Reconfiguring Global Shakespeare

Responses to what has been seen as a neo-colonialist perspective in some conceptions of ‘global’ Shakespeare have opened up new paths for the questioning of biases that may inform the very notion of ‘the global’. Today, the languages of universality and ‘the global’ are still invoked, especially by artists and the general public, but have widely become topics of suspicion in academic circles. At the same time, Shakespeare’s works have elicited new interpretations, performances and pedagogical practices that demonstrate how they are capable of engaging with urgent issues that have a truly global impact. The 2026 Congress is an opportunity to put fresh critical pressure on the uses, both pro and con, of all the vocabularies of ‘universality’. Repositioning the notion of a singular global Shakespeare to that of a plural universe of Shakespeares addresses the ways in which ‘the planetary’ speaks to the term ‘universal’ resonating with ‘multiversal’. The notion of a ‘multiverse’ can help us reflect on the implications of moving beyond global Shakespeare and renewing critical discussion of his oft-praised ‘universality’ by seeking to confront and examine a plurality of coexisting ‘Shakespeare universes’ where canons and fanons (or fan canons) are not mutually exclusive.