Shakespeare and Contemporary Theory podcast

Over the past few months, I’ve had lots of interesting conversations with all sorts of clever folk from around the world. I wanted to share with you the first 11 episodes:

If  you are at all interested in the current debates surrounding literary theory and ways of approaching and thinking about literature, then I’d encourage you to give it a listen and subscribe via iTunes. The next episode, an interview with Henry S. Turner, will be uploaded on Saturday.

I will admit that we have tended to spend rather more time talking about Theory than we have talking about Shakespeare, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. The most recent episode with David Alderson — who writes on 19th, 20th and 21st century literature — was one of the most interesting interviews I’ve had the pleasure of conduncting. In fact, that wouldn’t be a bad starting place if you are new to the series:

There are some recurring themes that run through almost every episode:

  • The impact of new historicism and cultural materialism on the discipline
  • Assessing Louis Althusser’s theory of ideology and Michel Foucault’s concept of power now in 2012/13
  • Nature vs. nurture, humanism vs. anti-humanism, and historical particularity vs. universalism
  • The current state of theory in literary criticism
  • Academia and professionalisation

Although, as you will hear, views on these topics diverge wildly from person-to-person. If you are looking for more Shakespeare-centric episodes, then I’d point you towards the ones with Lisa Hopkins and Gabriel Egan.

Finally, if you can think of someone who might have interesting things to say about some of these big topics and would like to participate, then I’d be grateful if you would drop me an email suggesting them. Despite the title of the series, they do not have to be an early modern specialist. I would especially welcome conversations with more female academics, because they are currently under-represented on the show.