Welcome to this web project

Shakespeare: From the Globe to the Global is a collaborative production of the college teacher-participants in a 2011 NEH summer humanities institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Over the course of five weeks, and with the guidance of faculty experts, the institute explored the historical developments through which the hyperbolic ambition signaled by the name of Shakespeare’s theatre became a reality, transforming a popular playwright from the margins of early modern Europe into a figure of unsurpassed cultural authority. The institute began by situating Shakespeare’s writing within the expanding world views of his own time, and went on to examine representative episodes in the process by which Shakespeare became at once an icon of English identity, a repository of ‘universal’ values, and an instrument of imperial hegemony, before his transformation into today’s most significant representative of a globalized literary culture.

For insight into the rich critical and performance histories through which this evolution can be traced, we explored the Folger’s collections and drew on the expertise and interests of our faculty and participants. The range of individual projects that are represented here is formidable. Our intent was not to be comprehensive in coverage of our large subject, but to model and evaluate various approaches, contexts, and resources. Collectively, this sampler of the NEH summer institute’s work provides exciting new materials for undergraduate teaching and scholarly research.

Our postings include a complete syllabus, primary and secondary bibliographies, and an introduction to the Folger’s database of digital images. We also gather faculty video clips, individual commentaries, course assignments, and annotated bibliographies compiled by our program participants.

Our NEH summer scholars returned to their classrooms with a greatly enhanced understanding of the varied roles and contexts in which Shakespeare may be studied—and of the new resources available to bring those histories to life in the classroom. We hope that you in turn will find this opportunity to view their work equally illuminating.

This work is entirely supported by a generous grant from the Education Division of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Education Division is dedicated to the professional development of graduate students and faculty in the humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Michael Neill NEH Institute Director
Kathleen Lynch Executive Director, The Folger Institute