Shakespeare and Crip Sexualities

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7191 H.C. White Hall
@ 6:00 pm

Allison Hobgood
Associate Professor, Willamette University


“Shakespeare and Crip Sexualities” confronts the longstanding, ableist polarization of sex and disability: when we talk about sex, we don’t talk about disability; when we talk about disability, we don’t talk about sex. What do we discover when we override that impulse to instead think and talk about these topics together? Furthermore, what happens when that nexus is the lens through which we read literature of the English Renaissance? Hobgood’s talk aims for radical recognition of crip sexualities, both current and early modern. Through attention to William Shakespeare’s play Measure for Measure, Hobgood will show how contemporary theorizations of crip sex in disability studies might help us reimagine sex and desire as they are represented in Renaissance drama. Her talk meditates on the idea of “normalcy,” conceiving of sex as more than genital acts and as inhering in non-conventional liaisons and seemingly un-erotic cultural objects and customs. “Shakespeare and Crip Sexualities” enables the recovery of new sex histories, attests to the way disability generates sexual possibilities, and offers fresh readings of a drama long deemed one of Shakespeare’s biggest “problem plays.”


Allison P. Hobgood is Associate Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at Willamette University. She is the author of Passionate Playgoing in Early Modern England (2014), co-editor of Recovering Disability in Early Modern England (2013) and Disabled Shakespeares (in Disability Studies Quarterly, 2009), and editor of a special issue on disability, care work, and teaching in the journal Pedagogy (2015). Her other essays have appeared in venues such as Shakespeare Bulletin, Textual Practice, Shakespearean Sensations (2013), Disability, Health, and Happiness in the Shakespearean Body (2015), and The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability (2017). She is currently completing a second monograph, Beholding Disability in the English Renaissance.


This talk is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Disability Studies Initiative, the McBurney Center, the Renaissance Colloquium of the English Department, and is made possible by the generous support of the Anonymous Fund. CART services will be available at the talk, and H.C. White Hall has disability parking in its internal lot. If you have questions about access, please contact Elizabeth Bearden;