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We are very proud to be hosting the 2014 British Shakespeare Association conference in the venerable old city of Stirling. This is a landmark occasion: it is both the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and the first time that the conference has come to Scotland.

The conference will explore questions questions of authority for Shakespeare, in Shakespeare, and about Shakespeare. It aims to investigate the relationship between text, power, and authority in the writing of Shakespeare and writing about Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s works ask us repeatedly to think about what constitutes authority, about where authority lies, and about the performance of authority. Shakespeare’s works also force us to think about textual authority. What is textual authority? What makes one text more authoritative than another? What role does copyright play here? How have ideas of textual authority changed over time?

Papers and panels will therefore address these questions, among many others. Topics to be discussed will include, but are not limited to, biblical and classical authorities, monarchy and sovereignty, and the representation and performance of power. Shakespeare’s works have also themselves repeatedly been used as authority, and we will also explore some of the different ways in which his plays and poems have been deployed in various times and places. How is Shakespeare used in schools? What is his relationship to discussions about national identity? In the year of the referendum on Scottish independence, we particularly welcome contributions that explore ‘Scottish Shakespeare(s)’.

The conference will take place on the beautifully landscaped main campus of the University of Stirling. The programme will include lectures, papers, workshops, seminars, performances, and excursions to the Library of Innerpeffray (Crieff), Stirling Castle, and a whisky tasting organised by the Famous Grouse distillery. There will also be special workshops and sessions directed towards pedagogy. A highlight of the programme will be an outdoor performance of a Shakespeare play by the Glaswegian theatre company Bard in the Botanics. Confirmed keynote speakers are Professor Margreta de Grazia (University of Pennsylvania), Professor Andrew Murphy (University of St Andrews), Professor John Drakakis (University of Stirling), Dr Colin Burrow (University of Oxford), and Dr Michael Bogdanov, co-founder of the English Shakespeare Company.