My research is in three areas: the philosophy of literature (with an emphasis on early modern English literature), the philosophy of theater, and animal-ethics. I try to turn both my teaching and research into forms of border-crossings, in which sensitivities and motivations of more than one academic discipline interlace.
The philosophy of literature takes up much of my research and teaching (I am a trained philosopher, teaching in literature departments). Three of my books relate to philosophizing through and with literary works: Double Vision: Moral Philosophy and Shakespearean Drama (Princeton, 2006), Ascent: Philosophy and Paradise Lost (OUP, 2017), and Just Literature: Philosophical Criticism and Justice (Routledge, 2019). I have also edited Shakespeare's Hamlet: Philosophical Perspectives (OUP, 2017). A recent essay of mine in this context discusses friendship in Shakespeare.
My Acts: Theater, Philosophy and the Performing Self (University of Michigan Press, 2014) explored philosophical dimensions of dramatic acting. The book addressed self-dramatization, on the stage (or off it). The project included work on theatrical role-playing, discussing topics such as repetition, drama, acting, puppetry, masochism, voice, anorexia, pornography and the relationship between acting and ethics (the last essay has received an award from The Philosophical Quarterly). New work of mine in this domain includes an essay on giving focus in acting (The Philosophy of Theatre, edited by Tom Stern, for Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), and on roleplaying in Shakespeare.
I am also interested in moral aspects of human-animal relations. My book Ethics and the Beast (Princeton, 2007) probed only ethical dimensions of this issue. I have since become interested by literary representation of animals. I regularly teach a seminar on this latter topic, and have contributed a chapter on the depiction of animals in literary works to the Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Animals.
I am presently in the planning and preparing stage for a new project on neoliberalism and literature. The project will continue my work on justice and literature.