Jessica Slights, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of English & Theatre
Phone: (902) 585-1387
My primary area of scholarly expertise is Shakespearean drama so I approach issues of cultural diversity from an historical as well as a philosophical perspective. One of my current projects, for instance, is an edition of Othello for the Internet Shakespeare Editions and Broadview Press. My work on the play itself and on its complex reception history involves developing an understanding of how such matters as race, ethnicity, citizenship, gender, and religion were constructed in early modern England and how they have been understood and deployed in various communities since then. I have also begun to explore in broader theoretical terms the multiples roles that literature plays in shaping and evaluating communities. In recent years I’ve worked with Acadia students in a senior seminar setting to situate the new wave of film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays within the tradition of cultural studies. Our collective goal has been to investigate not only how theoretical accounts of the relationship of art to politics can inform our understanding of a new body of cinematic work, but also to consider how these theoretical accounts are in turn being shaped by the interventions of new generations of interpreters of Shakespeare and their perspectives on such contentious contemporary issues as environmentalism, globalization, and the limits of tolerance.