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What's Wrong with the Renaissance - curriculum, colonialism and English?

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A round-zoom-table discussion with Shani Bans, Islam Issa, Farah Karim-Cooper, Wendy Lennon, Subha Mukherji

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The prolonged surge of the Black Lives Matter movement since 2013 has led, latterly, to a great deal of conspicuous hand-wringing in universities, museums and the arts. Will it make any difference? How will it change the academy as a whole and how does it need to change a field such as Renaissance Literature and its allied disciplines? Do we remain, as a discipline, impervious to how few BIPOC scholars come through to MAs and PhDs in the Renaissance? Does Renaissance scholarship still act as though its task is high connoisseurship of books? Is the early modern curriculum - with its violence, nationalism, religious bigotry and congenital misogyny - too staid and pretty? Does the discipline, still fastidious and imperious, very consciously show a disdain for using translated (non-European) literature in teaching to avoid dealing with other cultures? Given the realities of education in the UK, can we separate the dearth of Black scholars from the dearth of working class scholars? Does the fact that 'post-colonial criticism' fits awkwardly onto pre-colonial (or early colonial) times serve as a get-out clause to avoid confronting our literature through a difficult lens? Are we poorly served if we have to understand pre-modern race primarily through Shakespeare? Why is the discipline so white and what can we do about it? Bringing together five scholars at different career stages, this round-table will ask what's wrong with the Renaissance, as a literary discipline (and as a concept), addressing the curriculum, race and the realities of the academy for scholars of colour.

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Sponsored by the Society for Renaissance Studies

Hosted by the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies and the Department of English and Related Literature, University of York

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