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UCSB’s Interdisciplinary Taubman Symposia to Stage Lecture by Visiting Scholar Shaul Bassi

Shaul Bassi

The Taubman Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB will present a free lecture by Shaul Bassi titled "Shylock in Venice: Staging Shakespeare in the Ghetto" at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, in ​UCSB Corwin Pavilion

The talk will mark two landmark anniversaries that coincide in 2016: the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and the 500th anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, a place that would give its name to such segregated areas worldwide and serve as the historical backdrop for Shakespeare’s most controversial play, The Merchant of Venice.

Founded in 1516, the ghetto became an historic crossroads for international Jewish experience and a cosmopolitan site of dialog between Jews, Muslims and Christians.

The setting and the play are fundamentally ambivalent artifacts of European civilization, having been both instruments of intolerance and catalysts for cultural exchange.

This lecture reflects on the legacy of the Ghetto and the international effort now underway to stage The Merchant of Venice there for the very first time in July 2016.

Shaul Bassi is an associate professor of English Literature at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice as well as a co-founder and director of Beit Venezia: A Home for Jewish Culture.

He is the author of Shakespeare’s Italy and Italy’s Shakespeare: Place, “Race,” and Politics (forthcoming) and the co-author of Shakespeare in Venice: Exploring the City with Shylock and Othello.

This event is presented by the Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB.

— Kelli Coleman Moore and Hamza Mannan are staff assistants for the Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB.


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