Michal Zechariah



Research Interests: 

Early Modern Literature, History and Philosophy of Emotion, Ethics, Law and Literature

Dissertation Title: 

Moral Feeling in Early Modern England


In my research and teaching, I focus on how early modern literature contributed to the contemporary discourse on the ethical role of emotion and shaped subsequent understandings of the emotions in moral life. In 2019 I founded and then continued to organize an interdisciplinary workshop on Affect and the Emotions to foster conversation on the study of emotions across the University community.

My dissertation, Moral Feeling in Early Modern England, proposes a new genealogy of the concept of moral feeling based on the literature of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. For the authors I study, feeling acquires a dimension of ethical authority that will only become theorized some hundred years later by the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment. Rather than questioning how emotions impact ethical conduct, my dissertation asks: What kind of moral knowledge do feelings provide? What values and commitments do they generate in early modern literary culture? Such questions remain alive today, and pervade many of the ethical conversations of our time.

My teaching spans a wide range of disciplinary interests, and in addition to teaching in the Department of English I have also taught in Linguistics, and the Humanities Core program. My self-designed course, “Early Modern Love: Eros in British Literature 1500-1700,” received the Nicholson Teaching Fellowship in 2019.

I also have interests in translation, and my translation of selections from John Milton’s Paradise Lost into Hebrew appeared in Ho! Literary Magazine 18 (Summer 2019).

You can find my CV on my academia.edu page.

MA, English Language and Literature, University of Chicago (2017).
LLB, Law and English Literature, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2014).