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COMMENTS 

From Indyref to Indignados: how passions and politics mix

As Scotland heads to the polls, this piece discusses the extent to which emotions have arrived at the heart of contemporary politics – yet we still hesitate to admit it. Emotions can neither be banished nor ignored when we discuss what constitutes political communities, how political decisions should be made and political action springs into being. Yet to embrace the rise of emotional politics without acknowledging how intimately it is and should be entangled with reason equally risks undermining just political action.
Dr Uta Staiger
18 September 2014
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Starts: Sep 18, 2014 12:00:00 AM

10 things you need to know about what will happen if Scotland votes yes

As the Scottish independence referendum draws closer the outcome is hard to predict. Both Westminster politicians and the wider public are asking what – in practical terms – would happen if the Scots were to vote Yes. Robert Hazell offers a 10-point overview of what the road to independence might look like.
Professor Robert Hazell
9 September 2014
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Starts: Sep 9, 2014 12:00:00 AM

The truth is, Scandinavia is neither heaven nor hell

The Nordic countries have received exceptionally good press in the UK - at least until earlier this year, when British travel writer and resident of Denmark, Michael Booth, claimed to dispel the of Scandinavia as the perfect place to live. Many are now confused. Is everything we believed about the social ideals of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland a lie? Well, not entirely but we’re not all drunk serial killers either.
Dr Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen
19 August 2014 More...

Starts: Sep 8, 2014 12:00:00 AM

Cleopatra DVDs now on sale

19 June 2013

Watch the first performance of Daniel’s tragedy in at least four hundred years.

Samuel Daniel’s neo-Senecan closet drama, The Tragedie of Cleopatra, was presented by the Centre for Early Modern Exchanges in March 2013. This was the first performance of Daniel’s tragedy in at least four hundred years. 

DVDs of this rare and sold-out production are now available for research and teaching purposes and to anyone with an interest in Daniel and his Cleopatra.

Purchase your copy



The staging

Samuel Daniel’s Tragedie of Cleopatra (1594) is the first English drama about Cleopatra and a source for Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. This production arose from the PhD research of Yasmin Arshad (UCL, English) and brought together a talented production team from a wide range of UCL departments.

The production explored early modern attitudes to race and national identity. The play centres on tensions between Egypt and Rome and on a non-European heroine who is fascinatingly different from Shakespeare’s Cleopatra in her nobility and stoicism. It is a sequel to Mary Sidney’s translation of Robert Garnier’s Antonie, making it an English play about an Egyptian queen inspired by a translation from French of a neo-Senecan tragedy. As such it demonstrates that cultural dialogue across and beyond Europe was the engine of artistic and intellectual innovation in the early modern period. 

The production also overturned the widespread perception that women did not participate in drama in Shakespeare’s time. Although female roles were taken by boys in commercial playhouses such as the Globe, Daniel’s play belongs to a genre (sometimes called ‘closet drama’) performed in country house settings with actors including women. Excitingly, Yasmin Arshad has discovered a portrait of a Jacobean lady in costume as Cleopatra, inscribed with lines from Daniel’s play.

By investigating the history of relations between performance, race, and gender in early modern Europe this production will enhance our understanding of these issues in the present.

This project was supported by UCL European Institute's call for proposals 2012-13