USF St. Petersburg campus Faculty Publications

Title

Teaching Shakespeare in a Time of Hate

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Lisa S. Starks

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2021

ISBN

9781009036795

Abstract

The time of hate in which we live dictates that we answer fully and collaboratively the challenges of all forms of violence, including racism, antisemitism, misogyny, transphobia and other types of bigotry. In a time when the classroom is subject to ‘new forms of subterfuge, secret recordings, and professor watch lists’, it is all the more important to bring our academic work to build more equitable, sustainable communities, rather than exploiting trendy topics that service academic advancement and not students and community members. One of the core values of the humanities lies in understanding the human condition in different contexts, and Shakespeare’s oeuvre as a cluster of complex, transhistorical cultural texts provides fertile ground to build empathy and critical thinking. Developing ‘independent facility with complex texts’, as Ayanna Thompson and Laura Turchi’s research shows, enables ‘divergent paths to knowledge’, which promotes equity and diversity. Indeed, as Timothy Francisco and Sharon O’Dair point out, the heuristic value of complex texts lies in their ability to expose ‘the oppression by a status hierarchy’ and encourage the formation of hypotheses and critiques.

The time of hate in which we live dictates that we answer fully and collaboratively the challenges of all forms of violence, including racism, antisemitism, misogyny, transphobia and other types of bigotry. In a time when the classroom is subject to ‘new forms of subterfuge, secret recordings, and professor watch lists’,Footnote1 it is all the more important to bring our academic work to build more equitable, sustainable communities, rather than exploiting trendy topics that service academic advancement and not students and community members. One of the core values of the humanities lies in understanding the human condition in different contexts, and Shakespeare’s oeuvre as a cluster of complex, transhistorical cultural texts provides fertile ground to build empathy and critical thinking. Developing ‘independent facility with complex texts’, as Ayanna Thompson and Laura Turchi’s research shows, enables ‘divergent paths to knowledge’, which promotes equity and diversity.Footnote2 Indeed, as Timothy Francisco and Sharon O’Dair point out, the heuristic value of complex texts lies in their ability to expose ‘the oppression by a status hierarchy’ and encourage the formation of hypotheses and critiques.Footnote3

In this article, we examine new theories and praxis of listening for silenced voices and of telling compelling stories that make us human. Elucidation of our Levinas-inspired theories of the Other is followed by a discussion of classroom practices for in-person and remote instruction that foster collaborative knowledge building and intersectional pedagogy. The moral agency that comes with the cultivation of ethical treatment of one another can lead to political advocacy. Special attention is given to race, gender and the exigencies of social justice and remote learning in the era of the global pandemic of COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus disease). The new normal in higher education, which is emerging at the time of writing, exposes inequities that were previously veiled by on-campus life and resources. Even as they are cause for grief and anxiety, the inequities exposed by COVID-19 can spur change for the better.

Language

en_US

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

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