Mapping Embodiment in the Early Modern West: Shakespeare and Cosmopolitanism

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
4:00 pm PDT

Little Theater, Macgowan Hall
245 Charles E. Young Dr., East

Early Modern Cosmopolitanisms Lecture

—Valerie Traub, University of Michigan


During Shakespeare’s lifetime, cartography underwent a revolution, and characters in his plays use and refer to maps in ways that would have been unimaginable fifty years before. But what kinds of maps would Shakespeare have seen, and what effects did they have on his vision of the world? Traub’s presentation argues that Shakespeare’s engagement with cartography extends beyond the use of map and globe metaphors to encompass a conceptual orientation that he shares with early modern cartographers. Shakespeare’s “cartographic consciousness,” Traub argues, is a profoundly global and cosmopolitan one, concerned not mainly with the nationalist mapping of England, but with negotiating a tension between similarity and difference in inhabitants of Europe and beyond.

Valerie Traub is the Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England (2002), Desire & Anxiety: Circulations of Sexuality in Shakespearean Drama (1992), and the forthcoming Making Sexual Knowledge: Thinking Sex with the Early Moderns (University of Pennsylvania Press). She has co-edited two volumes, including Gay Shame (2009), and has most recently published “The New (Un)Historicism in Queer Studies” in PMLA (January 2013). She is currently the Dibner Distinguished Fellow in the History of Science & Technology at the Huntington Library.