Special Issue "Shakespeare and Digital Humanities: New Perspectives and Future Directions"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 January 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Stephen O’Neill
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of English, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Interests: Shakespeare; adaptation; Shakespeare and digital cultures

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Shakespeare is now fundamentally digital. The technologies, resources and cultures of the digital age influence how we humans variously read, watch, research, and teach Shakespeare. This influence occurs in both apparent but also unseen ways since digital technologies include hidden processes, or non-human actors such as algorithms. In fact, the thing we call “Shakespeare” is the consequence of the interaction of agential humans and digital, non-human actors. The Special Issue of Humanities explores this technogenic dynamic and its significance for understandings of Shakespeare’s works and their cultural afterlives. It does so from a digital humanities perspective, with the aim of building on trends within Shakespeare studies towards the interrelation between Shakespeare’s works and a variety of contemporary technologies.

The Special Issue especially welcomes approaches that are trans-disciplinary. Papers are invited from an international community of researchers interested in critically examining how digital technologies have enhanced, transformed, or challenged the appreciation and study of Shakespeare. Papers might address questions of methodology, and explore how digital humanities scholarship is applying technology and quantitative analyses to the corpus. What new insights into Shakespearean authorship, characterization, genre, and language, can computational analyses reveal? Papers might map and critically evaluate the available digital resources for Shakespeare research and teaching, including searchable text online editions, databases, and podcasts. Or, they might critically analyse forms and practices in digital cultures, from fan or vernacular productions that reiterate Shakespearean stories and characters on such platforms as Twitter and YouTube, to digital art and curation, and online Shakespeare quotation generators. In turn, papers might examine how Shakespeare theatre companies are using digital technologies both within the live performance itself, and also to create an online, commercial, and interactive presence for a production.

This Special Issue of Humanities offers an opportunity to examine the application of digital technologies to Shakespeare, in all its variety; to explore the implications of that interrelation; and, crucially, to consider what future directions scholarship and practices might take as the encounter with Shakespeare increasingly becomes digital.

Please submit 300 word proposals for original contributions and a 100-word biography (include selected publications) by 14 September 2018; email both the Guest Editor, as indicated above, and the journal ([email protected]).

Deadline for completed papers, if selected (5000–7000 words): 28 January, 2019

Dr. Stephen O’Neill
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Shakespeare
  • Digital Humanities
  • Digital cultures and practices
  • Algorithms
  • Technogenesis
  • Digital resources

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Digital Shakespeare Is Neither Good Nor Bad, But Teaching Makes It So
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020112 - 09 Jun 2019
Abstract
Digital Shakespeare is all around us: mobile apps, YouTube videos, online “participatory cultures,” electronic playtexts, web-based educational materials, even Shakespeare-themed videogames. But how do these resources intersect with the teaching of Shakespeare in the university classroom? In particular, how might digital technologies aid [...] Read more.
Digital Shakespeare is all around us: mobile apps, YouTube videos, online “participatory cultures,” electronic playtexts, web-based educational materials, even Shakespeare-themed videogames. But how do these resources intersect with the teaching of Shakespeare in the university classroom? In particular, how might digital technologies aid or impede the effective teaching of close reading and critical interpretation in relation to Shakespeare? Rather than discussing the various creative and interactive platforms and media available to the Shakespeare instructor, this essay focuses on recent studies exploring the consequences of using e-readers and other digital devices on individual brains in order to present (1) the demonstrably negative impact of “multitasking” on student learning, (2) the potentially damaging effects of using e-readers and e-texts in the Shakespeare classroom, and (3) suggestions regarding the best practices for teaching students to engage with complex texts like the works of Shakespeare. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Analysing the Meta-Archive Arianna—‘Shakespeariana’: Research and Teaching Opportunities with the Iconographical Database
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020110 - 03 Jun 2019
Abstract
The application of digital technologies to Shakespeare has advanced considerably over the last decade. The spread of online archives offers new opportunities for researchers and teachers, facilitating the collection of materials. Since 2011, we have seized upon the opportunity afforded by digital archives [...] Read more.
The application of digital technologies to Shakespeare has advanced considerably over the last decade. The spread of online archives offers new opportunities for researchers and teachers, facilitating the collection of materials. Since 2011, we have seized upon the opportunity afforded by digital archives with a project, Arianna, whose main goal is the creation of the meta-archive Shakespeariana, a database that includes iconographical items inspired by Shakespearean plays from the 16th century to the present day. As this article demonstrates, Arianna allows the user to make simple or combined searches in different fields, containing more than 13,000 iconographical items. Managing, sustaining, and refining the project brings new challenges. It poses the need to refine the strategies and methods of data acquisition, to conceive new tools of investigation, and to introduce some possible interactions with the end user. To this extent, two important problems are raised. The first concerns the function of Shakespeariana as a research and teaching tool. Since its content is constantly updated by researchers and collaborators, the digital archive is actually a collective and open-access work, but the filling of all the fields requires relevant levels of skills, critical perspectives, and knowledge about the single topics. Therefore, it is necessary to continually reflect on the proper, specific training to fill its content, to make researchers provide new information, and to mold them according to the existing standard. The second problem is the application of Shakespeariana to research. We argue that iconography provides some interpretative suggestions or helps to reveal the meaning and the dynamics of many otherwise obscure scenes. The relationship between text (and its adaptations) and figurative imagery has an osmotic character, with reciprocal influences and striking interactions. This article is arranged in two sections. The first explores the methodological questions and didactic purposes of Shakespeariana. The second offers an example of research application of the digital archive through the study of Salvador Dalí’s illustrated edition of Much Ado About Shakespeare (1968, 1971). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Romanian Users’ YouTube “Shakespeares”: Digital Localities in Global Fields
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020084 - 24 Apr 2019
Abstract
The cultural production of “Shakespeare” on the Internet has received growing attention in recent years, particularly in reference to newcomers in the field such as media users or “prosumers”. This is potentiated by the connectivity of digital platforms and growing access to digital [...] Read more.
The cultural production of “Shakespeare” on the Internet has received growing attention in recent years, particularly in reference to newcomers in the field such as media users or “prosumers”. This is potentiated by the connectivity of digital platforms and growing access to digital means of production and distribution. From a field perspective on digital cultural production, participation online can be seen as a socially situated activity, often differentiated and marked by the habitus of digital media users. The present article aims firstly to discuss the utility of a field conceptualization of the cultural production of Shakespeare online, with reference to the work of Pierre Bourdieu. Secondly, through a critical framework derived from cultural and media economies, this article analyses Romanian appropriations of Shakespeare’s works on YouTube as cultural productions inscribed in both the global digital economy and also in the local cultural field. Thirdly, based on an overview of Romanian producers who have published Shakespeare videos and on the analysis of their visibility and circulation online, as well as their chosen genres and discourses, I argue that the Romanian digital (re)production of Shakespeare is situated at the periphery of both the national and the global digital field. User-made Shakespeare productions are yet to find valuation in the local cultural and media fields, being situated in an illegitimate location for appropriating Shakespeare. This will be contextualized in the larger discourse regarding the fundamental role of curation, but also in light of recent concerns about privileged locations, languages, and algorithmic bias across online cultural production, circulation, and consumption. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Lend Us Your Earbuds: Shakespeare/Podcasting/Poesis
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020067 - 28 Mar 2019
Abstract
Podcasts by nature break down traditional economic barriers to making and accessing content. With low costs to both distribute and access, does podcasting provide a new outlet for academics, practitioners, and audiences to explore typically “high-minded” art or scholarly discussions usually blocked by [...] Read more.
Podcasts by nature break down traditional economic barriers to making and accessing content. With low costs to both distribute and access, does podcasting provide a new outlet for academics, practitioners, and audiences to explore typically “high-minded” art or scholarly discussions usually blocked by the price of a theater ticket or a subscription to a paywalled database? To answer these questions, we define a poetics of podcasting—one that encourages humanities thinking par excellence—and, more importantly, carries with it implications for humanities studies writ large. To think in terms of poetics of podcasting shifts attention to the study of how we can craft, form, wright, and write for and with different communities both inside and outside the academy. In examining the current field of Shakespeare studies and podcasting, we argue podcasting incorporates elements ranging from the “slow” professor movement, to composition studies, to the early modern print market, discussing different methods that are both inspired by and disrupt traditional forms of knowledge production in the process. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Not Something, Not Nothing, Not Shakespeare: Digitized Playbooks and the Question of Access in the Undergraduate Literature Classroom
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020061 - 27 Mar 2019
Abstract
The digital divide is deeply felt by undergraduate students in resource-restricted universities, but creative, if also labor-intensive, solutions exist for instructors negotiating paywalls and other institutional impediments. In this essay, I argue that teaching early modern drama outside the restraints of the Shakespearean [...] Read more.
The digital divide is deeply felt by undergraduate students in resource-restricted universities, but creative, if also labor-intensive, solutions exist for instructors negotiating paywalls and other institutional impediments. In this essay, I argue that teaching early modern drama outside the restraints of the Shakespearean archive and through a host of digital archives, databases, and tools not only engages students in inquiry-based, active learning but also cultivates a critical sense of how digital tools obviate and exacerbate questions of access. To make my case, I describe how I designed and taught a course on non-Shakespearean drama for English majors at Shippensburg University, one of Pennyslvania’s state-funded universities. After describing the mechanics of the course, I further theorize and examine the ways centering digital archives, databases, and tools as course texts enables students to think critically about the content available through these resources as well as the information hierarchies and receptions histories they promulgate. Full article
Open AccessArticle
@Shakespeare and @TwasFletcher: Performances of Authority
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010046 - 04 Mar 2019
Abstract
‘@Shakespeare: Trying to keep incognito with #WSCongress16 in town. If a scholar sees me I just say, “Hullo, lovely to meet you. I’m Peter Holland”/@TwasFletcher: Tell them you’re Me!’ (1 August 2016). This article looks at the anonymously-managed @Shakespeare account and its performance [...] Read more.
‘@Shakespeare: Trying to keep incognito with #WSCongress16 in town. If a scholar sees me I just say, “Hullo, lovely to meet you. I’m Peter Holland”/@TwasFletcher: Tell them you’re Me!’ (1 August 2016). This article looks at the anonymously-managed @Shakespeare account and its performance of Shakespeare’s authority on social media, in the context of the parody bot account @TwasFletcher. I argue that authority is established and performed by @Shakespeare through interaction with other authoritative accounts, literary in-jokes, engagement with academic conferences, and, most crucially, anonymity. The destabilising or undermining of Shakespeare’s online authority as performed by @TwasFletcher, is especially significant for its lack of anonymity: created by Hofstra University professor and associate dean Vimala C. Pasupathi, @TwasFletcher raises questions about how scholars who are not white, cis-het men make space for themselves within the authority commanded by Shakespeare, especially online. By inserting Fletcher into Shakespeare, Pasupathi herself performs authority in opposition to Shakespeare and the dominant idea of who a Shakespeare scholar should be or what s/he should do. This essay will therefore argue that two meanings of “authority”—recognized as true or valid on the one hand, and domineering, autocratic, or imposing on the other—play out through the relationship between @Shakespeare and @TwasFletcher on Twitter. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Digital Humanities’ Shakespeare Problem
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010045 - 04 Mar 2019
Abstract
Digital humanities has a Shakespeare problem; or, to frame it more broadly, a canon problem. This essay begins by demonstrating why we need to consider Shakespeare’s position in the digital landscape, recognizing that Shakespeare’s prominence in digital sources stems from his cultural prominence. [...] Read more.
Digital humanities has a Shakespeare problem; or, to frame it more broadly, a canon problem. This essay begins by demonstrating why we need to consider Shakespeare’s position in the digital landscape, recognizing that Shakespeare’s prominence in digital sources stems from his cultural prominence. I describe the Shakespeare/not Shakespeare divide in digital humanities projects and then turn to digital editions to demonstrate how Shakespeare’s texts are treated differently from his contemporaries—and often isolated by virtue of being placed alone on their pedestal. In the final section, I explore the implications of Shakespeare’s popularity to digital humanities projects, some of which exist solely because of Shakespeare’s status. Shakespeare’s centrality to the canon of digital humanities reflects his reputation in wider spheres such as education and the arts. No digital project will offer a complete, unmediated view of the past, or, indeed, the present. Ultimately, each project implies an argument about the status of Shakespeare, and we—as Shakespeareans, early modernists, digital humanists, humanists, and scholars—must determine what arguments we find persuasive and what arguments we want to make with the new projects we design and implement. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Innovating Shakespeare: The Politics of Technological Partnership in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Tempest (2016)
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010042 - 01 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This article examines the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) recent focus on digital ‘innovation’ by analysing the relationship between their emerging digital-focused business practices and digital performance practice for The Tempest (2016). To assess this relationship, I first review the socioeconomic context of 21st [...] Read more.
This article examines the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) recent focus on digital ‘innovation’ by analysing the relationship between their emerging digital-focused business practices and digital performance practice for The Tempest (2016). To assess this relationship, I first review the socioeconomic context of 21st century neoliberal UK economic policy that encourages arts organisations such as the RSC to participate in innovative digital production practices. I follow with a definition and deconstruction of ‘innovation’ as a key term in UK economic policy. I then demonstrate how the RSC has strategically become involved in innovation practices throughout the 2010s. I will then analyse the digital, motion-capture performance practices the RSC developed in partnership with Intel and motion-capture studio The Imaginarium for The Tempest. In doing so, I will demonstrate that The Tempest serves to legitimise the RSC’s status as a competitor and collaborator in the wider digital economy. Full article
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