The Twelfth World Shakespeare Congress will be held from July 20th to 26th 2026, in Verona, Italy, a beautiful and historic city on the Adige River, a vital crossroads of ancient and early modern Europe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the setting for two of Shakespeare’s plays.
The International Shakespeare Association now invites submissions of proposals of 500 words for seminars, workshops, and panels engaging some aspect of the congress theme, ‘Planetary Shakespeares’. The Congress will foster discussion of the many ways in which Shakespeare may be conceived as ‘planetary’, reaching out to resonances with new cultural galaxies of enquiry, debate, and knowledge. It will bridge the Gutenberg print age with the flourishing of humanism and the era of the virtual and the post-human, raising questions about our own understandings of the humanities at a time of manifold crises. In addition, the Congress will provide the occasion for connecting Shakespearean studies and practices to new forms of social awareness and engagement, as well as of innovative takes on our sense of the real. It will offer several areas of debate, emphasising the relation between eco-concerns and the position of the human and post-humanity, in relation to the rise of technology, the digital and the virtual:
The Congress welcomes proposals taking up any of the themes and approaches of interest to Shakespeareans today. In doing so, the Congress will invite us to rethink aesthetic, social, cultural and political categories beyond current Shakespearean views.
An already ‘globalized’ phenomenon, showing its adaptability and resilience, ‘Shakespeare’ is an ideal vehicle of exploration and dialogue, community and care care – a way of bringing diverse people together to face the eco-crisis, whether in the theatre, in the open, or in the classroom.
Reconfiguring ‘Global’ Shakespeare
The 2026 Congress is an opportunity to put fresh critical pressure on the uses, both pro and con, of all the vocabularies of ‘universality’ in light of a plurality of coexisting ‘Shakespeare universes’ where canons and fanons (or fan canons) are not mutually exclusive.
The myriad forms of past and contemporary Shakespeare remediations – from print, to the moving body, to the hybrid and virtual spaces of cyberart and cyborg theatre, etc. – encourage reflection on the evolving constellations of ‘Shakespeare Galaxies’.
Proposers are encouraged to interpret the congress theme widely, and to consider texts, performances, and appropriations of his work in a full range of media. Guidelines for proposing and typical formats for the three types of sessions are given below.
Proposals for workshops and seminars given at the Congress will normally be offered by at least two delegate co-leaders. In recognition of the international character of the conference, the committee strongly encourages proposals led by or involving participants from diverse national or regional backgrounds, languages, or cultural traditions. Proposers will understand that there will be more space for seminars than panels on the conference programme. No one person should submit more than one proposal or be part of more than one proposal.
All proposals will be reviewed by members of the ISA Programme Committee. Enquiries about preparation of proposals may be directed to a member of the Programme Committee.
Submit proposals online at https://www.wsc2026.org/.
The deadline for submissions is 15 September 2024.