Stephen Surh

Visiting Lecturer in Writing and Italian Studies

My major research interests are in Dante studies, Neoplatonism, medieval vernacular literature, apocalyptic and eschatological texts, political theology, and the thought of Augustine and its modern reception.

I also have a broader interest in medieval mystical and philosophical literature, particularly the diverse ways that writers across Jewish, Muslim, and Christian worlds articulated the Divine-world relationship, whether through their philosophy or their mysticism. Relatedly, I am also interested in the question of political theology: how the concept of political sovereignty was concretized through the power struggles between the papacy and the monarchy, a legacy that continues to pervasively define the modern world.

In my research and teaching, I converse with other mediums of art, such as cinema, to explore ways that various “existential” motifs —like the question of time and the memory; society and the problem of evil; the structure of human desire—are thematized (for example, the films of Tarkovsky, Bresson, Bergman, Wong Kai-Wai, and Antonioni).