Devin Byker

Assistant Professor

Address: 22B Glebe Street, Room 202
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-2pm in Zoom Room, and by appointment.

In my teaching and research, I focus on Shakespeare, early modern English literature, and early English drama. In general, I am interested in how the genre of drama explores questions about human “plurality," as Hannah Arendt refers to it. I like to think about how individual speech and action both fosters and collides with the wide-ranging tangles of obligations, agreements, compromise, and dissent that our communities both afford and demand. To get at these questions, I often place drama in conversation with of a number of other discourses, including religious culture, performance studies, philosophy of language, and political theory. I have written, for example, about how the drama of Shakespeare explores the changing significance of intercessory speech; how Shakespeare depicts the claims that the faces of others exert on us; and, in my current book project, how Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe investigate the ways in which the act of dying may or may not provide opportunities for transformation, revelation, and new understanding.

I tend to gravitate toward the topics of literature and religion, trans-Reformation studies (reading across the Protestant Reformation and the "medieval-Renaissance divide"), performance studies, queer theory, political theory and theories of community, and philosophy-based approaches to reading literature. At the College of Charleston, I teach classes that include Introduction to Academic Writing (ENGL 110), British Literature before 1800 (ENGL 201), Shakespeare (ENGL 301), Literature and Consent in Renaissance England (ENGL 361), and, in Spring 2020, Queer Shakespeare (ENGL 361).


Ph.D., English, Boston University

M.A., English, Boston University

B.A., English, French, Music, Calvin College

Research Interests


Medieval and Renaissance drama

approaches to dying

Trans-Reformation studies

literature and religion

ordinary language philosophy

phenomenology, philosophy, and performance studies

Hannah Arendt

Courses Taught

ENGL 110: Introduction to Academic Writing

ENGL 201: British Literature to 1800

ENGL 299: Introduction to English Studies

ENGL 361: Queer Shakespeare 

ENGL 361: Literature and Consent in Renaissance England

ENGL 361: English Renaissance Drama and Revenge

ENGL 502: Shakespeare


“Bed Tricks and Fantasies of Facelessness: All’s Well that Ends Well and Macbeth in the Dark.” In Face-to-Face in Shakespearean Drama: Ethics, Performance, Philosophy, eds. Matthew J. Smith and Julia Reinhard Lupton. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019. 132-159.

“‘Death Hath Ten Thousand Several Doors’: The Duchess of Malfi’s Arts of Dying.” In The Duchess of Malfi: Webster’s Tragedy of Blood, eds. Pascale Drouet and William C. Carroll. Paris: Belin/Humensis, 2018. 156-170.

“Bent Speech and Borrowed Selves: Substitutionary Logic and Intercessory Acts in Measure for Measure.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 46.2 (2016): 405-32.