Provost Professor of English and Special Assistant for Strategic Initiatives
Stephen Watt received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and came to IU in 1985. He has served as Director of Graduate Studies in English from 1990-1994, chairman of the English department from 2001-2006.
His research encompasses three main areas: Irish Studies of the 19th and 20th centuries; drama and performance studies, and higher education, particularly graduate education in the Humanities. He is the author of numerous articles on Irish and American culture and of several books: Joyce, O’ Casey, and the Irish Popular Theater (1991); Postmodern/Drama: Reading the Contemporary Stage. (1998), and Beckett and Contemporary Irish Writing (2009), winner of the 2010 Robert Rhodes Prize from the American Conference for Irish Studies. He is the co-author, with Cary Nelson, of two books on higher education: Academic Keywords: A Devil’s Dictionary for Higher Education (1999) and Office Hours: Activism and Change in the Academy (2004). In addition, he has edited several anthologies and co-authored two textbooks: American Drama: Colonial to Contemporary (1995) and Understanding Literature (2004).
Watt has been awarded fellowships from such organizations as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Howard Foundation, and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas-Austin. He is past president of the Midwest Modern Language Association and past officer in the American Conference for Irish Studies, and serves on the editorial or advisory committees of such journals as The Irish University Review.
He was named Tracy M. Sonneborn Lecturer in 2011 and Provost Professor of English in 2013. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance.