Institute Content, Format & Schedule


The theme of the 2022 Institute is “Body Politics: Authority, Sex, & Resistance in Shakespeare’s Plays.” Participants will explore this theme through three Shakespeare plays: Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, and Othello.


The curriculum will focus on the relationship between personal and political power in three genres (comedy, “problem comedy,” and tragedy), with an emphasis on approaches to these issues that incorporate exciting contemporary scholarship on gender, sexual consent, domestic conduct, marital contracts, and political thought. Participants will examine how questions of personal and sexual freedom (particularly for women) are shaped by larger social and political ideas about virginity, courtship, marriage, and chastity; by the definition and enforcement of patriarchal family and gender roles; by domestic, local, and national governance structures; by war and militarism; by social, racial, and economic hierarchies; and by the uneven application of informal (e.g., gossip) and formal (e.g., statutory) forms of discipline.

The 2022 Reading List is forthcoming. For a sense of what to expect, please click here for the 2019 Institute Reading List.



The Institute runs for two weeks from 10:00am until 5:00pm Monday through Friday at Polonsky Shakespeare Center unless otherwise noted. Morning and afternoon sessions focus on the academic and theatrical considerations embedded in the three plays under investigation. Scholars and teaching artists work together to plan daily activities that reinforce each other’s work, creating a seamless interface between scholarly and creative investigations. In addition, lunches and evening activities offer participants access to other scholars, literary experts, and theatre professionals. Evening assignments prepare participants for the following day’s discussions, and theatre outings provide a further basis for discussion of the concepts participants are learning in class.

During the first seven days of the Institute, Professors Crawford and DiGangi will ground participants in the basics of sound scholarly research and theatrical practice, while teaching artists Krista Apple and Claudia Zelevansky will work with participants on the challenges of interpretation and performance that arise from deep scholarly analysis of text. In the last three days, participants will focus intensely on incorporating what they learn into their roles (as directors, actors, dramaturgs, designers, etc.) in final scene performances on the last day of the Institute. During the Institute, participants will attend one or two Shakespeare (or other relevant) productions as a group, preceded by a dinner and discussion of the play.



The 2022 Schedule is forthcoming. For a sense of what to expect, please click here for the 2019 Institute Schedule.


Questions? Contact us at

folio-2016A copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, which participants get to view and handle on the Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript Library tour.

TFANA_logo24 copyPolonsky Shakespeare Center, home to the NEH Summer Institute


Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

TFANA’s NEH Summer Institute is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

Pictured above: Participants in the 2018 NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers; Polonsky Shakespeare Center, photo ©David Sundberg/Esto.