Dr. George Elliott Clarke will deliver the 2016 Dr. Saul Green Memorial Lecture, titled, “Race,” Mental Health, and the Body Politic: Comments on Shakespeare’s Theatricalization of these Interlocking Concerns, in Alumni Hall, New Academic Building.

Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is complicatedly complicit with anti-Semitism and his Othello features a black hero who attracts the racist enmity of elements of the Venetian Republic’s Establishment.  These capsule assessments of both plays are verifiable, if, at the same time, relatively superficial.

In his lecture, George Elliott Clarke will examine several Shakespeare plays that scruple to dramatize “racial” difference, while also offering competing counter-narratives that align the experience of victimization with mental health disorders, and that, ironically may entertain the socio-political liberation of one group of subjugated persons, while welcoming (or ignoring) the continued suppression of others.

The 4th Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15) and 7th Parliamentary Poet Laureate (2016-17), George Elliott Clarke is a revered poet. Now teaching African-Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto, Clarke has taught at Duke, McGill, the University of British Columbia, and Harvard. He holds eight honorary doctorates, plus appointments to the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada.

His recognitions include the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellows Prize, the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, the Premiul Poesis (Romania), the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction, the Eric Hoffer Book Award for Poetry (US), and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award.

Dr. Saul Green was a graduate of Dalhousie University’s Medical School. He was a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada as well as the American College of Surgeons. A founding member of the Shaar Shalom Synagogue, Dr. Green cared deeply about the relationship between Judaism, medicine, and humanitarianism.

Shaar Shalom Synagogue is a conservative congregation providing egalitarian religious services, and educational and cultural programs that enhance Judaism for its individuals, its families and its community. Shaar Shalom is committed to learning, fellowship and community.