Home News No, Shakespeare isn't getting 'cancelled.' There's plenty of room for disruptive texts.

No, Shakespeare isn't getting 'cancelled.' There's plenty of room for disruptive texts.

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Caroline M. Kisiel

In William Shakespeare’s turn-of-the-17th century play, “The Merchant of Venice,” a key character, Antonio, reminds us, “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”

This may be the case in the reaction to a recent School Library Journal report that discussed teachers’ considerations of the relevancy of Shakespeare for today’s classrooms.

The report interviewed numerous teachers who are questioning the central focus on Shakespeare in the English curriculum, noting that “with plenty of misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, and misogynoir,” his work is problematic and outdated. Teachers’ new approaches include studying Shakespeare alongside contemporary literature, using Shakespeare as an opportunity to analyze global perspectives, adding authors “to enrich study of Shakespeare,” and some are replacing Shakespeare entirely.

Spins in follow-up pieces claimed teachers were “refusing” to teach Shakespeare, and using charged language such as “woke teachers want Shakespeare cut from curriculum.”



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