Department of English Language and Literature and the College
Timothy Harrison’s interests lie in the relationship between language, history, and lived experience. His research and teaching focus on how 16th- and 17th-century literature intersects with practices of knowledge production ranging from the sciences to theology. Combining a historical focus on early modernity with the study of phenomenological philosophy, his work probes a range of verbal techniques for articulating (and perhaps inventing) modes of experience that resist comprehension.
His current book project, “Forms of Sentience in Early Modernity,” explores how writers in the 16th and 17th centuries developed linguistic strategies capable of expressing how it feels to be alive. It examines accounts of unexpected experiences or imagined states of being when everyday affective and cognitive investments fall away, when all that remains is a minimal, intransitive, but nevertheless variegated sense of one’s own life. He is also co-authoring another book project, “John Donne’s Physics,” which explores the various forms of being in the world as described and imagined in Donne’s poetry and prose.
Harrison will receive his PhD in English language and literature from the University of Toronto in 2014. Currently an instructor, his appointment as assistant professor will begin in January 2015.