My teaching and research have been committed to understanding how people come to know one another and themselves. How do we perform roles and identities? How does the re-enactment of tropes, stories, and questions from antiquity shape our understanding today? I am especially interested in the performative practices and acts of self-assertion involved in the reception of Greek drama and philosophy, Shakespeare, and Eastern Thought. The German intellectual and cultural worlds of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries provide a rich locus in which these strands of research converge.
I am currently finishing up a book that explores dramatic recognition in Homer, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Kleist. Other ongoing projects include a study of the rhetoric of sympathy in ethics and aesthetics. I have published articles on Aristotle, Shaftesbury, Mendelssohn, Lessing, Adam Smith, Goethe, Kleist, Tom Stoppard, Heiner Müller, and the Sanskrit dramatist Kālidāsa. I am also interested in connections between evolutions in scientific understanding and artistic creation, and my translation of Rüdiger Campe’s The Game of Probability: Literature and Calculation between Pascal and Kleist, was published by Stanford UP in 2013. All of my sundry interests unfold from some aspect of performance studies: it is instructively revealing to view even the scientific experiment as a staged performative space.
Before coming coming to UW, I taught at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Priamursky State University Shalom Aleichem in Birobidzhan, Russia.