Marking the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, the Folger Institute's Center for Shakespeare Studies launches a three-year initiative in spring 2014 to take stock of work in major areas of Shakespeare scholarship: Biography, Language, and Dramatic Collaboration. The Center's annual Shakespeare's Birthday Lectures will also address these big picture themes for public audiences, and the podcasts of these lectures will be added to the Folger's growing list of online resources. This initiative will carry the Center through spring 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death—and the 30th anniversary of the Center's scholarly programming.
The Center for Shakespeare Studies was founded in 1986 with an NEH grant. The Center's first premise is that no single critical approach, historical perspective, scholarly method, or pedagogical strategy can do justice to Shakespeare's texts and contexts. The Center presents and encourages a wide variety of approaches to its subject. Generous support from the NEH has funded many Center programs and ensured that the Center's reach extends to college teachers across the country. Numerous NEH summer institutes, two groundbreaking year-long performance institutes, and conferences have been among the highlights of the Center's offerings. The many products of the Center's scholarly work include publications and podcasts. Pedagogical applications have motivated the Primary Sourcebooks.