5th Conference Online, 2022


Unmasking Shakespeare:
The 5th Biennial Conference of the Asian Shakespeare Association

Online, 10-12 November 2022

Face masks that block droplets and aerosols are ubiquitous under the pandemic of Covid-19. Beyond offering protection against the coronavirus, masks have also become a platform for political statements and an arena for power struggle. Indeed, masks have served various practical and symbolic purposes since prehistorical time. Made of wood, metal, leather, cloth, latex, or synthetic materials, masks intervene to defend and disguise the wearer, shield or adorn the face. At religious ceremonies, festival celebrations, or theatrical performances, masks conceal, obliterate, transform, or create identities. On stage, they are adopted as a plot device or surprise mechanism. Not all masks or personae, however, are easily discernible or even separable from what lies underneath. The moment of unmasking amounts to an epiphany, revelation of truth or reconciliation between appearance and reality.

As we slowly take off our masks and move to post-Covid normality, let us examine their use, implications, and meanings in Shakespeare and Shakespeare studies, in his and in our times. We invite proposals to join the three types of open session: the panel, the symposium, and the workshop.

Program Proposals


There are limited spots for panel presentations. Papers should be around 15-minute delivery time. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • disguise, impersonation, cross-dressing, and role-playing in Shakespeare and
  • Shakespearean adaptations;
  • imposture, deception, lies in Shakespeare
  • and Shakespearean adaptations;
  • Renaissance self-fashioning;
  • the use of masks on stage and in films;
  • puzzles, riddles, and topical allegory in Shakespeare and Shakespearean adaptations;
  • researching, teaching, and performing Shakespeare during and after the pandemic.

Your proposal to join a panel session should consist of (a) the title of your presentation and an abstract of no more than 250 words, and (b) a short bio.


The symposiums consist of short (up to 6 minutes) presentations of original research in specific areas. We invite proposals that extend the meaning of (un)masking in these directions:

(1) (Dis)Covering—disguise, roleplay, hidden agendas, and secret meanings in Shakespeare and Shakespearean adaptations; metaphor and allegory; puns; riddles and puzzles.

(2) Identity as Mask—exploration of racial, ethnic, national, gender, sexual, religious, social, political, linguistic, and cultural identities in Shakespeare and Shakespearean adaptations; feminism and antifeminism; queer studies; critical race studies; xenophobia; antisemitism.

(3) A New Visage—Shakespeare’s contemporary meanings; Shakespeare and current affairs; social and political commentaries; Cold War; globalization; geopolitics; populism.

Proposal to join a symposium session should consist of (a) the group you want to join, (b) the title of your presentation and an abstract of no more than 250 words, and (c) a short bio.


The workshops offer a platform for us to share our experience during the pandemic or post-Covid time, to identify the challenges and to brainstorm together for solutions, in the following areas. Participants will not write research papers but will circulate short written responses to the assigned questions before the conference and the meeting time will be dedicated to discussion.

(1) Teaching Shakespeare—web-based remote teaching; asynchronous teaching; online platforms and resources.

(2) Performing Shakespeare—Zoom virtual theatre; rehearsing; directing; filming; reception.

(3) Mediating Shakespeare—film; manga and animation; online archives and databases; games; podcast; apps.

Proposal to join a workshop session should consist of (a) the group you want to join, (b) one or more questions you want the group to discuss, and (c) a short bio.

Proposals and questions should be sent to admin@asianshakespeare.org. You will
receive an email confirmation.

The deadline for submission is 15 September 2022.