Dr. Amir A. Khan
- PhD, English, University of Ottawa, Canada
- MA, English, University of Windsor, Canada
- BA, English, University of British Columbia, Canada
- 'The Comedies of Nihilism: The Representation of Tragedy Onscreen.' Palgrave Macmillan. Forthcoming 2017.
- 'Shakespeare in Hindsight: Counterfactual Thinking and Shakespearean Tragedy.' Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016.
- Representing Justice in The Act of Killing and The Unknown Known. CineAction: Canada’s Leading Film Studies Journal #91 (2016): 66-72.
- “My Kingdom for a Ghost: Counterfactual Thinking and Hamlet.” Shakespeare Quarterly 66.1 (Spring 2015): 29-46.
- “Hiding From Significance: Documented Disinterestedness in Winnebago Man.” CineAction: Canada’s Leading Film Studies Journal #88 (2012): 20-25.
- “Tragic Cinema: The Death of Subjectivities in JCVD.” Bright Lights Film Journal #76 (May 2012).
- “The Trotsky: A Claim to Community.” CineAction: Canada’s Leading Film Studies Journal #86 (2011): 42-49.
- “Michael Jackson’s Ressentiment: Billie Jean and Smooth Criminal in Conversation with Fred Astaire.” Popular Music and Society 35.2 (2012): 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 precisely as it does, the goal of counterfactual criticism is to consider what else is within the purview of possibility.
My next book is a book 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 six films I discuss are 'Up in the Air' (2009), 'Tropic Thunder' (2008), 'JCVD' (2008), 'The Trotsky' (2009), 'Winnebago Man' (2009), and 'Be Kind Rewind' (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'.
- "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