Events Archive

February 26, 2008
The Jewish Law Society Presents
Shakespeare in the Courtroom: The Nature of Justice and the Art of Anti-Semitism

Speaker: Performed by the American Shakespeare Center
Time: 5:30 pm
Location: Wynne Courtroom
Contact: Tickets for this event can be reserved by contacting the English department at 274-9841 or

Shakespeare in the Courtroom: The Nature of Justice and the Art of Anti-Semitism
On Tuesday, February 26, at 5:30 pm, the touring arm of The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) will perform the courtroom scene from A Merchant of Venice in the IU School of Law School’s Wynne Courtroom. The performance will be followed by a discussion featuring distinguished professors and activists who will react to the scene, and then take questions from the audience.

The courtroom scene includes Portia’s speech “The quality of mercy is not strained” (which she delivers dressed as a young male lawyer). It is Shakespeare’s most sustained exploration of the nature of justice and law, as well as one of the most infamous and influential works of art in the history of anti-Semitism. Despite Portia’s rhetoric, Shylock is given little, if any mercy. As a Jew in Christian Venice, relegated to a ghetto by night and barred from most economic pursuits, Shylock lends money at interest to Christians – a practice that Church law prohibits for Christians. A Christian merchant, Antonio, reviles Jewish lenders even as he requires their services for his trade. This event will explore the relationship between law and justice, anti-Semitism and Jewish-Christian relations, gender, debt and capitalism… Even after 400 years, these issues resonate with contemporary audiences! The panel will be moderated by Robert Katz, Professor of Law and Philanthropic Studies. This event is co-sponsored by the Jewish Law Society, a student organization at IU School of Law – Indianapolis and the Department of English in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Tickets are free (with presentation of Jagtag) to IU/IUPUI students, faculty, and staff, and $10 for all others. To reserve your seat, call Vicki Hale at 274-3824 or e-mail Parking is available for a nominal fee at the Natatorium Garage two blocks west of the law school.

Panelists include:

  • R. George Wright, Lawrence A. Jegen III Professor of Law at the IU School of Law--Indianapolis, who teaches and writes on jurisprudence and constitutional law.
  • Mary Mitchell, Alan H. Cohen Professor of Law at the IU School of Law--Indianapolis, who teaches Law and Literature.
  • Terri Bourus, Associate Professor of English at the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, who teaches and writes on Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama.
  • John G. Rudy, Professor Emeritus of English, at Indiana University Kokomo, whose thirty-six year career introduced students and scholars to the joys of Shakespeare and his influences on later writers.
  • Clark M. Williamson, Indiana Professor of Christian Thought, Emeritus, at Christian Theological Seminary, who studies Christian theology after the Holocaust. He is a member of the committee on the Church and the Holocaust of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and of the Christian Scholars Group on Judaism.
  • Alan Goldstein, a partner at the law firm of Ice Miller, LLP, and past president of Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, the public affairs and intergroup relations agency of the Indianapolis Jewish community, which aims to safeguard the rights of Jews and promote a pluralistic society. Alan was also an English major as an undergraduate, and graduated from IU Law-Indy.

The ASC in Indianapolis:
The American Shakespeare Center’s week-long residency at IUPUI includes three other public performances at the Christian Theological Seminary’s Shelton Theatre: Henry V on Thursday, February 28 and Saturday, March 1 (each at 7:00), and The Merchant of Venice on Sunday, March 2, at 2 p.m, in addition to high school performances in Indianapolis on February 25 and Kokomo on February 29. Tickets for any show can be reserved by contacting the English department at 274-9841 or

The American Shakespeare Center -- through its performances, theatres, ons, and educational programs -- seeks to make Shakespeare, the joys of theatre and language, and the communal experience of the Renaissance stage accessible to all. By re-creating Renaissance conditions of performance, the ASC explores its repertory of plays for a better understanding of these great works and of the human theatrical enterprise past, present, and future.
This evening is made possible, in part, by a grant from the New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Program, which is supported by the Lilly Foundation and administered by IU Office of the Vice-President for Research.