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date: 07 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This Introduction offers a map of the current state of feminism in Shakespeare studies by inquiring into its key terms, concepts, and critical values. After describing four theoretical propositions that orient much feminist scholarship and providing a brief genealogy of feminist Shakespeare criticism, I explore the tensions in the field between gender and sexuality studies and gender and studies of race and ethnicity, paying particular attention to intersectionality. Arguing that contradictions and conflicts within feminism are a sign of health, not decline, I advocate continuing the strategic border crossing that has long energized feminist thought. I conclude by suggesting that the term ‘embodiment’ provides a heuristic sufficiently capacious to articulate the complex, intersecting, and historical relations of power, identity, agency, and struggle that remain among feminism’s core critical investments.

Keywords: agency, contradiction, embodiment, feminism, intersectionality, method, queer studies, race, sexuality, theory

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