Venezia, Italy

Global Shakespeare: Othello’s Venice in the World

when 3 July 2023 - 8 July 2023
language English
duration 1 week
credits 3 EC
fee EUR 650

The aim of the VIU Summer School is to gather an international cohort of graduate students for a week-long, multi-faceted exploration of one of the most timely topics in the interdisciplinary humanities: Shakespeare’s global contexts and futures. In order to provide focus and coherence, the play Othello, set in multicultural Venice, will be taken as a case study throughout the summer school.

“Shakespeare” is now a global vernacular—a resonant language available throughout the world as a form of self-expression and enquiry. Written at a time of incipient globalisation, Othello both represents and challenges the fraught dynamics of international cultural contact. By offering troubling insights into the development of the discourse of race, and by coupling that discourse to an unstable conflict between Christianity and Islam, the play speaks powerfully to our own world of religious, ethnic, and national antagonism.

“Global Shakespeare” invites students to imagine alternatives to this increasingly fractured world. Using Shakespeare’s poetry and dramaturgy as a resource, it asks participants to consider how connections can be made across languages, religions, and nation states. The school’s multi-disciplined approach will involve students in literary analysis, politics, and theatrical performance by focusing on the intersection of (1) Shakespeare’s England and its growing interest in global connections; (2) Venice as a Renaissance site of global interaction; and (3) a twentieth-century world increasing riven, especially in the Mediterranean and its adjoining regions, by racial and religious antagonisms.

Course leader

Kevin Curran, Professor of Early Modern Literature, University of Lausanne, Switzerland; President of the Lausanne Shakespeare Festival (Scientific Coordinator)

Target group

Applications are welcome from graduate students (MA and PhD) in various disciplines: Literary Studies, Shakespeare Studies, Theater and Performance Studies, History, Politics, Philosophy, Anthropology, Media and Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Art, Gender Studies, Queer Studies. Advanced undergraduate students will also be considered.

Course aim

- A clear historical sense of the way Shakespeare’s works are imbricated in a global world of commerce, ideas, and performance, both in Shakespeare’s time and our own.
- A nuanced theoretical understanding of globalism and cosmopolitanism, and especially of the unique ways in which Shakespeare’s writing and dramaturgy contribute to a long tradition of thought on these topics.
- An appreciation for the way performance constitutes not only a creative practice, but also a form of applied and embodied critical thought, one especially useful for exploring the meanings and implications of a “global Shakespeare".

Credits info

3 EC
A Certificate of Attendance will be issued at the end of the course.

Fee info

EUR 650: Students of VIU member universities.

VIU Alumni are eligible for a reduced fee.
EUR 1250: Other applicants.

The fees will cover tuition, course materials, lunches in the San Servolo cafeteria (6 working days on campus), and social events.
Student participants will be responsible for covering their own travel expenses to and from Venice, accommodation and local transportation. Venice International University offers its support to book accommodation on San Servolo Campus, in multiple rooms (triple/quadruple) with other participants for the duration of the Summer School. Further information about costs is provided in the brochure and application form.


PhD candidates and post-docs from EU universities may be eligible for Erasmus+ mobility grant support.
Contact VIU Erasmus office: