Staff Profile


Dr Claire Bartram

Senior Lecturer

School: School of Humanities & Educational Studies

Campus: Canterbury Main Campus

Tel: 01227 923358

Profile summary

Claire Bartram completed her doctoral thesis on Gentry Writers in Elizabethan Kent at the University of Kent and taught as an associate lecturer at Kent and for the Open University before joining CCCU in 2005 on a fractional contract. She teaches undergraduate courses on Renaissance literature including Radicalisation and Retreat: Political Landscapes in Seventeenth Century Literature in Year 2 and Topics in Renaissance Literature and Culture, a more specialised Year 3 module which draws on her research interests in Book History. She offers an interdisciplinary module on Early Modern Life-Writing that is taught across the English Literature and Medieval and Early Modern Studies MA programmes.

She set up and ran the English Literature Research Seminar for six years and established the Masters by Research in English Literature. A member of the School of Humanities Equality and Diversity Committee she was involved in the working group that compiled the CCCU application for the Athena Swan Institutional Bronze Award and more recently worked on the School of Humanities Bronze application.  She is currently Year Lead for Level 4 English Literature and acting Subject Lead for English Studies.

She has recently become co-director of the Centre for Kent History and Heritage and is delighted to be in a role that actively supports and promotes the study of Kent's rich heritage. 

Research and knowledge exchange

Her research endeavours to be interdisciplinary and early publications situated the print and manuscript writings of the gentry author within a broader ethos of gentility frequently drawing on aspects of material culture and the visual arts. Her recent and forthcoming publications focus more broadly on book culture in the provinces.

Her recent edited collection of essays Kentish Book Culture: Writers, Archives, Libraries and Sociability 1400-1660, (Peter Lang, 2020) explores the writing practices and book collections of a range of individuals in early modern Kent, including monks, a mariner and an apothecary as well as members of the gentry and clergy and urban administrators. In a county with ready access to metropolitan, courtly and continental influences, a vibrant provincial book culture flourished, in which literacy was prized and book ownership widespread. Interdisciplinary in approach, this collection brings together specialists in the history of the book, literary scholars, social historians and librarians to explore literate culture, the nature of authorship and the dynamics of the market for print and manuscript books.

She has supervised doctoral work on Youth Culture in Early Jacobean Drama and is currently supervising Masters by Research students working on marginalia and early modern letter-writing.  She is interested in supervising new doctoral projects on early modern book history and provincial culture in particular.

Teaching and subject expertise

Recipient of a recent Teaching Innovation Award for her Book History module, Claire's teaching takes a strong interdisciplinary approach. Her Year 3 module focuses on the social functions of poetry and although we work from a Penguin Anthology of poetry we use a number of strategies to get outside the constraints of a modern edition to consider why early modern people wrote and shared poetry and how readers accessed and engaged with poetry in manuscript or early printed editions. The module incorporates a number of practical hands-on material culture sessions, fieldtrips and the opportunity to undertake original research using digitised resources.

As convenor of the cross-school module, Applied Humanities: Employability in Practice, Claire is also a passionate advocate of active reflection on and preparation for the graduate workplace and enabling students to aspire to graduate career paths and develop confidence in the articulation of their skills in that context. This is linked to her wider advocacy of the social value of the humanities both as a subject of study at University and in wider society. She looks forward to drawing these strands of expertise together in her new role as co-director of the Centre for Kent History and Heritage.

External activities

Recent Papers include:

2019 Invited Speaker for Lunchtime Talks Series at Maidstone History and Library Centre, Maidstone: 'Bookishness: Writing, Sharing and Collecting Books in Early Modern Kent' 

2019 Invited Speaker for From Paris to Canterbury: The Lyghfield Bible in Context, MEMS,University of Kent: "Continuities in Kentish Book Culture?: People, Places and Literate Activity in Medieval Kent."

2019 Christchurch Heritage A-Z: Celebrating 30 Years of the Canterbury UNESCO World Heritage Site: Entries for 'Tradescant' and 'Wotton' 

2018 Medieval and Early Modern Studies Summer Festival, University of Kent: "Letter and Chronicle-Writing:Textual Production and Patronage in Elizabethan Kent" and convenor of a session on Early Modern Letter-Writing Practices.

2016 Medieval and Early Modern Studies Summer Festival, University of Kent:‘‘Gentle Reader’: Patronage and Authorial Pretension in Elizabethan Administration’ and convenor of a session on Book Ownership in the Provinces.

Invited Speaker for Reading Kent’s Past Series at Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone: ‘Old Books Horded up in Corners’: William Lambarde Writing and Reading in Late Tudor Kent’.

2015    Invited Speaker: CRKHA New Directions in Kent History Conference CCCU: ‘Plough and Pen: Reviewing the place of agricultural texts and authors in early modern society’
John Fletcher: A Critical Reappraisal, CCCU: ‘“Yea, I have a goodly heritage” (Psalms 16.6): Literary Creativity, Family and Place in John Fletcher’s Formative Years.’

2014    Society for Renaissance Studies Biennial Conference, University of Southampton ‘‘Feats, illusions and Transes’: The Staging of Demonic Possession in Elizabethan society’ and convenor of a session with colleagues from Kent University on Performance, Story-telling, and Place.

English Literature Research Seminar, CCCU ‘‘The Great Coverlet of Arras, of The Story of Parris and Helene’: Using Decorative Objects to Reconstruct Women’s Reading Practices In The Late Sixteenth Century?’

2013    Invited Speaker CRKHA New Developments in Kentish Urban Studies, CCCU:'Exploring Provincial Book Culture and Notions of Authorial Identity in Late Elizabethan Dover.'

Publications and research outputs

'"Dost Thou Know Dover?": Locating Dover in the Early Modern Literary Imagination c.1500-1660' in Sheila Sweetinburgh (ed.)  Maritime Kent (Brepols, forthcoming 2021)

'Chronicling Dover: Authorship, Archives and Audiences c.1580-1604', and 'An Introduction to Kentish Book Culture 1400-1660' in C. Bartram (ed.), Kentish Book Culture:Writers, Archives, Libraries and Sociability 1400-1660 (Peter Lang, 2020)

Bartram, C. & Dixon, M., ''With the consent of the towne, and other skillfull marryners and gentlemen': An Examination of Textual Negotiations in the Elizabethan Restoration of Dover Harbour 1582-1605.' in S. Sweetinburgh (ed.), Negotiating the Political in Northern European Urban Society, c.1400-1600. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, vol. 365 (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2013)

‘Honoured of posteryte by record of wrytinge’: Memory, Reputation and the Role of the Book within Commemorative Practices in Late Elizabethan Kent’ in M. Penman ed., Monuments and Monumentality in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Shaun Tyas, 2013)


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Last edited: 13/12/2018 21:16:00