Studies in Renaissance Literature: Shakespeare and Phenomenology

Course Number: ENGL 231
Prerequisites: Graduate Standing
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 231
Quarter: Fall 2015
Instructor: Kearney, James
Day(s): F
Time: 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: SH 2617
Description:

Inspired by the Early Modern Center’s 2015-16 theme, “The Phenomenology of Playing,” this course will explore phenomenology in relation to Shakespeare and his theater.  Embracing the enabling limits of the quarter system, we will read only four of Shakespeare’s plays – Measure for Measure, Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale, and King Lear – but we will read them well, devoting significant time to each play.  Our discussion of phenomenology will extend from the big three of phenomenology’s heyday – Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty – to the emergent field of historical phenomenology as articulated by early modern critics like Bruce Smith and Julia Reinhard Lupton.  In our conversations about phenomenology’s attempt to grasp or account for lived experience, we will touch on the phenomenologically-inflected thought of Arendt and Levinas, as well as contemporary attempts to rethink the phenomenological project in relation to body, emotion, and mind.  We will discuss topics ranging from the senses and theatrical experience to affective engagement and affordance theory, from cognitive ecologies and extended mind to ethical experience and the demands of community.