Claire Jowitt

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Claire Jowitt is an English academic who writes on race, cross-gender, piracy, identity, empire and performance. She holds a personal chair in English at Southampton University and previously was Professor of Renaissance English Literature at Nottingham Trent University (2005–12) and Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at Aberystwyth University (1996–2005).[1]

Jowitt's work[edit]

Her work on the representation of outsiders such as Jews,[2] Turks[3] and pirates[4] in Renaissance literature and culture has cast light on the complex and contradictory nature of contemporary attitudes to "others". She argues that allegorical allusions to domestic English political issues are important as well as the dominant view that literary representations played an important role in the shaping of a national consciousness. Her examination of two early modern English "Turk" plays Lust's Dominion and The Turke notes the light they cast on the domestic concerns of the culture within which they were produced alongside their negative depiction of Islamic men and their contribution to contemporary anti-Muslim sentiment.[5]

Likewise in her analysis of the development of the pirate romance at the end of the sixteenth century and beginning of the seventeenth, Jowitt notes the ambivalence of attitudes to the ideology and practice of piracy – maritime violence – in an England that was becoming known internationally as "a nation of pirates". She describes how the portrayal of piracy in contemporary literature became an index for other domestic concerns. She suggests that the depiction of pirates in Sir Philip Sydney's New Arcadia as in some respects acting little differently from any group of fighting men may reflect the ambivalence of English attitudes towards "men of action" like Sir Francis Drake. For Prince Musidorus, piracy and pirates are not condemned outright – if they can be serviceable to his cause, and are successful, then he supports them, in the same flexible way as Queen Elizabeth gave semi-official support to the "patriotic violence of Drake and Hawkins.[6]

Hakluyt Editorial Project[edit]

In May 2008, a major interdisciplinary conference called Richard Hakluyt 1552–1616: Life, Times, Legacy, examining the significance of Hakluyt's work, was jointly organised by the National Maritime Museum, the Centre for Travel Writing Studies, Nottingham Trent University and the National University of Ireland, Galway. A major aim of the conference was to lay the groundwork for and establish a network of scholars to prepare a new edition of Hakluyt's Principal Navigations. Those leading this group include Nigel Rigby, Will Ryan (President of the Hakluyt Society), and the project's editors Daniel Carey (NUI, Galway), Andrew Hadfield (University of Sussex) and Claire Jowitt (NTU).[7]

Professional recognition[edit]

From 2005–2008 Claire Jowitt was Honorary Secretary of the Society for Renaissance Studies.[8] In 2008 Jowitt was elected a Fellow of The English Association.[9] In 2010 Jowitt received an Institute of Historical Research Scouloudi Publication Award for the publication of "The Culture of Piracy 1580 – 1630: English Literature and Seaborne Crime"[10]


  • 2010. The culture of piracy 1580–1630: English literature and Seaborne crime . Farnham : Ashgate Press.[11]
  • 2006. Pirates? The politics of plunder, 1550–1650 . Basingstoke : Palgrave.[12][13][14][15]
  • 2003. Voyage drama and gender politics 1589–1642: real and imagined worlds . Manchester : Manchester University Press.[16][17][18][19][20]
  • 2002 with Watt, D., eds.,. The arts of seventeenth-century science: representations of the natural world in European and North American culture. Aldershot : Ashgate Press.

Other publications[edit]

  • 2010, Renaissance Pirates, BBC History Magazine, July Vol 11, No. 7


  1. ^ Claire Jowitt at University of Southampton (Accessed Dec 2012)
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  3. ^;jsessionid=76856D14472266988C06337844735B6F.inst3_3b?docId=5001981472
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  5. ^;jsessionid=76856D14472266988C06337844735B6F.inst3_3b?docId=5001981472
  6. ^ "Et in Arcadia Ego": The Politics of Pirates in the Old Arcadia, New Arcadia and Urania, Claire Jowitt, Early Modern Literary Studies Special Issue 16 (October 2007) 5.1–36
  7. ^ The Richard Hakluyt 'Principal Navigations' editorial project, National Maritime Museum, 2008, archived from the original on 23 March 2011, retrieved 23 March 2011 .
  8. ^
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  11. ^ Institute of Historical Research Scouloudi Publication Award for "The Culture of Piracy 1580 – 1630: English Literature and Seaborne Crime" (Accessed March 2011)
  12. ^ Brennan, Michael G. (2008) Pirates? The politics of plunder, 1550–1650 Claire Jowitt (ed.), Reviewed in Notes and Queries Volume 55, Issue 3, Pp.366–368.
  13. ^ Risso, P (2007) Claire Jowitt (ed.), Pirates? The Politics of Plunder, 1550–1650 – Reviewed in International Journal of Maritime History, 19, no. 2: 485
  14. ^ Merrett, Robert James (2009) Pirates? The Politics of Plunder, 1550–1650 Edited by Claire Jowitt, Reviewed in Renaissance and Reformation. 32, no. 2, (2009): 124
  15. ^ Döring, Tobias (2008) Pirates? The Politics of Plunder, 1550–1650 by Claire Jowitt Reviewed in Journal for the study of British cultures. 15, no. 1,: 80
  16. ^ Aune, M. G.. (2006) 'Book Review: Claire Jowitt. Voyage Drama and Gender Politics 1589–1642: Real and Imagined Worlds. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003.'. Early Theatre 9.1: 145–8
  17. ^ TLS (2003) In Brief – Voyage Drama and Gender Politics, 1589–1642 by Claire Jowitt, Reviewed in the Times literary supplement. no. 5214,: 30
  18. ^ Brennan, Michael G.(2004) Voyage, Drama and Gender Politics 1589–1642: Real and Imagined Worlds, Reviewed by Notes and Queries, 51, no. 1 (2004): 86–87
  19. ^ Claire Jowitt, Voyage Drama and Gender Politics 1589–1642 Reviewed in Literature & history. 13, Part 2 (2004): 91
  20. ^ Laycock, Kelly (2003) Voyage Drama and Gender Politics 1589–1642: Real and Imagined Worlds by Claire Jowitt; Reviewed in Renaissance and Reformation. 27, no. 1,: 125