Shakespearean Bodies

LIT4609 Shakespearean Bodies
4 Advanced Liberal Arts Credits

What kinds of bodies are represented in Shakespeare? Which bodies "matter," to whom, and on what terms? How are embodied meanings forged and contested on the Shakespearean stage, and how are such meanings informed by differences of race, class, gender, sexuality, age, religion, and bodily ability? In this course, we will consider how Shakespeare helps us think about bodies in their various material, political, textual, and historical dimensions. To do so, we will read six major plays: Antony & Cleopatra, The Comedy of Errors, The Merchant of Venice, Pericles, Richard III, and Titus Andronicus. Drawn from across the Shakespearean canon, these works will allow us to consider how differences of genre enable and constrain certain kinds of bodily thinking, as well as how issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and violence intersect with bodily meanings, both in that era and our own. To enhance our appreciation of these works, we will routinely consider modern, cinematic adaptions of the plays we read, as well as relevant works of literary criticism. Throughout, we will discuss the relevance of these works to our understanding of bodies today; consider how modern conceptual categories can inform and inhibit our understanding of bodies past; and explore how stage drama, as a representational medium which privileges the performed body, allows us to think about the various processes through which human bodies assume cultural meanings.

Prerequisites: Any combination of 2 ILA (HSS, LTA, CSP, LVA, CVA)

  • Program: Undergraduate
  • Division: Arts and Humanities
  • Level: Advanced Liberal Arts 4600 Requirement (UGrad),Advanced Elective (UGrad),Advanced Liberal Arts (UGrad)
  • Course Number: LIT4609
  • Number of Credits: 4