Skip to main content
Indiana University Bloomington

Stephen Watt

Stephen Watt

Email | 812-855-3140

Provost Professor
Adjunct Professor of Theatre and Drama

Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1982

I am a Professor of English – and of Theatre and Drama – and Associate Dean for a new School of Art and Design to be located within the College of Art and Sciences. I have taught at Indiana since 1985. My major research interests include drama and theatre of the 19th and 20th centuries, Irish Studies, and the contemporary university. I’ve recently finished two books: Beckett and Contemporary Irish Writing (2009), which discusses such writers as Samuel Beckett, Brian Friel, Marina Carr, John Banville, Paul Muldoon, and Derek Mahon; and “Something Dreadful and Grand”: American Literature and the Irish-Jewish Unconscious (2015), which examines the often uncanny cultural interactions between Irish-American and Jewish-American immigrants from around 1850-1950 and the notions of performance, multi-directional memory, and an Irish-Jewish modern literature. My next book project concerns Bernard Shaw’s materialist psychology and the cultural milieu of the fin de siècle, including work by Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, and Georg Simmel.

Click here for further information regarding Professor Watt's work in 20th Century Literature and culture. >>

Recent Graduate Courses

Drama and Theatre in Victorian England
Samuel Beckett and Contemporary Irish Theatre
Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses
Understanding Northern Ireland (in development)

Recent and Forthcoming Writing (click images for more information)


Something Dreadful and Grand: Modern American Literature and the Irish-Jewish Unconscious“Something Dreadful and Grand”: American Literature and the Irish-Jewish Unconscious (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

Beckett and Contemporary Irish WritingBeckett and Contemporary Irish Writing (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Office HoursOffice Hours: Activism and Change in the Academy (Routledge, 2004; co-authored with Cary Nelson).

Academic KeywordsAcademic Keywords: A Devil’s Dictionary for Higher Education (Routledge, 1999; co-authored with Cary Nelson).

Postmodern/DramaPostmodern/Drama: Reading the Contemporary Stage (University of Michigan Press, 1998).

Joyce, O'Casey, and the Irish Popular TheaterJoyce, O’Casey, and the Irish Popular Theatre (Syracuse University Press, 1991).


Ian Fleming and James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007Edward P. Comentale, Stephen Watt, and Skip Willman, eds. Ian Fleming and James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007 (Indiana University Press, 2005).

A Century Of Irish Drama: Widening the StageStephen Watt, Eileen Morgan, and Shakir Mustafa, eds. A Century Of Irish Drama: Widening the Stage (Indiana University Press, 2000).

American Drama: Colonial to ContemporaryStephen Watt and Gary A. Richardson, eds. American Drama: Colonial to Contemporary (Heinle & Heinle Publishers, 1994).

Bernard Shaw’s Fiction, Materialist Psychology, and Affect: Perennial Wounds (in progress, under contract).

Kevin J.H. Dettmar and Stephen Watt, eds. Marketing Modernisms (University of Michigan Press, 1995).

Judith H. Fisher and Stephen Watt, eds. When They Weren’t Doing Shakespeare: Essays on Nineteenth-Century British and American Theatre (University of Georgia Press, 1989).

Recent/Forthcoming Essays and Articles:

"Outside Mullingar, A Moon for the Misbegotten, and The Night Alive: The Irish Play on the New York Stage," The Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies (2016): forthcoming.

"Unashamed: Value, Affect, and Shaw’s Psychology of Money," SHAW: The Review of Shaw Studies 36.1 (2016): 53-72.

"The Inheritance of Melodrama," in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Drama, eds. Nicholas Grene and Christopher Morash. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 9-23.

"Sam Shepard, Irish Playwright," in The Irish Theatre in Transition: From the Late Nineteenth century to the Early Twenty-First Century, ed. Donald E. Morse. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, pp. 241-56.

"Zombieland and Zombie Psychology: Drive, Desire, Disgust," in The Year's Work at the Zombie Research Center, eds. Edward P. Comentale and Aaron Jaffe (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014): 59-88.

"Brendan Behan, Borscht Belt Comedian," Irish University Review 44 (Summer 2014): 149-64.

"MacLaverty's Holocaust: Trauma, Affect, Memory," in Bernard MacLaverty: New Critical Readings, ed. Richard Rankin Russell (London: Bloomsbury, 2014), pp. 89-100.

"Political Drama," in The Oxford Handbook to American Drama, eds. Jeffery H. Richards and Heather S. Nathans (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 47-84.

"Irish Studies and the Corporate University." New Hibernia Review 16 (Fall 2012): 83-97.

"'Oirish' Inventions: James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Paul Muldoon, " in From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages, ed. Michael Adams (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 161-83.

"The Humanities, RCM, and Bull___, " Western Humanities Review 31 (Fall 2011): 38-58.

"On Retrofitting: Samuel Beckett, Tourist Attraction, " in Modernist Star Maps: Celebrity, Modernity, Culture, eds. Aaron Jaffe and Jonathan Goldman (London: Ashgate, 2010), pp. 207-21.

“The Humanities, The University, and the Enemy Within,” in Cary Nelson and the Struggle for the University, ed. Michael Rothberg (Albany: SUNY Press, 2009): 123-140.

“Voices, Things, Events: Harold Pinter’s Mountain Language as Testamental Text,” Modern Drama 52 (Spring 2009): 38-56.

“Friel and the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ Play,” in The Cambridge Companion to Brian Friel, ed. Anthony Roche (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 30-40.

“Modern American Drama,” in The Cambridge Companion to American Modernism, ed. Walter Kalaidjian (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 102-126.

“007 and 9/11, Specters and Structures of Feeling,” in Ian Fleming and James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007, eds. Comentale, Watt and Willman (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005), pp. 238-259.

“Collegial Propositions,” Symploke 13. 1-2 (2005): 18-29.

“Before the Abbey—and Beyond,” in The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Irish Drama, ed. Shaun Richards (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 18-32.

Selected Honors and Awards

Named Provost Professor, Indiana University, 2013; Sonneborn Lecturer, Indiana University, 2010; and Winner of Robert Rhodes Prize for Outstanding Book in Irish Studies, American Conference for Irish Studies, 2010; President, Midwest Modern Language Association, 1999-2000; Executive Committee, American Conference for Irish Studies, 1999-2001; National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Collaborative Research Fellowship, 1999; NEH Fellowship (1998-99); Howard Fellow (Brown University), 1992-93