Shakespearean Charity and the Perils of Redemptive Performance

Part of Elements in Shakespeare Performance
Authors :

Todd Landon BarnesRamapo College of New Jersey

Publisher Cambridge University Press
Publication Year April 2020
Copyright Year 2020
ISBN 9781108743167
Language English


This Element examines recent documentaries depicting marginalized youth who are ostensibly redeemed by their encounters with Shakespeare. These films emerge in response to four historical and discursive developments: the rise of reality television and its emphasis on the emotional transformation of the private individual; the concomitant rise of neoliberalism and emotional capitalism, which employ therapeutic discourses to individualize social inequality; the privatization of public education and the rise of so-called “no-excuses” or “new paternalist” charter schools; and the emergence of new modes of address infusing evangelical conversion narratives with a therapeutic self-help ethos.