“Shakespeare and Belonging”

Dr. Ruben Espinosa
Thursday, October 6 at 7 pm
Winants Auditorium in Graves Hall

The 2022 Clarence De Graaf Memorial Lecture will feature Dr. Ruben Espinosa, associate professor of English and associate director of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Arizona State University. Professor Espinosa’s address is titled “Shakespeare and Belonging.” The lecture will take place on Thursday, October 6, at 7 p.m. in Winants Auditorium, Graves Hall.

Professor Espinosa holds a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is a former Trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America and currently serves on the editorial boards of the Shakespeare QuarterlyExemplaria and Palgrave’s Early Modern Cultural Studies series.

He is the author of Shakespeare and the Shades of Racism (2021) and Masculinity and Marian Efficacy in Shakespeare’s England (2011). He is also the editor, with David Ruiter, of Shakespeare and Immigration (2014).  He is currently at work on his next monograph, Shakespeare on the Border: Language, Legitimacy, and La Frontera. 

By critically examining the intersections of Shakespeare and Latinx culture in film, media, fiction, social networks, localized adaptations and other forms of popular culture, Professor Espinosa’s presentation will explore how perceptions of legitimacy for U.S. Latinxs often influence the barriers and bridges that define their encounters with Shakespeare. A move toward the U.S.-Mexico border allows for underrepresented perspectives in the ongoing making of Shakespeare through varied discussions of national and linguistic identity, race, ethnicity, gender, economics, ethics, citizenship, assimilation, legitimacy and legacy. 

Shakespeare and the Shades of Racism has been described as “a deeply humane and incisive rebuttal to the whitewashed, socially conscious Shakespeare projects popular within the Shakespeare industry” and a book that focuses on “the uneasy relation between our current social ills and those that Shakespeare depicts.”


We thank his daughter Ruth De Graaf Dirkse and his son-in-law Lamont Dirkse, and the rest of Dr. De Graaf’s family, for this gift. Over the years the De Graaf lecture has brought us a procession of luminaries. It was initiated by Thomas Werge of Notre Dame, who had been one of Dr. De Graaf’s students; since then we have been privileged to hear from such admired scholars as Lawrence Buell, V. A. Kolve, Jane Tompkins, Suresh Canagarajah, Anne Curzan and Syl Cheney-Coker.

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