by Arthur L. Little, Jr., UCLA
  • "Before Babel": Nothrop Frye at the Threshhold of Multiculturalism
    by Richard Halpern, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Shylock and the Conversos: "Whose Blood is Reddest?"
    by Janet Adelman, University of California, Berkeley
  • "What means Sicilia? He something seems unsettled": Sicily, Russia, and Bohemia in The Winter's Tale
    by R.W. Desai, University of Delhi
  • Cleopatra, African Queen
    by David George, Urbana University


"The African Queen in Multicultural and Post-Colonial Discourse"
Chair: Robert Parker, Wittenberg University

  • Making Choice of Loss: the Production of Blackness in Anthony and Cleopatra
    by Allyson P. Newton, Asbury College
  • 'Beggaring Description': Orientalism and Mimicry in Anthony and Cleopatra
    by Anthony Mayadunne, University of British Columbia

"Cleopatra, Gypsies and Gender"
Chair: Nicholas Ranson, University of Akron

  • Cleopatra and the Gypsies: Spectacle, Empire and the Control of Space
    by Mark Netzloff, University of Delaware
  • Theatricality, Gender, and Colonialism in Anthony and Cleopatra
    by Pauline Homsi Vinson, Shippensburg University

"Cleopatra, Sophonisba, and Feminism"
Chair: Eugene August, University of Dayton

  • Whiteness and the Renaissance Literary Imagination
    by Joyce Green MacDonald, University of Kentucky
  • To Gaze on Cleopatra: Enchanting and Shameful Spectacle in Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra*
    by Mimi Dixon, Wittenberg University

Chair: Danial J. Watermeier, University of Toledo

  • "My Blood Begins My Safer Guides to Rule": Other Passions and the Cultural Uses of Othello
    by Elise Marks, UC Berkeley
  • Shakespeare in Indian Ink: Multicultural Readers and Othello's Fictions of the Self*
    by Vandana S. Gavaskar
  • Multiculturalism Within the Text: The "Other" and Identity Formation in Othello*
    by Veronica Toombs, Rice University

"The Tempest"
Chair: Craig Dionne, Eastern Michigan University

  • Power and Appropriation: Gloria Naylor's Revision of The Tempest
    by Laurie Delaney, University of Cincinnati
  • Yet More Uses of Adversity in Teaching The Tempest
    by Niels Herold
  • The Globe Goes Postcolonial: William Shakespeare and Salman Rushdie
    by Bindu Malieckal, Baylor University

"The Merchant of Venice"
Chair: Robert Correale, Wright State University

  • "Mislike me not for my complexion": The Problem of Race in The Merchant of Venice
    by Beth Baldwin, Xavier University
  • Context and Stereotype: Shylock in the 20th Century
    by Kim-An Lieberman, University of Washington
  • Anti-Semitic Metaphors and the Meaning of The Merchant of Venice
    by Susan Oldrieve, Baldwin-Wallace College

"The Henriad, Anthony and Cleopatra"
Chair: Robert Fleissner, Central State University

  • "She Is Our Capital Demand": Women in the Henriad
    by Kent Burnside, Wright State University
  • Beyond the Severn and the Wye: Shakespeare's Welsh Characters
    by Fran Chalfront, West Georgia College
  • When Two Worlds Collide: a Re-reading of Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra
    by Olabisi Gwanna, Wilberforce University

"The Merchant of Venice II"
Chair: Cathleen T. McLaughlin, SUNY

  • "How Like the Prodigal": The Parable of the Prodigal Son and the Merchant of Venice
    by Charles Pastoor, Baylor University
  • "Jessica's Ring": Shakespeare and Multiculturalism
    by Grace Tiffany, Western Michigan University
  • Shakespeare and Ethnocentrism
    by May Wasserman, Wright State University

"The Sonnets, Anthony and Cleopatra, Pedagogy"
Chair: Annette Oxindine, Wright State University

  • The Importance of Teaching Shakespeare Today: Desire, Politics, and Multiculturalism in the Sonnets
    by Robert Samuels, Kent State University
  • "The play's the thing": Teaching the Interaction of Shakespeare and Multicultural Literature
    by Joelle C. Moen, Ricks College
  • The Fortunes of a Universal Empire: A Study of Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra
    by Dr. S. Kanakaraj, Madurai Kamaraj University
  • Eastern Echoes in Shakespeare's The Phoenix and the Turtle
    by Sheila D. Willard, Middlesex Community College

"Titus Andronicus"
Chair: Mary Ann Gasior, Wright State University

  • Silence of the Ma'ams: Repression and Perversion of the Maternal in Titus Andronicus
    by Elizabeth J. Abele, Temple University
  • "A Coal-Black Calf": Titus Andronicus and Succession
    by Rebecca Ann Bach, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Forgiveness in Rome
    by Nicholyn Hutchinson, University of Georgia
  • "Spotted, Detested and Damnable": Race and the Fallibility of the Sign in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus
    by Dr. Francesca Royster, Pennsylvania State University

Chair: Norman Cary, Wright State University

  • Performance and Diversity: Gender and Sexuality in Stratford
    by Dr. Bill Dynes, University of Indianapolis
  • Shakespeare in Sub-Saharan Africa: a Bibliographic Reading
    by Mark Andre Singer, University of Buffalo
  • "Mislike Me Not for My Complexion...": Ira Aldridge in Whiteface
    by Bernth Lindfors, University of Texas

*indicates abstracts not available in Ohio Shakespeare Notes.