My research work began with the poetry and designs of the radical English visionary William Blake and with the intersection of contemporary critical theory, post-Enlightenment philosophy, and Romantic literary practice. Contemporary critical theory remains a main concern, especially the later work of Jacques Derrida. Although I still consider myself an active Romanticist, my focus has shifted towards symptomatic readings of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century philosophy, notably the writings of Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Schelling. Engaging philosophical texts as sites of conflicted desire, disavowal, and self-difference, my research and teaching address the complex imbrication of rhetoric and culture that quickens Kantian and post-Kantian thought, and in particular dwells upon the cultural excesses and conceptual remainders that trouble philosophical and theoretical narratives. My current project on Kant explores the bodies and pleasures haunting the philosopher's last published writings, while my work on Schelling discusses the unsettling role that resistant negativities play in the mourning work of German idealism. Other research foci include: philosophical articulations of animality and responsibility in Levinas, Kant, Derrida, and Heidegger; the rhetoric of "drugs" and "addiction" in Heidegger, Kant, De Quincey, and Schelling; the question of extraordinary forms of embodiment; the meanings of queer theory after the work of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.

      At the undergraduate and graduate level I primarily teach courses in critical theory, although in the past I have certainly also taught courses in Romantic literature and culture. (See Courses.) For several years I have also offered courses (in both the Department of English and in the Health Studies Programme) on the discourses of HIV/AIDS--a topic about which I have also supervised several undergraduate and graduate theses. In January 2006 and 2007 I offered a new fourth-year seminar in the Health Studies Programme called "Narratives of Illness." In addition to graduate seminars on a range of subjects (from HIV/AIDS to the work of Jacques Derrida) in the Department of English and Cultural Studies, I have twice taught one of the core courses for McMaster's new M.A. program in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory, a seminar called "On the Remains of the University."

      I warmly welcome M.A. and Ph.D. research projects that produce or explore connections between different disciplines, discourses, and objects of analysis. Of particular interest to me are projects that address the following concerns: questions of embodiment, subjectivity, responsibility, mourning, animality; contemporary critical theory, especially its intersections with Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophy; German idealism as a site of theorization about affect, desire, and loss; representations and politics of health and illness. I especially welcome students who are working with critical theories and cultural archives from a wide range of historical periods leading up to the present day. In other words, I want to recognize and affirm the critical power and conceptual significance of critical theory developed before--as well as during--the twentieth and twenty-first century. Frankly, talking about popular culture ephemera--as pleasurable as that undoubtedly can be--interests me much less than critically engaging discourses--going back to the late eighteenth-century--that directly engage the more pressing and consequential questions. These include, for example: What are the limits of knowledge? What are the histories, politics, and ethics of being-embodied? What relationships obtain between knowledge, action, and the matter of responsibilities for others? What does it mean to dwell with others? Why war? Or to recall Kant's great queries: What can I know? What must I do? What am I permitted to hope for? Moreover, because contemporary critical theories are deeply informed by their historical antecedents, I encourage research that explores the links joining what is imagined to be the "present" to what is imagined to be the "past." How do current critical theories help us re-read earlier interrogations of and negotiations with analogous questions and problems? And how does this historical archive provide a new optic through which to consider today's complexities? How to write what Michel Foucault calls "a history of the present?"

      A founding member of the Plurality and Alterity interdisciplinary research group (1991-7), I have twice been Visiting Professor at the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism (University of Western Ontario). I was Halls-Bascom Visiting Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during November 2003, and Visiting Fellow at the Center for Humanities at Washington University in April 2009. I am George Whalley Visiting Professor in Romanticism in the Department of English at Queen's University during the winter term of 2012, and I will be Lansdowne Visiting Scholar at the University of Victoria in November 2012.

      Currently I am co-editor (along with Henry A. Giroux) of the The Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies. Founded by Henry A. Giroux and Patrick Shannon in the early 1990s, The Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies is the only journal which publishes critical essays that explore pedagogy and its relation to a wide variety of political, social, cultural and economic issues. It is particularly concerned with issues focusing on how pedagogy works within and across a variety of contemporary and historical sites (not limited to formal spaces of education, but including popular culture, museums, film, and other social spaces) and how pedagogical practices emerge out of specific historical struggles, concrete projects, and particular relations of power. The journal is robustly interdisciplinary, attracting cutting-edge work from scholars the world over in anthropology, sociology, critical theory, literary studies, history, psychoanalysis, philosophy, education studies, the arts and other fields in the humanities and social sciences. Susan Searls Giroux has been managing editor of the journal since 1998, attending to all facets of its daily operation. We warmly welcome submissions of rigorous and intellectually courageous work.

      In addition to my desire to create informed and unsettling classroom experiences for my undergraduate students, I am committed to fostering a rigorous and capacious educational environment for students enroled in our graduate programme, an environment quickened by critique, responsibility, and academic professionalism. (For a more detailed account of my understanding of the meaning of teaching and learning, see my remarks in Thought and Theory.) In 2006 I was honoured to be the recipient of the McMaster Student Union's Annual Teaching Award. And in two recent national surveys, I was listed as one of McMaster University's "Popular Professors" (Maclean's Guide to Canadian Universities 2005 and 2006), but this is a description about which I have deep reservations. (McMaster has since severed its relationship with the Maclean's survey.) Popularity with my students is not what I seek; what I seek is curiosity and intellectual courage and a commitment to the task of becoming a public intellectual. What I seek is the student devoted to thinking more complexly and writing more persuasively. Mindful of what Socrates teaches, my goals are to encourage certain forms of impiety in students, and to corrupt their minds. In 1996 I was honoured to receive the President's Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision, an award for which I was also short-listed in 2002. From 2001 to 2005 I was a member--and then co-chair--of the Appraisal Committee (Section II) of the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies, the body that overlooks the quality of graduate education in all of the province's graduate programmes. In 2006-7, I was chair of Section V--the committee devoted exclusively to appraising new graduate programs.