Feisal Mohamed

Feisal Mohamed's picture
Professor of English

LLM., University of Illinois, 2012
Ph.D., University of Toronto, 2003
M.A., University of Ottawa, 1999
BSc., University of Ottawa, 1997

Feisal Mohamed’s research and teaching focus on seventeenth-century English literature, with especial emphasis on John Milton. His most recent book, Sovereignty (Oxford UP, 2020), explores the emergence of modern ideas on sovereign power through the writings of Thomas Hobbes, John Milton, and Andrew Marvell, among others. It also engages in an extended critique of the thought of Carl Schmitt. Mohamed is currently at work on two book projects. One will extend his work on sovereignty and legitimacy into consideration of England’s rapidly evolving international role in the seventeenth century, examining in particular colonial corporations and varieties of unfree labor. The other seeks to develop a theory of tyrannicide for our time, exploring among other possibilities the value of resistance theory in confronting the tyrant against the environment.

A past president of the Milton Society of America, Mohamed’s work has been supported by a Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship, which provided second-discipline training in law. He has been awarded the Milton Society of America’s James Holly Hanford Award for Milton and the Post-Secular Present, and, with co-editor Mary Nyquist, its Irene Samuel Award for the collection Milton and Questions of History. In addition to scholarly venues, his writing has appeared in The American Scholar, The Chronicle ReviewDissent MagazineHuffington Post, the website of The New Republic, The New York Times, and The Yale Review.

With Marcus Keller and Ellen McClure, Mohamed edits the Northwestern University Press series “Rethinking the Early Modern.”

Selected Publications


Sovereignty: Seventeenth-Century England and the Making of the Modern Political Imaginary. Oxford UP, 2020.

Milton and the Post-Secular Present: Ethics, Politics, Terrorism. Stanford UP, 2011.

In the Anteroom of Divinity: The Reformation of the Angels from Colet to Milton. U of Toronto P, 2008.

Edited collections:
with Patrick Fadely. Milton’s Modernities. Northwestern UP, 2017.

with Gordon Hutner. A New Deal for the Humanities: Liberal Arts and the Future of Public Higher Education. Rutgers UP, 2015.

with Mary Nyquist. Milton and Questions of History: Essays by Canadians Past and Present. U of Toronto P, 2012.

Recent articles and book chapters:

Raison d’´etat, Religion, and the Body in The Rape of Lucrece.” Special issue, “Religions in Shakespeare’s Writings.” Ed. David V. Urban. Religions 10.7 (2019): 426.

“Milton’s Late Poems as Anti-Liturgy.” Special issue, “Renaissance Futures.” Eds. John Garrison and Marissa O. Nicosia. Explorations in Renaissance Culture 45 (2019): 71-90.

“The Military, the Islamists, and the Battle over Egypt’s Constitution.” Making the New Middle East: Politics, Culture, and Human Rights. Ed. Valerie J. Hoffman. Syracuse UP, 2019. 90-108.

“‘I Alone Can Solve’: Carl Schmitt on Sovereignty and Nationhood under Trump.” Trump and Political Philosophy. Vol. 2: Leadership, Statesmanship, and Tyranny. Eds. Marc B. Sable and Angel Jaramillo Torres. Palgrave Macmillan/Springer, 2018. 293-309.

“The Political Theology of Betrayal: Hobbes’ Uzzah, and Schmitt’s Hobbes.” Special issue, “The Varieties of Political Theology.” Eds. Jason A. Kerr and Ben LaBreche. Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies 18.2 (2018): 11-33.

Memorial, Performance, and Tragic Action in Samson Agonistes.” A New Companion to Milton. Ed. Thomas N. Corns. Oxford: Wiley, 2016. 493-502.

“Milton’s Enmity toward Islam and the Intellectus Agens.” Special issue, “Reading Milton through Islam.” Ed. David Currell and François-Xavier Gleyzon. English Studies 96 (2015): 65-81.

Selected essays:

What is an Emergency?Yale Review (online), Jan 2019.

Letter from Israel: Occupational Hazards.” The American Scholar, Fall 2017: 6-13.

Arendt, Schmidt, and Trump’s Politics of ‘Nation.’” “The Stone,” moderated by Simon Critchley. New York Times Opinionator 23 July 2016. Available at nytimes.com.