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Thursday, June 23 • 11:30 - 12:20
CON06.04 - Welcome to my Classroom: Three Ways of Looking at Hamlet

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Shakespeare’s Hamlet is at once familiar and remote for 21st century students. A student himself, this great Dane deals with royal succession and ghosts but also with depression, family pressures, and girlfriend problems. Recent filmed stage versions with hugely popular stars like Benedick Cumberbatch and David Tennant have helped bring a new generation to the play, so the challenge for instructors is to harness those moments of connection without glossing over its unfamiliarity. If, as W.B. Worthen notes, “Theater goes well beyond the force of mere speech, subjecting writing to the body, to labor, to the work of production” (9), how may we as teachers tap into this material and experiential potential? In this session, three 3M teachers of Shakespeare present three ways of inviting students to Hamlet through debate, close reading, and creative assignments. In Jessica Riddell's class, students put Shakespeare on trial for fraud in a Canadian court. Lisa Dickson maps out the playing space with an exercise that unpacks the opening lines of the play: the original "knock knock" joke. And Shannon Murray's students in a Hamlet seminar end their experience with a creative response to the play, anything from painting and sculpture to quilting and game design. All these activities are designed to, in Rex Gibson’s words, make the Shakespeare classroom a “co-operative, shared experience” (12). Join us for some demonstration and play and for a discussion of the joys and challenges of introducing a 400-year old student to 20-somethings.

Gibson, Rex. Teaching Shakespeare. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. Worthen, W.B. Shakespeare and the Force of Modern Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002.


Lisa Dickson

Lisa Dickson is an Associate Professor of English specializing in Renaissance Literature and Literary Theory at UNBC. She is a 3M NTF and a recipient of the UNBC Excellence in Teaching Award (2007). She is a member of the Foundation Year Curriculum Program Committee and the 3M Fellowship... Read More →
avatar for Shannon Murray

Shannon Murray

University of Prince Edward Island
Shannon Murray is a professor of Renaissance Literature at UPEI, a 3M National Teaching Fellow (2001), and the Coordinator of the 3M NTF. For the past 15 years, she has facilitated the Faculty Development Summer Institute on Active Learning.
avatar for Jessica Riddell

Jessica Riddell

Associate Professor, Bishop\'s University
Jessica Riddell is an Associate Professor of Medieval and Renaissance literature. She received the William and Nancy Turner Award for Teaching Excellence and is a 3M NTF (2015). A founding member of the Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) at Bishop’s, she is acting chair of the TLC... Read More →

Thursday June 23, 2016 11:30 - 12:20 EDT
UCC 56