Module Catalogue 2022/23

SEL3100 : Other Renaissances: Gender, Race and Sexuality in Early Modern Culture

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Kate Chedgzoy
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
SEL1003Introduction to Literary Studies 1
SEL1004Introduction to Literary Studies II
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This course will focus on the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, and other identity categories in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature. Drawing on current debates about the politics of race, gender and sexuality, and using theories of intersectionality, we will examine how this crucial period in literary history engaged with and represented differences between people and cultures.

We will learn about Renaissance perceptions of identity, and consider how the Renaissance might inform our own cultural understanding of multiple subject positions. We will both ask how influential authors like William Shakespeare depicted difference, and seek for traces of 'other' voices and points of view in drama, poetry and prose texts by male and female authors.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will interweave the study of texts produced in the early modern period with engagement with writings on race, gender, sexuality and intersectionality by C20th and C21st critics and commentators. Together, we will explore those sixteenth- and seventeenth-century texts in relation to current issues, and reflect on how studying the past can deepen our understanding of the world we inhabit.

Final decisions about primary texts will be made nearer the time of teaching in order to take advantage of any productions of relevant plays, but it's likely that the module will include some or all of the following:

- a selection of poetry exploring ideas about race, gender, desire, and 'queer' sexualities;
- John Lyly's play Galatea, which stages gender nonconformity and lesbian love;
- William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra;
- Elizabeth Cary's play The Tragedy of Mariam, whose Jewish heroine challenges patriarchal power;
- John Fletcher, The Island Princess, which explores the relationship between gender, Islam, and colonialism;
- Mary Rowlandson's autobiographical account of being taken prisoner by Native Americans;
- Aphra Behn's novella, Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave.

Readings in contemporary scholarly and activist writings by black, queer and feminist authors will also be assigned, and these will be selected nearer the time to ensure relevant to current concerns.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students will develop knowledge and understanding of the following:

- a wide range of literary texts, located in their original historical context and considered in terms of their continuing significance
- the formal and thematic variety of early modern writing
- critical and conceptual debates about race, sexuality, and gender
- how the past shapes the present, and the value of reflecting on that process

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students will develop skills in:

- analyzing a range of texts and documents
- working at a high level under time pressure
- making appropriate critical use of secondary material
- contributing to debate and discussion in class
- reflecting upon learning
- critical engagement with secondary reading
- research and writing

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:3015:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion133:0033:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities103:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1100:00100:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be structured to include and facilitate a variety of teaching and learning activities appropriate to the intended outcomes of the module.
Small-group activities will allow for deeper study of materials and issues addressed in lectures.
Student-led study groups will ensure that students are well-prepared to participate in class, and encourage them to be active and independent learners.
Clinic sessions will provide guidance on assessment and support with the reflective learning aspect of the module.
Assessment preparation time reflects the need for both steady reflective engagement with learning and the undertaking of independent research and thinking.
As for all English Literature modules, extensive independent research and reading under the guidance of the module leader is an essential element of the development of students' knowledge and skills.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Reflective log1A251000 words
Essay1A753000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Together, the two assessment forms provide an appropriate way of testing the student’s grasp in breadth and depth of the texts and concepts covered by the module, in a format that also evaluates the skills developed.

The reflective log will embed and sustain students' ongoing engagement with the module, including their preparation for and participation in classes and study groups, and their independent study.

The essay will require students to engage in detail with the texts and concepts studied, demonstrating their ability to relate critical and historical debates to textual analysis, as well as assessing key discipline-specific skills in research and writing.

The chosen forms of assessment correspond to the Department’s commitment to providing an appropriate range of methods and moments of assessment across all modules.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.