Home / About / People / Faculty / Rhema Hokama



Research Interests:
Discipline: English Literature
Pillar / Cluster: Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences


I joined SUTD’s faculty of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) in 2016, after receiving my PhD in English literature from Harvard.  I recently completed my first book project The Reformation of Desire: Poetry, Prayer, and Devotional Performance from Shakespeare to Milton. This project explores how changing views of religious worship practices in the aftermath of the English Reformation shaped the way Shakespeare and his contemporary writers conceptualized intimacy and erotic desire in their poetry. I am currently working on a second book project on cosmopolitan identity and the English Reformation, which explores the ways post-Reformed English and European society contended with new models for social and political inclusion—ones that were no longer tethered to national or religious identity. My work has been published or is forthcoming in Modern PhilologySEL Studies in English Literature, Shakespeare Quarterly, Milton Studies, Multicultural Shakespeare, and Parergon.

I have a B.A in classical studies and English literature from the University of Chicago, and a M.St. in early modern British literature from Oxford.

Before coming to SUTD, I spent a year away from academia and worked as director of communication and development at a nonprofit focused on high impact giving targeting global poverty initiatives.

See more at: scholar.harvard.edu/rhokama/home


Referred Journal Articles

  • “‘Wanton child’: Fantasies of infanticide, abortion, and monstrous birth in Mary Wroth’s Pamphilia to Amphilanthus,” SEL Studies in English Literature 1500–1900 62.2 (forthcoming spring 2022).
  • “Loves halowed temple”: Erotic sacramentalism and reformed devotion in John Donne’s “To his Mistress going to bed,” Modern Philology 119.2 (2021): 248–75.
  • “Shakespeare in Hawai‘i: Puritans, Missionaries, and Language Trouble in a Hawaiian Pidgin Translation of Twelfth Night,” Multicultural Shakespeare 18 (2018): 57-77.
  • “Praying in Paradise: Recasting Milton’s Iconoclasm in Paradise Lost,” Milton Studies 54 (2013): 161-180.
  • “Love’s Rites: Performing Prayer in Shakespeare’s Sonnets,” Shakespeare Quarterly 62.2 (2012): 199-223.

Book Review

  • Review of Daniel R. Gibbons, Conflicts of Devotion: Liturgical Poetics in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England (Notre Dame, 2017), Parergon 34.2 (2017): 207-08.