Purpose of the SAA

The Shakespeare Association of America (SAA) is a non-profit professional organization for the advanced academic study of William Shakespeare’s plays and poems, his cultural and theatrical contexts, and the many roles these have played in world culture.

Since its founding in 1972, the SAA has held annual conferences that convene in a different location each year, generally in late March or early April. SAA members meet to exchange ideas and strategies for reading, teaching, researching, and writing about topics of shared interest. Sessions at the meeting include seminars, workshops, panel presentations, round-table discussions, film screenings, theatrical performances, and teaching workshops.

The distinguishing feature of the SAA conference is its program of working research seminars. The conference year begins each June with the announcement of a new roster of the seminars and workshops in which its members’ collaborative engagements will take place. All seminars and workshops entail significant work completed and circulated in advance of the conference, where enrolled participants share and discuss research papers, common readings, performance exercises, digital projects, and other academic undertakings. SAA seminars and workshops have proved to be uniquely effective forums in which to develop material for scholarly publication. They offer opportunities to try out ideas and receive useful responses. Many seminar papers subsequently appear in print, and seminar groups have often produced volumes of collected essays.

Seminars and workshops are for postdoctoral and independent scholars and for graduate students at the dissertation stage. M.A. students and those who are new to the SAA are invited to sit in as auditors. Auditors need not reserve places in the seminars and workshops but must register to attend the conference. Attendance and auditing privileges are not extended to undergraduate students.

  • June through September: Seminars and workshops are announced in the SAA’s June Bulletin. The seminar and workshop enrollment process is open until 15 September.
  • September through October: Seminar and workshop enrollments are processed and placements are announced.
  • October through March: Seminar and workshop work is conducted and research papers and other projects are shared among the enrolled members of each seminar or workshop.
  • January through March: With the posting of the SAA’s January Bulletin, meeting registration opens for all panelists, for seminar and workshop members, and for those who will attend in other roles (including as auditors).
  • March through June: The Annual Meeting convenes, and the SAA Trustees plan the program of panels, seminars, and workshops for the next year’s conference.