Associate Professor

Kate LawsonPhD, Toronto
MA, Toronto
BA, Toronto

Extension: 33965
Office: HH 264


I grew up in Halifax, N.S., Southampton, Ontario, and Waterloo. I completed my doctoral work at the University of Toronto in 1988, and I spent the next six years teaching on limited-term contracts at WLU and U of T. I received a tenure-stream appointment at the University of Northern British Columbia in 1994. I then joined the Department of English Language and Literature at UWaterloo in 2002.

My research and graduate teaching focus on mid-nineteenth-century British fiction. From my PhD dissertation on Charlotte Brontë and religion, to my co-authored book on representations of middle-class domestic violence in mid-nineteenth century literature, to my current research on the three Brontë sisters, I am interested in tracing the articulation of the Victorian period’s characteristic anxieties and preoccupations—political, economic, psychological, and familial.

I served as Chair of the Department of English from 2015-2018 and as Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies, from 2008-2011. I was President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) from 2013-15 and I am currently Chair of the Board of OCUFA. I am particularly interested in issues of precarious academic labour and fair employment. 


Charlotte Brontë. Villette. Ed. Kate Lawson. Broadview, 2006.

Kate Lawson and Lynn Shakinovsky, The Marked Body: Domestic Violence in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Literature. Albany, NY: SUNY, 2002.

Recent publications

Kate Lawson. “History in the Sickroom: Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley.” Victorians: A Journal of Literature and Culture 126 (2014) 23-43.

Kate Lawson. “Indian Mutiny/English Mutiny: National Governance in Charlotte Yonge’s The Clever Woman of the Family.” Victorian Literature and Culture 42.3 (2014) 439–455.

Kate Lawson. “Personal Privacy, Letter Mail, and the Post Office Espionage Scandal, 1844.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. Web. 16 March 2013.

Kate Lawson and Lynn Shakinovsky. “Fantasies of National Identification in Villette.” SEL: Studies in English Literature 49:4 (2009) 925-944.

Fellowships & Awards

  • Outstanding Performance Award (2016)
  • SSHRC 4A Grant (2005)
  • UW/SSHRC Seed Grant (2003)
  • Merit Award, University of Northern B.C. (2001)
  • SSHRC Grant to Occasional Conferences (with Dr. Gordon Martel, 1997)
  • SSHRC Standard Research Grant (with Dr. Lynn Shakinovsky, 1993-97)
  • SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (1985-87)
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (1983-85)

Current research

The Brontë novels; Elizabeth Gaskell; literary influence.

Areas of graduate supervision

Victorian literature and culture, especially fiction from the 1840s and 1850s.

University of Waterloo

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