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Paul KelleherAssociate Professor, Director of Graduate Admissions


Paul Kelleher (B.A., Duke; Ph.D., Princeton) is Associate Professor of English at Emory University and the current Director of Emory’s Disability Studies Initiative.  A specialist in eighteenth-century British literature and gender/sexuality studies, his teaching and research range from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, and intersect with the disciplines of moral philosophy and political theory. More recently, his abiding interest in how the Enlightenment anticipated and laid the groundwork for our own culture of "normality" has lead him into the field of disability studies.

He is the author of several articles, including "Reason, Madness, and Sexuality in the British Public Sphere" (The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, Fall 2012); "'The Glorious Lust of Doing Good': Tom Jones and the Virtues of Sexuality" (Novel: A Forum on Fiction, Spring/Summer 2005); and "If Love Were All: Reading Sedgwick Sentimentally" (in the Routledge volume, Regarding Sedgwick: Essays on Queer Culture and Critical Theory, 2002).

His first book, Making Love: Sentiment and Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century British Literature (Bucknell University Press, 2015), examines how eighteenth-century British literature and philosophy fashioned an ideological alliance between heterosexual desire and moral feeling. His second book, Deformities: Reading Disability in Eighteenth-Century Philosophy, Literature, and Politics (in progress), concentrates on eighteenth-century representations of disability and offers an in-depth examination of how the concept of “deformity” traverses and shapes a wide range of Enlightenment-era texts and contexts.

Two pieces from this project have been published: "Defections from Nature: The Rhetoric of Deformity in Shaftesbury's Characteristics" appears in the edited volume The Idea of Disability in the Eighteenth Century (Bucknell University Press, 2014), and "The Man Within the Breast: Sympathy and Deformity in Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments" appears in the journal Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture (2015), and in expanded form, in the edited volume Inventing Agency: Essays on the Literary and Philosophical Production of the Modern Subject (Bloomsbury, 2017).


  • B.A., Duke University
  • Ph.D., Princeton University