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Name: Jodie Marie Smith

PhD: Shakespeare Studies and Early Modern Drama

Thesis Title: The Circulation of Cultural Memory through the Recycling of Stage Properties and Apparel in British Drama: 1580-1642


Thesis Description:

My research analyses the significance of corporeal aesthetics in British drama performed during 1580-1642. The term “corporeal aesthetics” encapsulates the ways in which physical entities retain memories of past performances and are thus emotionally and sensorily charged. This becomes evident when studying the sequence of cultural mutations through which properties and costumes pass as they migrate from play to play. Significantly, the high demand for fresh drama, particularly from the latter part of Elizabeth’s reign, produced an extensive memory-archive of visual material from which new plays could draw. Such aesthetic patterns collect a repository of mnemonic triggers enabling them to function as carriers for ideas to propagate themselves across multiple plays, written by numerous playwrights, and performed in diverse spaces. It is my aim to show that Renaissance dramatists utilised this complex process of material memory to influence original audiences. 

The key objective in focusing on the mnemonic role of materiality is to map a trajectory of corporeal aesthetics alongside their changing meanings from one play to another. This will invite new debates on the power of drama to both perpetuate and subvert political, social, and cultural ideologies. 


Supervisors and Institution(s):

Dr Martin Wiggins (The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham)

Dr Simon Smith (The Shakespeare Institute and Department of English Literature, University of Birmingham)

Dr Tara Hamling (Department of History, University of Birmingham)


Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:



  • Conference paper: "'How many children hast thou, widow?': Shakespeare's Widowed Mothers, Notions of Queenship, and Early Modern Constructions of Femininity", the Nineteenth Annual British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon


Other Research Interests:

  • Material culture
  • Visual culture
  • Memorial aesthetics
  • Shakespeare and early modern drama


University email address:



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