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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. My work has been published or is forthcoming in Modern Philology, SEL Studies in English Literature, Shakespeare Quarterly, Milton Studies, Multicultural Shakespeare, Notes and Queries, and Parergon.

I am the author of Devotional Experience and Erotic Knowledge in the Literary Culture of the English Reformation (Oxford University Press, 2023). In it, I explore 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 have recently completed 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 recent scholarly interest centers on early modern European travel accounts about East Asia, which chronicle journeys to places such as China, Java, Bali, Bantam, Chiang Mai, and Myanmar.

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.

Learn more at www.rhemahokama.com.



  • Devotional Experience and Erotic Knowledge in the Literary Culture of the English Reformation: Poetry, Public Worship, and Popular Divinity (Oxford University Press, 2023).
  • Cosmopolitanism after the European Reformation: Natural Law, Toleration, and Global Exchange from Tyndale to Shakespeare to the New World (second book project).

Journal Articles

  • “Shakespeare’s Cathayans: Twelfth Night, naval trade, and early modern China,” Notes and Queries (forthcoming)
  • “Shylock in Fuquieo: Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and the trial of a Portuguese stranger by China’s courts in Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations,” Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation, and Performance (forthcoming 2024).
  • “Sexual freedom and New World conquest” in Francisco de Vitoria’s De Indis and John Donne’s “To his Mistress going to bed,” Notes and Queries 69, no. 3 (2022): 231–33.
  • “‘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 issue).
  • “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 Chapters

  • “Shakespeare and Calvinism,” in the Routledge Handbook to Shakespeare and Religion (Abingdon: Routledge, forthcoming).
  • “Religion among the cannibals: human sacrifice, jurisprudence, and the New World in early modern travel writing,” Sacrifice in the early modern world (Abingdon: Routledge, forthcoming).
  • “The Pacific islands in the Renaissance imagination,” The global Renaissance (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).


  • PhD, Harvard University, English language and literature
  • MA, Harvard University, English language and literature
  • MSt, Balliol College, University of Oxford, English: 1550-1780
  • BA, University of Chicago, English and classical studies


  • Early modern English literature
  • Reformation in England and Northern Europe
  • Lyric poetry across all time periods
  • Shakespeare and global Shakespeares
  • Early modern European and East Asian exchange