Shakespeare today is a global phenomenon: over five hundred years after his death, the playwright's legacy continues to flourish with new performances, reworkings, appropriations, and adaptations continuously produced across the world in a range of languages and across various media. Once exported along with the ideologies and practices of empire, Shakespeare's works have now become an index for the complex histories of colonialism and postcolonialism as well as a crucial site for studying processes of racialization, constructions of gender across time, and debates over the universalizing idea of "the human." How did Shakespeare become global? Was the cultural imagination of his plays always already global, written at a time with the very notion of the modern world as we know was being shaped? Have modern adaptations of Shakespeare's plays made them global and able to cross cultures—or are these versions merely responding to early modern debates about globalization, identity and cultural politics that were already embedded in the drama?