Dr. Oakes

Margaret Oakes

Professor of English; Chair of the Humanities Interdisciplinary Minor

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I have been at Furman since 1996, teaching Early Modern literature, mystery and detective fiction, first-year composition, and Humanities courses. My specialty is 16th and 17th century British poetry, and my dissertation was on the religious poetry of John Donne and George Herbert. My research interests focus on Shakespeare, Donne, Margaret Cavendish, seventeenth century book frontispiece portraits, Reformation theology, detective fiction, and children’s fantasy literature. I am the chair of the Humanities Interdisciplinary Minor, the faculty advisor for Sigma Tau Delta, the English honorary, and sometimes coach for the Mock Trial program.


  • Furman Meritorious Advising Award in 2002
  • Faculty Member of the Year, Association of Furman Students in 2006
  • Sigma Tau Delta Outstanding Advisor in 2006
  • Princeton Review "300 best professors in the United States" in 2012
  • Jerry G. Gaff Award for Faculty Excellence in General and Liberal Education, national award presented by the Association of General and Liberal Studies: 2015
  • Furman Undergraduate Evening Division Faculty Member of the Year: 2020-2021


  • Ph.D., Stanford University
  • J.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • M.A., Northwestern University
  • B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Publications & Professional Activities

  • Under review for publication: book manuscript with McFarland Publishing entitled To Gender or Not to Gender, a study of gender presentation and interpretation in recent Shakespearean productions
  • Article “Hardball Speaks to our Hard Times,” Clue: A Journal of Detection, March, 2022
  • Essay on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Literary Journeys
  • Essay on Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! in Literary Landscapes
  • Essay on Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in Literary Landscapes
  • Essay on J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Literary Wonderlands
  • “Secret Domination or Civic Duty: The Source and Purpose of Magical Power in Harry Potter.” Reading Harry Potter Again: New Critical Essays, 2009
  • “Flying Cars, Floo Powder, and Flaming Torches: The Hi-Tech, Lo-Tech World of Harry Potter.” Reading Harry Potter: Critical Essays, 2003
  • “’Entering Upon That One Path’: Bacon’s Knightly Quest for Knowledge.” Discoveries (online publication of the South Central Renaissance Conference)
  • “’To be thy praise / And be my salvation’: The Duty to Praise in The Temple.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language
  • “Naming Cromwell: Marvell’s Dilemma,” Discoveries: South Central Renaissance Conference News
  • Actor in "Sheepwell," written by Theater Arts faculty Margaret Caterisano, presented at the SheNYCarts Theater Festival in New York, August 2022, winner of Best Production and Best Playwright of the Festival
  • Furman TEDx featured faculty speaker: “To Gender or Not to Gender: Questions of Gendering in Shakespeare”: January, 2021
  • SC Humanities Facebook Watch lecture: “The Shakespeare You Love to Hate”: April 2020
  • Featured speaker for SC Humanities Speakers Bureau on Shakespeare, John Donne, Elizabeth I, and the History of Detective Fiction