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Richard C. Sha

Professor Department of Literature

Additional Positions at AU

  • Affiliate Professor of Philosophy
  • Member, Center for Behavioral Neuroscience
Professor Sha teaches courses in Nineteenth-Century Literature, especially British Romanticism, and in Asian American Literature. His new book, Imagination and Science in Romanticism, 1750-1850, is forthcoming from the Johns Hopkins University Press in 2018. His next book project is tentatively titled, Modelling Emotion in Romanticism, and will treat Voltaire, Goethe, Hume, Wordsworth, Mary Robinson, and Leopardi. The book examines the multiple models Romantic writers had for thinking about the emotions and their vexed relations to subjectivity. Professor Sha is also the author of Perverse Romanticism: Aesthetics and Sexuality in Britain, 1750-1832 (Johns Hopkins UP, 2009) and The Visual and Verbal Sketch in British Romanticism (Penn Press, 1998). He has won the University faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in General Education (2002) and the award for Teaching Excellence (2004) bestowed by the University Undergraduate Student Confederation. In 2012, he was named AU's "Scholar Teacher of the Year." Together with Joel Faflak, he edited a volume of critical essays on Romanticism and the Emotions that was published by Cambridge UP in 2014 and in paperback in 2016. He has recently been invited to speak at the Centro Interdisciplinare di Studi Romantici in Bologna, the Keats-Shelley House in Rome, the National Library of Medicine, the University of Vechta, Germany, and West Virginia University, at the Extended Cognition Project in Edinburgh, at a conference on Medicine and Visual Culture at Georgetown, and at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and the English Department at the University of Toronto.


PhD, English Literature, University of TX at Austin
MA, English Literature, U TX at Austin
BA with Honors, U. Pennsylvania

Book Currently Reading
Andy Clark's Supersizing the Mind
Languages Spoken
French and Spoken Mandarin
Some Italian

Download Resume (PDF)

CAS - Literature
Battelle Tompkins - 220
M-Th by appointment
Contact Info
(202) 885-2928 (Office)
(202) 885-2938 (Fax)

Send email to Richard C. Sha

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
Literature Department

Partnerships & Affiliations

  • Eighteenth-Century Fiction, PMLA, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, European Romantic Review, Journal of the History of Sexuality


  • SUNY Press, U Delaware Press, John Hopkins UP


  • Tenure and Promotion Reviews, Journal of the Social History of Medicine


  • Wellcome Trust History of Medicine Grants

    Evaluator of Grants

  • Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net

    Advisory Board

  • Keats-Shelley Association


  • Wordsworth Coleridge Association


  • North American Society for the Study of Romanticism


  • ACLS



  • Fall 2018

    • LIT-121 Rethinking Literature: Sexuality and Literature
    • Description
  • Spring 2019

    • LIT-496 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: Idealism and Its Discontents
    • Description

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

  • Science and Imagination in Romanticism, 1750-1850,  focuses on how the sciences understood the imagination in the British Romantic period, and on how this understanding changes the ways in which Romantic critics should think about the imagination. 

Selected Publications

  • "John Keats and Some Versions of Materiality," forthcoming in Romanticism (fall 2014)
  • Romanticism and the Emotions , ed. with Joel Faflak (Cambridge UP, 2014)
  • "Blake and the Queering of Jouissance," in Queer Blake, eds. Helen Bruder and Tristanne Connolly.  Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, pp. 40-50.
  • Perverse Romanticism:  Aesthetics and Sexuality in Britain, 1750-1832 Baltimore:  Johns Hopkins UP, 2009.
  • "Volta's Battery, Animal Electricity, and Frankenstein," European Romantic Review 38pp. ms.
  • "The Imagination as Inter-Science," European Romantic Review Vol. 20 #5 (December 2009):  661-669.
  • "Towards a Physiology of the Romantic Imagination," Forthcoming in Configurations, 2010.
  • “Blake, Liberation, and Medicine,” in Liberating Medicine, eds. Tristanne Connolly and Steve Clark. (Pickering and Chatto, 2009)
  • “Othering Sexual Perversity: England, Empire, Race and the Science of Sex.” In The History of the Human Body in an Age of Empire, ed. Michael Sappol. (Oxford: Berg, July 2010)
  • “The Use and Abuse of Historicism: Shelley and Halperin on the Otherness of Ancient Greek Sexuality,” Romantic Praxis (January 2006)
  • “Romanticism and the Sciences of Perversion,” Wordsworth Circle 36 #2 (spring 2005): 43-48.
  • “Scientific Forms of Sexual Knowledge in Romanticism.” Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net 23 (August 2001)
  • The Visual and Verbal Sketch in British Romanticism (U Pennsylvania, 1998)

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • American Philosophical Society, Benjamin Franklin Research Grant, 2008
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend for senior scholars, 2004
  • Andrew Mellon Fellowship, Huntington Library, 1999
  • Giles and Elise Mead Fellowship, Huntington Library, 1999
  • Andrew Mellon Fellowship, Huntington Library, 1992
  • Yale Center for British Art Fellowship, 1992
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2012-2013

Media Appearances

  • Cited in William Safire’s Column, New York Times Magazine, October 2007

Work In Progress

  • "Byron, Polidori, and the Epistemology of Romantic Pleasure” in Romantic Pleasure, eds. Michele Faubert and Tom Schmidt  (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming November 2010)  30pp.
  • "The Brain Science of Emotions:  Romantic and Modern Forms.  Back to the Future"
  •  Entries  "Ann  Batten Cristall,"  "John and William Hunter," "Sir Charles Bell," and   "Figuration in Romantic Scientific Prose" in Blackwell's The Encyclopedia of Romanticism (forthcoming)
  • "On the Romantic Imaginations we want and those we don't " in Blackwell's Handbook to Romantic Studies, ed. Joel Faflak and Julia Wright
  • Romanticism and the Emotions, a volume co-edited with Joel Faflak.  Contributers include:  Thomas Pfau, Rei Terada, Jacques Khalip, David Collings, Tilottama Rajan, David Clark,    and  Julie  Carlson.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • 2004 American University Undergraduate Student Confederation Excellence in Teaching award
  • 2002 American University University Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in General Education

Professional Presentations

            "Romantic Science and the Im/Materiality of the Imagination,” MLA San Francisco, 2009

  • “Imagination as Inter-science,” NASSR 2008, Bologna, Italy, 2008
  • “Transcendence as Ideology:  Rethinking the Imagination through Science,”  British Association of Romantic Studies, Bristol, UK 2007
  • “The Romantic Imagination:  Physiology, Pathology, Neurology,” National Library of Medicine, History of Medicine Seminar, 2007
  • “Towards a Physiology of the Imagination:  Romanticism and the Science of Mind,” NASSR 2006
  • “Artificial Insemination in the Eighteenth Century,”  Vital Matters Conference, Los Angeles, 2005


  • “The Romantic Imagination: Physiology, Pathology, Neurology,” National Library of Medicine, History of Medicine Seminar, 2007 (DVD) in NLM Collection

AU Expert

Area of Expertise:

Painting, poetry, British romanticism, history of sexuality and romantic science

Additional Information:

Richard C. Sha is the author of Perverse Romanticism: Aesthetics and Sexuality in Britain, 1750-1832 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008). He is also author of The Visual and Verbal Sketch in British Romanticism (1998).

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.

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