Teaching Shakespeare in Collaboration with Special Collections (#mla19 #s588)

[updated 4 January 2019 to add resources]

One of two panels sponsored by the LLC Shakespeare forum, this round table will be held on Saturday afternoon, January 5th, from 5:15 pm to 6:30 in the Hyatt Regency (Columbus EF).

Please join us for an instructive and open discussion about why and how teaching Shakespeare benefits from working with special collections. Faculty members and librarians consider a range of approaches to teaching rare materials, opening space to explore the benefits of active collaboration, specific assignments that can draw classes into new material, and the challenges of working outside one’s comfort zones.

Participants on the round table are Sarah Werner (independent scholar-librarian), Jill Gage (Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing and Bibliographer of British Literature and History, The Newberry Library), Adam G. Hooks (Associate Professor of English, University of Iowa), and Tara Lyons (Associate Professor of English, Illinois State University). [n.b. Fran Dolan will not be able to join the discussion in person as planned]

Participants will describe the courses and work they do with special collections (or the work they do in special collections with visiting classes), including details about their objectives and methods and sharing their techniques for engaging in such work. After brief 5-minute introductions from each participant, the panel will engage in a conversation about why we think it’s important that we work with special collections and what the ups and downs of that collaboration can be in terms of logistics and relationships. We will then turn to the audience to draw in your questions and best practices in teaching Shakespeare with rare materials.

If you have questions about how you might teach Shakespeare with special collections, feel free to leave a comment on the post so that we can try to address it during our conversation!


From Tara Lyons: Vest-pocket Shakespeare Project; Shakespeare and an Elizabethan Book of Prayers assignment guidelines; Close-reading Shakespeare and Early Sources

From Sarah Werner: Pedagogical exercises for working with rare materials; the Early Printed Books site as a whole offers information, illustrations, and further resources for exploring how books in the first centuries of the printing press were made.

From Adam Hooks: A range of resources including a special collections worksheet; exhibition “The Books That Made Shakespeare“; developed in collaboration with Amy Chen, “Mark,” an open educational resource game about printer’s devices.