ENGL308C Shakespeare's Nature(s)
A topical exploration of William Shakespeare's plays and poems as well as their cultural contexts, performance history, and the roles they play in modern and contemporary culture
Shakespeare’s Nature(s) investigates the way that the natural world was represented in the works by Shakespeare and his contemporaries and how such representations were shaped by and contributed to European Humanist notions about human superiority. As we are coming to terms with the reality of global climate change in the 21st c, we will turn to 16th-17th texts in which we might trace the origins of the ideas that led to our present environmental crisis. Notions of mastery over nature are also entangled with discourses of gender, race, disability, and animality, and as we read some of Shakespeare’s most well-known (as well as his most graphic!) plays alongside works by other Early Modern writers and contemporary ecocritics, we will ask ourselves through short and long essays, a Commonplace blog, and a creative final research project, how ideas about ‘nature’ affect historical and contemporary conceptions of human difference.