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Renaissance Studies: Re-orienting the Renaissance

ENGL 736.401
T 9-12

Colonialism was in its infancy during Shakespeare's time, but his culture had already begun to be profoundly reshaped by contact with the different lands and peoples which to be colonised by Europeans. This seminar will explore how early modern English contact with the 'East" 're-orients' our perspective on inter-cultural relations 'race' and colonialism in the period, and also allows us to re-think certain tenets of post-colonial theory and theories of race. The 'East' includes the Levant and Mediterranean, North Africa, India and the Moluccas, but we'll also read literature concerning Ireland, the New World and Jews in order to see the differences and overlaps between them. We’ll also think about the relationship between travel literature and the theater, and their contribution to the emergence of a public sphere in early modern England. Readings will include plays by Marlowe, Shakespeare, Heywood, Massinger, and Fletcher; travel writings by Walter Ralegh, Spenser, Lithgow, Biddulph, Sandys, Dallam, Africanus, and Argensola, as well as key critical and theoretical texts.

Besides vigorous weekly participation in the seminars, members of the seminar will be required to complete the following assignments: 1) a 15-20 minute formal oral presentation, 2) a 5-10 page short paper, and 3) a 20+ page end of semester research paper.

Fulfills 1 & 5 requirements.