Claire Jowitt

Claire Jowitt


  • 0.03 Arts and Humanities Building

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Academic Background

Claire Jowitt was appointed on 1 September 2015 as Associate Dean for Research for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, serving in that position until 31 December 2022. She oversaw the Faculty's REF21 submission, where HUM's Main Panel D submission was ranked 5th out of 136, and HUM's overall submission increased in size by more than 80% from REF2014. In 2021 she applied for an AHRC Impact Acceleration Account for UEA and is the grant holder for the award which runs from 2022-26. 

She is Professor of Renaissance Studies in the School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing and School of History at the University of East Anglia. Before then, she was Professor at the University of Southampton (2012-15) and at Nottingham Trent University (2005-12), and Visiting Professor in English at Newman University (2012-19) and Visiting Professor in History at Southampton University (2015-20). In 2024 she won the UEA Vice Chancellor's Outstanding Contribution Award in Impact and Innovation and was awarded Freddom of the City of London by the Lord Mayor, both in recognition of her work on the Gloucester shipwreck.

She has held fellowships at the Folger, Huntington, Clark, and John Carter Brown Libraries and at the National Maritime Museum and the Moore Institute, has received grants from the AHRC, ESRC, NERC, British Academy, Modern Humanities Research Association, and the Leverhulme Trust, and has served on a range of boards, trusts, and councils.

Currently she is on the Board of Trustees for the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, a member of the English Association Higher Education Committee and Editor (with Professor Jennifer Richards) of the Association’s monograph series, published by Liverpool University Press (, and a member of the ESRC Peer Review College. She is a member of the Hakluyt Society Council and serves on the Council for the Society for Nautical Research, where she also serves on its Maritime Heritage Committee. She has acted as judge for essay prizes and fellowships awarded by the Society for Renaissance Studies, the Hakluyt Society, and the Institute for Historical Research. Currently she chairs the judging panel for the Hakluyt Society's Essay Prize (2021-). She is a Trustee of the Gloucester 1682 Charitable Trust and serves on its Development Board (see

Professor Jowitt's research and teaching interests include:

  • Renaissance literature and history
  • the intersections between literature, politics, and power
  • exploration and travel writing
  • maritime culture
  • gender and race
  • piracy and privateering
  • shipwreck
  • islands and ports
  • cross-cultural encounters

She would welcome applications from students wishing to work on these topics.

Key Responsibilities

Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Arts & Humanities (2015-2022)

Historical Lead, The Gloucester Project (2019-)

Trustee and Development Board Member, Gloucester 1682 Charitable Trust (2022-)

Academic Lead, AHRC Impact Acceleration Account  (2022-26)

Trustee and Board Member, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (2019-)

Key Research Interests

Professor Jowitt’s research is driven by a love of travel and the sea, and an interest in how people move between cultures and ideas across time. She has published widely on early modern travel writing, maritime culture and history, plays about cultural encounter, and the intersections between discourses of gender, race, colonial and/or imperial identities, and power.

Since 2019 she has been the Historical Lead on the Gloucester Project (see She is the Principal Investigator for the Project Grant awarded by the Leverhulme Trust (2021-24) to produce a history of the Gloucester frigate. Her first publication from the project 'The Last Voyage of the Gloucester, 1682: The Politics of a Royal Shipwreck' was published open access in English Historical Review in June 2022. Her Leverhulme Trust grant funds the work of Dr Benjamin Redding, Research Assistant on the project, and together they are writing the full story of the Gloucester (1654-82) and its wreck. Her grant also supports a PGR project on third-rate frigates. 

She works closely with the wreck discoverers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell and the Gloucester 1682 Charitable Trust, chaired by General Lord Richard Dannatt, to support the development of plans for the ship's future. Working with Norfolk Museums Service, she is a curator for the exhibition 'The Last Voyage of the Gloucester: Norfolk's Royal Shipwreck, 1682' at Norwich Castle February to September 2023. This exhibition tells the story of the wreck in 1682, its discovery in 2007 by the Barnwells, and for the first time showcases the artefacts rescued from the site. In 2023, the Gloucester Project won the Vice Chancellor's Outstanding Achievement Award for Impact and Innovation.

Her most recent book is a collection of 24 essays, The Routledge Companion to Marine and Maritime Worlds, 1400-1800, co-edited with Craig Lambert and Steve Mentz (2020), which was nominated for the Maritime Media Awards 2021 for the Mountbatten Award for Best Book. Other recent books include a collection on travel drama, Travel and Drama in Early Modern England: The Journeying Play, published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press, co-edited with David McInnis; a monograph The Culture of Piracy 1580–1630: English Literature and Seaborne Crime (ESSE Book Award, Literatures in the English Language [established authors] Honourable Mention, 2012); and (with Daniel Carey) a collection of essays Richard Hakluyt and Travel Writing in Early Modern Europe.

She is co-Director of the Hakluyt Edition Project ( and is a General Editor of the first critical edition of Hakluyt’s The Principal Navigations (1598–1600) for Oxford University Press. Funded by the AHRC, she co-organised the Haklyut@400 series of commemorative events in the autumn of 2016 for the Hakluyt Society. With John McAleer she edits the book series 'Maritime Humanities, 1400-1800: Cultures of the Sea' for Amsterdam University Press (

Other in-progress work includes an edited collection on Richard Hakluyt (with Daniel Carey), and a monograph provisionally enititled Seafever: The Sea Captain's Story

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor of Arts, University of Southampton

21 Sep 198631 May 1989

Award Date: 14 Jul 1989

External positions

Visiting Professor, University of Southampton

1 Sep 201530 Aug 2020

Visiting Professor, Newman University

1 Sep 201130 Aug 2019


  • British History
  • Maritime History
  • Early Modern History
  • Colonialism
  • Imperialism
  • Gloucester shipwreck

Media Expertise

  • History