Sean Lawrence

Associate Professor

English, English and Cultural Studies
Other Titles: English
Office: CCS 372
Phone: 250.807.9415

Graduate student supervisor

Research Summary

Shakespeare; canonical literature and 20th-century French philosophy; Medieval and Renaissance studies; peace and war studies; drama and theatre studies; ethics.

Courses & Teaching

English, Shakespeare: Foundations to 1800, Thomas Malory, graduate/honours seminar on Shakespeare and political theology.


B.A. (Hons), University of King’s College, M.A. English, Dalhousie University,
Ph.D. English, UBC

Research Interests & Projects

My research concentrates on the intersections between continental philosophy, especially that of Emmanuel Levinas, and Elizabethan drama, particularly William Shakespeare’s. This nexus embraces analogous questions raised by the relationship of Elizabethan drama to the reformation theological context in which it found itself.

My current project, on peace in Shakespeare, questions the tendency of critics, theorists and philosophers to treat war as normative and even ubiquitous. War in Shakespeare is certainly frequent, of course, but the plays also enunciate a concern with peace, both negatively, by emphasizing the horrors of war, and positively, by offering alternative models of human life.

Selected Publications & Presentations


Lawrence, Sean. Forgiving the Gift: The Philosophy of Generosity in Shakespeare and Marlowe. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne UP, 2012.

Recent Articles and Chapters:

Lawrence, Sean. “Game Over: Play and War in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida”. Games of War in Early Modern English Literature: From Shakespeare to Swift and Beyond. Eds. Holly Faith Nelson and Jim Daems. Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP, 2019. Forthcoming.

—. “‘I’m a Pacifist’: Peace in the Thought of Emmanuel Levinas.” Religions 10 (2019). Forthcoming.

—. “Fear and the Other in Sir Thomas More.” Actes des congrès de la Société francaise Shakespeare 36 (2018). Online:

—. “Adonis Translated and Venus Frustrated: Shakespeare, Levinas and the Excess of Desire.” Levinas and Shakespeare. Eds. Kent Lehnhof, Moshe Gold and Sandor Goodhart. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue UP, 2018. In print.

—. “La paix et la reconnaissance d’autrui : Girard, Levinas et Shakespeare.” Shakespeare au risque de la philosophie. Eds. Pascale Drouet et Philippe Grosos. Paris: Hermann, 2017. In print.

—. “Hospitality in Anthony and Cleopatra.” Shakespeare and Hospitality Ethics, Politics, and Exchange. Ed. Julia Reinhard Lupton and David Goldstein. London: Routledge, 2016. In print.

—. “The Two Faces of Othello.” Shakespeare and the Power of the Face. Ed. James Knapp. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2015. In print.

Professional Services/Affiliations/Committees


Recent Undergraduate Honours Essays Supervised:

“The Scandal of the Sign: Is Misunderstanding and Non-Recognition a Necessary Violence?”

“Women Overreachers in Marlowe.”


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