ENG32680 Global Renaissance

Academic Year 2023/2024

With increased travel and trade, and the advance of Europe’s competitive imperialism, the early modern period is often considered crucial in the history of globalization. Recent scholarship presents early modern English drama as not just the vehicle but an agent and driver of “cosmopolitan” or global consciousness – of a phenomenon recently identified as the ‘global Renaissance’. This module studies how early modern English literature, in particular, explores (and serves) global interests. It examines the theoretical sources and prevailing models of the ‘global Renaissance’, and asks what such a field can offer traditional Renaissance studies. The module will be anchored in drama, but will also explore travel writing, maps, letters, and translation, with a special focus on Persia and the Ottoman empire.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

• Gain a good understanding of the ‘global Renaissance’ and why it matters
• Learn to test alternative models of literary history
• Learn to re-evaluate ‘known’ authors through a new critical lens
• Develop analytical and research skills for reading historically and critically
• Engage critically with interdisciplinary methods, values and materials
• Develop strong analytical and writing skills through the formative and summative assessment for the module

Indicative Module Content:

This modules focusses on the way English literature engages a global imaginary from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century, and interrogates how far such literature should be considered the subject of the new 'global Renaissance studies'.

Our primary material from the period will include the new global cartography and geography, as epitomized in the very first printed atlas; travel plays and plays that engage the materials and practices of travelling the globe; travel accounts of English travellers to the Persian, Ottoman and Mughal empires; poems that cross cultures and seek to imagine new transnational forms; and histories of the books, institutions, imperial and trading structures that supported the early modern global imaginary, from the point of view of Britain and Ireland.
Secondary reading will be crucial to the module's analysis of 'global Renaissance' studies, its opportunities and fallacies, its sources and ambitions. We will work largely from very recent work - a forthcoming special issue of Modern Philology, and the (summer 2021) second edition of the direction-setting Blackwell Companion to the Global Renaissance, edited by Jyotsna G Singh.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Weekly seminars will begin with the theoretical challenges and historical contexts of the ‘global Renaissance’, working with the newly-published second edition of the Blackwell Companion to the Global Renaissance (summer 2021), which aims to set the terms for the field.
We will focus on key primary and secondary texts, undertaking critical readings together and individually. Elements of peer review will be involved in the formative assessments, which will include writing exercises, essay proposals and draft plans. A final research essay will give students the opportunity to tread new ground, encouraging them to write on less conventional texts and to re-examine the ’global’ era in which we live in historical terms.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: End-of-semester essay, 3000 words, for which an essay plan has first been approved by the module convenor. Week 12 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Weekly research questions Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Class feedback on essay plans+abstract+bibliography Individual feedback on final essay.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Wed 10:00 - 11:50