Camping Shakespeare

Due Date: 08-01-2024

The editors seek essays for a collection that aims to think about camp and early modern drama. Often imagined as a know-it-when-you-see-it or, more derivatively, as bad performance, camp has been a touchstone of queer culture in its most immediately recognizable form for at least the past century. Camp has been variously defined as willfully bad taste, a commitment to the marginal and frivolous, and as a tool of building and maintaining radical and often temporary communities of care. Arguably, it has also been present in many early modern plays since their original productions. More recently, it has been sanitized, appropriated, or dismissed by scholars and artists even as it continues to mutate and exist at the boundaries of “good” art.

This collection welcomes essays with the aim of exploring, developing, and articulating a camp aesthetic, methodology, or performance practice within Shakespearean drama and early modern culture more broadly. How do camp aesthetics engage with Shakespeare and the early modern? To what extent is camp useful as a framework to understand early modern texts and performances? How does camp use Shakespeare and early modern culture to construct ideas of race? What types of insight can camp offer into the role of parody and adaptation in imagining and forming communities in and out of Shakespeare’s texts and stages? Ultimately, this collection seeks to answer the question of what campy and trashy Shakespeare and his contemporaries can offer early modern studies.

Please submit 250-word abstracts and 150-word bios to and by 1 August 2024. Accepted papers will be due 1 April 2025 and should be approx. 6,000 words in length, including notes. For more information, view the full call for papers.