Renaissance Studies

Sally James, Terry Southerington, co-directors of program
Ralph Cohen, Mary Hill Cole, Sarah Kennedy, Paul Menzer, Janna Segal

Renaissance Studies introduces students to historical inquiry; an understanding of the various artistic and literary styles and movements of the Renaissance; and the interpretation of art, literature, philosophy, and political theory in the context of time and place. Students acquire knowledge of terminology, research methods, and library reference tools. They also develop skills in organization, critical and logical thinking, and strong writing. The requirements in the major assure that the students will be introduced to the breadth as well as depth of the subject matter.

Requirements for the Major in Renaissance Studies

36 semester hours
REN 100 Defining the Renaissance
THEA 114 Introduction to Drama: Classical to Renaissance Theatre
ARTH 202 Early Renaissance Art in Italy OR ARTH 203 High Renaissance Art in Italy
ENG/THEA 216 Introduction to Shakespeare
THEA 217 Continental Renaissance Drama or THEA 218 Shakespearean Drama in Context
HIST 235 Renaissance and Reformation Europe or HIST 238 Tudor Stuart History
ENG 320 Renaissance Literature or ENG 315 Early English Drama
REN 400 Senior Seminar

Four electives from:
Any of the above not taken as requirement.
ARTH 102 Survey of Western Art: Medieval and Renaissance Worlds
ARTH/REN 228 The Renaissance City
ARTH 211/311 Baroque Art: The 17th Century in Europe
ARTH 343 Renaissance studies in Italy
ENG/ HIST 390 Virginia Program at Oxford (6 s.h.)
ARTH 314 Art in England

Students may take up to 6 elective hours in the following graduate courses with permission from the director of the MLitt/MFA program and the instructor, and senior standing:
REN 510 Shakespeare and Textual Culture
REN 540 Early English Drama and Theatre History
REN 550 Social History of Early Modern England
REN 554 Shakespeare’s Theatre
REN 557 Shakespeare’s Contemporaries
REN 630 Visual Design on the Early Modern Stage
REN 675 Early Modern Costume

Civic Engagement Opportunities

  • Lectures, performances, internships and other opportunities at the American Shakespeare Center
  • Annual visual arts trips to Washington DC and New York City, open to the community
  • Regular public lectures by prominent scholars, writers, critics, directors, and performers
  • College sponsored and planned International studies program in theatre, literature, and/or art history
  • Explore civic engagement through class projects and assignments
  • The Spencer Center for civic engagement and global engagement and the Sena Center will work with students to pair their interests with appropriate opportunities and internships

Renaissance Studies Course Description

100 Defining the Renaissance (3 s.h.) (H)
Defining the Renaissance provides a survey of the history, art, literature, and science of the period. Daily activities will range from lectures and discussions to field trips and presentations, and students will learn about major authors and events of fourteenth to early seventeenth-century Europe. The development of Renaissance drama and the complex cultural functions of the stage will be studied in the context of performances at the Blackfriars Playhouse.

400 Senior Seminar (3 s.h.)
REN 400 is the capstone course for seniors majoring in Renaissance Studies. Interdisciplinary in nature, the course will require students to develop an independent project in consultation with at least three members of the Renaissance Studies faculty, complete a research paper of 6,000-9,000 words, and defend the thesis in an oral presentation to a committee of three faculty members from different disciplines.