The Global Renaissance

Rachel WillieMCRj

The twenty-first century has witnessed a proliferation in scholarship on the Global Renaissance. This work has illustrated that the world during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries was more culturally permeable than has been understood previously. Artistic, diplomatic, economic, cultural, intellectual, pedagogic and religious interactions between East and West informed Renaissance literature, asking us to reassess how Europeans and non-Europeans interacted in this era and influenced each other. Yet the term ‘global Renaissance’ has not been without its critics, who question the limits of transcultural influences upon the local. Even the very terms we use - words such as ‘influence’, ‘encounter, ‘engagement’, ‘contact’, and ‘interaction’ - are often inflected with colonial nuances that obfuscate our understanding of transcultural experience in the early modern period. In a recent special issue of Renaissance Studies on the practice and experience of travel in the Renaissance, Eva Johanna Holmberg encourages researchers ‘not only to keep looking for new sources and to diversify the material we engage with but also to continue to approach the more canonical travel writing from new angles’ to make visible the multivalent experiences of travel. Partly in response to this call, this roundtable will return to the global and to the canon to evaluate recent trends and contentions. We will ask what these trends tell us about how global interactions informed and shaped Renaissance English literature, how the vocabulary we use to engage with what it means to be ‘global’ in the Renaissance influences our understanding, and explore recent work on decolonising the canon.

Natalya Din-Kariuki is Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. Her research examines the literary and intellectual history of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with a particular focus on travel writing, transnational and transcultural encounters, modes of cosmopolitanism, and rhetoric and poetics. She has held visiting fellowships at the University of Leeds and the Folger Institute in Washington, DC. Previously, she was Lecturer in English at Worcester College, Oxford.

Matthew Dimmock is Professor of Early Modern Studies in the School of English at the University of Sussex. His research interests focus upon Early Modern English Literature and History, including notions of 'otherness' which concern cultural, racial and religious difference - particularly in reference to Islam. Christian and more recently 'Western' depictions of the Prophet Muhammad and their history. His most recent book is entitled Elizabethan Globalism
England, China and the Rainbow Portrait (Yale, 2019).

Jane Grogan is Associate Professor in the School of English, Drama and Film at University College Dublin, Vice Chair of the Society for Renaissance Studies and joint editor of The Spenser Review. Her research interests include global Renaissance studies, particularly European cultural relations with the Middle East, and the Mediterranean world. Her second monograph, The Persian Empire in English Renaissance Writing, 1549-1622 (Palgrave, 2014), was the first book published on the subject and she is currently finishing a critical edition of the first English translation of Xenophon's Cyropaedia for the MHRA Tudor and Stuart Translations series.

Ayesha Mukherjee is Associate Professor in English at the University of Exeter. Her research interests lie in the field of early modern literature and cultural history, particularly, the literature and history of famine and dearth. Her first book Penury into Plenty: Dearth and the Making of Knowledge in Early Modern England was published by Routledge in 2015. She is currently working on a monograph provisionally titled Placing Famine: Cultural and Medical Geographies of Dearth in India and Britain, 1550-1700, based on her recently completed AHRC project Famine and Dearth in India and Britain, 1550-1800, which produced a web-database in collaboration with colleagues from Jadavpur University and Aligarh Muslim University in India, and the Exeter Digital Humanities team.

Rachel Willie is Reader in Early Modern Literary Studies at Liverpool John Moores University. Her research focuses on seventeenth-century literary history and culture. She is currently PI on the AHRC-funded research network, Soundscapes in the Early Modern World and has a collection, Travel and Conflict in the Early Modern World, co-edited with Gabor Galleri, forthcoming from Routledge.

Sat 9:15 am - 10:30 am