Kingston Shakespeare Seminar (KiSS), part of the London Graduate School, announces the launch of Kingston Shakespeare Seminar in Theory (KiSSiT): a series of seminars and conferences for postgraduate students and early career scholars with an interest in Shakespeare, philosophy and theory. The program will be committed to thinking through Shakespeare about urgent contemporary issues in dialogue with the work of past and present philosophers – from Aristotle to Žižek.

It is intended that one-day KiSSiT conferences will be held at the Rose Theatre, Kingston-upon-Thames, which was developed by the great director Sir Peter Hall to be a ‘teaching theatre’, where actors and academics would work together. KiSSiT events will be free and open to all.

The current KiSSiT committee comprises of Johann Gregory (Cardiff), Paul Hamilton (Kingston), Anna Ilona Rajala (Brighton), Aleksandra Sakowska (KCL), Ildiko Solti (Kingston), and Timo Uotinen (Royal Holloway).

The first KiSSiT conference was ‘Shakespeare and Waste’ held in May 2015. The second, ‘Shakespeare and the State of Exception’, was held in December 2015. Shakespearean Thresholds, the third conference, was held in April 2016. The fouth, Shakespearean Anachronism, is held in February 2017.

KiSSiT has also started a Work-in-Progress seminar. For more info see KiSSiT WiP.

shakespeare-and-anachronism-banner-editKiSSiT: Shakespeare and Anachronism

The fourth KiSSiT one-day conference is entitled Shakespeare and Anachronism. It will be held at the Rose Theatre, Kingston on February 18, 2017.

Disclosing the potential for revolutionary transformation latent in divisive and oppressive realities by travelling imaginatively forwards in time and adopting a universal human standpoint is a fundamental strategy of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry. (Kiernan Ryan, Shakespeare’s Universality: Here’s Fine Revolution)

Performance and criticism of Shakespeare’s plays, and even the plays themselves, have always been anachronistic on a fundamental level. Since performance is always in the present, its creation of an impression of past events, or even of events in general, “as if for the first time,” can only be an illusion. Criticism, in contrast, by default after the event, and predominantly from an audience point of view, is a rationalisation of this illusion. Perhaps the arch-anachronist can be said to be Shakespeare himself – not only through his cheerful bending of history to his purposes but, more importantly, through using time in its many guises, as historical setting, internal structure and rhythm, to bend our perceptions to proposing counterintuitive possibilities.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Professor Tiffany Stern, Royal Holloway, University of London, renowned for having researched and written widely about the theatrical documents relating to Shakespeare and his contemporaries (and the 18th century), such as actors’ parts and plots, acting methods and playhouse architecture.
  • Dr Erik Roraback, Charles University in Prague, whose main interests include Shakespeare, critical theory (Spinoza/Leibniz/Benjamin/Adorno), theoretical psychoanalysis (Freud/Lacan/Zizek), Modernity and the philosophical aspects of the Baroque.

We look forward to paper proposals discussing various  aspects of Shakespearean drama, performance or theorisation, characterised by anachronistic aspects such as:
  1. Theorisation: Presentism vs ‘the levers of form’ (Kiernan Ryan)
  2. ‘The Globe phenomenon’: aspects of anachronism of Elizabethan/Jacobean working theatre reconstructions and their use – their cultural, institutional, artistic, etc.
  3. Theatre production: ‘updating’ vs ‘meshing’ of time periods (modernising today vs the Elizabethan use of ‘modern dress’); costume, set and possible performance/interpretative effects
  4. Thematic: purposeful anachronism as creative tool of playwrights’ composition
  5. Methodologies of reflection and analysis: ad hoc vs post hoc – practice-as-research in performance (PaR) vs discursive forms of criticism
  6. The relationship of the plays to their historical time as e.g. political interventions/anachronistic theatricalisation of politics and culture in Early Modern times (such as HenryVIII’s jousting)

Please submit abstracts and brief CVs by emailing the organizers at before January 30, 2017.

Organised by Ildiko Solti, Paul Hamilton, and Timo Uotinen.

shakespeare-and-anachronism-banner-editSHAKESPEAREAN ANACHRONISM

Saturday February 18, 2017

Rose Theatre, Kingston-upon-Thames


10.15 Welcome: Ildiko Solti

10.30 Plenary: Dr Erik Roraback (Charles University):
‘An Anachronistic Figure of Redemption: Modernity, Rhetoric, and Self-Identity of Shakespeare’s King Richard II

11.30: Coffee break

12.00: Stefanie Bauerochse: ‘“400 Jahre sterben. (d)over. //”: Directing as Research in Performance’

12.30: Dr Jessica Chiba (Royal Holloway):
‘“Eyes not yet created”: Shakespeare and the view from the future’

13.00: Sara Reimers (Royal Holloway):
‘“In time I may believe”: Gender politics, Anachronism, and Genre in contemporary stagings of The Taming of the Shrew

13.30: Lunch break

14.30: Prof Margaret Jones Davies (Sorbonne):
‘”0ne two three: time, time”: Anachronism in Cymbeline

15.00: Prof Per Sivefors (Linnæus University):
‘Anachronism as Aesthetic Device in Elizabethan Satire’

15.30: Prof Ken Pickering (Kent) and Dr Ildiko Solti (Kingston):
‘Stepping in the same river twice?:
Reproduction Elizabethan Playhouses: Gdansk and Staunton’

16:00: Pepe Pryke: ‘The Rose Playhouse, Bankside – The Past Present and Future’

16.30: Tea break

17.00 Plenary: Professor Tiffany Stern (Royal Holloway):
‘Performing at the Globe – in Shakespeare’s Time and Our Own’

18.00 – 18.30

Stefanie Bauerochse: V&A IX: as of today // working through the conference in real time

The whole day takes place in the Gallery of the Rose Theatre. No reservation required.

The conference is free and open to everyone!

Thresholds banner
KiSSiT: Shakespearean Thresholds

The third KiSSiT one-day conference is entitled Shakespearean Thresholds. It will be held at the Rose Theatre, Kingston on April 2, 2016. Free and open to everyone!

10.30: Welcome and opening remarks by Timo Uotinen (Gallery)

11.oo: Session 1: Theatrical Thresholds

Jami Rogers (Warwick): “‘This great role has been diminished’: Critics, race and Shakespearean theatre”

Ildiko Solti: “Crossing the line: full light 3D space as a means of provoking the audience into action in Measure for Measure

12.00: Plenary: Kate Aughterson (Brighton): “‘I will tell you the beginning….’: Dramaturgy and Politics in Shakespeare’s Opening Scenes”

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch (Own Arrangements)

14.00: Plenary: Richard Wilson (Kingston): “Come Unto These Yellow Sands: Shakespeare’s Other Heading”

15.00: Session 2: Philosophical Thresholds

Christian Smith (Warwick): “Bestriding the Threshold of the Self and the Other in Coriolanus and The Merchant of Venice

Sophie Battell (Cardiff): “‘The man that hath no music in himself’: Unreceptive Ears in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice

Jessica Chiba (Royal Holloway): “Between Being and Not-Being”

16.30 – 17. 00: Coffee / Tea break

17.00: Plenary:  Kelly Hunter: “‘Hamlet, Who’s There’-  Creating a New Production for the Modern World”

‘How fearful dizzy ’tis’:

Cliffs, balconies, windows, walls, battlements, frontiers, ports, shores. Stage, backstage, and auditorium: between waking and sleeping, the theatre and the play necessarily exist on an uncanny bord de mer. Here reality and representation ceaselessly overstep each other, and action is suspended in the ‘interim’ of indecision: ‘Between the acting of a thing and the first motion’. Yet if ‘All the world’s a stage’, and we are ‘merely’ players, then we all have our own ‘exits and entrances’.

The threshold marks both traversal and transition. So, when Romeo asks, ‘What light through yonder window breaks?’ his life opens up to Juliet’s. But the same casement marks a tragic change, when Romeo abandons Juliet: ‘Then, window, let day in and let life out.’ As light ushers in a new reality, it also batters on Macbeth’s door marking a point of no-return: ‘Wake Duncan with thy knocking: I would thou couldst.’

Physical and ritual thresholds delimit both actual spaces and spiritual states. A Shakespeare drama is itself a rite of passage where movement between exclusion and inclusion is negotiated: ‘Who’s in, who’s out’. Thus, from colonial to post-colonial, these works offer a gateway for modernity. Above all, Shakespeare is a privileged symbolic space for defining relations between the self and other, subject and object. For here, too, in the end, ‘The wall is down that parted the fathers’.

By examining such literal and virtual thresholds, this event in the Kingston Shakespeare Seminar in Theory (KiSSiT) series aims to engage with Shakespeare to explore what spaces theatre and literature can open up, and to consider how these works help us to position ourselves today in terms of our own barriers, walls and edges.

About our plenary speakers:

Dr Kate Aughterson is currently Academic Programme Leader for Literature, Media and Screen at Brighton University. She is the author of Renaissance Woman (1995), The English Renaissance: An Anthology of Documents (1998), John Webster: The Tragedies (2001) Aphra Behn: The Comedies (2003), and most recently Shakespeare: The Late Plays (2013) as well as articles on Bacon, Middleton, Behn and Marston. She has a forthcoming chapter on Behn’s adaptations of Middleton and Marston plays in the restoration in Aphra Behn: The Seventeenth-Century Contexts (Ashgate, 2017); one on seventeenth-century women poets’ use of the child-birth topoi; one on Shakespeare’s soliloquies in the late plays (for CUP) and is part of a collaborative enterprise of feminist scholars led by Professor Elaine Hobby who will be editing the complete works of Aphra Behn for Cambridge University Press. Kate will be editing Behn’s The Lucky Chance, and The Revenge, should modern computational methods definitively identify it as Behn’s work. She taught art history at the City and Guilds of London Art school, and English literature at the University of Central England before moving to Brighton. Her interests focus on seventeenth-century drama, notably with regard to gender and literature, sexuality and literature, performance culture. Furthermore, she is co-organising the Shakespeare and Education conference on April 29-30.

Richard Wilson is Sir Peter Hall Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Kingston University, London, and author of Worldly Shakespeare: The Theatre of Our Good Will (2015); Free Will: Art and power on Shakespeare’s stage (2013); Shakespeare in French Theory: King of Shadows (2007); Secret Shakespeare: Essays on theatre, religion and resistance (2004); and Will Power: Studies in Shakespearean authority (1993). He has also edited many books on Renaissance culture, including Shakespeare and Continental Philosophy (2014); Shakespeare’s Book (2008); Theatre and Religion (2003); Region, Religion and Patronage (2003); Christopher Marlowe (1999); and New Historicism and Renaissance Drama (1992). Previously Professor of English Literature at Cardiff University, he was until 2005 Professor of Renaissance Studies at Lancaster University. He has been Visiting Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, and Visiting Professor of the Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III). In 2011-12 he was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Sorbonne (Paris IV). He gave the 2001 British Academy Shakespeare Lecture, and he was 2006 Fellow at Shakespeare’s Globe. His forthcoming book is a study of Shakespeare and totalitarianism: Modern Friends: Shakespeare and Our Contemporaries.   

Kelly Hunter is a highly accomplished actress on stage, film, TV and radio, having been directed by Peter Hall and Trevor Nunn and acted in several RSC, National Theatre and BBC productions. She has been nominated for an Olivier award (1993, Best Actress in a Musical, Lola in Trevor Nunn’s The Blue Angel) and received the 1996 TMA Best Actress Award, for playing Rosalind in As You Like It, directed by Stephen Unwin as well as a 1997 Sony Gold Best Actress Award, for Transit of Venus, directed by Alison Hindle for BBC Wales Radio 3. More recently, she has focused on directing with several productions of Shakespeare in the US and UK, and most recently directing her own adaptation of Hamlet (Hamlet, Who’s There?) currently touring internationally (Colchester, Romania, London, Germany, Denmark). She is the Artistic Director of the Flute Theatre and has created and taught a distinctive methodology, The Hunter Heartbeat Method, which uses Shakespeare to release the communicative blocks within children with Autism—which is being researched in Ohio State University. She has also recently authored two books, Shakespeare’s Heartbeat (2014) and Cracking Shakespeare (2015).


KiSSiT: Shakespeare and the State of Exception

One-day conference at The Rose Theatre, Kingston on December 19, 2015. Free and open to all.

9.00 – 9.30 Welcome and Opening Remarks by Paul Hamilton in the Gallery

9.30 Session 1: The Exceptional Merchant

Petar Penda (University of Banja Luka): Network theory approach to The Merchant of Venice

Andrijana Penda (University of Banja Luka): Linguistic Means of the State of Exception: Pronominal and Nominal Address in The Merchant of Venice – Portia’s “game”

10.30 Plenary 1: Eric Heinze (Queen Mary): ‘Recorded as a Precedent’: Revisiting Law, Sovereignty, and ‘Othering’ in The Merchant of Venice

11.45 Lunch (own arrangements)

12.45 Session 2: Bare Life

Martin Young (Queen Mary): “A dragon and his wrath”: Sovereign Violence and its Exception in Shakespeare’s King Lear

Jack Bellole (University of Cambridge): Shamefaced Shakespeare: Form of Life, Embarrassments and Forced Entertainments Complete Works

13.45 Plenary 2: Martin Regal (University of Iceland): Hoist with their own petards: Terror and Resistance in Macbeth

15.00 Session 3: Places of Exception

Ellen Redling (University of Heidelberg): Measure for Measure’s Vienna in the State of Exception

Laura Beattie: The Priory as a State of Exception in The Comedy of Errors

16.00 Coffee, with Video Installation by Filippos Tsitsopoulos: What! art thou, like the   adder, waxen deaf? Be poisonous too and kill thy forlorn queen. (in the Studio)

16.45 Plenary 3: Nigel Mapp (University of Westminster): “Take any shape but that”: Macbeth, Art, Domination

18.00 Stefanie Bauerochse: Venus Responding (State of Emergence – Research in Performance)

18.30 Closing remarks: Richard Wilson (Kingston University)

Shakespeare and the State of Exception UPDATED (Click for pdf)

Facebook event page


About the plenary speakers:

Eric Heinze is a Professor of Law at Queen Mary. He currently co-ordinates Queen Mary’s Inter-Departmental Philosophy Programme. He serves on the Editorial Board of theInternational Journal of Human Rights and the British Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies. Professor Heinze’s books include Hate Speech and Democratic Citizenship (2016), The Concept of Injustice(2013), The Logic of Constitutional Rights (2005); The Logic of Liberal Rights (2003); The Logic of Equality(2003), Sexual Orientation: A Human Right(1995) (Russian translation 2004), and the collection Of Innocence and Autonomy: Children, Sex and Human Rights (2000). He is currently co-authoring a book, with Gavin Phillipson, entitled Debating Hate Speech. Listen to Eric’s talk onShakespeare and equivocation in the Spring 2014 season. See more interesting stuff on his profile page.

Martin Regal is an associate professor of English at the University of Iceland. His translations of The Gisli of Gisli Sursson and The Saga of the Sworn Brothers have appeared in Penguin Classics (2004 and 2013). Among his recent publications are Inside Voices: Outside Light, a critical introduction to the poems of Sigurdur Palsson (Arc Publications, 2014) and An Intimacy of Words(Univ. of Iceland Press, 2015, ed.). He is currently completing the volume on tragedy for the Routledge Critical Idiom Series and a critical edition of Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse and No Man’s Land in Icelandic translation, both due to appear in 2016. He was recently elected as the first president of the newly founded Nordic Society for Shakespeare Studies (NorSS). Listen to Martin’s talk on Shakespeare and Modernist Theatre in the Shakespeare and Modernism series in Spring 2015.

Nigel Mapp is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Westminster. He was educated at the University of Manchester and the University of Wales, Cardiff. He has held research posts at the University of Newcastle and the University of Leeds. More recently he was a lecturer in English Philology at the University of Tampere, Finland, and a research fellow of the Academy of Finland (2006-10) during which he started to pursue his current project on early modern “disenchantments”. Recently, he has written essays on Herbert, Milton,  Macbeth, with his most recent completed essay being “Lyotard Art Seeing”. He has co-edited William Empson: The Critical Achievement (1993) and Adorno and Literature (2006). A monograph, Paul de Man: Rhetoric, History, Aesthetics is forthcoming from Polity Press and another, Early Modern Disenchantments, is in preparation. More information on his profile page.

Shakespeare and the State of Exception CFP

SoE bannerFollowing the success of its conference on ‘Shakespeare and Waste’, Kingston Shakespeare Seminar in Theory seeks participants for a one-day conference on ‘Shakespeare and the State of Exception’ to be held on Saturday 19 December, 2015 at the Rose Theatre, Kingston-upon-Thames.

STATE OF EXCEPTION CFP (click to download pdf).

The concept of ‘the state of exception’, associated with Carl Schmitt’s book Political Theology (1922), and recently revisited by Giorgio Agamben in The State of Exception(2005), refers to the total or partial suspension of the juridical order.

Far from being a mere footnote in legal studies, ‘the state of exception’ became the basis for the notorious Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which Hitler used to authorise a twelve year state of emergency in Nazi Germany, starting on March 23, 1933.

Schmitt theorised that such a suspension of law is intimately connected with a concept of sovereignty whose origin is not merely political, but also religious. He called this ‘political theology’.

‘Political theology’ has had a long and important history in Shakespeare studies beginning with Ernst Kantorowicz’s The King’s Two Bodies: A Study in Mediaeval Political Theologyand Walter Benjamin’s Origin of the German Tragic Drama.

Literary critics such as Julia Reinhard Lupton, Debora Shuger, Victoria Kahn, Richard Wilson, and Eric L. Santner have recently revitalised and deepened the discussion of ‘political theology’ in the Renaissance, to explore the relationship between sovereignty, religion, citizenship, and state sanctioned violence in Earl Modern Europe in light of theoretical contributions by Michel Foucault, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida, and Giorgio Agamben.

Regarding—or disregarding—this context, we invite abstracts for 20-minute presentations on the topic of Shakespeare and the state of exception. Papers might consider, but are not limited to, the following topics and questions:

  • Exploration of ontological or political ‘states’ of exceptionality and exceptionality in general in the works of Shakespeare.
  • State or status of exceptionality as an epistemological or ethical category, for example otherness in adaptations and performances of Shakespeare, perhaps in relation to the 21st century discourse on immigrants and refugees.
  • How is Shakespeare’s unique status as playwright entangled with issues of sovereignty and exceptionality? Consider, for example, Danny Boyle’s use of Shakespeare during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Summer Olympic Games or the famous copy of Shakespeare’s Complete Works, called the Robben Island Bible, inscribed by Nelson Mandela in prison.
  • The ‘state of exception’ is often described according to an apparent contradiction: it is a ‘suspension of the juridical order’ that is contained within that very order. How might Shakespeare’s conception of the Early Modern state be analysed in light of this complex topographical (inside / outside) metaphor?
  • The concept of ‘necessity’ is, according to Agamben, frequently asserted as the foundation for the ‘state of exception’. Consider the concept of ‘necessity’ in relation to law, nature, and human action in the Early Modern period and in Shakespeare.
  • Consider Early Modern political culture in relation to torture, surveillance, and extrajudicial imprisonment. How might these insights shed light on the continued ‘state of exception’ which justifies the ‘detainment’ of political prisoners in Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp without due process?
  • Did sex offences in the Early Modern period produce a state of ‘exception’ in perpetrator and victim? Consider, for example, The Rape of Lucrece and its relationship both to suicide and the founding of Rome. Can such exceptionality give us insight into contemporary exceptional legal language surrounding sex offences, sex offender registries, and indefinite detention of sex criminals?

Please submit abstracts and brief CVs by emailing the organizers at before Friday 13 November, 2015.

Conference oganizers: Paul Hamilton, Timo Uotinen.

Further information: and

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Shakespeare and Waste

The inaugural KiSSIT conference took place at the Rose Theatre on Saturday 23 May, 2015, on the theme of SHAKESPEARE AND WASTE (see programme and CFP below; podcast here and in the archive). Auditors are also encouraged to attend. Confirmed speakers include Scott Wilson (Kingston University) and Peter Smith (Nottingham Trent University).

Although there is no attendance fee, seating is limited, and registration is necessary: please register by Thursday, 21 May at to ensure a seat.

The conference is followed by Jonathan Miller’s acclaimed production of King Lear, starring Barrie Rutter.


11.00-11.15. Welcome (Rose Theatre, the Gallery)

11.15-13.00. Panel 1 (Gallery)
Christian Smith (University of Warwick), Venting the musty superfluity: Necrophilious wasting in Coriolanus
David Weinberg (Kingston University), Economic concerns relating to Shakespeare
Sam Hall (Royal Holloway), The Finite Jest of a ‘life in excrements’: Abjection and Identity in Hamlet
Stefanie Bauerochse (independent researcher), Waste is becoming – wrath is not
Chair: Paul Hamilton (The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham)

13.00-14.00. Lunch Break (individual arrangements)

14.00-15.00. Plenary 1 (Gallery)
Scott Wilson (Kingston University), ‘Vile Jellies’: Bataille, Shakespeare and the Exhumanities
Chair: Johann Gregory (University of East Anglia)

15.00-16.30. Panel 2 (Gallery)
Ildiko Solti (independent researcher), Waste of space?: theatre architecture and the (de)construction of meaning in Measure for Measure
Katrina Marchant (University of Sussex), ‘To thinke these trifles some-thing’: Theatrical ‘Trash’ and the Defence of the Value of Playing
Ronan Hatfull (University of Warwick), ‘Ruined Piece of Nature’ – King Lear’s Legacy within American Landscapes of Waste
Chair: Anne Sophie Refskou (Kingston University)

16.30-17.00. Tea (Upper Circle Bar)

17.00-18.00. Plenary 2 (Gallery)
Peter Smith (Nottingham Trent), ‘Rude Wind’: King Lear – Canonicity versus Physicality
Chair: Timo Uotinen (Royal Holloway)

18.00-18.45. Roundtable discussion (Gallery)
Andrew Jarvis, Peter Smith, Stephen Unwin, Scott Wilson
Chair: Richard Wilson (Kingston University)

19.30. Northern Broadsides King Lear directed by Jonathan Miller in the Rose Auditorium


The Oxford English Dictionary lists three main senses for ‘waste’ in the English language:

  1. Waste or desert land
  2. Action or process of wasting
  3. Waste matter, refuse

The conference invites abstracts for 20 minute papers which fit under these broad headings.

Papers might consider, but are not limited to, the following areas and questions:

  • The early modern association between waste and idleness
  • The link between waste (land) and wilderness
  • Waste paper
  • Economic concerns relating to Shakespeare
  • Do waste products of the body suggest a leveling and/or intensification of social hierarchy?
  • The relationship between human waste and abjection
  • The concept of human waste associated with digestion, purging, emetics, and / or blood-letting
  • The concept and processes of ‘catharsis’ in relation to waste
  • Waste in King Lear
  • What does the imagery of contamination by human waste (muddy fountains / cisterns, stains, filth) suggest about the relationship between racial and ethnic groups?
  • Human waste as the traditional Protestant symbol of money; conversely, money as the denial of feces and its evocation of the human body as pure physicality

Organizers: Johann Gregory, Paul Hamilton, Anne Sophie Refskou, Timo Uotinen, Richard Wilson.

Please submit abstracts and brief CVs, or register as an auditor, by emailing the organizers at before 1 May, 2015 (auditors may register before 21 May)

Please indicate whether you would like to book a ticket for King Lear in your mail.

4 Responses to KiSSiT


  2. Pingback: Call For Papers: Shakespeare and Waste | Dr Johann Gregory

  3. Pingback: CFP: Shakespeare and Waste (Kingston Shakespeare Seminar in Theory) | Cardiff Shakespeare

  4. Pingback: Shakespeare and Waste | Rhys Tranter

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