English | English Literature 1500-1660
L621 | 26265 | Linton

L621  26265  LINTON (#2)
English Literature 1500-1660

1:00p – 2:15p TR


The diverse theories, representations, and perceptions of race in
early modern England developed both from classical and medieval
traditions and from ongoing overseas commerce, diplomacy, military
campaigns, colonial enterprises, and so on. For this reason, the
term “race” is a highly complicated and slippery one for the period.
As Ania Loomba writes in Race in Early Modern England, “as is the
case in the modern world, when we examine early modern notions of
racial difference we must consider not only those divisions of
humanity that were putatively based on distinctive combinations of
physical traits and transmitted through a line of descent, but also
the eclectic range of cultural differences that are used to explain,
manage, or reorganize relations of power” (2). In the past two
decades such contextualized research has generated a rich critical
conversation from different perspectives, feminist, historicist,
postcolonial, and queer. In this course, we will bring together
early influence and current criticism in examining early modern
constructions of whiteness and blackness, of the Jew, the Turk, and
the Moor, of English and Irish, and of old and new worlds in
literary and non-literary texts. The goal of this inquiry is for
participants to articulate their own critical insights into texts,
and to rethink critical paradigms as they enter the scholarly

Depending on class size, participants will be responsible for 1 or 2
15-minute in-class presentations. Written work will include a
combination of assignments, 15 pages total.

Primary texts may be selected from the following: Marlowe’s
Tamburlaine; selections from Spenser’s  Amoretti, The Faerie Queene,
and A View of the Present State of Ireland; Shakespeare’s sonnets,
Antony and Cleopatra, The Merchant of Venice, Othello and Titus
Andronicus; Thomas Nashe’s Unfortunate Traveller; Ben Jonson’s The
Masque of Blackness; George Chapman’s Memorable Masque; Amelia
Lanyer’s Salve Deus Rex Judaeprum; Milton’s Paradise Lost
(selections) and Samson Agonistes; and Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko.

In addition to key theoretical texts and selections from Race in
Early Modern England: A Documentary Companion, edited by. Ania
Loomba and Jonathan Burton; secondary readings may include writings
by Loomba, Burton, Emily Bartels, Barbara Bowen, Jonathan Goldberg,
Imtiza Habib, Kim Hall, Margo Hendricks, Arthur Little, Joyce Green
MacDonald, Nabil Matar, Patricia Parker, James Shapiro, Jyotsna
Singh, Valerie Traub, Daniel Vitkus, and others.