** The first day of the course will be held on 7th September, Tuesday, 10:30 am, in Room CRT-7.58 **
This course will take students to the professional London theatres of the 18th century. The Eighteenth Century London theatres were dynamic and volatile spaces, especially interested in foreign locales, from the Inca Empire in Peru, to a Muslim-occupied Jerusalem, to Beijing under Manchurian rule. We will examine how popular drama from one of the largest cities in Europe recreated a global world for English consumption. We will focus our attention on the themes of Cosmopolitanism and Enlightenment, and look at how popular theatre in London circulated and interrogated arguments for cultural toleration, diversity, and universalism. Through close, dramaturgical readings of popular dramatic texts that feature cross cultural contact, we will study the ways in which popular entertainment used the exotic and the foreign to encourage its audiences to think differently and experimentally about issues to do with sexuality, religion, and politics. Deploying a History of Emotions approach to our analysis of the 18th century theatre, this course will encourage students to think about how theatre attempts to solicit and manipulate collective emotions, and the role these emotions play in public life.
The British Eighteenth Century
History of Emotions
The main objective of the course is to train students in the analysis of dramatic texts with a keen attention to the historical and cultural contexts that underpin their composition and circulation. The course will also introduce students to the Eighteenth Century contexts of Enlightenment and Cosmopolitanism, and the ways in which ideas pertaining to these movements were conveyed through forms of popular media entertainment. Foregrounding the intersection of text, performance, and affect, this course will attend to how the theatre attempted to shape public opinion and dispositions about the foreign, the exotic, and the imperial through emotionally engaging scenes of faraway lands. At the end of this course, students will have read carefully and critically a number of important works in the 18th century dramatic repertoire, and have developed a carefully contextualised understanding of how these works informed public understandings of the relationship between an emerging British empire and an unsettling and enabling global world outside its borders.
Weekly 2 hour Seminars
Research Journal (15%)
Attendance and Participation (10%)
Short Paper (20%)
Research Paper (40%)
A range of 18th century plays and critical material will be available. There is no need to purchase additional texts.