Module Identifier EN35420  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Claire E Jowitt  
Semester Semester 1  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   20 Hours Seminar. 10 x 2 hrs  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment: 2 essays (2,500 words each)100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students should typically be able to:
- demonstrate an informed awareness of the ways in which racial, religious, national and/or gender identities were constructed and contested in the early modern period

- describe and assess the ways in which a range of early modern texts from a variety of genres contribute to and participate in these processes

- articulate this understanding in the form of a reasoned critical analysis of particular texts

- explain and engage with relevant aspects fo recent critical and/or theoretical debates about the texts studied

Brief description

A contral concern of this module is to question concepts of Early Modern Identities. Notions of fixed or pre-given identities are challenged as they are figured in discourses of colonial exploration, 'race', religion, gender and sexuality. By focusing on questions of power, and representations of 'Self' and 'Other' within an early modern historical context, it is aimed to expose and explore the way in which these identities are constructed. Students will be introduced to a wide variety of texts including film, drama, pamphlet debates, voyage narratives, autobiographies and philosophical treatises.


1 Whose Life is it Anyway? Identity on Trial. Text: The Return of Martin Guerre (film, 1982)
2 Splitting Images: Early Modern Bodies. Texts: Rene Descartes, Discourse Upon Method and the Mediations (1637) (Penguin, 1968); John Donne, "The Extasie" (any edition); Andrew Marvell, "A Dialogue Between Soul and Body" (any edition)
3 Colonial Identity and Competition for Empire. Text: J.M. Cohen (ed.) The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus (Penguin, 1969)
4 Colonized Identity. Text: Aphra Behn, Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave (1688) (Norton 1980)
5 Constructing Others: 'Race' and Sexuality. Text: William Shakespeare, Othello (1604) (any edition)
6 Race and Religion. Text: Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (1591) (any edition)
7 Performing Gender I. Text: William Shakespeare: Twelfth Night (1602) (any edition)
8 Performing Gender II. Text: Middleton and Dekker, The Roaring Girl (1611), ed James Knowles (OUP 2001)
9 Performing Gender III. Text: Hic Mulier: Or the Man-Woman and Haec Vir: Or the Womanish Man (1620) (xerox)
10 Dangerous Liaisons: Same Sex Desire in Early Modern England. Text: Christopher Marlowe, Edward II (1594) (any edition); [note: a showing of Derek Jarman's film Edward II (1991) will be arranged]


Francis Barker, The Tremulous Private Body (Methuen, 1984)
Mark Breitenberg, Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England (OUP 1996)
Celia Daileader, Eroticism on the Renaissance Stage (OUP 1998)
Lucy Gent and Nigel Llewellyn (eds.), Renaissance Bodies: The Human Figure in Renaissance Culture 1540-1660 (Reaktion Books, 1990)
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality vol 1 (Penguin, 1976)
Stephen Greenblatt, Marvellous Possessions, The Wonder of the New World, (Clarendon, 1991)
Peter Stallybrass (ed.), Staging the Renaissance: Reinterpretations of Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama (Routledge, 1991)
Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage (Penguin, 1979)


This module is at CQFW Level 6