module specification

SJ5051 - Perspectives on Shakespeare (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Perspectives on Shakespeare
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 150
 
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group work 40%   In small groups, a 15-20 minute oral presentation and analysis of a scene from one of the texts so far studied.
Coursework 60%   A written essay of 2000 words
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

Perspectives on Shakespeare will introduce students - through an examination of text and performance - to the diversity of analysis and interpretation of Shakespeare. A selection of key dramatic texts will be examined through a combination of modern criticism (e.g. new historicism, feminist and Queer theory, psychoanalysis and postcolonial theory) and the work of directors (theatre and film) and performance makers. Students will be introduced to Shakespeare as a cultural, inter- and trans-cultural commodity. 

This module will be taught by a programme of weekly sessions and tutorials for each of the 15 weeks.  Summative assessment will comprise: oral and written presentation and analyses of play texts and Shakespeare in performance and production; essays demonstrating knowledge of form and genre, and reflective writing on the development of Shakespeare.

Module aims

Perspectives on Shakespeare aims to:
• acquaint students with Shakespeare’s dramatic works
• acquaint the student with the modern tradition of Shakespeare criticism and the various forms of Shakespeare in performance and Shakespeare as a cultural commodity
• critically assess the possibilities for and implications of the cultural production of Shakespeare
• provide a context from where students can reappraise Shakespeare from their own cultural perspective
• develop students’ skills of analysis of dramatic texts
• develop students’ ability to distinguish between and evaluate different modes of interpretation, performance and analysis
 

Syllabus

A number of plays will be selected for special study, chosen from the major genres of Shakespearean drama. These will be explored in relation to some of the major modern critical approaches (e.g. humanist criticism, close textual analysis, materialist and historicist criticism, studies of gender and sexuality, psychoanalysis, performance history) with the aim of seeing the variety of perspectives brought to bear on the study of Shakespeare, and considering the qualities of Shakespeare's plays that generate the possibility of multiple interpretations. This will include consideration of factors such as Shakespeare's use of language, generic conventions and violation of conventions, dramatic construction, and responsiveness to conditions of performance. Students will examine and assess critical texts, contemporary drama and performance, film and other forms of cultural production that have rewritten and resituated Shakespeare. Students will be encouraged to produce their own interpretations based on reflection upon theoretical models of interpretation and methods of analysis.

Learning and teaching

This module will be taught by a programme of weekly sessions each of the 15 weeks. One or more of these sessions could be workshop/practice/studio based. Online and face-to-face tutorials will support the class sessions.

Seminars will focus on a specific text each week. These seminars will be lecturer and student led and will outline and illustrate different possibilities of interpretation, with close reference to text, contexts and modes of cultural production. Seminars will encourage students to engage with, discuss and evaluate the issues raised and engage students in analysis of texts and a variety of Shakespeare’s work as realised in theatre and film. Class sessions may be enhanced by guest speakers, screenings and theatre visits.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

• Identify a range of genres and styles of Shakespearean drama
• Account for and discriminate between diverse interpretations and schools of interpretations – in theory and practice
• Critically evaluate the relationships between text, context and interpretation
• Engage in oral and written presentation of ideas
• Produce independent interpretations informed by reflection upon different theoretical models and methods of analysis

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment will comprise: oral and written presentation and analyses of play texts and Shakespeare in performance and production; essays demonstrating knowledge of form and genre, and reflective writing on the development of Shakespeare.

In small groups, a 15-20 minute oral presentation and analysis of a scene from one of the texts so far studied. Each small group of students will work together on the scene accompanied by 1000 words of notes or 10-slide powerpoint (or equivalent) file.

A written essay of 2000 words from a selection of set questions relating to the material and skills of the module. Students by agreement may develop their own title.

Bibliography

Bulman, J. C. Shakespeare, Theory and Performance Routledge 1996
Dollimore, J. & Sinfield A,  Political Shakespeare: Essays in Cultural Materialism Manchester University Press 1994
Greenblatt, S. Shakespearean Negotiations: the Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England Clarendon 1988
Greer, G. Shakespeare: A Very Short Introduction Oxford University Press 1986
Hawkes, T.  (ed): Alternative Shakespeares 2  Routledge 1996
Jardine, L.  Reading Shakespeare Historically  Routledge 1996
Kermode F: Shakespeare’s Language Penguin 2000
Shaughnessy, R. The Routledge Guide to William Shakespeare Routledge 2010
Silverstone, C.  Shakespeare, Trauma and Contemporary Performance Routledge 2011
Wells, S & Cowen Orlin, L. (eds): Shakespeare: an Oxford Guide  OUP 2003
Wagner, M. Shakespeare, Theatre, and Time Routledge 2011

Web site
https://www.rsc.org.uk/education/