Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

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. The SAA is a member of the American Council of Learned Societies. Click About from the main menu above to find out more about the SAA.

The SAA was founded in 1972. Click Archives from the main menu above to learn more about the history of the SAA.

The SAA currently has over two thousand members. Its Annual Meetings typically have around a thousand registrants each year.

Members of the SAA come from North America and other parts of the world. The majority of SAA members are faculty in higher education and graduate students. In addition, there are professionals from research institutes, libraries, theatre, films, secondary education, and more.

The SAA holds annual conferences, at which SAA members meet to exchange ideas and strategies for reading, teaching, researching, and writing about topics of shared interest. Click Annual Meetings from the main menu above to find out more. In addition, the SAA organizes smaller virtual events and serves as a resource center for anyone interested in the field of Shakespeare studies.

The SAA is governed by the SAA Board of Trustees, consisting of Trustees elected by the general membership, including a President and a Vice-President. The Trustees appoint the organization’s Executive Director, who works with other staff members. Click Governance under About from the main menu above to consult the SAA Constitution and meet the current SAA Officers. Between 1 January and 15 February, you can find the Ballot on the same page.

The SAA office is located at the Department of English of the University of Mississippi. Click SAA Office under About from the main menu above to meet the Staff Members.

The SAA issues two bulletins a year, in January and the June, with information about upcoming events. Click the button Get the Bulletin on the left to read the current bulletin. You may also view past bulletins, or follow us on social media.

Sign up as a member to be part of the SAA by click the button Join or Renew on the left. You can find more about the topic by clicking the Membership tab from the top menu above.

The SAA welcomes contributions to our Announcements Page, which gives information about relevant faculty position openings, fellowship programs, calls for papers, conference notices, etc. that interest Shakespeareans.


The best way to contact the SAA office is by e-mail. Click the e-mail icon on the right of the page.

Click the Donate button on the left to support our members through new initiatives and ongoing programs such as conference travel grants for graduate students and contingent faculty.


The SAA is open to all Shakespeare scholars and to any other persons to whom the study of Shakespeare is important. Membership is reserved to those who have paid current dues to the Association and who observe SAA policies and guidelines.

SAA members can attend the Annual Meetings, vote and be elected to serve, and enjoy other benefits. Click the tab Benefits under Membership in the main menu above to find out more.

Click the Join or Renew button on your left to become a member.

SAA membership dues are charged on an academic-year basis (1 June through 31 May) and graduated according to annual income. Click Membership from the main menu above to see the dues rates, scheduled dues increase, and methods of payment.

Absolutely. Please contact the SAA office.

Your membership status may be confirmed online by logging in on the SAA website. Click the Member Log In button on the left.

Please click the Join or Renew button on the left to renew your membership.

The Membership form is only for new or expired members. If your membership is current, you will be denied access. Please use the Member Log In button to check if your membership is current.

SAA membership runs on an academic calendar, with each new membership year commencing in June. Those who pay dues in February in order to attend an Annual Meeting in March or April will need to renew their membership in June if they wish to enroll in the next year’s seminars or workshops.

You can update your profile, upload a profile photo, register for Annual Meetings, enroll for seminars and workshops, apply for grants and fellowships, submit program proposals, browse or search the membership directory, and access member discounts.

Click the Member Log In button on the left to log in to the Members Only Section.

If you have published work that was developed in an SAA seminar or workshop, please complete the Member Publications Form, downloadable from the Member Publications page under the Membership tab of the main menu above. Alternatively, you can also send a Word document containing necessary information to the SAA office.

The SAA website will send a password link to your e-mail address if you click on the Forgot Password button on the login page. The link will include instructions to establish a new password. You may also contact the SAA office to reset your password.

Once logged in, you can browse and search the SAA Membership Directory.

Policy on Public Controversies

The SAA does sometimes issue statements, most often on issues of particular concern to our members, who are always invited to contact the Executive Director or the members of the Board of Trustees. These are generally posted on our website under Advocacy and Statements. Where larger or broader problems are concerned, or where statements are part of a concerted effort to influence policy or institutions directly, the SAA signs onto statements from sister organizations belonging to the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). ACLS includes much larger organizations like the MLA or the AHA; the boards and directors of those organizations often prepare statements for co-signature by others. In this way, the SAA magnifies its voice in the public realm—whereas a smaller and narrowly-defined scholarly organization like ours can be easily ignored, the co-signed letters and statements under the ACLS umbrella can have greater impact.

Before making a public statement on an issue, the SAA Board of Trustees and the organization’s officers confer to decide whether that issue is germane to our mission: the advancement of the study of Shakespeare and early modern literature. Related areas like free speech, academic freedom, national and international access for scholars in the humanities may also be addressed. The Executive Committee and/or the full Board of Trustees must determine that the facts of the problem or case involved are understood and verified before issuing or signing onto a statement.

The organization does not consider political consequences or blowback when deciding on what issues to weigh in on—we do not curb our speech to facilitate conference fundraising or other conference-related activities.

Annual Meeting locations are booked years in advance. While the SAA tries to avoid booking in cities or states with clearly discriminatory policies and laws, there is often no way to predict where those locations will be at the time of booking. We attempt to take into consideration all issues as we are able when scouting possible locations at the time we book future conferences.

Hotel contracts require that the SAA commit to filling a predetermined number of rooms and spending a minimum amount on food and beverages. If the organization withdraws from a contract for any reason except those specifically permitted by the contract, it is liable for the total amount of those commitments in damages, which run in the hundreds of thousands and as high as half a million. Paying damages because of a boycott could financially devastate the organization and put its survival in doubt. We support local businesses and encourage conference attendees to patronize Black-owned, minority-owned, queer-friendly concerns.

Annual Meetings

General Questions

Once a year, SAA members gather for a four-day conference. The conference program includes plenary sessions, paper sessions, seminars, workshops, performances, film screenings, digital exhibits, and other special events.

The SAA Annual Meetings take place in March or April. The meeting opens on Wednesday and closes on Saturday. Please click Annual Meetings from the main menu above for this year’s dates. 

Every year a hotel in a North American city is chosen as the conference hotel. SAA officers always welcome suggestions from the membership about meeting places. Click Annual Meetings from the main menu above, under which you can find locations of Future Meetings.

Several factors go into our choice of cities:

  1. We vary the locations for our conferences because we rely on local universities and colleges to contribute funds to help cover the conference costs; as a result, we cannot repeatedly visit the same region or we will exhaust the local resources.
  2. We require that sites be reasonably major airline destinations lest travel time and cost be too high for some members.
  3. SAA conferences are relatively large: our 2019 Washington, D. C. had more than 1,200 in attendance and other meetings have ranged from 1,000 members and up. Only large conference hotels have the facilities we need and many locations do not have sufficient event space for our seminars. We have so far avoided using convention centers because they add significantly to the cost of producing the Annual Meeting.

To ensure the best deal for our members, we obtain multiple bids from candidate properties in several different host cities chosen based on factors outlined above. We prepare invitations to bid for our conference business. This process takes place approximately five years in advance of the Annual Meeting.

The SAA has successfully maintained a record of low hotel rates. Please click the Annual Meetings tab above for this year’s rates.

Please use the conference hotel’s web-based reservation system to book your room with SAA discount rates. Hotel registration opens on 1 January.

Room rates at the conference hotel are part of the negotiation process that involves a number of concessions, including complimentary or steeply discounted meeting room rental, food and beverage discounts, and complimentary Wi-Fi. We must guarantee the hotels that we will fill a minimum number of sleeping rooms. If our members don’t fill that block of rooms, the SAA must pay the difference directly to the hotel.

We do our best to make rooms available at the lowest possible rate, often significantly lower than the hotel’s ordinary room rate. Staying in the conference hotel is thus not only the most convenient choice for members; it also supports the SAA and the meeting itself.

Click Archives from the main menu above to see past meeting programs.

Program schedules are posted on 1 January of the year, with the publication of the January Bulletin.

Each SAA Annual Meeting represents the collaborative efforts of a number of people across several years. After consulting with the Board of Trustees about meeting locations, the SAA’s Executive Director contracts with a host hotel. In each area there is a Local Arrangements Committee that raises funds to underwrite the year’s Opening Reception, arranges special events, and advises on other conference activities. The year’s panel sessions, seminars, and workshops are developed by a Program Committee, whose work is reviewed by the Board of Trustees.

SAA Annual Meetings are for registered members only.

Yes. We especially welcome graduate students who are not eligible for presenting to audit the sessions. All you need to do is to register.

Guest passes and guest tickets to the Annual Luncheon and special evening events may be purchased during the conference registration process. Guests may attend the events only when wearing official name tags, which can also be requested during the registration process.

The SAA works hard to make the Annual Meetings affordable. We offer discount rates for students, independent scholars, and contingent and retired faculty. Please check the tab Annual Meetings above for this year’s rates.

Registrants can attend all academic sessions (panels, roundtables, seminars, workshops, and practicums), performances and screenings, special events, exhibits, and social events (the Annual Luncheon, the Reception, and the Scholars of Color Social). You will need to pay for your drinks at events labeled as “cash bar.”

Need-based fee waivers, travel grants, and dependent care grants are available for application. Click Grants & Awards from the main menu above to find out more.  

In the spring of a given year, you may propose a panel session, seminar, or workshop for the next year.

In the summer of a given year, you may enroll in next year’s seminar or workshop.

In the fall of a given year, you may propose to exhibit a digital humanities project at next year’s conference.

Consult the Panels and Roundtables, Seminars and Workshops, and Digital Exhibits areas below to find out more.

Only graduate students working in the field and in their second year onward of their doctoral study are eligible to enroll in a seminar or workshop. Graduate students not verified can only audit seminars and workshops. Consult the Seminars and Workshops area below to find out how to get your status verified. Other Annual Meeting events are open to graduate students.

Seminars and Workshops

SAA seminars and workshops serve as forums for fresh research, mutual criticism, and pedagogical experimentation. The seminar or workshop leaders determine the extent and nature of work to be done, and papers are circulated in advance. Seminar and workshop meetings are devoted to a discussion. The sessions are not to involve either reading or summarizing papers. 

Seminar and workshop descriptions are posted online and in the June Bulletin. Enrollment opens on 1 June and closes on 15 September. When enrolling, you are required to enter four choices, and placement is on a first-come, first-served basis. Placement notifications are issued in early October, and by late October you will receive guidelines, directions, and deadlines for work to be completed in advance of the conference. Open the Seminars and Workshops page under the Annual Meetings tab from the main menu above to read the Guidelines for SAA Seminars and Workshops.

To ensure quality discussion, the enrollment of a seminar or workshop caps at sixteen. For the most popular seminars and workshops, the leaders may run two sessions of sixteen participants each.

All graduate students are welcome to audit, but only graduate students working in the field and in their second year onward of their doctoral study are eligible to enroll. When enrolling, you will need to provide your advisor’s name and e-mail. The SAA office will contact your advisor to verify your status.

Session presenters are not allowed to enroll in seminars or workshops.

Seminar and workshop leaders cannot enroll in other seminars or workshops.

If you are leading a seminar/workshop, you do not need to enroll.

Each seminar or workshop leader can reserve four spots. If you are an invitee, you do not need to submit the online enrollment form. If you have already made different choices before you receive an invitation, the SAA will contact you to find out your preference.

The online enrollment form can only be submitted once. If you change your mind before 15 September, you need to contact the SAA office. Please note that, because placement is on a first-come, first-served basis, any modification of your choices will entail the loss of your original place in the queue.

Most seminars and workshops fill up before 15 September. If you miss the deadline, you may contact the SAA office to see if any seminars or workshops are still available.

After 15 September, the SAA has a no-switch policy.

Only those who have completed their work in a timely manner will be listed in the printed program. If you cannot make the deadlines, you can only audit.

In order to keep the conference’s character intact, it is the SAA’s policy to not permit remote participation except for the special session(s) designated for remote participation. 

Postdoctoral members can propose to lead seminars and workshops. The deadline to apply is 15 February of the previous year.

Seminars and workshops should open a number of pathways into a subject, recognizing that the seminar and workshop meeting is an occasion for focused but open discussion of written work completed in advance. Advance work may involve readings, online discussions, shared syllabi, performances, and pedagogical exercises, as well as research papers. For descriptions of seminars and workshops from previous years, consult any June Bulletin. For assistance in crafting a competitive proposal, consult any member of the Program Committee. Click For Session Leaders under the Resources tab on the main menu above to consult advice from the SAA office and from previous seminar and workshop leaders.

When space allows, seminars and workshops are open to auditors. You may browse the descriptions of sessions and the seminar abstracts to decide which sessions you want to audit.

Panels and Roundtables

Proposals are accepted from postdoctoral SAA members in good standing. The deadline to submit a proposal is 15 February for next year’s conference. 

While the traditional format has been three twenty-minute papers per session, the SAA invites proposals for other formats for engaging important ideas and issues. Paper panels, roundtables, and other formats for public discussion should address topics of current interest and general appeal for the SAA membership. For assistance in crafting a competitive proposal, consult any member of the Program Committee.

Dissertation candidates are eligible to speak on SAA panels. No one may speak on an SAA panel more than once in any three-year period.

You should include a title and a description of the proposed session, a description of the objectives, a description of each presentation, and the name, affiliation, short bio, and e-mail of each presenter. Consult the Program Proposals page under the Annual Meetings tab from the main menu above the proposal guidelines.

The SAA is not currently accepting individual papers except for those applying for the NextGenPlen. See the NextGenPlen question below.

Each SAA meeting features a plenary session of short papers by early-career presenters. NextGenPlen papers are selected via a blind screening process, with precedence given to those introducing new topics, displaying fresh thinking about traditional issues, and demonstrating diverse approaches.

Yes, but you need to withdraw from your seminar or workshop if you are selected for the NextGenPlen.

The Shakespearean Futures initiative is a multi-year series of panel sessions exploring the material and institutional conditions of intellectual work, professional life, and the SAA. “Futures” panels or roundtables are focused on topics that involve analysis of the broader realities that shape academic methodologies and institutions (for example: race; contingent faculty and labor; first generation academics; transnationalism and globalization; disability and access; inequalities related to gender, class, sexual identities, and religion; new technologies; funding changes).

Audio-visual requests must be made at program proposal time. For requests already approved, the SAA will provide a projector but not a computer. You will need to bring your laptop and the specific connector.

Digital Exhibits

At the Annual Meeting, the SAA hosts an exhibit space for the demonstration of projects that draw on digital resources or integrate digital technology into scholarship, teaching, or public work on Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

Projects are scholar-generated and address aspects of Shakespeare’s era, Shakespeare in performance, Shakespeare in print, and Shakespeare in translation, including work with text analytics, smartphone and tablet apps, digital archives, aids to performance, games and gamification, e-books, and website development.

View past Digital Exhibits under the Archives tab of the main menu above.

Current SAA members are welcome to apply online to exhibit. Applications are accepted in the fall for exhibits at the next year’s Annual Meeting and will be reviewed by the SAA’s Digital Strategies Subcommittee.

You may include all those who take part in the digital project. If your proposal is accepted, you will need to confirm who will attend the Annual Meeting and only SAA members in good standing can be part of the program.

The SAA will provide power supply, a large monitor, and Wi-Fi connection. You will need to bring your own laptop. For specific requests, please contact the SAA office. Additional charges may apply.

If there is a major breakthrough in your digital project, you are welcome to apply again.

Book Exhibits and Advertisements

Yes. There is a room designated for book exhibits at the SAA Annual Meeting. Exhibitors can apply and pay online, and can set up on Wednesday to exhibit from Thursday through Saturday. Details about price, booking, room layout, and shipping will be available on 1 January each year. Feel free to contact us for questions.

Yes. You can advertise your books, journals, academic programs, or performances in the printed program book and in the online program. Details about price, file format, and file delivery will be available on 1 January each year.

For Graduate Students

Dues are graduated according to annual income. Click Membershipfrom the main menu above to see current rates of membership dues.

Yes. Click Annual Meetings from the main menu above to see the current registration fee chart.

Graduate students working on a dissertation can present a paper at a panel or roundtable session.

No, but graduate students working on a dissertation can join a panel or roundtable proposal organized by a postdoctoral faculty member or independent scholar.

Graduate students working in the field and in their second year onward of their doctoral study can enroll in seminars and workshops. Please provide the name and e-mail of your advisor when enrolling, and the SAA office with contact your advisor for verification of your status.

No, leadership of a seminar or workshop is reserved for those who have achieved a terminal degree and for independent scholars who have a substantial history of publication and professional activity.

Each year, the SAA awards need-based travel grants. Awardees receive $500 in travel support and remission of the conference registration fee. Applicants must be SAA members in good standing, must take part in the meeting program (by speaking in a panel or roundtable or enrolling in a seminar or workshop), and must attend the full conference. Students may not receive a travel award more than twice. Click Grants & Awards from the main menu above for application details.

The J. Leeds Barroll Dissertation Prize recognizes doctoral work with a significant Shakespeare component. Dissertations submitted for any given year must be approved within the previous year. As an example, dissertation submitted for the 2022 prize must have been approved between 1 September 2020 and 1 September 2021. Applicants must be SAA members in good standing. Applications are comprised of three parts: an online application form, an anonymous cover, and twenty pages (maximum) from the introduction to the dissertation or from any chapter of the applicant’s choice. Click Grants & Awards from the main menu above for application details.

Consult the Announcements tab under Resources from the main menu above for job and fellowship postings.