Dr. Stephen Ross

Dr. Stephen Ross
Professor & Graduate Adviser
Office: CLE C357

BA (Simon Fraser), MA and PhD (Queen's)

Area of expertise

Modernism; theory; the novel; literature and theory of climate change

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Background:

  • I obtained my BA (hons) from Simon Fraser University, and my MA and PhD from Queen’s University at Kingston. I have been teaching at the University of Victoria since 2001. I am a Past President of the Modernist Studies Association, and have served as Director of the interdisciplinary graduate concentration in Cultural, Social, and Political Thought, Graduate Adviser in English (2006-2010 and 2021-2024), and Director of the now-defunct Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities.


  • My teaching interests include modernism, critical theory, and the cultural dimensions of climate change. I most often teach English 222 (Sexting Through the Ages) and graduate courses in Theory, Modernism, and the cultural dimensions of climate change. Recognizing that much of the material I teach is quite challenging – at least at first – I like to use plenty of examples related to everyday experience and popular culture to communicate the fundamentals. I am committed to teaching students the skills required to think critically and to read with sophistication. Both the material and I will push you outside your comfort zone. You might not like it, but I guarantee you'll learn from it.


Recent Publications:
  • Author of Spectrality in Modernist Fiction (2023, Oxford University Press) “Spectrality in Modernist Fiction argues that key modernist writers, chiefly Conrad, Forster, Butts, and Bowen, use spectral rhetoric to tackle problems of sex and sexuality, revolution, imperialism, capitalism, and desire. The ethical and political impasses these writers chart through their spectral rhetoric are not final, but temporary, and the drive to overcome them constitutes a tensile optimism.”
  • “I Like Mary Butts (and I cannot lie)” in Joel Hawkes, ed. New Research in Mary Butts. (Bloomsbury Academic)
  • “Response to Indu Ohri” in Joel Hawkes, ed. New Approaches to Mary Butts. New York: Routledge.
  • Co-editor with Kirby Brown and Alana Sayers of The Routledge Handbook to North American Indigenous Modernisms (2022, Routledge)
  • Editor. Modernism, Theory, and Responsible Reading: A Critical Conversation (2021, Routledge)
  • Ross, Stephen. 2021. “Afterword: Unsettling Modernism” in Modernism/modernity Print Plus Cluster on “Indigenous Modernities and Modernisms.” https://modernismmodernity.org/forums/indigenous-modernities 
Digital Work:
  • I was the founding Director and PI of the SSHRC-funded Linked Modernisms Project. Dr. Emily Murphy at the University of British Columbia is the new PI and Director.
  • Co-founder and past director of the $2.2 million Modernist Versions Project, a digital humanities research project with activities devoted to generating data from modernist literary texts, devising novel methodologies for versioning texts that exist in multiple witnesses, developing tools for such work, and producing digital editions of modernist novels. The MVP received a Partnership Development Grant from SSHRC in 2012. The MVP is now under the superlative directorship of Dr. J. Matthew Huculak.
  • Co-founder with Dr. J. Matthew Huculak of Open Modernisms, an online anthology builder that makes primary source material available for teachers, scholars, students, and researchers to build their own collections of modernist materials. Open Modernisms is now available in a static version as we are no longer actively maintaining it.
  • Co-editor (with Tara Thomson) of two novels by Dorothy Richardson – Pointed Roofs and The Tunnel – for the Broadview Literary Texts Series. 
  • Editor of Modernism and Theory (Routledge, 2009)
  • Author of Conrad and Empire (Missouri, 2004)
  • Author of articles and reviews in ConradianaModern Fiction StudiesARIELStudies in Canadian LiteratureCanadian Literature, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, and Cultural Critique.


On a personal note, I like ice cream, single-malt scotch, and books that make you go, "Heh-heh-heh. Wait, what?" Oh, and I also curse in class -- probably more than I really should.