February 26, 2024

Cultural Encounters of Otherness through Shakespeare

Event Series: Cultural Encounters: Books that Have Made a Difference

Showing the Cultural Encounters of Otherness through Shakespeare Video

Artists in different places often hold contrasting views on the meanings of Shakespeare’s plays and on Shakespeare’s stature in modern culture. What they do have in common is their effort to plant new ideas along well-trodden paths and to blaze new trails through long-abandoned territories. To quote novelist Minae Mizumura, if we walk “through the doors” of other cultural spaces more often, we may, one day, reach “unpathed waters and undreamed shores.”

In this talk, Alexa Alice Joubin will examine cultural encounters with Shakespeare’s plays as heterotopia, a place of stories and a portal to other places. In particular, theatre and film are key players in creating embodied snippets of knowable worlds, as adaptations and performances open up national cultures to other views. Artists and audiences project their beliefs onto dramatic works to create hybrid worlds across cultures and history. Joubin will argue that since the fictional space created by performance juxtaposes multiple worlds, this heterotopic space—a microcosm of different temporalities and worlds—has multiple layers of cultural meanings.

This event is sponsored by the Future of the Humanities Project, the Georgetown Humanities Initiative, and Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. It is part of the year-long series, Cultural Encounters: Books that Have Made a Difference.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Images George Rex


Alexa Alice Joubin

Alexa Alice Joubin

Alexa Alice Joubin is a professor of English, theatre, and East Asian languages and literatures at George Washington University. Joubin is the inaugural recipient of the bell hooks Legacy Award and holder of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award; she co-founded and co-directs the Digital Humanities Institute. Her work on adaptation of the Western canon has been recognized by the Modern Language Association's Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies. Her recent books include Race (with Martin Orkin, 2018), Shakespeare and East Asia (2021), and King Lear (co-edited with Michael Best, 2023).

Michael Scott

Michael Scott

Michael Scott (moderator) is senior dean, fellow of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, college advisor for postgraduate students, and a member of the Las Casas Institute. He also serves as senior advisor to the president of Georgetown University. Scott previously served as the pro-vice-chancellor at De Montfort University and founding vice-chancellor of Wrexham Glyndwr University, where he is professor emeritus.