Shakespeare and Adaptation Studies. Once regarded as the disreputable child of film and literary studies, adaptation studies has grown to occupy an increasingly important place in the family of approaches we call cultural studies, particularly as critical attention has moved away from the study of single works toward interest in the historical, social and formal dynamics that shape the cultural lives and afterlives of artworks. Adaptation studies addresses what happens when artworks are transferred from one medium or format to another, how works from the past are given new lives by present-day adaptors, and the ways in which artists talk back to the traditions they draw upon. This course uses Shakespeare as a means to introduce you to adaptation studies. We will focus on three Shakespeare plays—a comedy, a tragedy, and a history play. We will start by examining in depth Shakespeare’s own adaptational methods, looking at how and why he recrafted a variety of sources in his playwriting process. Then we will move to discussing how a range of novelists, poets, playwrights, filmmakers, composers, visual artists and advertisers have appropriated his work for their own purposes. Along the way, we’ll have occasion to talk about Shakespeare’s changing place in Anglo-American culture and the mystery of why Shakespeare’s works have seemed particularly amenable to adaptation; we will also think about ideas of artistic tradition have been transformed by the insights of adaptation studies. Along with Shakespeare’s works, we will read a healthy selection of theoretical works addressed to perennial issues and key concepts in adaptation studies—source and analogue, fidelity, intermediality, media specificity, cultural appropriation, subculture, spreadable media, cultural authority, and the like. Assignments include periodic short writing assignments, a class presentation, and a final seminar paper.