Kate Lawson

Associate Professor

Kate Lawson
PhD, Toronto
MA, Toronto
BA, Toronto

Extension: 43965
Office: HH 264
Email: klawson@uwaterloo.ca


I grew up in Nova Scotia and Ontario. I completed my PhD at the University of Toronto. I joined Waterloo’s English Department in 2002, having taught previously at the University of Northern BC, the University of Toronto, and Wilfrid Laurier University.

I teach a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses. Recent courses include ENGL485: “Bleak House, Bleak World,” Topics in Literatures Romantic to Modern; ENGL451A: Literature of the Victorian Age 1; and ENGL730: Victorian Literature: The Brontës.  

My research focuses on mid-nineteenth-century British fiction, and in particular the relationship between literature and the history of the 1840-50s, forms of literary influence, and the fiction of Charlotte Brontë.

I served as Chair of the Department of English from 2015-2018 and as Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies from 2008-2011. I served on the UW Senate from 2010-12.

With regard to service contributions more broadly, I have been an advocate for improved government funding of Ontario post-secondary institutions, for better terms and conditions of employment for contract academic staff, and for fair employment practices generally. For the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), I was Vice-President (2011-13), President (2013-15), Chair of the Board (2017-2020), and member-at-large (2008-10, 2020-23). I chaired the OCUFA ad hoc Committee on Online Learning. For the Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW), I served as Vice-President and member of the Faculty Relations Committee (2020-22) and as Board Member (2006-07).

Selected Publications


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 Articles

Kate Lawson, “The Victorian Past and Emily’s Quest’s War with Failure.” L.M. Montgomery’s “Emily of New Moon”: A Children’s Classic at 100. Eds. Yan Du and Joe Sutliff Sanders. UP of Mississippi: 2024. Forthcoming.

Kate Lawson, “Walking as Literary Influence in the Brontë Dining Room.” Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens. 97 (2023). https://journals.openedition.org/cve/12714   

Kate Lawson. “Shirley: History after Wuthering Heights.” SEL: Studies in English Literature 61:4 (2021).

Kate Lawson, “Church Building, Community, and Nation in Charlotte Yonge’s The Daisy Chain.” VIJ: Victorians Institute Journal. 47 (2020) 200-223.

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.

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.