ENG507 201602 Graduate

Winter 2017
ENG 507
Applies To: 
The Other in Shakespeare and Levinas

Steven Shankman

Steven Shankman profile picture
  • Title: Professor of English
  • Additional Title: UNESCO Chair in Transcultural Studies, Interreligious Dialogue, and Peace
  • Phone: 541-346-3997
  • Office: 373 PLC
  • Office Hours: S20: Not teaching this term; available via email
  • Website: Website
Department Section Description: 

The recent presidential election has highlighted the dangers of cultural and sexual stereotyping, and confirmed them, with the majority of white Americans and men having lined up with one major candidate and most of the so-called melting pot of non-white Americans and women with the other. We will read three plays by Shakespeare that are, as was our election, energized by fear of “the other”: by Shylock the Jewish money-lender of The Merchant of Venice; by Othello the passionate “Moor” of Venice (for Shakespeare, a Moor is someone of dark complexion and of Muslim origin from North Africa); and by Caliban, the native inhabitant – presented by Shakespeare in The Tempest as a rapist - of the island colonized by the European Prospero, the Duke of Milan (in Italy). We will ask: do these plays by Shakespeare exploit and encourage racial, ethnic, and sexual stereotyping, or do they rather call such stereotyping into question? Or both?