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Grant number like: FT-50021-03

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Coppelia H. Kahn
Brown University (Providence, RI 02912-9100)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2003 – 7/31/2003

Shakespeare and National Identity in England, the U.S., and the Canada

This project addresses the signifying power of "Shakespeare" as a cultural institution in the three English-speaking societies from 1900 to 1920, when their national identities were being subjected to particular stress. In the US and Canada, the challenge came from unprecedented numbers of non-English-speaking immigrants, while in England, increasing divisions between home country and colonies unsettled English cultural hegemony. "Shakespeare" served, on the one hand, as the icon of a racially pure Englishness, narrated in the myth of "Shakespeare's England" which conflated Elizabethan exploration with the expansion of the Empire. On the other, non-English speakers appropriated Shakespeare as the instrument of their own political and agendas.