This course studies a number of Shakespeare plays (usually 3-4) in relation to the genre they belong to, the theatrical conventions they employ, and the themes they deal with. The texts of the Shakespearean plays are considered sites of cultural production where certain ways of thinking about the world and human relationships are endorsed, impeded, or simply set in conflict. They are analyzed not as static entities but in a dialogue with the era that produced them and with later eras that consumed them, especially the late 20th and early 21st century. Thus close textual analyses will be supplemented by extensive references to significant theatrical productions and cinematic interpretations. The main objectives of the course are: (1) to enable students to understand the conditions in which Shakespeare wrote his plays, (2) to help students relate the plays to the early modern period and our postmodern times. Method of assessment: (1) in-class oral presentations on some aspect of the course [optional], and (2) a comprehensive essay-type exam at the end of the semester.