Sam Gilchrist Hall

Postdoctoral Fellow

Contact information

Vienna, Quellenstrasse 51


I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the CEU OSUN-Experimental Humanities Collaborative Network (EHCN) and Department of Gender Studies. My main research area is the complex interplay between history and fiction in early modernity. Since my doctoral studies, I have been fascinated by the capacity of foolish, insane, decadent and degenerate figures to tell profound, subversive truths, which not only speak back to power, but also inculcate alternative modes of reasoning, reflection and political action. My first monograph examined Shakespeare’s fools in the context of classical and humanist intellectual cultures. It established that the fool’s paradoxical wisdom was intrinsic to what Keats famously called Shakespeare’s “Negative Capability”, a crucial facet of the plays’ implicit philosophical vision. More recently, with István H. Szilágyi and László Kelemen, I worked on a co-authored book-project,  entitled Changing Legal and Civic Culture in an Illiberal Democracy (Routledge: New York, 2021), a topic on which  I have also been published in Times Higher Education.

My current research focuses on the development of  ideas of social, sexual and moral degeneracy in utopian fiction from the early modern period to the present. It aims to synthesise my work on the current resurgence in nationalism, which exploits fears of degeneration to subjugate sexual and ethnic minorities, with my doctoral research. An extract of my first novella, Inside Virgil Caine, was longlisted for the 2021 Alpine Fellowship and has been accepted for publication. As a teacher and practitioner, I am especially enthusiastic about creating courses that bring together the humanities, creative practices, and contemporary forms of activism.

Fields of Interest

·       Critical Theory

·       Early Modern Literature and Culture

·       Classical Thought

·       Drama

·       Nationalism(s)

·       Literature and Political Theory

·       Aesthetics



PhD, English Literature, University of London
MA, Medieval Literature and Culture, University of London
BA (Hons), English Literature, University of London (I Class)

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