ENGL428X - Seminar in Language and Literature: Shakespeare and the Age of Globalization

Global trade, colonial expansion, and the conditions of Diaspora date as far back as antiquity.  But is globalization a twenty-first century phenomenon?  The theater in which Shakespeare’s plays were performed was called the Globe.  But did audience members think of themselves as part of a world system?  How did people respond to the monkey as a novel stage prop?  Why are so many plays set in port cities?  Which characters use tobacco and what does this tell us?  In this course we will explore a seventeenth century “global cultural economy,” paying particular attention to what sorts of feelings accompany a developing global consciousness.  We will investigate how England’s commercial encounters with Africa, the Americas, the Mediterranean, and Asia influenced dramatic representations of religious and cultural “others,” as well as portrayals of English cosmopolitans.  While Shakespeare remains at the center of this course, we will discuss his plays in light of accounts of cross- cultural encounters and dramatists before and after who shaped our imagination globalization. You will be asked to write an annotated bibliography, a literature review and a literary analysis.

Repeatable to 9 credits if content differs.


Junior standing or higher; and must be in English Language and Literature program.