CFP: Shakespeare, 1916, and Antipodal Memory

Download the flyer here: poster-highres.pdf (3877k)

April 22-24, 2013
State Library of NSW


  • Philip Mead (UWA)
  • Gordon McMullan (King’s College, London)
  • Ailsa Grant Ferguson (King’s College London)

The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016 and the commemorations planned to mark it worldwide offer a timely opportunity to reflect on the Tercentenary of 1916 and to critically explore the roles of both Shakespeare and of commemorative practice in global culture over a century. The Tercentenary occasioned debates about the best ways to memorialise England’s ‘National Poet’ in both the northern and the southern hemispheres. The Sydney Shakespeare monument, the Shakespeare Room in the State Library of New South Wales, and the National Theatre in London, each the (belated) outcome of debates about appropriate forms of built commemoration, are long-lasting, multi-dimensional sites of cultural memory.


Other commemorative gestures with less longevity included A Book of Homage to Shakespeare, a volume of global scholarship assembled by Israel Gollancz to celebrate the Tercentenary, which brought together contributions from 40 countries. Each of these markers of memory was crucially shaped by the coincidence of Shakespeare’s Tercentenary and the Great War. How was Shakespeare ‘remembered’ in opposite hemispheres in 1916? What were the irreversible effects of war on Shakespeare commemoration? What is the politics of such ‘remembering’? Shakespeare has had an influential role in narratives and national culture, but should he be remembered or forgotten?


Focussing on comparing events, debates, outcomes and contexts of Shakespeare’s Tercentenary in Great Britain and Ireland with those of Australia and New Zealand, this symposium will provide antipodal readings of these various commemorations. It will offer a space for analysis of cultural memory and commemoration across hemispheres, locales and time. The cultural horizon of these questions is beginning to shift as the centenary anniversaries of World War I and the Shakespeare Quatercentenary approach, enlivening the ways in which we understand the history and present of cultural memory.


Deadline for abstracts or proposals: 30 November, 2012.


Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words and include a 100 word bio.


Please contact Nicky Brabham <> or Samantha Hagan at <> for submission of abstracts, proposals and further details and registration.