Shankar Raman

Shankar Raman is a Professor of the Literature Section. His research focuses on late medieval and early modern literature and culture.   He received his PhD in English Literature (with a minor in German) from Stanford University in 1995, switching fields and careers after receiving both a master’s (U. C. Berkeley) and a bachelor’s (MIT) degree in Electrical Engineering (along with a second bachelor’s at MIT through the Department of Architecture).

His first book, Framing ‘India’: The Colonial Imaginary in Early Modern Culture (Stanford 2002)investigates the relationship between colonialism and literature in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. It compares Portuguese, English and Dutch colonial activity to examine the role of India as a figure through which these diverse European powers imagined and defined themselves. A second book, Renaissance Literature and Postcolonial Studies, was recently published by Edinburgh University Press (2011) . He is also co-editor, with Lowell Gallagher, of Knowing Shakespeare: Senses, Embodiment, Cognition (Palgrave Macmillan 2010)He is currently working on a monograph on the relationship between literature and mathematics in early modern Europe, tentatively entitled Before the Two Cultures. From 2005 to 2010 he participated in Making Publics: Media, Markets and Associations in Early Modern Europe, 1500 – 1700 [MaPs], a major five-year interdisciplinary research initiative funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada.

His teaching at MIT includes: Shakespeare, Renaissance poetry and drama, literary theory, and postcolonial fiction.

Renaissance and late-Medieval literature and culture; colonialism and post-colonialism; history of ideas; history of science; literary theory


In Progress

Before the Two Cultures: Literature and Mathematics in Early Modern Europe.


Renaissance Literature and Postcolonial Studies. Edinburgh University Press.


Knowing Shakespeare: Senses, Embodiment Cognition. Palgrave Macmillan. (A collection of essays, co-edited with Lowell Gallagher, UCLA).


Framing “India”: The Colonial Imaginary in Early Modern Culture. Stanford University Press.


 Selected Articles

2011 “Learning from de Bry: Lessons in Seeing and Writing the Heathen,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 41 (1): 13-66.
2010 “Specifying Unknown Things: The Algebra of The Merchant of Venice,” in Paul Yachnin and Bronwen Wilson, eds., Making Publics in Early Modern Europe: People, Places, Forms of Knowledge. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 212-231.
2009 “Death by Numbers: Counting and Accounting in The Winter’s Tale,” in Diana Henderson, ed., Alternative Shakespeares 3. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 146-171.
2007 “Marvell’s Now,” Early Modern Culture (6), Special Issue: Timely Meditations (eds. Crystal Bartolovich and Jonathan Gil Harris);
2005 “Marking Time: Memory and Market in Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors,Shakespeare Quarterly 56 (2): 176-205.
2004 “‘The Ship Comes Well-Laden’: Court Politics, Colonialism, and Cuckoldry in Gil Vicente’s Auto da India.” In: Imperialisms: Historical and Literary Investigations 1500-1900, ed. Balachandran Rajan and Elizabeth Sauer. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 15-32.
2001 “Can’t Buy Me Love: Money, Gender, and Colonialism in Donne’s Erotic Verse.” Criticism 43(2): 135-168.
2001 “Back to the Future: Forging History in Luis de Camões’ Os Lusíadas,in Travel Knowledge: European “Discoveries” in the Early Modern Period, ed. Ivo Kamps and Jyotsna G. Singh,.New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 127-147.
1997 “Imaginary Islands: Staging the East.” Renaissance Drama, n.s., Vol. XXVI: 131-162.
1997 “Desire and Violence in Renaissance England: Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II.Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift, 71(1): 39-69.


Subjects taught the current academic year:


Subjects taught in recent years:

21L.015 Children’s Literature (Fall 2019)

21L.015 Children’s Literature (Fall 2020)

21L.451 Literary Theory (Spring 2022)

21L.451 Literary Theory (Spring 2019)

21L.703 Studies in Drama: Getting Even: The Drama of Revenge (Spring 2019)