Advocacy and Statements

The Shakespeare Association of America is dismayed by the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson and has signed on to a statement issued by fellow ACLS members regarding this issue. There is no doubt that the court’s decision erodes fundamental rights and has the potential to exacerbate historic injustices and deepen inequalities in our country.

The ACLS partner organizations consider it imperative that historical evidence and argument be presented according to high standards of scholarship. The court’s majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson does not meet those standards and has therefore established a flawed and troubling precedent.

The full statement can be found here.

posted 8 July 2022

The Shakespeare Association of America stands in solidarity with the advocates of racial justice and gender and LGBTQ+ rights in response to the recent proposal of a slate of legislative measures in the state of Florida that seeks to repress the democratic exchange of ideas, critical enquiry, and the teaching of the history of racism and slavery in in the US, a history that begins in the early modern period and whose effects continue into the present.

The legislative actions of at least 32 states so far, with Florida’s Senate Bill 148 (the inappropriately named “Individual Freedom Bill”) as the latest, are nothing more than veiled attempts to prevent the nation’s young people from learning about this grievous and violent history of racism, slavery, segregation, and white supremacy.

It is not lost on our diverse community of scholars that those who advocated for this legislation and who launch attacks against Critical Race Theory cannot define it, its frameworks, methodologies or principles when asked.

Equally insidious is the so-called “Parental Rights in Education Bill,” which would prohibit schools from educating their students about sexual orientation and gender identity. We see these assaults on Critical Race Theory and LGBTQ+ scholarship as intersecting. As educators, we take a firm stand against this assault on the human rights of students and teachers, and we will continue to advance historical and contemporary scholarship in these fields.


Farah Karim-Cooper, President
Bernadette Andrea, Vice-President
Natasha Korda, Immediate Past President
Patricia Akhimie, Trustee
Dennis Britton, Trustee
Michelle Dowd, Trustee
Stephen Guy-Bray, Trustee
Lucy Munro, Trustee
Jyotsna Singh, Trustee

posted 24 January 2022

Dear SAA members,

The Shakespeare Association of America stands with those fighting racial injustice in America. We are grieved and outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, the most recent in a long history of racialized violence and inequality in our country. We join with other scholarly organizations in our continued resolve to work towards change. We all have a role to play in combating racism, white supremacy, and police brutality, and in building a more just and inclusive society.

As educators, we are poised to play a leading role in working actively to eradicate racism and prejudice in all spaces of teaching and learning. As scholars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, we know well the violent histories of race and racism, of slavery, settler colonialism, and prejudice on the basis of color, nation, custom, and religion. As literary critics and Shakespeareans, we know the potential of language and performance to challenge and dismantle racist ideologies. With such knowledge comes responsibility. When we do not actively teach and practice anti-racism in our curriculum and policies, we are complicit in perpetuating racism. Furthermore, we must be sensitive to the specific concerns of different communities and recognize that African-Americans are often targets of an anti-black racism that we must address and counter.

We stand united in our anti-racist aspirations as we work to create and sustain spaces within the SAA, as within our classrooms and communities, to speak and act against racial injustice and inequity, while offering support and solidarity to members, students and colleagues who are affected by racism every day. We find ourselves at a crossroads in history that will test who we are and what we stand for. Together, we must commit to anti-racism and each contribute in our own ways and in our own work toward racial justice and equality.

Natasha Korda, President, and The Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Association of America

posted 4 June 2020

The SAA was founded on principles of inclusion, open exchange, and mutual respect. Its pioneering seminar system welcomes scholars from all locations and of all professional standings to meet around its seminar tables. We value the international diversity of our membership and condemn any policy or directive that impedes the movement of scholars into and out of the United States. 

posted 1 January 2018

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision on the administration’s Executive Order concerning travel, the SAA reaffirms its statement on inclusion and mutual respect as expressed below. We remind our members that we continue to share the sentiments expressed in President Heather James’s February 2017 letter to the membership on this topic.

posted February 2017