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ERIC Number: EJ894021
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-0155-2147
Claire Danes's Star-Body, Teen Female Viewers and the Pluralisation of Authorship in Baz Luhrmann's "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet"
Keam, Angela
English in Australia, v43 n2 p39-46 2008
Teaching William Shakespeare's canonical tragedy "Romeo and Juliet" to teenagers in the context of the English classroom in Australia is not a particularly new pedagogical practice. In the year 2008, when many teachers (particularly those with a feminist bent such as I) are intent on guiding their students to decipher the ideological motivations underpinning the canonical cultural capital associated with Shakespeare, there is no denying the intellectual growth that a study of his texts initiates in students. However, as a teacher at an all girls' school, I am most interested in identifying alternative ways that teachers might be able to resurrect this canonical figure within the paradigms of the English classroom in a manner that invites young females to deconstruct the cultural capital associated with this figure, and perhaps appropriate some of this to shape their own developing identities. Unsurprisingly, and like most teachers intent on making Shakespeare's most famous romance tragedy accessible to students, I have found Baz Luhrmann's box office smash "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet" (1996) to be an invaluable teaching resource. Understanding this film as kick-starting what I term the "Shakesteen" film genre, I locate the star-body of Claire Danes in this film as providing teen female viewers with an alternative access point into Luhrmann's film, Shakespeare's play and the character of Juliet. Studying the ways teen female fans' identification with Danes exceeds the constraints of the filmic narrative I explore the implications of this relationship for the experimentation of different models of femininity within the classroom and the ways in which this type of extra-textual interaction can potentially, through the star-body of Claire Danes, make Shakespeare's cultural power accessible to young women. (Contains 2 notes.)
Australian Association for the Teaching of English. English House, 416 Magill Road, Kensington Gardens, SA 5068 Australia. Tel: +61-8-8332-2845; Fax: +61-8-8333-0394; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia