Shakespeare, Humanity Indicators, and the Seven Deadly Sins


  • Peter Holland University of Notre Dame


Macbeth, Dr. Who, Humanities


Given the current obsession in universities with "Humanities Indicators," this article proposes a new measure for Shakespeare studies: "humanity indicators." It traces the possibilities for such measurement of using different senses of "humanity" derived from the OED by examining three different versions of Shakespeare in popular and elite culture: an episode of Doctor Who in which the Doctor meets Shakespeare (The Shakespeare Code, 2007); an opera in which a version of Macbeth is sung by baboons (The Okavango Macbeth, 2009); and the graphic novel by Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col, Kill Shakespeare (2010-11). Finally, it turns to the implications for Shakespeare studies of the brutal and racist state law in Arizona that has led to the closure of Mexican-American Studies in schools across the state.

Author Biography

Peter Holland, University of Notre Dame

Peter Holland is McMeel Family Professor in Shakespeare Studies in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, and Associate Dean for the Arts at the University of Notre Dame. He moved there in 2002 from his position as Director of The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon and professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham. He is editor of Shakespeare Survey, co-General Editor with Stanley Wells of Oxford Shakespeare Topics(Oxford University Press) and co-General Editor with Adrian Poole of Great Shakespeareans (Continuum Books). He is currently completing his edition of Coriolanus for the Arden Shakespeare, third series.