Kearney, James

Associate Professor


Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
M.Phil., Cambridge University

Jim Kearney is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he has taught since 2006. His teaching and research interests include: early modern literature and culture; Shakespeare; literature and economics; early modern and postmodern ethics; the history of reading; early modern theology and hermeneutics; and literary theory. His first book, The Incarnate Text: Imagining the Book in Reformation England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009; winner of the CCL’s Book of the Year award for 2009), explores how the book was imagined during the crisis of representation occasioned by the Reformation’s simultaneous faith in text and distrust of material forms. He recently co-edited a special issue of the journal Criticism addressing "Shakespeare and Phenomenology" (Summer, 2012). He is currently working on two research projects: one that addresses reading as transformation in early modern England and one that addresses ethics and economics in Shakespeare’s plays.



South Hall 2504

Office Hours: 

Spring 2020 - Please email for appointment.


Mailing Address: 

English Department
UC Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3170


Early Modern Studies
Cultural Studies
Literary Theory
Renaissance Literature

Research Interests: 

  • Early modern literature and culture
  • Shakespeare
  • Economics and literature
  • The history of reading
  • Early modern and postmodern ethics
  • Reformation theology and hermeneutics
  • Literary theory


Articles & Chapters: 

Shakespeare and Phenomenology, co-edited with Kevin Curran, special issue of Criticism 54.3 (Summer, 2012)

"'This is above all strangeness': King Lear, Ethics, and the Phenomenology of Recognition." Criticism 54.3 (Summer, 2012)

"Reformed Ventriloquism: The Shepheardes Calender and the Craft of Commentary." Spenser Studies 26 (2011)

"Status." The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare, edited by Arthur Kinney.  Oxford University Press, 2011

"Idleness." Cultural Reformations: Medieval and Renaissance in Literary History, edited by James Simpson and Brian Cummings, Oxford University Press, 2010

The Incarnate Text: Imagining the Book in Reformation England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009)

"The Book and the Fetish: The Materiality of Prospero's Text." Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 32.2 Fall (2002): 433-468

"Enshrining Idolatry in The Faerie Queene." English Literary Renaissance 32.1 (2002): 3-42

"Trinket, Idol, Fetish: Some Notes on Iconoclasm and the Language of Materiality in Reformation England."  Shakespeare Studies 28 (2000): 257-261


Recent Courses Taught