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). Two of my books relate to literary works as gateways for philosophizing ( Double Vision: Moral Philosophy and Shakespearean Drama, Princeton, 2006 and Ascent: Philosophy and Paradise Lost (OUP, 2017). I have also edited Shakespeare's Hamlet: Philosophical Perspectives (OUP, 2017), and am writing a book on justice and literature (under contract with Routledge).
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).
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.