Shakespeare’s Virtues: Ethics, Entertainment, and Education (seminar)

For more past programming from the Folger Institute, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

This was a fall 2017 faculty weekend seminar led by Julia Reinhard Lupton

Virtue belongs to ethics, where it harbors deep affinities with performance, whether in Aristotle’s emphasis on habit and practice, in the link between virtue and the virtual through ideas of latency and dynamism, or in the qualities of the virtuoso as an expert performer of multiple arts and knowledges. This two-day seminar will explore the connections among ethics, entertainment, and education, using Shakespeare’s works as both laboratory and studio. The powerful connections among moral philosophy, physical performance, and liberal education have much to teach us about what the arts and humanities have to offer to education today. The seminar will invite participants to consider the forms of Renaissance entertainment explored and practiced in Shakespeare’s plays in the context of a range of historical and modern discourses, including medical humanities, environmental theater, devised theater, and distributed and embodied cognition. The ultimate concern of the seminar is to address virtue as a switch point between popular performance, moral philosophy, and theories and practices of humanist education, considered historically and in the contemporary moment.

DirectorJulia Reinhard Lupton is Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine. Her most recent monographs are Thinking with Shakespeare: Essays on Politics and Life (2011) and Citizen-Saints: Shakespeare and Political Theology (2005). She had edited several volumes, including Arden Critical Guide to Romeo and Juliet, Political Theology and Early Modernity (2012; with Graham Hammill) and Shakespeare and Hospitality (2016; with David Goldstein). Shakespeare Dwelling: Designs for the Theater of Life is forthcoming from the University of Chicago.