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Abdulhamit Arvas

Assistant Professor of English

Fisher-Bennett Hall 220

Office Hours

spring 2024

on leave

Abdulhamit Arvas is Assistant Professor of English with affiliations in Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies, Comparative Literature & Literary Theory, the Middle East Center, and Global Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His research and teaching focus on early modern literature and culture, comparative histories of sexuality and race, queer studies, trans history, cross-cultural encounters, and Islam in the Renaissance. His book project, Boys Abducted: The Homoerotics of Empire and Race in Early Modernity (forthcoming, Duke UP), concerns early modern sexuality, gender, and race in a transcultural context. Specifically, reading English and Ottoman literatures together, this project explores the abduction and circulation of male adolescents in the transnational Mediterranean space during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. 

Dr. Arvas co-edited the tenth anniversary issue of postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies, titled Critical Confessions Now (2020), which has been re-issued as a book (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023). His other publications appeared in journals including English Literary Renaissance, Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies, Shakespeare Survey, postmedieval, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, and in edited collections such as The Postcolonial World, The Cambridge History of Gay and Lesbian Literature, England’s Asian Renaissance, Trans Historical: Gender Plurality Before the Modern, and The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Race

He was awarded fellowships and grants from Fulbright, The Folger Shakespeare Library,  SSHRC Early Modern Conversions at the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, and the University of California Humanities Research Institute. He is on the Board of Directors of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY).  

Dr. Arvas received his BA from Hacettepe University (Turkey), MA from Eastern Michigan University, and PhD in English, with additional specialization in Women’s and Gender Studies, from Michigan State University. Prior to joining Penn English, he was Assistant Professor of Theater at the University of California Santa Barbara and Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Vassar College. 

*Prof. Arvas is on leave during AY 2023-2024. He is Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford (Exeter College) in Spring 2024. 


Articles and Book Chapters

"Racialized Genders on the Shakespearean Stage" The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Race (2024)
"Performing and Desiring Gender Variance in the Ottoman Empire" Trans Historical: Gender Plurality Before the Modern (2021)
"The Ottomans in and of Europe" England’s Asian Renaissance (2021)
"Critical Confessions Now" postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies (2020)
"Early Modern Eunuchs and the Transing of Gender and Race" Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies (2020)
"Queering Orientalism and Contrapuntal Reading" GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (2017)

Courses Taught

fall 2024

ENGL 1861.401 Othello  
ENGL 2860.401 Sex with Shakespeare canceled  

spring 2023

ENGL 0304.301 Dangerous Literature  

fall 2022

spring 2022

ENGL 016.301 Dangerous Literature  

fall 2021

ENGL 226.301 Sex with Shakespeare  

spring 2021

fall 2020

ENGL 226.301 Sex with Shakespeare