Joshua Lambier

Study program:
Ph.D. English Literature
Current affiliation:
University of Western Ontario

Joshua explores the genesis of modern human rights discourse by focusing on the Romantic era in literature.

Romanticism and the vital life of rights

The objective of this study is 1) to push beyond discourses that treat rights as trans-historical, or even post-historical, by undertaking a genealogical study of the vital and evolving life of rights; 2) to interrogate how rights were born in the public sphere of the eighteenth and nineteenth century; 3) to probe the ways in which research in the humanities, including the theoretical and historical study of literature and culture, can make important contributions to the current debate on human rights.

Joshua Lambier is currently completing his PhD in the Department of English at the University of Western Ontario, where he is specializing on the convergence between British and European Romantic literatures and emergent theories of human rights. His dissertation research project, “The Vital Life of Rights in British and European Romanticism,” aims to re-examine the claims of current rights discourses by returning to their modern genesis in the turbulent political, cultural and literary debates of the Romantic period. He has published essays and reviews in the European Romantic Review, The Keats-Shelley Journal, and Spheres of Action: Speech and Performance in Romantic Culture (2009), and is currently in the late stages of co-editing a volume of essays entitled, Marking Time: Evolution and Romanticism (2012). Lambier holds a double honours BA (English and Political Science) from Wilfrid Laurier University, where he received awards from both the university and the city of Waterloo for community and volunteer work. He also holds Master’s degrees from the University of Western Ontario in Theory and Criticism and English, and remains an active participant in the London community as a member of the Centre for Social Concern at King’s University College. At present, Lambier is also a lead organizer in a group of faculty and students who are now organizing a public humanities project to foreground publicly engaged research, community service learning, and campus-community projects.