Sean A. Dempsey

Sean A. Dempsey

Assistant Professor

J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences


Phone: 479-575-6004

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Romanticism, Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Culture, Modernism and Modernity, Secular / Postsecular Studies, Critical and Literary Theory, Philosophy & Literature, Religion & Literature, Sacramental Poetics, Psychoanalysis, Ecocriticism and Ecopoetics, Affect Theory, Media Studies, Political Theology.

Undergraduate and Graduate Level Courses

  • ENGL 4573 Romanticism
  • ENGL 4573 Poetics of Modernity: Tennyson to The Waste Land
  • ENGL 4563 Jane Austen
  • ENGL 3743 Topics: Romantic Visuality
  • ENGL 3743 Topics: Romantic Encounters
  • ENGL 3903 Sacramental Poetics
  • ENGL 3903 Religion and Literature
  • ENGL 4133 Writing Nature: Romantic & Post-Romantic Ecopoetics
  • ENGL 2313 English Lit from 1700 to 1900
  • WLIT 1113 World Literature I and II


Graduate Seminars:

  • ENGL 5203 Intro to Graduate Studies
  • ENGL 5423 Ecopoetics
  • ENGL 5943 Forms of Life
  • ENGL 6443 Sense and Sensibility
  • ENGL 6443 Romanticism and Modernity

Ph.D Boston University

Articles and Book Chapters

“Open-Hearted”: Persuasion and the Cultivation of Good Humor.” Included in edited volume on Jane Austen and Comedy, forthcoming 2018.

“‘Set my lands in order’: States of Exception, the Cinematic, and The Waste Land.Mosaic. 49.1, Spring 2016: 111-127.

“Re-Reading Wordsworth’s “Michael”: Sacramental Poetics in a Secular Age.” Journal for the History of Modern Theology / Zeitschrift für Neuere Theologiegeschichte.  22-1, Summer 2015: 77–100.

“‘Blank Splendour’: Keats, Romantic Visuality, and Wonder.” Studies in Romanticism. 52, Spring 2013: 85-113.

The Cenci: Tragedy in a Secular Age.” ELH. 79, Winter 2012: 879-903.

The Good Neighbor: Robert Frost and the Ethics of Community.” Co-written with Lisa Hinrichsen. The Robert Frost Review. 21, Fall/Winter 2011: 8-23.


Tilottama Rajan. Romantic Narrative: Shelley, Hays, Godwin, Wollstonecraft. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2010. Studies in Romanticism. 53, Summer 2013: 323-8. 

Colin Jager. The Book of God: Secularization and Design in the Romantic Era, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007. Studies in Romanticism 48, Winter 2009: 714-720. 

Peter Melville. Romantic Hospitality and the Resistance to Accommodation. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007. Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net 53, February 2009.

Other Publications

“The Genesis of Secular Responsibility: Aesthetic Education and the Neighbor” in Time, Memory, and Cultural Change. ed. S. Dempsey and D. Nichols, Vienna: IWM Junior Visiting Fellows' Conferences, Vol. XXV, 2009.

“Time, Memory, and Cultural Change: Introduction” in Time, Memory, and Cultural Change. ed. S. Dempsey and D. Nichols, Vienna: IWM Junior Visiting Fellows' Conferences, Vol. XXV, 2009.

Seminars and Fellowships

Institute for Critical Social Theory    2017
"Thought-Images, Body, and Mimesis in Walter Benjamin”, The New School, New York, NY. Seminar led by Michael Taussig (Columbia).

NEH Summer Seminar    2016
"Postsecular Studies & the Rise of the English Novel," Iowa City, IA. Seminar led by Lori Branch (Iowa) Mark Knight (Lancaster).

SIAS Summer Institute (SIAS)    2013-2014
"Scenes from the History of the Image: Reading Two Millennia of Conflict." Seminar led by Thomas Pfau (Duke) and David Womersley (Oxford). National Humanities Center, Research Park, NC (Summer 2013). Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Germany (Summer 2014).

School of Criticism and Theory (SCT)    2011
"Early Modern/Post Modern: Political Theology, Secularism, Literature," Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Seminar led by Victoria Khan (UC Berkeley).

University Centre Saint-Igantius Antwerp (UCSIA)     2008
Antwerp, Belgium. Summer School on “Religion, Culture, and Society.”

Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)     2007
Vienna, Austria.  Junior Visiting Fellow. Project Title: “‘A Neighbor within the House’: The State of Emergency and the Emergence of Political Consciousness.”