Shakespeare is now fundamentally digital. The technologies, resources and cultures of the digital age influence how we humans variously read, watch, research, and teach Shakespeare. This influence occurs in both apparent but also unseen ways since digital technologies include hidden processes, or non-human actors such as algorithms. In fact, the thing we call “Shakespeare” is the consequence of the interaction of agential humans and digital, non-human actors. The Special Issue of Humanities explores this technogenic dynamic and its significance for understandings of Shakespeare’s works and their cultural afterlives. It does so from a digital humanities perspective, with the aim of building on trends within Shakespeare studies towards the interrelation between Shakespeare’s works and a variety of contemporary technologies.
The Special Issue especially welcomes approaches that are trans-disciplinary. Papers are invited from an international community of researchers interested in critically examining how digital technologies have enhanced, transformed, or challenged the appreciation and study of Shakespeare. Papers might address questions of methodology, and explore how digital humanities scholarship is applying technology and quantitative analyses to the corpus. What new insights into Shakespearean authorship, characterization, genre, and language, can computational analyses reveal? Papers might map and critically evaluate the available digital resources for Shakespeare research and teaching, including searchable text online editions, databases, and podcasts. Or, they might critically analyse forms and practices in digital cultures, from fan or vernacular productions that reiterate Shakespearean stories and characters on such platforms as Twitter and YouTube, to digital art and curation, and online Shakespeare quotation generators. In turn, papers might examine how Shakespeare theatre companies are using digital technologies both within the live performance itself, and also to create an online, commercial, and interactive presence for a production.
This Special Issue of Humanities offers an opportunity to examine the application of digital technologies to Shakespeare, in all its variety; to explore the implications of that interrelation; and, crucially, to consider what future directions scholarship and practices might take as the encounter with Shakespeare increasingly becomes digital.