Marjorie Garber Lecture
"Occupy Shakespeare: Shakespeare and/in the Humanities”
There was a time when Shakespeare’s plays were not considered serious enough, or appropriate for, study in libraries or universities. And there was a time, a slightly later time, when Shakespeare’s plays were considered the property of a subset of the learned class, different from, and distinct from, the practitioners of applied or practical knowledge. Today the plays are part of contemporary culture, in popular music, advertising, and journalistic headlines; and they are also part of literary culture, the culture of “the humanities.” In fact, for many people, Shakespeare is the humanities, quoted, cited, and sung as an authority on philosophy, statecraft, character, love and death. What’s next for Shakespeare studies, in and beyond the academy? What can the itinerary of “Shakespeare” in the last hundred years tell us about the future of the humanities in the twenty-first century?
Marjorie Garber is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English and Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, and Chair of the Committee on Dramatic Arts. She has published seventeen books and edited seven collections of essays on topics from Shakespeare to literary and cultural theory to the arts and intellectual life. Newsweek magazine chose Shakespeare After All as one of the five best nonfiction books of 2004, and praised it as the “indispensable introduction to an indispensable writer ... Garber’s is the most exhilarating seminar room you’ll ever enter.”
Garber has served as Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard, Chair of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, and Director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. She is the former President of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes and a continuing member of its advisory board. She currently serves as a Trustee of the English Institute and on the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies and a member of the American Philosophical Society. In 2010, she chaired the judging committee of the non-fiction category of the National Book Awards. This past summer, she was a featured commentator on the BBC/PBS television series, "Shakespeare Uncovered."
Garber′s visit is co-sponsored by the Rhodes College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa; the Department of English; the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program; Greek & Roman Studies; the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment; the Search program; and the Spence L. Wilson Chair in Humanities.