Staff profile

Dr Stephen Watkins

Lecturer in English Literature

Dr Stephen Watkins talking to students


English, Creative Writing and Publishing


College of Arts, Humanities and Education





I am a Lecturer in English Literature, specialising in the early modern period. Before coming to Derby in January 2018, I taught at the University of Southampton, where I also completed my AHRC-funded PhD on the seventeenth-century poet and playwright Sir William Davenant. I completed my BA (Hons) in English Literature at Southampton in 2013 and received my MA in Renaissance Literature from the University of York in 2014.

Teaching responsibilities

I currently convene the first-year English module 'Early Modern Words, Early Modern Worlds: Sixteenth-Century Literature', and I contribute classes to the Research Methods module for Humanities MA students. From 2019-20, I will also offer modules on 'Seventeenth-Century Literature' and 'Tragedy'.

Research interests

My research focuses primarily on English Renaissance and Restoration Literature, especially drama and poetry. I am currently preparing a monograph, based on research from my PhD, which will examine the revolutionary career of the seventeenth-century playwright Sir William Davenant. The Revolutionary Theatres of Sir William Davenant, 1650-1667 constitutes the first in-depth study of Davenant’s post-regicide writing for the stage.

I am also in the early stages of a new project exploring the development of 'heroic' literature and drama in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, across both England and Europe.

Membership of professional bodies


BA (Hons) English (First Class Honours) – University of Southampton

MA in Renaissance Literature (Distinction) – University of York

PhD in English Literature – University of Southampton

Recent conferences

I regularly give papers, both in the UK and internationally. Recent conference presentations include:

Experience in industry

In 2018, I was involved in a collaborative project to stage a full, professional production of William Davenant’s 1664 adaptation of Macbeth at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC, USA. This was carried out under the auspices of the major AHRC project, ‘Performing Restoration Shakespeare’ (2017-19), led by Professor Richard Schoch (Queen's University, Belfast) and Professor Amanda Eubanks Winkler (Syracuse University, USA).

Additional interests and activities

I have given talks on early-modern plays as part of the 'Read Not Dead' series run by Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and I regularly provide programme notes for professional productions of early-modern plays. I also enjoy reviewing productions for both academic and non-academic publications.

Alongside my research and teaching, I am always keen to promote the discipline of English in both schools and universities; as such, I have an active interest in Higher Education policy making. I frequently engage in discussions with subject associations and other stakeholders about the challenges facing our sector, especially in relation to early career academics, precarity, and the future of academic publishing.

Recent publications

Journal Articles

'The Protectorate Playhouse: William Davenant's Cockpit in the 1650s', Shakespeare Bulletin, 37.1 (Spring, 2019), 89-109

Chapters in Edited Collections

With Clara Jones, Clare Egan, Elizabeth English and Ilse A. Ras, 'Shared Futures: Early Career Academics in English Studies', in English: Shared Futures, ed. by Robert Eaglestone and Gail Marshall (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2018), pp. 64-72