ENGL719C - Seminar in Renaissance Literature; Shakespeare and Social Justice

The exigencies of movements like Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and Occupy Wall Street, to name a few, are compelling a rigorous re-evaluation of Shakespeare’s work, and our own critical suppositions and approaches. In this seminar, we will engage current scholarship on early modern conceptions of race and black African agency; Shakespearean stagings of sexual consent; the intersections of disability studies and Shakespearean performance histories; transgender studies and Shakespearean modes of embodiment; and Shakespeare’s sets as sites of environmental ethics.  While we will focus on texts such as Othello, The Tempest, Timon of Athens, Measure for Measure, Richard the Third, Twelfth Night, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, our aim is to engage a wide spectrum of social issues in a broad scholarly framework. Of particular interest will be current debates in the field of early modern studies about methodologies, archives, periodization, and comparative analyses. Requirements include several in-class presentations, weekly short reading responses, and a final research project, which may be one of the following: an article-length paper; a collaborative project; a digital or multimodal project; a set of course materials (pedagogical portfolio); or an archival project.  Expect to attend at least one performance and to spend one class period conducting research at the Folger Shakespeare Library.   


Meets the MA LIT Medieval and/or Early Modern Requirement