The SAA is governed by a board of nine Trustees who fulfill rotating terms of three years each. Every year, three members of the board retire and three are voted in by the membership. One of these three is elected as Vice-President, to serve as President during the second year of his or her term.
Voting for SAA officers begins on 1 January and closes on 15 February each year. A link to the ballot is posted on the SAA website during this period.
Trustees are responsible for setting Association policy, for planning conference programs, and for financial oversight. They also head the selection processes for grants, awards, prizes, and paper competitions. The Trustees appoint the organization’s Executive Director, who works with its Assistant Director, Programs Manager, and Programs Associate.
The SAA is committed to democratic and transparent governance and to the advancement of knowledge about Shakespeare, his works, and his life and times.
Bernadette Andrea, University of California, Santa Barbara
Bernadette Andrea is Professor in the Department of English, University of California, Santa Barbara, where she is also a core faculty in the Center for Middle East Studies and an affiliate faculty in the Comparative Literature Program and the Department of Feminist Studies. She previously taught at the University of Texas, San Antonio, where she was the Celia Jacobs Endowed Professor in British Literature. She is the author of The Lives of Girls and Women from the Islamic World in Early Modern British Literature and Culture (2017) and Women and Islam in Early Modern English Literature (2007). She edited the critical edition English Women Staging Islam, 1696–1707 (2012) for the Other Voice in Early Modern Europe series. Her co-edited collections include Travel and Travail: Early Modern Women, English Drama, and the Wider World, with Patricia Akhimie (2019), and Early Modern England and Islamic Worlds, with Linda McJannet (2011). She serves as co-editor, with Julie Campbell and Allyson Poska, of Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and was director of the Early Modern Center at UCSB from 2018 to 2021. For the SAA, she has led or co-led seminars in 2009, 2013, 2016, and 2021; she presented on a plenary panel in 2019; and she was elected to the Executive Committee in 2021.
Ian Smith, Lafayette College
Ian Smith is the Richard H., Jr. ’60 and Joan K. Sell Professor in the Humanities in the department of English at Lafayette College. He is the author of Race and Rhetoric in the Renaissance: Barbarian Errors (2009) and collaborator on Othello Re-imagined in Sepia (2012). His current monograph, Black Shakespeare: Reading and Misreading Race will be published in 2022. He is the founder of the Keefe Colloquium in the Public Humanities and, since 2017, has co-organized its “Shakespeare and Race” series at Lafayette. He is the recipient of multiple fellowships in support of his scholarship, being invited most recently to hold the Los Angeles Times chair in the History and Culture of the Americas at the Huntington Library (2022-23). He also serves on the editorial boards of Shakespeare Quarterly and ELR and the advisory board of Global Shakespeare Inverted. He has published numerous articles and book chapters mainly on Shakespeare and early modern drama. For the SAA, Professor Smith has served on the 2013 Program Committee and the 2016 Sexual Harassment Committee as well as the Executive Director Search Committee in 2017; he led seminars in 2002, 2014 and 2019, and organized the plenary panel for 2022.
Immediate Past President
Farah Karim-Cooper, Shakespeare’s Globe
Farah Karim-Cooper is Head of Higher Education and Research at Shakespeare’s Globe and Visiting Research Fellow, King’s College London. She was the 2013 Lloyd Davis Visiting Professor at the University of Queensland, and Chair of the Globe Architecture Research Group that led the research into the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. She is an editorial Board Member for the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and an executive board member of RaceB4Race. Her books include Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama (2006; rev. 2019), The Hand on the Shakespearean Stage (2016) and is editor of Titus Andronicus: The State of Play (2019). For the SAA, she has served as Trustee from 2017-20, served on the 2017 Program Committee, chaired the 2018 Travel Awards and 2019 Nominations Committees, and co-chairs the 2020 Program and Digital Exhibits Committees.
Patricia Akhimie, Rutgers University, Newark
Patricia Akhimie is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University-Newark; she is the author of Shakespeare and the Cultivation of Difference: Race and Conduct in the Early Modern World (2018) and co-editor of Travel and Travail: Early Modern Women, English Drama, and the Wider World (2019). She is currently working on a book about early modern women’s travel as well as a new edition of Othello. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Ford Foundation, and the John Carter Brown Library. She was a roundtable speaker in 2013, a panel speaker in 2019, co-led a seminar in 2016 and served on the 2016 Ad Hoc Sexual Harassment Committee and 2019 Nominating Committee.
Dennis Britton, University of British Columbia
Dennis Austin Britton is Associate Professor of English at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Becoming Christian: Race, Reformation, and Early Modern English Romance (2014), and coeditor of Rethinking Shakespeare Source Study: Audiences, Authors, and Digital Technologies (2018). He is currently coediting a special issue of Spenser Studies on “Spenser and Race” and working on two monographs, Shakespeare and Pity: Feeling Human Difference on the Early Modern Stage and Reforming Ethiopia: African-Anglo Relations in Protestant England. At the SAA, he has presented on a 2017 roundtable and served on the Program Committee for the 2020 Annual Meeting.
Jane Hwang Degenhardt, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Jane Hwang Degenhardt is Professor of English and Graduate Program Director at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research and teaching focus on the effects of globalizing processes, the histories of religion and race, and the relationship between literature and social justice. Her scholarship includes Globalizing Fortune on the Early Modern Stage (2022), Islamic Conversion and Christian Resistance on the Early Modern Stage (2010), and Religion and Drama in Early Modern England (co-edited with Elizabeth Williamson, 2011). Her articles and essays have appeared in such journals as Renaissance Drama, PMLA, ELH, and the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, as well as in the Arden Research Handbook to Shakespeare and His Contemporaries and The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare; her article on the early modern chinaware trade in Studies in Philology received the Louis Round Wilson Prize. Her leadership experience derives from her roles as mentor and advisor to graduate students, as well as her role as co-editor of ELR. For the SAA, Professor Degenhardt has served as a seminar leader in 2008 and 2017, was a worship leader in 2019, and presented on a panel in 2015; she has also served on the 2017 Nominating Committee and the 2021 Innovative Article Award Committee.
Michelle M. Dowd, University of Alabama
Michelle M. Dowd is Hudson Strode Professor of English and Director of the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama. She is the author of Women’s Work in Early Modern English Literature and Culture (2009), which won the Sara A. Whaley Book Award from the National Women’s Studies Association, and of The Dynamics of Inheritance on the Shakespearean Stage (2015). In addition to publishing over 30 scholarly essays, she has co-edited Genre and Women’s Life Writing in Early Modern England with Julie E. Eckerle (2007); Working Subjects in Early Modern English Drama with Natasha Korda (2011); Early Modern Women on the Fall: An Anthology with Thomas Festa (2012); and Historical Affects and the Early Modern Theater with Ronda Arab and Adam Zucker (2015). Her research has been supported by numerous fellowships and grants, and she is the editor of a book series, Strode Studies in Early Modern Literature and Culture, published by the University of Alabama Press. For the SAA she served on the Program Committee for 2018, the Travel Awards Committee in 2010 and 2016, led or co-led seminars in 2021, 2020, 2011, 2008 and presented on a panel in 2017. In 2021 she chaired the Shakespeare Publics Award Committee.
Stephen Guy-Bray, University of British Columbia
Stephen Guy-Bray is professor of English at the University of British Columbia. He specializes in Renaissance poetry, queer theory, and poetics. He is the author of four books, including Shakespeare and Queer Representation (2020), Against Reproduction: Where Renaissance Texts Come From (2009) as well as the co-editor of two volumes of essays; he has published numerous articles and book chapters, chiefly on Renaissance literature but also on literature ranging from 250 BCE to the 1960s. He is currently working on a book on line endings in Renaissance poetry. He has served on the 2013 Program Committee, led a seminar in 2007, and co-led seminars in 2009, 2011, and 2019.
Vin Nardizzi, University of British Columbia
Vin Nardizzi is Professor of English at the University of British Columbia, which is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) People. He is author of Wooden Os: Shakespeare’s Theatres and England’s Trees (2013). With Stephen Guy-Bray and Will Stockton, he co-edited Queer Renaissance Historiography: Backward Gaze (Ashgate, 2009); with Jean E. Feerick, The Indistinct Human in Renaissance Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); and with Tiffany Jo Werth, Premodern Ecologies in the Modern Literary Imagination (Toronto, 2019). He is a founding collaborator of the international research network called “Oecologies.” His leadership experience includes serving on the MLA Forum Executive Committee for Ecocriticism and Environmental Humanities (2019-24) and as a Member of the MLA Delegate Assembly representing the Western US and Western Canada (2020-23). He also serves on the Advisory Board for Penn State University Press’s series “Cultural Inquiries in English Literature, 1400-1700” and on the Editorial Board of Shakespeare Quarterly. For the SAA Professor Nardizzi has served on the 2015 Program Committee, the 2017 Dissertation Prize Committee, the Executive Director Search Committee in 2017, the 2018 NextGenPlen Committee, the 2020 Nominating Committee and the 2022 Dissertation Prize Committee; he also served on the 2013-14 Vancouver Local Arrangements Committee. He led seminars in 2009 and 2016, presented on a panel in 2013 and a plenary session in 2017.
All current members of the Shakespeare Association of America are entitled to vote in officer elections.
On 2 January each year, to accompany the release of the January Bulletin, a slate of candidates is announced to fill three open positions on the Board of Trustees. There are at least two candidates for the office of Vice-President and at least four candidates for the two open Trusteeships.
The SAA member who is elected Vice-President in one year will succeed to the Presidency the next year.
Constitution of the Shakespeare Association of America
Article I: Name and Location
The name of the Corporation is the Shakespeare Association of America, hereinafter referred to as the “Association.” The location of the principal office of the Association shall be fixed by resolution of the Board of Trustees. Meetings of Members and Trustees may be held at such places as may be designated by the Trustees.
Article II: Definitions
1.“Association” shall mean and refer to The Shakespeare Association of America.
2.“Member” shall mean and refer to those persons who have paid current dues to the Association; all such members are entitled to vote on Association issues. Membership is open to all Shakespeare scholars and to any other persons to whom the study of Shakespeare is important. Members shall forfeit membership if they are in default of dues. Annual dues rates may be set and changed by the Trustees.
3.“In writing,” “written,” “mail,” and “ballot” shall be understood to include all electronic forms of communication, such as e-mail, the Association website, and other public electronic media.
Article III: Purposes
The purposes of the Association shall be:
1. To hold annual meetings for the purpose of exchanging ideas and discussing strategies for reading, researching, and teaching the work of William Shakespeare, the cultural and theatrical milieu in which he lived and wrote, and the various roles these have played in both Anglo-American and world cultures. Sessions at the annual meeting may include but are not limited to formal papers, seminars, workshops, performances of the plays by selected acting groups, and screenings of films based on Shakespeare’s works and other drama of his time.
2. To support and/or sponsor long-range projects of importance to Shakespearean scholarship, and, more generally, to advance the values of the humanities, as through programs for high-school teachers held in connection with annual meetings.
3. To pursue inclusive and diverse policies of membership that recognize the importance of categories such as race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age, and ability, as well as the variety of professional conditions that obtain for tenured and tenure-track faculty, contingent faculty, and graduate students.
4. To operate and maintain the said Association exclusively for educational purposes so that from its operation none of its Members, Trustees, or Officers as such shall enjoy any pecuniary profits.
Article IV: Trustees
1. Number. The affairs of this Association shall be governed by a Board of nine (9) Trustees, who shall be Members of the Association. One member of the Board of Trustees shall be the annually elected Vice-President of the Association, automatically to become President the next year, who shall serve as Chair of the Board of Trustees during the year of his/her tenure in office as President.
2. Term of Office. Three (3) Trustees, one of whom will be the incoming Vice-President, will be elected annually by the membership for terms of three (3) years. A one-year term shall be defined as extending from the beginning of one annual meeting to the beginning of the next. A three-year term shall be defined as extending the length of three one-year terms.
3. Compensation. No Trustees shall receive compensation for any service they may render to the Association. However, Trustees may be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
4. Nomination and Election. Nomination for election to the Board of Trustees and for Vice-President shall be made by a Nominating Committee (see Article V.2). Nomination may also be made by petition of fifty (50) Members in writing to the Nominating Committee six weeks prior to the publication of the ballot.
The Nominating Committee, in consultation with the Executive Director, shall make at least two nominations for every vacancy on the Board of Trustees and at least two for the office of Vice-President; candidates for office must agree to serve and to attend Association meetings if elected. The slate of nominations shall be confirmed by the Executive Committee (see Article V.1) acting on behalf of the Board. Elections shall be by secret ballot. The candidates receiving the largest number of votes will be appointed to the vacant positions.
Article V: Committees of the Trustees
All committees are advisory to the Board of Trustees. In addition to the standing committees listed below, the Trustees may appoint additional committees as needed.
1. Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall consist of the Association’s current President, the Vice-President, the immediate past President, and the Executive Director (ex officio). The Executive Committee shall be authorized to undertake actions on behalf of the Board at those times when an action or decision cannot wait for a meeting of the full Board. The Executive Committee shall keep minutes of its proceedings and present such minutes at the next meeting of the Board.
2. Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee shall consist of a Chair, who shall be a member of the Board of Trustees, and of two or more Members of the Association. The Chair of the Nominating Committee shall be appointed by the incoming President of the Association prior to each annual meeting of the Members, to serve from the conclusion of that annual meeting until the conclusion of the next annual meeting following. Such appointment shall be announced at each annual meeting.
3. Program Committee. The Program Committee shall consist of a Chair, who shall be a member of the Board of Trustees, and of two or more Members of the Association. The Chair of the Program Committee shall be appointed by the incoming President of the Association prior to each annual meeting of the Members, to serve from the conclusion of that annual meeting until the conclusion of the next annual meeting following. Such appointment shall be announced at each annual meeting.
Article VI: Meeting of Trustees
1. Regular Meetings. Regular meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be held every year during the annual meeting.
2. Special Meetings. Special meetings of the Board of Trustees of the Association shall be held when called by the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Association, or by any two Trustees, after not less than ten (10) days’ notice to each Trustee.
3. Quorum. Five Trustees shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Every action or decision taken by a majority of the Trustees present at a duly held meeting shall be regarded as the action of the entire Board.
4. Action Taken without a Meeting. The Trustees shall have the right to take any action in the absence of a meeting of the Board which they could take at a meeting of the Board by obtaining the written approval of a majority of the total number of Trustees. Any action so approved shall have the same effect as though taken at a meeting of the Trustees.
Article VII: Duties of the Trustees
1. Power. The Board of Trustees shall have the authority to: (a) adopt and publish rules and regulations governing the Association; (b) exercise for the Association all powers, duties, and authority vested in or delegated to this Association and not reserved to the membership by other provisions of this Constitution; (c) review, approve, modify, and/or decline recommendations brought forward by Association Committees; and (d) determine the basic program for the annual meeting.
2. Duties. It shall be the duty of the Board of Trustees to: (a) cause to be kept a complete record of all its actions and corporate affairs and to present a statement thereof to the Members when such a statement is requested in writing by one-fourth (1/4) of the Members who are entitled to vote; (b) appoint, with at least a two-thirds majority vote, an Executive Director, who will serve in that office for an indefinite term at the pleasure of the Trustees and who will manage the day-to-day affairs of the Association; (c) delegate to the Executive Director the power to supervise all agents and employees of this Association and see that their duties are properly performed; (d) cause all officers or employees having fiscal responsibilities to be bonded, as it may deem appropriate.
Article VIII: Officers and their Duties
1. Enumeration of Offices. The chief officers of this Association shall be the President (who serves also as the Chair of the Board of Trustees) and Vice-President, both of whom shall be at all times members of the Board of Trustees.
2. Election of Officers. The election of the President-elect (i.e., Vice-President) shall take place annually by ballot of the membership. No President-elect may be re-elected as such until five years after the end of the initial term.
3. Special Appointments. The Board may elect such other officers as the affairs of the Association may require, each of whom shall hold office for such period, have such authority, and perform such duties as the Board may, from time to time, determine.
4. Resignation. Any officer may resign at any time given written notice to the Board, the President, or the Executive Director. Such resignation shall take effect on the date of receipt of such notice or at any later time specified therein, and, unless otherwise specified therein, the acceptance of such resignation shall not be necessary to make it effective.
5. Vacancies. A vacancy in any office may be filled by appointment by the Board. The officer appointed to such vacancy shall serve for the remainder of the term of the officer replaced.
6. Multiple Offices. No person shall simultaneously hold more than one of the separate offices enumerated in Article VIII.
7. Duties of the Officers. The duties of the officers are as follows:
a. The President or a duly delegated representative shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Trustees and at all meetings of the Members. The President shall also appoint the Chair of the Nominating Committee; the Chair of the Program Committee; the Special Committee of the Board of Trustees to nominate the Executive Director in appropriate years; and any other committees necessary to carry out the purposes and functions of the Association. The President shall also chair the Executive Committee.
b. The Vice-President shall succeed to the Presidency of the Association upon the death, disability, or resignation of the President and shall automatically become President after serving one year as Vice-President. The Vice-President shall serve on the Executive Committee and shall chair the program planning meetings at the annual meeting.
Article IX: Executive Director
1. The Executive Director shall sign all leases, mortgages, deeds, contracts, and other written instruments and promissory notes, upon approval of the Board of Trustees; and he or she may sign all contracts necessary in the normal course of business; shall sign all checks; and shall serve as Treasurer. The Executive Director or his or her designated employees shall also receive and deposit in appropriate bank accounts all monies of the Association; keep proper books of account; and cause a general audit of the books to be made triennially by a certified public accountant. The Executive Director shall be responsible for the filing of the annual corporate income tax return to the United States and local governments (when applicable), and for filing any reports which may from time to time be required of the Association under law. The Executive Director shall also prepare an annual statement of income and expenditures to be presented to the Board of Trustees at its regular annual meeting.
2. The Executive Director shall hire, supervise, and, as needed, discharge Association employees.
3. The Executive Director or his or her designated employees shall serve notice of meetings of the Board and of the annual meeting of the Members.
4. The Executive Director shall also cause to be recorded the votes at all meetings of the Board and Members.
5. The Executive Director or his or her designated employees shall keep current records showing the Members of the Association together with their addresses.
6. The Executive Director shall be responsible for the organizing of the annual meeting of Members, its program, and its physical circumstances, and of all matters pertaining to the proper expediting of this and other meetings held by the Association or its Trustees.
Article X: Meeting of Members
1. Annual Meeting. A regular annual meeting of the Members shall be held each year at the time and place designated by the Executive Director and approved by the Trustees. Each annual meeting shall be devoted to the study of the work of William Shakespeare, the cultural and theatrical milieu in which he lived and wrote, and the various roles these have played in both Anglo-American and world cultures. Normally, annual meetings of the membership will occur on the most practicable dates during the months of March or April.
2. Notice of Meeting. Written notice of meetings of the Members shall be given by, or at the direction of, the Executive Director, by sending a copy of such notice in electronic form, at least sixty (60) days before such meeting to each Member in good standing, addressed to the Member’s address last appearing in the records of the Association or supplied by such Member to the Association for the purpose of notice. Such notice shall specify the place(s), days, and schedule of the meeting.
Article XI: Resolutions and Other Business
1. The elections and business of the Association shall be conducted by written ballot.
2. All members in good standing may vote by ballot upon such issues as shall arise for the consideration of and presentation to the membership. Such ballots shall be prepared, mailed or posted, and tabulated by the Executive Director upon instructions by the Board of Trustees.
3. All elections and business for consideration by the membership must be submitted by the Trustees to a ballot of the Members at least six (6) weeks before the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees.
4. Resolutions may originate with the Trustees or may be submitted to the decision of the Trustees by written petition of fifty (50) Members in good standing. Such petitions must be received by the Executive Director at least eight (8) weeks before the time of the annual meeting.
5. All issues and resolutions submitted to a written ballot shall be adopted by a majority of those voting.
Article XII: Miscellaneous
The books, records, and papers of the Association shall be at all times, during reasonable business hours, subject to inspection by any member upon petition to and approval by the Board of Trustees. The Constitution of the Association shall be made available in public electronic form.
Article XIII: Fiscal Year
The fiscal year of the Association shall begin on the first day of January and end on the thirty-first day of December.
Article XIV: Indemnification and Insurance
The Association (a) shall, to the fullest extent required or hereinafter required by law, and (b) may, to the fullest extent now or hereafter permitted by law: indemnify any person made, or threatened to be made, a party to any action, proceeding, or investigation by reason of the fact that he or she or his or her testator was a director, officer, employee, or agent of the Association, against judgments, fines, amounts paid in settlement, and reasonable expenses, including attorneys’ fees. No indemnification may be made to or on behalf of any such person if (a) his or her acts were committed in bad faith or were the result of his or her active and deliberate dishonesty and were material to such action or proceeding, or (b) he or she personally gained in fact a financial profit or other advantage to which he or she was not legally entitled.
The Association shall have the power to purchase and maintain insurance to indemnify the Association for any obligation which it incurs as a result of its indemnification of directors, officers, agents, and employees pursuant to the paragraph above, or to indemnify such persons in instances in which they may be indemnified pursuant to the paragraph above.
Article XV: Amendments
Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by the Board of Trustees or by written petition signed by at least fifty (50) Members in good standing. Such proposed amendments shall be submitted to a ballot of the membership and shall become effective upon approval of two-thirds (2/3) of those voting.
Amended 15 February 2017
The Bylaws Committee has as its charge:
To develop Bylaws consolidating and clarifying operational policies and procedures.
To advise on changes to the Constitution necessary to accommodate the creation of Bylaws, including adjustments to governance structures in light of the organization’s growth and expansion.
Bylaws Committee Members
Erika Lin (Representative)