Kate Lawson

Associate Professor and Chair of English

Kate LawsonPhD, Toronto
MA, Toronto
BA, Toronto

Extension: 33965
Office: HH 253
Email for English Department
Email for other matters:


I grew up in Halifax, N.S., Southampton, Ontario, and Waterloo. I attended the University of Toronto and, after completing my doctoral work, I spent five years teaching on limited-term contracts at WLU and U of T before receiving a tenure-stream appointment at the University of Northern British Columbia in 1994. I 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, whether psychological, political, social, or cultural.

As President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) from 2013-15, I was particularly interested in issues of precarious academic labour and fair employment. I am currently Chair of the Board of OCUFA.

I began my term as Chair of the Department of English Language and literature at the University of Waterloo on 1 July 2015. 


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; literary influence; ignorance and knowledge.

Areas of graduate supervision

  • Victorian literature and culture, especially fiction from the 1840s and 1850s.
University of Waterloo

Profiles by type