Studies in Renaissance Literature

Course Number: ENGL 231
Prerequisites: Graduate Standing
General Education Areas Fulfilled: Check on GOLD
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 231
Quarter: Fall 2010
Instructor: Griffin, Andrew
Time: 6:30 PM - 9:20 PM
Location: SH 2617

Belonging, c. 1600.

This course explores the ideas of citizenship, belonging, subjection, and solidarity through which early modern communities were constituted. We will read a mix of literary, dramatic, historiographical, and philosophical texts in order to negotiate the historically specific rings of inclusion or exclusion through which community and belonging were made understandable, visible, and possible. While such rings of inclusion are non-concentric – often overlapping, often in contest – the course will move heuristically from largest to smallest wherever such distinctions make sense. Specifically, our readings move from a cosmopolitical Christendom to homo clausus (a community of one) while addressing ideas of sovereignty, the kingdom, the nation, the polis, and the city. From here we will explore de-territorialized forms of belonging or solidarity such as “The City of Ladies,” the family unit, and the allegiance between friends. To provide a useful through-line and centre for our discussions, the course is both Shakespeare-heavy and drama-heavy.

Some Key Concepts: the territorialization or deterritorialization of community; friendship; “The City of Women”; states, nations, cities; sovereignty, consent, and “the people”; ethnic nationalities; the socially constitutive power of spaces and places; “coupling” and domesticity; community networks; common causes; “the public sphere”; isolation and loneliness.

If you'd like a copy of the syllabus, email Andrew Griffin: