Claire Jowitt

BA (Southampton) English Language and Literature, 1989; MA (Southampton), Romanticism and Modernism, 1990; PhD (Southampton), Renaissance Travel Writing, 1996

Primary position:


The University of Southampton
Professor Claire Jowitt's photo

I was appointed chair of English at Southampton in 2012 and have been the department’s Head of Research ever since. Before this I was Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at Aberystwyth University (1996-2005), and Professor of Renaissance English Literature at Nottingham Trent University (2005-12). I have held research fellowships at the Hartley Institute, Southampton (1995, 2002), the Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum (2008), the Clark Library, UCLA (2008), and the Folger Library (2015). I am Visiting Professor at Newman University College and External Examiner for the undergraduate degree in English Literature at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge. I have recently examined PhD theses at the universities of Exeter, Melbourne, Liverpool, and Sussex.

I currently teach (with Dr Marianne O'doherty) an interdisciplinary undergraduate course on medieval and Renaissance travel writing and (with Dr Stephanie Jones) a course on the literature of piracy. I would welcome applications from prospective postgraduates to work with me on topics related to Renaissance travel writing, maritime literature and culture, or the connections between Renaissance literature and politics more generally.

I was elected Fellow of the English Association in 2011 and have been a member of its Higher Education Committee since 2012.  I was appointed to the AHRC Peer Review College in 2006, serving on the AHRC Panel for Research Fellowships in 2013 and Grants in 2014. I was Hon. Secretary of the Society of Renaissance Studies, the premier learned society for the study of the Renaissance, between 2005 and 2008, and served on the Society's Council from 2002-2014. I was elected to the Council of the Hakluyt Society in 2013. I have served, or continue to serve, on the Editorial Boards of the journals Jewish History and Culture, Renaissance Studies (ex officio), Literature Compass, and The Journal of Maritime Research. I was co-editor of Key Words, the Journal of the Raymond Williams Society between 2007 and 2010. Since 2009 I have co-edited (with Prof. Anthony Hasler) the Renaissance section of Wiley-Blackwell's online journal Literature Compass. I also edit (with Dr John McAleer) a book series for Ashgate Publishing on Maritime Humanities 1400-1800: Cultures of the Sea. Please contact me if you are interested in submitting a book proposal to this series.

I am a member of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture at Southampton. In 2014 I co-organised CMRC’s hosting of the 6th Society of Renaissance Studies biennial international conference on the theme of ‘Performative Spaces’.



The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)


Jowitt, Claire (2013) ‘To sleep, perchance to dream’: the politics of travel in the 1630s. The Yearbook of English Studies, 44 (In Press).
Jowitt, Claire (2013) The Tudor Guide to Colonising the World. BBC History Magazine, (1), 52-57.
Jowitt, Claire (2012) Shakespeare’s pirates: the politics of seaborne crime. Shakespeare Jahrbuch, 148
Jowitt, Claire (2011) Pirates and politics in John Barclay's Argenis (1621). [in special issue: Travel and Prose Fiction in Early Modern England] The Yearbook of English Studies , 41, (1), 156-172.
Jowitt, Claire (2010) Queen Elizabeth's pirates: why England needed the rougues of the high sea. BBC History Magazine, (7)
Jowitt, Claire and Carey, Daniel (2009) Introduction. [in special issue: Early Modern Travel Writing: Varieties, Transitions, Horizons ] Studies in Travel Writing, 13, (2)
Jowitt, Claire and Carey, Daniel (2008) Introduction. [in special issue: Early Modern Travel Writing] Studies in Travel Writing, 12, (1)


Jowitt, Claire, Jowitt, Claire and Carey, Daniel (eds.) (2012) Richard Hakluyt and travel writing in early modern Europe, Farnham, GB, Ashgate and the Hakluyt Society, 398pp. (Hakluyt Society, Extra Series, 47 ).
Jowitt, Claire (2010) The culture of piracy, 1580-1630: English literature and seaborne crime, Farnham, GB, Ashgate, 242pp.

Book Section

Jowitt, Claire (2012) Robert Wilson's The Three Ladies of London and its theatrical and cultural contexts. In, Betteridge, Thomas and Walker, Greg (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama. Oxford, GB, Oxford University Press, 309-322.
Jowitt, Claire (2010) The politics of Mandevillian monsters in Richard Brome's The Antipodes. In, Niayesh, Ladan (ed.) A Knight's Legacy: Mandeville and Mandevillian Lore in Early Modern England. Manchester, GB, Manchester University Press. (Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture).
Jowitt, Claire (2010) The uses of 'piracy': discourses of mercantilism and empire in Hakluyt’s The Famous Voyage of Sir Francis Drake. In, Houston, Chloë (ed.) New Worlds Reflected: Travel and Utopia in the Early Modern Period. Farnham, GB, Ashgate, 115-136.
Jowitt, Claire (2010) East versus West: seraglio queens, politics, and sexuality in Thomas Heywood's Fair Maid of the West, Parts I and II. In, Yermolenko, Galina I. (ed.) Roxolana in European Literature, History and Culture. Farnham, GB, Ashgate, 57-70.
Jowitt, Claire (2010) Elizabeth amongst the pirates: gender and piracy in Thomas Heywood’s Fair Maid of the West, part 1. In, Beem, Charles (ed.) The Foreign Relations of Elizabeth I. Basingstoke, GB, Palgrave Macmillan, 125-144.


My research interests focus on Renaissance travel writing and early modern maritime culture. My first monograph Voyage Drama and Gender Politics, 1589-1642 (2003) explored the way geographic drama was used as a vehicle to express other cultural and political concerns. My second monograph, The Culture of Piracy, 1580-1630 (2010) examines how the figure of the Renaissance pirate was not only sensational, but also culturally significant. This book received an honourable mention when shortlisted for the European Society for the Study of English Book Award 2012 in the Literatures in the English Language category. Other books also available are The Arts of 17th-Century Science  and Pirates? The Politics of Plunder 1550-1650.

My current work involves co-leading (with Prof. Daniel Carey) the Hakluyt Editorial Project, which will produce a scholarly edition of Richard Hakluyt's The Principal Navigations (1598-1600), the most important collection of travel writing ever published (project website at http://www.hakluyt.org/). The edition will be published by OUP in 14 volumes commencing in 2015. I am editing Volume 14 on The South Seas, the Far East, and Hakluyt's Notes on Spanish Trade and Navigation, as well as being a General Editor of the whole edition. Daniel Carey and I have recently edited Richard Hakluyt and Travel Writing in Early Modern Europe (2012) and are currently beginning work on a new volume of 40 essays, The Oxford Hakluyt Handbook, which will be published to accompany the new edition. My work on Hakluyt has been supported by a British Academy Research Development Award 2010-12, as well as grants from the AHRC and MHRA.

I am also working on edited books (with Dr David McInnis) on travel and drama for OUP and (with Prof. Steve Mentz) on an Ashgate Research Companion to the sea. Currently I am writing essays on representations of drowning in the Renaissance and on the shadowy figure of Lopez Vas (or Vaz), a Portuguese pilot whose work Hakluyt included in The Principal Navigations. BBC History Magazine published my cover-feature article on ‘Queen Elizabeth's Pirates' (2010) as well as my article ‘The most important travel book ever written: Richard Hakluyt's The Principal Navigations' (2013). I recently appeared on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Open Book’ programme talking to Mariella Frostrup about my work on pirates.

Teaching Responsibilities

I currently teach (with Dr Marianne O'Doherty) Tales of Travel 1000-1650: Idylls, Utopias, Monsters and Cannibals, an interdisciplinary undergraduate course on medieval and Renaissance travel writing and (with Dr Stephanie Jones) Swashbucklers, Cut-throats, Revolutionaries: Five Hundred years of Pirates in English Literature.


Professor Claire Jowitt
Faculty of Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 65/2027