The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Jane Hwang Degenhardt

Associate Professor

picture of Jane Hwang Degenhardt

(413) 545-5498

Personal Website

W333 South College

Jane Hwang Degenhardt received her BA from Hamilton College and her PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work focuses on early modern drama, but is often informed by and in conversation with questions that lie at the heart of critical race and gender studies. She approaches Shakespeare’s plays trans-historically and places them in conversation with writers of color and theoretical discussions of race and gender. Her undergraduate courses focus on Renaissance drama, ethnic American literature, and racial and inter-generational trauma. Her recent graduate teaching addresses the historical underpinnings of race as well as its development in relation to changing definitions of the human and emerging templates for the post-human. She is the author of Islamic Conversion and Christian Resistance on the Early Modern Stage (2010). She is completing a book entitled Fortune’s Empire: Chance, Providence, and Overseas Ventures in Early Modern English Drama that explores the meaning of chance, luck, and risk--and how these concepts develop in relation to emergent capitalism--in the context of early English global expansion. She is also beginning a new book project with Henry Turner on pluralistic understandings of the concept of “world” that sources its arguments in Shakespeare’s plays as well as in contemporary creative fiction and non-fiction writing, in visual and performance art, and in film and digital media.


You can read more about her work at her personal website:




Courses Recently Taught

Recent graduate courses

  • The Human, the Post-Human, and Race: From The Tempest to The Shape of Water
  • Early Modern Political Economy and Discourses of Fortune   
  • Renaissance Discourses of Fate, Luck, and Human Will
  • Early Modern Drama and the World Stage: Transnationalism, Inter-imperialism, Globalization
  • New Directions in Shakespeare Studies: Disability, Eco-criticism, Materialism, Sexuality Studies