Bio

As a professor in the English department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, my area of specialty is early modern drama, with particular interests in the effects of globalizing processes, constructions of the “human,” and the intersecting histories of race and religion. I am currently finishing a book-length study of the concept of fortune in the Renaissance, examining how ancient and early modern ideas of chance, luck, and opportunity changed with the emergence of proto-capitalist global expansion and showing how the commercial theater developed new dramatic conventions and representational techniques in response to the new ideas of fortune that a globalizing moment made possible. I have also begun writing a collaborative book with Henry Turner (Rutgers University) that explores pluralistic understandings of the concept of “world” in Shakespeare’s plays as a means to imagining alternatives to globalization and an anthropocentric future. 

In both my research and my teaching, I am guided by my longstanding interest in social justice and by the ways that writing, reading, and critiquing works of literature might contribute to a more just future for the world. I offer graduate and undergraduate courses on a wide array of topics, ranging from Renaissance understandings of the global world, to the history of race and the construction of the human, to the use of creative writing and art to transform trauma into healing. I find great value in approaching Shakespeare trans-historically, placing his plays in conversation with contemporary writers of color and theoretical discussions of race and gender. As an advisor, I believe in fostering original work that is both rigorous and creative, passionate and yet honest, historically-informed and also visionary about the future contributions that scholarship can make to our world. I served for a number of years as the Graduate Job Placement Officer and am committed to advising graduate students on issues of professionalization and to helping them to put forward their strongest case on the job market.   

 
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Jane Hwang Degenhardt

Associate Professor of English

Department of English
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

janed@umass.edu

In both my research and my teaching, I am guided by my longstanding interest in social justice and by the ways that writing, reading, and critiquing works of literature might contribute to a more just future for the world

Contact

150 Hicks Way, W333 South College,
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
01002

(413) 545-5498

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