Dr. Amir A. Khan


LNU-Msu Cib

Role: Faculty
Campus: West Plains



  • PhD, English, University of Ottawa, Canada
  • MA, English, University of Windsor, Canada
  • BA, English, University of British Columbia, Canada


  • ENG 210

Professional experience


  • 'Comedies of Nihilism.’ Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
  • 'Shakespeare in Hindsight: Counterfactual Thinking and Shakespearean Tragedy.' Edinburgh University Press, 2016.

Peer-reviewed articles

  • “Representing Justice in ‘The Act of Killing’ and ‘The Unknown Known’. ‘CineAction: Canada’s Leading Film Studies Journal’, no. 91, 2016, pp. 66-72.
  • “My Kingdom for a Ghost: Counterfactual Thinking and ‘Hamlet’.” ‘Shakespeare Quarterly’, vol. 66, no.1, 2015, pp. 29-46.
  • “Hiding from Significance: Documented Disinterestedness in ‘Winnebago Man’.” ‘CineAction: Canada’s Leading Film Studies Journal’, no. 88, 2012, pp. 20-25.
  • “Tragic Cinema: The Death of Subjectivities in ‘JCVD’.” ‘Bright Lights Film Journal’, no. 76, 2012.
  • “‘The Trotsky’: A Claim to Community.” ‘CineAction: Canada’s Leading Film Studies Journal’, no. 86, 2011, pp. 42-49.
  • “Michael Jackson’s Ressentiment: ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’ in Conversation with Fred Astaire.” ‘Popular Music and Society’, vol. 35, no.2, 2012, pp. 187-201.

Research and professional interests

My research specialization is the English Renaissance, especially Shakespeare. My first book, entitled 'Shakespeare in Hindsight: Counterfactual Thinking and Shakespearean Tragedy' (Edinburgh University Press, 2016) explores the critical and pedagogical value of imagining alternative scenarios or endings to Shakespeare’s tragedies. Rather than tirelessly propagate new explanations for why tragedy unfolds as it does, the goal of counterfactual criticism is to consider what else is within purview of possibility.

My second book is one of film criticism which looks at the cultural value of hyper-realized forms of ironic comedy, occurring in what Northrop Frye might call “the low mimetic” register, or as examples of what David Foster Wallace might point to as depraved acts of cultural nihilism with no constructive cultural use value whatsoever.

The seven films I discuss are 'Up in the Air' (2009), 'Tropic Thunder' (2008), 'JCVD' (2008), 'The Trotsky' (2009), 'Winnebago Man' (2009), 'Be Kind Rewind' (2008), and 'Hamlet 2' (2008).

Lastly, my second book of literary criticism will be an exploration of Shakespeare’s "Roman" plays; I make the claim, via close readings of four plays – 'Timon of Athens', 'Coriolanus', 'Julius Caesar', and 'Antony and Cleopatra' – that Shakespeare is critiquing the four types of government that follow the reign of the philosopher king in Plato’s 'Republic'.

Other interests

Favorite quote: 

  • "One does not always write for a living audience.  Being read is a fringe benefit, and being read with understanding is a form of grace."  - Walter Kaufmann

Additional resources