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Kevin Curran





    I'm Professor of Early Modern English Literature at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. I have taught and published widely on Shakespeare and English Renaissance drama. My broad professional aim to is build bridges between scholarship, teaching, and the public life of the arts. Explore these pages to learn more about my work.


    I'm Professor of Early Modern English Literature and a member of the Centre d'Études Théâtrales at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Previously, I held posts as Assistant Professor and Associate Professor at the University of North Texas, USA; Tomlinson Postdoctoral Research Fellow at McGill University in Montreal, Canada; and Carnahan Postdoctoral Fellow at Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, USA. I completed my BA, MA, and PhD at University College Dublin, Ireland. Originally I’m from a small town in Massachusetts, USA.


    My research and teaching focus on Shakespeare and English Renaissance Drama, which I’ve lectured on in eleven countries. I have secondary interests in modern and contemporary performance. Most of my published scholarship deals in one way or another with the intersection between the history of ideas and the material conditions of theater. This includes a number of books, both sole-authored and edited, such as Marriage, Performance, and Politics at the Jacobean Court (Ashgate, 2009); Shakespeare’s Legal Ecologies: Law and Distributed Selfhood (Northwestern University Press, 2017); Qu’est-ce qu’un personnage ? (EPFL Press, 2023), co-authored with Vincent Laughery, Andy Reilly, and Josefa Terribilini; Shakespeare and Judgment (Edinburgh University Press, 2017); and Renaissance Personhood: Materiality, Taxonomy, Process (Edinburgh University Press, 2020); as well as a special issue of the journal Criticism on “Shakespeare and Phenomenology” (2012), co-edited with James Kearney. My newest book, Shakespeare's Theater of Judgment: Six Keywords will be published by Edinburgh University Press in late 2024. I am also the editor of two book series: “Edinburgh Critical Studies in Shakespeare and Philosophy” (in English, published by Edinburgh University Press) and "Questions de Théâtre" (in French, published by EPFL Press). 


    My research and writing have been supported over the years by a variety of institutions and organizations. I have been awarded fellowships from the Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington DC), the Huntington Library (San Marino, California), the Bibliographical Society of America, and the Harry Ransom Research Center (Austin, Texas). In 2017, I was named Distinguished International Visiting Fellow at the Center for the History of Emotions in Perth and Sydney, Australia. And in 2021, I was awarded a major grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation in support of a 4-year project called "Theater and Judgment in Early Modern England,"which includes a team of local and international collaborators.  


    In addition to my academic work, I have a strong commitment to the arts and to creative entrepreneurship. In 2023, I launched a performance collective called L'Atelier Shakespeare for which I currently serve as president. The mission of L'Atelier Shakespeare is to ensure the presence of Shakespearean performance (interpreted broadly to include a wide variety of theatrical forms in multiple languages) at the university, in the city, and beyond. We create our own performances and also sponsor the work of other artists and companies. My undergraduate course, “The Shakespeare Workshop,” provides an academic counterpart to L’Atelier Shakespeare, one which invites students to experiment with bridging the gap between critical and creative modes of interaction with plays. Prior to my work with L'Atelier Shakespeare, I served for seven years as president of the Lausanne Shakespeare Festival, which I founded in 2015.


    Beyond the university, I am president of the Swiss Association for Medieval and Early Modern English Studies and I serve on the Representative Council of the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago, as well as the Renaissance Society of America Council. Between 2017 and 2019, I was president of the Modern Language Association's Law and Humanities Forum; and between 2019 and 2023, I coordinated a Shakespeare Summer School in Venice, Italy, called "Global Shakespeares." 


    You can access copies of some of the material below here.

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    with Vincent Laughery, Andy Reilly, and Josefa Terribilini, Qu’est-ce qu’un personnage ? (Lausanne: EPFL Press, 2023)

    Shakespeare’s Legal Ecologies: Law and Distributed Selfhood (Evanston IL: Northwestern University Press, 2017) hc and pbk


    Marriage, Performance, and Politics at the Jacobean Court (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009) pbk 2016

    (ed.) Renaissance Personhood: Materiality, Taxonomy, Process (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020) pbk 2021

    Contributors: John Archer, Amanda Bailey, Joseph Campana, Kevin Curran, Holly Dugan, Stephanie Elsky, David B. Goldstein, Colby Gordon, Wendy Beth Hyman, Greg Kneidel. 


    (ed.) Shakespeare and Judgment (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017) pbk 2018

    Contributors: Richard Strier, Paul Yachnin, Virginia Lee Strain, Vivasvan Soni, Constance Jordan, Katherine B. Attié, Carolyn Sale, Kevin Curran, John Parker, Sanford Budick


    (ed. with James Kearney) Criticism 54.3 (2012), Special Issue on “Shakespeare and Phenomenology.”

    Contributors: Bruce R. Smith, Julia R. Lupton, Kevin Curran, James Kearney, Michael Witmore, Ken Jackson, Paul Kottman, James Knapp, Jennifer Bates, Jennifer Waldron


    "Everyday Dramaturgy: Virtue and the Craft of Living," in Shakespeare's Virtuous Theater, ed. Julia Reinhard Lupton, Kent Lehnhof, and Carolyn Sale (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2023)


    "The Four Cardinal Virtues: Caesar's Mantle and Practical Wisdom," in Shakespeare and Virtue: A Handbook, ed. Julia Reinhard Lupton and Donovan Sherman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022)

    “Judgment,” in Entertaining the Idea: Shakespeare, Philosophy, and Performance, ed. Lowell Gallagher, James Kearney, and Julia Reinhard Lupton (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2021)


    “Masques dans le Théâtre de Shakespeare,” in Masques et Théâtre: Créations de Werner Strub et Éditions Rare de la Fondation Bodmer, ed. Jacques Berchtold et Anne-Catherine Sutermeister (Geneva: Éditions Noir sur Blanc, 2020)


    “The Face of Judgment in Measure for Measure.” In Face to Face in Shakespearean Drama, ed. Julia Reinhard Lupton and Matthew Smith (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019)


    “Shakespeare's Comedies and the Senses,” in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Comedy, ed. Heather Hirschfeld (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018)


    “Shakespeare and Selfhood,” in The Routledge Companion to Shakespeare and Philosophy, ed. Craig Bourne and Emily Caddick Bourne (London: Routledge, 2018)


    “Recent Studies in Tudor and Stuart Drama,” SEL 57 (2017): 427-74.


    “Introduction.” In Shakespeare and Judgment, ed. Kevin Curran (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016), 1-18.


    “Prospero’s Plea: Judgment, Invention, and Political Form in The Tempest.” In Shakespeare and Judgment, ed. Kevin Curran (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016), 157-71.


    “Hospitable Justice: Law and Selfhood in Shakespeare’s Sonnets.” Law, Culture, and the Humanities 9 (2013): 295-310. [Honorable Mention: The Penny Pether Award for Law and Language Scholarship]


    “Introduction” (co-written with James Kearney). Criticism 54.3 (2012): 353-64, Special Issue on “Shakespeare and Phenomenology,” ed. Kevin Curran and James Kearney.


    “Feeling Criminal in Macbeth.” Criticism 54.3 (2012): 391-401, Special Issue on “Shakespeare and Phenomenology,” ed. Kevin Curran and James Kearney.


    “Treasonous Silence: The Tragedy of Philotas and Legal Epistemology.” English Literary Renaissance 42 (2012): 58-89. [Winner: 2013 Martin Stevens Award for Best Essay in Early Drama]


    “Renaissance Non-Humanism.” Renaissance Studies 24 (2010): 314-22.


    “Shakespeare and Daniel Revisited: Antony and Cleopatra 2.5.50-4 and The Tragedy of Philotas 5.2.2013-15.” Notes & Queries 54 (2007): 1-3.


    “Erotic Policy: King James, Thomas Campion, and the Rhetoric of Anglo-Scottish Marriage.” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 7 (2007): 55-77.      


    “James I and Fictional Authority at the Palatine Wedding Celebrations.” Renaissance Studies 20 (2006): 51-67.


    “Virtual Scholarship: Navigating Early Modern Studies on the World Wide Web.” Early Modern Literary Studies 12 (2006): 1-23.



    Here are descriptions of some courses I’ve taught recently.



    The Shakespeare Workshop

    “The Shakespeare Workshop” explores a selection of Shakespeare’s plays from the perspective of performance. We take the class title seriously: it is a workshop more than a traditional academic course, which means we will meet in a theater space rather than a classroom, and students will be expected to take a participatory, hands-on approach to the texts we study. A willingness to actively take part in discussion and get up on your feet is essential. In addition to considering how each of our plays was staged in its own time and in subsequent eras, the majority of our energy will be invested in exploring how each play might be adapted for performance now. Towards this end, our work will involve careful analysis of language, character, and dramatic design, as well as key thematic and conceptual preoccupations. We will also learn about what is possible in a modern theatrical space and even what counts as a “theatrical space.” Finally, in order to maintain a shared sense of intellectual and artistic mission, our work throughout the semester will be framed by a broad question of topical importance. This year’s question is: “What makes community possible?” We will return regularly to a consideration of (1) how our plays explore this question, and (2) how the question itself might invite innovative approaches to performance and staging. 

    Global Theatricality in Renaissance England

    There is an old, but still prevalent, view of the Renaissance as a quintessentially European cultural epoch. But is this really the case? In this course, students will discover that the literary, artistic, and scientific developments that took place in Europe between 1400 and 1700 were in fact global phenomena, the result of sustained interactions with Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Focusing on plays from sixteenth and seventeenth-century England, students will explore the wide array of words, objects, characters, and plots that were global imports. Other topics to be addressed include the way the literary and theatrical marketplace was shaped by an interest in the foreign; the economic and imaginative links between theater and colonialism; and the challenge Jewish and Islamic cultures of “the East” and indigenous cultures of the New World posed to forms of knowledge that were rooted in Christianity. Throughout the course we will be returning to a central question: how does English Renaissance theater fit into the larger history and philosophy of “cosmopolitanism”?


    Theaters of Knowledge: Marlowe and Shakespeare 

    In this course we will give sustained attention to two of Renaissance England’s greatest stage tragedies: Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This will involve learning about the differences between classical, Renaissance, and modern definitions of tragedy and assessing where our two plays fall among them. We will also be devoting a considerable amount of time to evaluating differences between the two plays in terms of language and stagecraft. As the title of the course suggests, “knowledge” will be a key theme throughout the semester. At the heart of both plays is a concern with the tragic effects of knowledge. Our job will be to determine what this preoccupation might tell us about Renaissance understandings of religion and science, agency and free will, and the relationship between thought and action.


    Shakespeare’s Theater

    This course offers an overview of Shakespeare’s dramatic work, addressing plays from across his career in each of the genres in which he wrote. Our primary focus throughout the semester will be on the way Shakespeare’s plays work as theater. This means that while historical and cultural context will certainly be addressed, our primary goal will be to understand the unique ways in which Shakespeare used the material and conceptual resources of performance. Among the questions that will guide our work are: What kind of theatricality does Shakespeare’s language make possible? How are spectators implicated in the world of the plays? What are the theatrical devices through which meaning is generated on Shakespeare’s stage? What is it about Shakespeare’s language and dramaturgy that makes his plays especially speculative?


    How Sonnets Work: Lessons from the English Renaissance

    This course focuses on sonnets by five major poets of the English Renaissance: Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, Mary Wroth, and John Milton. Our guiding question throughout the semester will be: how do these sonnets work? The question isn’t as simple as it seems, for in exploring how sonnets “work” we’ll be concerned with several overlapping lines of inquiry. For example, we’ll look at how they work in a formal sense (the way structure, sound, and rhythm contribute to meaning); we’ll look at how they work in a historical sense (the way contemporary developments in law, economics, science, and travel shape language and ideas); we’ll look at how they work in a textual sense (the various ways in which sonnets were written, reproduced, transmitted, and read); and we’ll look at how they work in a philosophical sense (the particular way in which sonnets generate knowledge and pose questions).




    Marlowe's Theater

    Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) was the most successful and influential English dramatist before Shakespeare. Doubtless the latter would have developed their craft very differently had Marlowe not been there as a standard-setting competitor in the early 1590s. Had Marlowe not died so young – killed in a barroom brawl at the age of twenty-nine – the landscape of English Renaissance drama, Shakespeare’s career included, would probably look much different. Marlowe was among the first professional writers in early modern England and played a major role establishing tragedy as a key genre for popular commercial theater. What’s more, in popularizing “blank verse” (unrhymed metrical lines) he essentially gave English Renaissance drama its voice. Described variously, both in his own time and subsequently, as an atheist, a nonconformist, a sodomite, and an overall sexual and intellectual dissident, Marlowe has an edgy glamour that few writers before or since have equaled. Employed as a government spy for Queen Elizabeth at the same time as he plied his trade as both poet and playwright, his short, eventful, and highly impactful life carries a mysterious allure.

    The entirety of Marlowe’s dramatic career unfolds between 1587 and 1593; like the Beatles, he revolutionized an artistic field in six years before the age of thirty, pushing both the formal and thematic boundaries of English commercial drama as it existed then. His plays deal with topics that are as urgent now as they were in the rapidly changing world of sixteenth century England: the global imagination and cosmopolitanism (Tamburlaine and The Jew of Malta); the ethics of individuality and free-will (Tamburlaine and Doctor Faustus); religious and ethnic identity (Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, and The Massacre at Paris); and ideas of masculinity, power, and sexual identity (Edward II and Dido, Queen of Carthage). In this discussion-based seminar, we will read all of Marlowe’s plays. Particular attention will be given to how the plays work in performance; the ways in which Marlowe transforms cultural and intellectual concerns of the early modern period into theater; and the social environments that informed Marlowe’s playwrighting, including Cambridge University, scientific and colonial circles, and the London literary scene. We will also, of course, always be attentive to how the plays continue to speak to issues in our own time.


    Shakespeare and Selfhood

    What is a self? Are we minds that just happen to perceive a body and physical surroundings, or are we bodies whose sensory experience of material reality creates something that feels like an independent mental world? Are we free agents, or are our actions determined by our environment? And if we can figure out who we are, does that make it easier to know how we should live? For example, is there a certain system of governance (monarchy, democracy, socialism) that is more in sync with human nature than others? There have been many attempts to answer these questions in philosophy, politics, science, law, and religion. The premise of this course, a premise shared by many readers and theatergoers from the eighteenth century onwards, is that Shakespeare, too, has something to tell us about selfhood. Focusing on a selection of plays, this course will explore the relationship between Shakespearean drama and the idea of selfhood from two perspectives: (1) Historical: Shakespeare wrote his plays during what is typically taken to be a watershed period in the history of selfhood, a period during which some have argued the modern self—closed, autonomous, interiorized, uniquely individual—begins to emerge. (2) Theatrical: the social and material contexts in which Shakespeare’s plays were performed and the gestural and rhetorical practices used to form character on stage contribute to specific ways of understanding the self.


    What Can Theater Do? Thinking with Carly Churchill

    Caryl Churchill is without a doubt one of the most influential and prolific dramatists of our time. Her career so far spans about fifty years and at the age of 83 she is not only still writing plays, but also continuing to lead the way in terms of formal experimentation. Churchill’s astounding intellectual and aesthetic range is apparent in the wide variety of themes her plays address. These include, most prominently, issues of gender and sexuality, colonialism, the body, class, identity, money, war, time, genetic engineering, environmental disaster, apocalypse, murder, childhood, and the nature of theater itself. Serving this broad gamut of interests, Churchill has distinguished herself by taking a particularly elastic and inventive approach to theatrical form. Churchill’s plays jump from time period to time period and sometimes seem to be set in no time at all; they can be long and structurally complex or incredibly short and minimalist; they can be naturalistic or highly expressionistic; they can be plot-driven or float freely in the realm of pure ideas. Sometimes Churchill’s plays catch viruses and get stuck in loops with language breaking down mid-dialogue. A committed collaborator and artistic polyglot, Churchill also challenges theatrical form by exploring how dance, music, and song allow ideas to be presented in new ways. At the heart of Churchill’s career, then, is a simple and persistent question: what can theater do? She returns time and time again to a basic consideration of how theatrical events form unique moments of collective and embodied critical thinking. In this seminar, we will think alongside Caryl Churchill, reading plays she produced between the 1970s and the present day and asking ourselves regularly, “what can theater do?” By the end of the seminar students should have gained a renewed sense of what theater makes possible in the world – intellectually, emotionally, and experientially.

    Experiments in Theater, 1950 to the Present

    Almost all the major avant-garde movements of western theater had come to fruition by 1950: the realism of Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg, the Verfremdungseffekt of Bertolt Brecht, the théâtre de la cruauté of Antonin Artaud. So what was left to do? How did playwrights in the second half of the twentieth century forge paths that were challenging and new? This MA seminar sets out to answer these questions by exploring a selection of English and American plays written between 1950 and our own time, each of which advances a new theatrical idiom or uses established modernist techniques in new ways. Samuel Beckett creates absurd worlds that are at once comic and philosophical; Luis Valdez and Caryl Churchill draw on Brechtian techniques to explore modern questions of politics, identity, and gender; Tony Kushner and Suzan-Lori Parks craft plays that combine realist, symbolist, and mythic features; Anna Deavere-Smith pushes naturalism to its radical extreme with “documentary theater”; Howard Barker writes a minimalist, prop-driven play that examines how objects become enchanted, both in the theater and in our lives; and Sarah Kane, in a play that shocked London audiences with its over-the-top violence, tests the limits of what can be represented on stage. By the end of this course, students will have gained four things: (1) a solid understanding of some of the most important playwrights of the later twentieth century; (2) a sense of both the continuities and disjunctions between the pre- and post-War theatrical avant-garde; (3) an understanding of the flexible relationship between theatrical form and spectator experience; and (4) an affirmation of theater’s enduring ability to reinvent itself and challenge audiences.

    The Legal Imagination: Renaissance Texts/Contemporary Questions

    That law was a literary and political obsession in the English Renaissance is, perhaps, not terribly surprising. After all, legal concepts such as judgment, citizenship, personhood, punishment, and forgiveness lie at the very heart of how human collectives understand themselves socially and morally, and in the Renaissance period these modes of self-identification were being drastically reshaped by religious conflicts, colonial encounters, and new philosophical ideas about the nature of life. For writers like Thomas More, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, and Thomas Hobbes, law emerges as much more than a collection of rules and regulations or a loose conglomerate of institutions. Instead, law for these writers represents a potent imaginative resource for confronting some of the most vexing questions of their day. With this in mind, our job in this course will be to pursue three goals. First, we will try to establish some of the unique literary characteristics of each writer’s engagement with legal concepts. Second, we will explore the historical underpinnings of the emergence of a uniquely Renaissance legal imagination. Third, we will consider how Renaissance literature helps us think through present-day debates about the nature of justice.


    Renaissance Theatricality

    No one finishes a degree in English literature without gaining a sense of the unique theatrical achievement of Renaissance England. And yet students rarely get the opportunity to see just how diverse that achievement was. This is because courses on Renaissance drama (and the anthologies that serve those courses) typically focus on plays written in a more or less “Shakespearean” style for only one or two kinds of commercial theater. In fact, there were many kinds of “stages” in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including not only those in a variety of commercial theaters, but also those in royal courts, aristocratic households, and the city streets. Trading in the term “drama” for the more complex and inclusive term “theatricality,” this course sets out to capture this diversity in Renaissance performance culture. We will read plays written for indoor and outdoor commercial theaters, as well as descriptions of masques, entertainments, and pageantry. Underpinning all our discussions will be four key components of theatricality: the physics of performance, or the relationship between time and space on stage; horizontality and verticality; the material stage, or the relationship among bodies and things; and the dynamics of audience judgment.  



    L’Atelier Shakespeare is a theater group and arts collective that I founded in 2022. The mission of L’Atelier Shakespeare is to foster the creation of Shakespearean performances on the university campus, in the city of Lausanne, and throughout the Suisse Romande. We work in both French and English and we take the terms “Shakespearean” and “performance” in their broadest possible senses to include a wide range of media and theatrical forms. L’Atelier Shakespeare encourages experimentation and adaptation, and it welcomes collaborators with a variety of creative interests, from acting and directing to music, dance, translation, sound, and design. L’Atelier Shakespeare has an academic counterpart in my undergraduate course, “The Shakespeare Workshop,” in which students design and perform short theatrical adaptations as part of a semester-long exploration of the links between creative and critical thinking.

    Learn more about L'Atelier Shakespeare on OUR WEBSITE, and check us out on INSTAGRAM too.


    In 2015, I launched the Lausanne Shakespeare Festival in collaboration with theater director Florence Rivero. It ran for seven years, from 2015 to 2022. The LSF was Switzerland’s only annual theatrical event devoted exclusively to the work of Shakespeare. Combining full-length plays with workshops, music, street theater, and a range of performance experiments during the day, the LSF was committed to inclusivity and aesthetic pluralism. The LSF was also fundamentally cosmopolitan, bringing together artists and audiences from a variety of linguistic backgrounds and featuring events in French and English, and sometimes German and Italian. At the heart of the LSF was a simple idea: take some of the greatest plays ever written and use them to build bridges between things that tend to stay apart: the university and the city, specialists and the public, critical thinking and creativity, and art and education. By prioritizing the talents of Lausanne’s newest generation of professional actors and directors, the LSF contributed to building a strong future for theater in the city, the region, and the country.


    Learn more about the Lausanne Shakespeare Festival on OUR WEBSITE, and check us out on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM too.


    Series Editor: Kevin Curran

    Editorial Board: Ewan Fernie, James Kearney, Julia Reinhard Lupton, Madhavi Menon, Simon Palfry, Tiffany Stern, Henry S. Turner, Michael Witmore, Paul Yachnin


    In 2012, I assembled an editorial board and launched the book series “Edinburgh Critical Studies in Shakespeare and Philosophy,” published by Edinburgh University Press. The first title was published in 2014. “Edinburgh Critical Studies in Shakespeare and Philosophy” takes seriously the speculative and world-making properties of Shakespeare’s art. Maintaining a broad view of “philosophy” that accommodates foundartional questions of metaphysics, ethics, politics, and aesthetics, the series also expands our understanding of philosophy to include the unique kinds of theoretical work carried out by performance and poetry itself. These scholarly monographs will reinvigorate Shakespeare studies by opening new interdisciplinary conversations among scholars, artists, and students. For more information, view the PRESS PAGE.



    Roberta Kwan, Shakespeare, the Reformation, and the Interpreting Self (2023) 

    Johannes Ungelenk, Touching at a Distance: Shakespeare's Theatre (2023)


    Sophie Battell, On the Threshold: Hospitality in Shakespeare’s Drama (2023)

    Sanford Budick, Hazarding All: Shakespeare and the Drama of Consciousness (2021)

    James A. Knapp, Immateriality and Early Modern English Literature: Shakespeare, Donne, Herbert (2020)


    Gillian Knoll, Conceiving Desire in Lyly and Shakespeare: Metaphor, Cognition, Eros (2020)


    Chiara Alfano, Derrida Reads Shakespeare (2020)


    David Hershinow, Shakespeare the Truth-Teller: Confronting the Cynic Ideal (2019)


    Christopher Crosbie, Revenge Tragedy and Classical Philosophy on the Early Modern Stage (2018)


    Patrick Gray, Shakespeare and the Fall of the Roman Republic: Selfhood, Stoicism, and Civil War (2018)

    Neema Parvini, Shakespeare’s Moral Compass (2018)

    J. F. Bernard, Shakespearean Melancholy: Philosophy, Form, and the Transformation of Comedy (2018)

    Sara Coodin, Is Shylock Jewish?: Citing Scripture and the Moral Agency of Shakespeare’s Jews (2017)


    Katherine Gillen, Chaste Value: Economic Crisis, Female Chastity, and the Production of Social Difference on Shakespeare’s Stage (2017)


    Thomas Anderson, Shakespeare’s Fugitive Politics (2016)


    Donovan Sherman, Second Death: Theatricalities of the Soul in Shakespeare (2016)


    Amir Khan, Countertfactual Shakespeare: Imagining Alternatives in the Tragedies (2015)


    Alex Schulman, Rethinking Shakespeare’s Political Philosophy: from Lear to Leviathan (2014)



    Comité editorial: Kevin Curran (director), Lise Michel, Josefa Terribilini

    Between 2021 and 2022, I  worked with the Centre d'Etudes Théâtrales at the University of Lausanne and Epistémé (EPFL Press) to develop a book series, published in French, called "Questions de théâtre." The series comprises short, engaging books for a broad readership that deal with large, transhistorical questions about theater: What is a character? What is improvisation? What is a spectator? and so on. You can learn more on our WEBSITE (in French).

    The first titles are as follows and will be appearing in 2023 and 2024:

    Kevin Curran, Vincent Laughery, Andrew Reilly et Josefa Terribilini, Qu’est-ce qu’un personnage? 

    Izabella Pluta et Simon Hagemann, Qu’est-ce qu’un spectateur à l’ère numérique? 

    Danielle Chaperon et Simon Henein, Qu'est-ce que l’improvisation? 

    Romain Bionda et Danielle Chaperon, Le théâtre est-il un média? 


    My creative work centers on the performing arts and includes writing, acting, and especially music. With Andy Reilly, I am one half of the experimental music ensemble Exit Ghost, and my solo compositions have been used in theater and film. The links below will bring you to a variety of projects and sound portfolios. The image gallery shows some of the events I have been involved with in action. I welcome inquiries about collaborations (in English or French) here.

    Exit Ghost on Spotify

    Exit Ghost on Bandcamp

    Exit Ghost Instagram

    Kevin Curran on Spotify

    Kevin Curran on Bandcamp

    Sound Portfolios and Other Projects


    "Theater, Judgment, Form: Three Case Studies." Panel with Patrick Durdel (Unil), Céline Magada (Unil), Stephanie Elsky (Rhodes), and me. Renaissance Society of America, Chicago, IL, USA. 21-23 March, 2024.


    “Renaissance Prehistories of Taste 1: Taste as Instruction,” “Renaissance Prehistories of Taste 2: Taste as Distinction,” “Renaissance Prehistories of Taste 3: Taste as Community,” and “Renaissance Prehistories of Taste 4: Taste as Encounter.” Four linked panels co-organized with David Goldstein (York). Renaissance Society of America. Dublin, Ireland. 30 March–2 April 2022.


    “Legal Ecologies.” Routable co-organized with Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (GWU) featuring Ron Broglio (ASU), Christina Gerhardt (U Hawaii), Sophi Christman Lavin (SUNY Buffalo), Rob Nixon (Princeton), Cary Wolfe (Rice), and me. Modern Language Association. New York, NY, USA. 4-7 January, 2018.


    “Object Lessons in Personhood.” Roundtable with Stephanie Elsky (Wisconsin), Sarah Winter (UConn), Daniel Williams (Harvard), Lucy Sheehan  (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi), Christine Holbo (ASU), Jill Staufer (Haverford C), and Stefanie Mueller (Goethe Universität Frankfurt). Modern Language Association. Philadelphia, PA, USA. 5-8 January, 2017.


    “Shakespearean Cosmopolitanism: Hospitality, Cynicism, Indifference.” Panel with James Kearney (UCSB), Madhavi Menon (Ashoka), and Jonathan Gil Harris (Ashoka), and me. Renaissance Society of America. Boston, MA, USA. 31 March-2 April, 2016.


    “Shakespeare and Judgment.” Panel with Paul Yachnin (McGill), Stephanie Elsky (Wisconsin), Virginia Lee Strain (Loyola Chicago), Jennifer Waldron (Pittsburgh), and me. Renaissance Society of America. Berlin, Germany. 26-28 March, 2015.


    “Shakespeare and Law: New Keywords.” Special Session with Luke Wilson (Ohio State), Carolyn Sale (Alberta), and Julia R. Lupton (UC Irvine), and me. Modern Language Association of America. Vancouver, BC, Canada. 8-11 January, 2015.


    “Shakespeare and Selfhood: New Keywords.” Special Session with Julian Yates (Delaware), Jennifer Waldron (Pittsburgh), and Laurie Shannon (Northwestern), and me. Modern Language Association of America. Boston, MA, USA. 3-6 January, 2013.


    “Shakespeare and Phenomenology.” Roundtable co-organized with James Kearney (UCSB) featuring James Kearney, Julia R. Lupton (UC Irvine), Bruce R. Smith (USC), Ken Jackson (Wayne State), James Knapp (Loyola Chicago), Michael Witmore (The Folger), and me. Modern Language Association of America. Los Angeles, CA, USA. 6-9 January, 2011.


    “Shakespeare as Theory.” Special Session with Madhavi Menon (Ashoka), Henry S. Turner (Rutgers), and Michael Witmore (The Folger), and me. Modern Language Association of America. Philadelphia, PA, USA. 27-30 December 2009.


    “Shakespeare and Legal Theology.” Panel with Ken Jackson (Wayne State), Heather Hirschfeld (U Tennessee), and me. Renaissance Society of America. Los Angeles, CA, USA. 19-21 March 2009.


    “Court Performance and Print in Renaissance England.” Panel with David Bevington (Chicago), David Lindley (Leeds), Jennifer Nevile (University of New South Wales), and me. Renaissance Society of America. Chicago, IL, USA. 3-5 April, 2008.



    “Object Lessons in Renaissance Personhood.” Seminar directed by Kevin Curran. Shakespeare Association of America. Los Angeles, CA, USA. 28-31 March, 2018.


    “Theater and Judgment in Early Modern England.” Seminar directed by Kevin Curran. Shakespeare Association of America. St. Louis, MO, USA. 10-12 April, 2014.


    “Shakespeare and the Court.” Seminar co-directed by Kevin Curran and Richard Dutton (Ohio State University). Shakespeare Association of America. Dallas, TX, USA. 13-15 March, 2008.



    “Theatrical virtue: Or, How to Teach Justice with Things.” Société Français Shakespeare. Paris, France. 11-13 March, 2021.

    “What is a Legal Ecology?” Modern Language Association. New York, NY, USA. 4-7 January, 2018.


    “Cosmopolitan Hospitality in The Merchant of Venice.” Renaissance Society of America, Boston, MA, USA. 31 March-2 April, 2016.


    “Shakespeare and the Ethics of Judgment.” Renaissance Society of America. Berlin, Germany. 26-28 March, 2015.


     “Hospitality.” Modern Language Association of America. Vancouver, BC, Canada. 8-11 January, 2015.


    “Land Law and Selfhood in Richard II.” Renaissance Society of America. New York, NY, USA. 27-29 March, 2014.


    “Exteriority.” Modern Language Association of America. Boston, MA, USA. 3-6 January, 2013.


    “Hospitable Justice in Shakespeare’s Sonnets.” Modern Language Association of America. Seattle, WA, USA. 5-8 January 2012.


    “Phenomenology and Law.” Modern Language Association of America. Los Angeles, CA, USA. 6-9 January 2011.


    “Shakespeare and the Phenomenology of Crime.” Modern Language Association of America. Philadelphia, PA, USA. 27-30 December 2009.


    “Macbeth and mens rea.” Renaissance Society of America. Los Angeles, CA, USA. 19-21 March 2009.


    “Masques, Print, and Thing Theory.” Renaissance Society of America. Chicago, IL, USA. 3-5 April 2008.


    “Samuel Daniel, Henry Cuffe, and a Question of Law.” Renaissance Society of America. Miami, FL, USA. 22-24 March 2007.


    “Nuptial Performance in the Jacobean Court: Religious Rhetoric and Panegyrical Practice.” Elizabethan Theatre: Religion and Theatre. University of Waterloo, Canada. 16-18 June 2005.


    “James I and Fictional Authority at the Palatine Wedding Celebrations.” James VI and I: Quatercentenary Perspectives. Early Modern Research Centre at the University of Reading, UK. 9-11 July 2003.


    “Body Politic(s): The Eroticization of National Rhetoric in the Anglo-Scottish Marriage Masque.” Renaissance Rhetoric, Gender, and Politics. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. 24-25 April 2003.


    “‘Dumbe Messengers’: Elite Leisure and the Politics of Interpretation in Samuel Daniel’s Hymen’s Triumph (1614).” Renaissance Leisure. University College Dublin, Ireland. 26-27 April 2003.


    “‘Loose and Wingèd Fictions’: Spatial Strategies and Feminine Geography in Ben Jonson’s The Masque of Blackness (1605).” Text and Image: England 1500–1750. Early Modern Research Centre at the University of Reading, UK. 10-12 July 2002.


    “Ben Jonson’s Hymenaei: Union, Chastity, and National Identity.” Identity and Cultural Exchange 600-1600: Contact, Travel, and Trade. University of Birmingham, UK. 5-7 April 2002.



    "Thinking Hamlet, Feeling Hamlet, Judging Hamlet." Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès. 29 March 2024.


    "Shakespeare's Vision." University of Padua. Padua, Italy. 10 May 2023.


    "Vision and Judgment in Shakespeare's Theatre." Moore Institute, University of Galway. Galway, Ireland. 20 April 2023.

    "Theater and Judgment in Early Modern England."(with Patrick Durdel and Céline Magada.) Université de Genéve. Geneva, Switzerland. 30 November 2022.


    "Shakespeare's Counter-Optics." University of Zurich. Zurich, Switzerland. 4 October 2022.


    “Caesar’s Mantle: Judgment and Theatrical Virtue.” University of Haifa. Haifa, Israel. 1 December 2020.

    "What Was Personhood?" Ghent University. Ghent, Belgium. 24 October 2019.


    "Law and Ecology: Theatrical Approaches." Ghent University. Ghent, Belgium. 27 March 2019.

    "The Face of Judgment in Measure for Measure." University of Montreal. Montreal, QC, Canada. 26 September 2018.


    "The Physics of Judgment on the Renaissance Stage.” Cambridge University. Cambridge, UK. 3 July 2018.


    “Hamlet’s Unreasonable Judgments.” Université de Neuchâtel. Neuchâtel, Switzerland. 26 May 2017.


    “Prospero's Freedom.” UCLA. Los Angeles, CA, USA. 29 April 2017.


    “Hamlet’s Unreasonable Judgments.” University of Sydney. Sydney, Australia. 18 April 2017.


    “Hamlet’s Unreasonable Judgments.” University of Western Australia. Perth, Australia. 10 April 2017.


    “Shakespeare and Selfhood.” Lancaster University. Lancaster, UK. 5 March 2017.


    “The Legal Imagination: Archive, Practice, Concept.” Université de Genéve, Switzerland. 21 September 2016. 


    “Prospero's Plea: Judgment, Invention, Responsibility.” Freie Universität Berlin. Berlin, Germany. 28 May 2016.


    “Shakespeare and the Criminal Edge.” University of Texas at Arlington. Arlington, TX, USA. 20 February 2009.


    “Deciphering Arcadia: Interpretive Encounters in Samuel Daniel’s Pastoral Plays.” Shakespeare and Performance Seminar Series. McGill University, Canada. 5 April 2005.



    Macbeth Now: Réécriture et Libre Arbitre (Table Ronde/Roundtable). La Grange. Lausanne, Switzerland. 3 May 2023.


    Othello et I Am Not What I Am: Discussion et Rencontre avec L'Equipe de Création. Théâtre La Grange de Dorigny. Lausanne, Switzerland. 5 December 2019.


    "Living with Literature: A Story in Five Acts." University of Lausanne. Lausanne, Switzerland. 10 December 2018.


    “Yeats and the Abbey Theater.” La Grange Theater. Lausanne, Switzerland. 5 October 2015.


    “Richard III: The First Modern Criminal.” The Oakridge School Symposium: Celebrating Richard III. Arlington, TX, USA. 21 March 2014.


    “Shakespeare’s Sonnets.” Denton Bach Society’s “Music, Poetry, and Dance in Shakespeare’s Time.” Denton, TX, USA. 12 May 2013.


    “Killer Shakespeare.” Literary Salon. WordSpace Gallery. Dallas, TX, USA. 1 November 2012.



    "The Commons of Personhood." Shakespeare Association of America. Seminar: "Law, Literature, and Constitutional Authority." Directors: Stephanie Elsky and Rayna Kalas. Washington DC, USA. 17-19 April, 2019.


    Invited Respondent. Shakespeare Association of America. Seminar: “The Face-to-Face in Shakespearean Drama.” Director: Matthew Smith. New Orleans, LA, USA. 23-26 March, 2016.


    Invited Respondent. “Sacrifice and Cosmopolitanism in The Merchant of Venice.” Shakespeare Association of America. Seminar: “Shakespeare and Hospitality.” Directors: Julia Reinhard Lupton and David Goldstein. Toronto, ON, Canada. 28-30 March, 2013.


    “Shakespeare’s Legal Ecologies.” Shakespeare Association of America. Seminar: “The Nonhuman Renaissance.” Directors: Laurie Shannon and Andrea Hoefelle. Boston, MA, USA. 5-8 April, 2012.


    “Hospitable Law in Shakespeare’s Sonnets.” International Shakespeare Association. Seminar: “Shakespeare’s Sonnets.” Directors: Dympna Callaghan and Bob White. Prague, Czech Republic. 17-22 July, 2011.


    “Shakespeare’s Sonnets and the Soul of Law.” Shakespeare Association of America. Seminar: “Shakespeare’s Sonnets in Context.” Director: Dympna Callaghan. Chicago, IL, USA. 1-3 April, 2010.


    “Shakespearean Criminality.” Shakespeare Association of America. Seminar: “Theatrical Law.” Director: Barbara Kreps. Washington, DC, USA. 9-11 April, 2009.


    “Performing Union in the Jacobean Court.” Shakespeare Association of America. Seminar: “Drama and the Making of National Identity in Early Modern England.” Director: Lloyd Edward Kermode. San Diego, CA, USA. 5-7 April 2007.


    “Treasonous Silence: Samuel Daniel’s Philotas and the Trial of Henry Cuffe.” Shakespeare Association of America. Seminar: “Staging Justice in Early Modern England.” Director: David Kay. Philadelphia, PA, USA. 13-15 April 2006.


    “Le Jugement, Un Art Popularisé au Théâtre.” Uniscope. 22 September 2021. [Link]

    Le Grand Soir. RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse). 10 May 2021. [Link]

    Le Grad Soir, with Bertrand Reich. RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse). 12 April 2021. [Link]

    3 Mousquetaires, with Florence Rivero. RedLine Radio. 12 May 2019. [Link]

    "Shakespeare, La Magie et Le Crime à Dorigny." Uniscope. June 2016. [Link]

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