Shakespeare Association of America

J. Leeds Barroll Dissertation Prize

The J. Leeds Barroll Dissertation Prize recognizes doctoral work with a significant Shakespeare component.

Dissertations submitted for the 2021 prize must have been approved between 1 September 2019 and 1 September 2020. Applicants must be SAA members in good standing.

Applications are comprised of three parts:

  • A completed online form.
  • An unsigned, anonymous cover letter of no more than two pages, providing an abstract of the dissertation, giving context for the submitted writing sample (see below).
  • Twenty pages (maximum) from the introduction to the dissertation or from any chapter of the applicant’s choice.  (The submission need not comprise a complete chapter.) Page headers must be purged of author names, and notes should not reveal author identity or affiliation.

The cover letter and writing sample should be in twelve-point Times Roman font, double-spaced, and with standard (one-inch) margins.

Submissions must be thoroughly anonymized, with no names or affiliations in the page headers and no author identities betrayed in notes or in acknowledgments. Submissions that have been incompletely anonymized will not be considered.

A short list of candidates will be asked to submit copies of their full dissertations for further review. Application materials are reviewed by a committee headed by a member of the SAA’s Board of Trustees.

The Dissertation Prize is presented at the SAA’s Annual Luncheon each year.

The deadline for applications is 1 October 2020.

Congratulations to William Steffen, recipient of the 2020 J. Leeds Barroll Dissertation Prize!

Will Steffen is an assistant professor of English at American International College in Springfield, MA. He defended his dissertation, “Globalizing Nature on the Shakespearean Stage,” in September of 2018, and he received his doctorate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in February 2019. His work has been featured in the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies and is forthcoming in Renaissance Drama.

“Globalizing Nature” revises the anthropocentric narrative of early globalization from the perspective of the non-human world on the early modern stage, and locates in early modern performance practices the origins of a “Theater of the Anthropocene,” which regards performance as a fluctuation between human intention and unplanned accident in the context of European globalization. A Theater of the Anthropocene upholds the unpredictability of performance, and makes room for ecological factors to influence the meaning of a given performance. It also offers strategies for confronting ecological crises during the supposed final “Age of Man”—strategies which can be useful to modern audiences who are also confronting a changing global environment. During a moment when the effects of human behaviors are blurring the distinction between what is human and what is natural, “Globalizing Nature” seeks to recover an early modern ethos of alliance between humans and Nature from an otherwise violent human narrative of ecological imperialism and the Anthropocene.