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2021 ECR Plenary Speakers

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Vanessa Lim

Vanessa Lim is a Postdoctoral Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. Her research is interested in the literary and intellectual history of the early modern period, with a special emphasis on Shakespeare and classical rhetoric in the Renaissance. She is currently working on her first monograph, Shakespeare’s Deliberative Art, which explores how Shakespeare rhetorically depicts the process of moral and political decision-making in what might be called his ‘deliberative’ works. As well as offering new readings of plays such as Julius Caesar and Hamlet, the book argues that a particularly rhetorical way of thinking and arguing determines the possibilities of—but also the limits on—ethical reflection and even action in these texts. From September 2021, Vanessa will spend some time as a visiting scholar at the University of Fribourg completing the monograph and beginning a new project on prose fiction. 

Amrita Dhar


Amrita Dhar is Assistant Professor of English at The Ohio State University. Her main research interests are in early modern studies and disability studies. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to complete her first monograph, Milton’s Blind Language, which examines the workings of blindness towards the making of Milton’s last long poetry. Her next project, Regarding Sight and Blindness in Early Modern Literature: Crossings of Disability, Race, and Empire, traces attitudes towards sight and blindness in early modern English literature to examine the relationship between the cultural production of disability and the intertwined phenomena of early modern global contact, race-making, and belonging. She is also an active climber and mountaineer and writes on world mountaineering literatures.

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Justin P. Shaw


Justin P. Shaw is an Assistant Professor of English at Clark University, in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, where he teaches and researches Shakespeare and early modern English literature. His work explores the intersections of race, emotions, disability, and medicine in 16th and 17th Century texts. He is completing a book project that examines the work of melancholy and forgetting in the constructions of race in early modern drama. Committed to both public and traditional scholarship, his work appears in the peer-reviewed journal Early Theatre, in the forthcoming critical volume, White People in Shakespeare, forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan, and has been discussed on NPR and podcasts such as A Bit Lit. He has helped to design exhibits for the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University such as, Desire & Consumption: The New World in the Age of Shakespeare, consulted on the exhibit First Folio: The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, and has re-developed the extensive digital humanities project, Shakespeare and the Players (

Dr. Emer McHugh


Dr Emer McHugh specialises in Shakespeare and Ireland, early modern performance studies, gender and sexuality studies, and theatre and celebrity. Her forthcoming monograph, Irish Shakespeares: Gender, Sexuality, and Performance in the Twenty-First Century (Routledge), demonstrates the use of Shakespeare performance by Irish theatre-makers to articulate issues and concerns about gender and sexual politics during periods of significant social change. She has recent and forthcoming publications on Irish Shakespeare performance, theatre history, and Irish feminism in The Taming of the Shrew: The State of Play; Navigating Ireland’s Theatre Archive: Theory, Practice, Performance; Shakespeare Survey; and Shakespeare and Anti-Fandom.


Future projects include Stage Traffic: Shakespeare and the Irish Actor, a history of the Irish Shakespearean; The Idea of the Shakespearean Actor, a collection co-edited with Sally Barnden and Miranda Fay Thomas; and a history of Twelfth Night in performance for Manchester UP’s Shakespeare in Performance series. She is currently Research Assistant on the Early Modern Studies in the Global Classroom project at NUI Galway. Having been a BritGrad veteran throughout her postgraduate studies (as well as the recipient of the BritGrad Abstract Prize and a Lizz Ketterer Trust bursary in 2016), she is delighted to be invited back as a plenary speaker. 

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Ella Hawkins


Ella Hawkins completed her AHRC M3CDTP-funded PhD at the Shakespeare Institute in 2020. Her doctoral thesis explores how Elizabethan and Jacobean dress has been recreated and reinvented in contemporary costume design for Shakespeare. This research will be published by Bloomsbury in 2022 as a research monograph titled Shakespeare in Elizabethan Costume: ‘Period Dress’ in Twenty-First-Century Performance. Ella has also worked with the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and the Royal Shakespeare Company on various projects relating to theatre history.

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