What is Yassified Shakespeare?
Let’s talk about it.
What happens when we remix the early modern and the digitized trendy? What does it say about audiences, popular culture (both historical and contemporary), and adaptation? Two scholars are on a journey to find out.
Dr. Trevor Boffone and Dr. Danielle Rosvally call this "Yassified Shakespeare." Yassified Shakespeare is a genre of Millennial and post-Millennial appropriation of Shakespeare’s name, persona, and/or work that queers itself in the process of adaptation. It remixes Shakespeare’s cultural capital with a sexy, genre-specific, hyper-contemporary aesthetic. Think & Juliet, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Renaissance faire performers who become Shakespeare, and Shakespearean remixes and appropriations on TikTok (for example).
While Yassified Shakespeare incorporates theories of performance and performance history, our work runs deeper than that. Yassified Shakespeare is a multimedia project that interrogates how academic labor functions. Yes, we’re writing a book about Yassified Shakespeare, but while we’re writing the book we’re also thinking about bigger-picture questions. How do we, as scholars, communicate with each other, our students, and the public? What platforms can we use to best reach wide audiences, and how does interaction with those audiences in turn feed academic inquiry? What do we gain from incorporating public-facing scholarship at every step of the process when we undertake a large academic project, and how can that labor feed itself to create a new paradigm of academic writing? And what does this all have to do with Shakespeare?
As we’re writing and making content, we’re working to demystify the process of academic publication. Our TikTok uses principles of applied theatre (community building, educating audiences, inviting collaboration from these audiences, and giving powerful voice to marginalized peoples) to pull back the curtain of what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and how it works.
In addition to TikTok, we take every opportunity to speak with groups of scholars about how they, too, can make their work more public-facing. Our workshop series teaches colleagues and students to engage with the paradigms we’re piloting with the hopes of drafting more inclusive academic communities. We believe very strongly in the value of connection, and we hope to be the change we want to see in the world.
One yass at a time.
Come join us on TikTok @yassifiedshax.