15 February 2017

New international programme links early-modern period with the present

What does Shakespeare’s world teach us about the current crisis in Europe?

A party in the Open Air. Allegory on Conjugal Love (1590-1595) by Isaac Oliver. Source: Wikimedia Commons
A party in the Open Air. Allegory on Conjugal Love (1590-1595) by Isaac Oliver. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The new international academic programme NEW FACES (Facing Europe in Crisis: Shakespeare’s World and Present Challenges) aims to promote historical understanding of the complexities of crises (cultural, linguistic, political, social, religious, economic), to help face a complex contemporary European context. Utrecht University will cooperate with eight other European Universities, those of Montpellier, Oporto, Berlin, Ferrara, Prague, Murcia, Szeged and Krakow. The programme will start on 17 February 2017.  The Erasmus+ programme is funded by the European Union.

Multidisciplinary approach

The multidisciplinary approach will trace similarities of the present developments to, and their differences from, the dynamics of the early modern period (16th-17th centuries). Hence the focus of the NEW FACES Strategic Partnership on the cultural, political and economic functions of early modern theatre and its wider historical and literary context as global values and principal agents of cultural communication in relation to Europe in Crisis. The salient feature of this perspective is the interaction of Shakespeare’s theatre with local and global contexts which has been significantly influencing popular and mass culture.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

 International programme

Over each of the next three years, a group of Utrecht MA students will travel to one of these cities (Szeged this year) for the duration of two weeks, together with students from the other universities, there to study the question: what can we learn from Shakespeare’s world about the current crisis in Europe? Two Utrecht University teachers will also join them for one week each, to teach an international group of students. The concept is based on three earlier programmes centred on Shakespeare in which Utrecht has taken part over the last 14 years.

Kick-off NEW FACES

NEW FACES will be inaugurated on Friday 17 February with a video-conferencing and live-streaming event, in which the Utrecht participants will be directed linked to Montpellier, where the official opening will take place.

This inaugural event, nicknamed “Pre-Faces”, will take the form of a study day with lectures and panels concerning the topic of ‘crisis’,  in which links are made between the early-modern period and the present.

The programme begins at 9.30 hrs. and ends at 17.00 hrs., with an intermission from 12.30-14.00 hrs. The proceedings can also be followed online