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UC Santa Cruz to host ‘Freedom, Justice, Difference: The Merchant of Venice Now’ at museum

October 25, 2017

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Since it was first performed in 1605, The Merchant of Venice has been one of Shakespeare’s most controversial works. For the past 400 years, a debate has raged among critics and scholars over whether or not it is anti-Semitic.

The play is both lauded and loathed, depending on who you talk to.

As writer Stephen Greenblatt wrote in a recent New Yorker magazine piece titled Shakespeare’s Cure for Xenophobia: What ‘The Merchant of Venice’ taught me about ethnic hatred and the literary imagination,“Even now, more than four centuries later, the unsettling that the play provokes remains a beautiful and disturbing experience.”

On Tuesday, November 7, UC Santa Cruz’s Institute for Humanities Research will bring Karin Coonrod, the founding director of Italy’s Compagnia de’ Colombari theater company, to the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History for a public discussion of her groundbreaking production of The Merchant of Venice, staged last year in the Venice Ghetto.

The panel will also include Nathaniel Deutsch, history professor and director of the Center for Jewish Studies at UC Santa Cruz; and Sean Keilen, professor of literature and director of Shakespeare Workshop in the Humanities Division at UCSC.

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