Thinking with Shakespeare


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project models a philosophical, experimental, and creative approach to reading the plays. Each element of this study is organized around a play, a theme, and a non-Shakespearean thinker or text (e.g., Arendt, Locke, Schmitt). The project retrieves strains in political theory undervalued in post-colonial and materialist approaches, including citizenship, rights, and personhood. To think with Shakespeare is to search out the significance of his plays in the history of thought, in order to stimulate interchange among fields, periods, and styles of literary inquiry. The project pursues the universal implications of Shakespeare’s plays, not as a set of constant qualities, but as a struggle with universalism itself, carried out via the modes of love, politics, and art.