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Joseph William Sterrett

Associate professor

Joseph William Sterrett
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Office hour: by appointment


I research and write about early modern literature and drama and how these interrelate with cultural forces such as religion, governance, architecture, to name a few.  I have been particularly interested in prayer as a cultural practice, how it expresses and conveys power and identity on both a personal and collective basis.

Currently I'm researching 'trust' in early modern literature and drama, an area that, though it received little attention within any formal philosophical framework, was nonetheless of vital concern to the writers and dramatists of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.  Trust, like prayer (to borrow Herbert's phrase), was 'something understood' as much or more in moments when it was absent as felt.  It was recognised both as an essential social commodity and a thing that is extremely fragile.  This current work seeks to find bridges between important work on trust that is ongoing in other areas (business studies, organisational management, governance,  sociology) and literary studies which has oddly eschewed such links.

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