I joined the School in September 2003 (then the Department of Religious Studies), having studied in Canada (BA - English, MTh - Theology) and Glasgow (PhD at the Centre For the Study of Literature, Theology and the Arts), and having worked at the University of Houston in the States, where I was the Carolyn Grant Fay Visiting Associate Professor in Religion and Literature. Since relocating back to Scotland, my teaching and research have continued to advance an interdisciplinary line of enquiry. My courses focus on ways in which religion conceptually and culturally manifests itself in other disciplines and modes of expression, whether through philosophy, hermeneutics, critical theory, literature, or other forms of art. As Deputy Director of Postgraduate Studies for the School of Arts and Humanities, I have a particular passion for postgraduates and their programmes. I also work closely within a consortium of eight other Scottish universities to promote, through a Doctoral Training Partnership scheme (AHRC), postgraduate funding and postgraduate experience across of all Scotland. Hannah Arendt once wrote: "What guides [my] thinking [poetically] is the conviction that although the living is subject to the ruin of time, the process of decay is at the same time a process of crystallization, that in the depth of the sea, into which sinks and is dissolved what once was alive, some things ‘suffer a sea-change' and survive in new crystallized forms and shapes that remain immune to the elements, as though they waited only for the pearl diver who one day will come down to them and bring them up into the world of the living - as ‘thought fragments', as something ‘rich and strange'...". I see higher education and pearl diving as similar vocations.
My research explores the intersection of religion with literature (and the arts), with philosophy, and with critical theory. A particular emphasis is on hermeneutics and the questions of textuality and interpretation. I am concerned with how religion necessarily crosses over into other realms of thinking and experience, and how this might be made manifest in the various textual expressions handed down by tradition or found within contemporary culture. My work therefore has been consciously interdisciplinary, as I pursue ways to envision and enact religion beyond its institutional norms, beyond even the category of religion itself. Previous work has looked at the way religion and creative expression have been forged together within the modern philosophical context laid down by Kant (Poetics of Critique, Ashgate, 2003). More recent work has looked at the way this forging was continued in post-Kantian German idealism, particularly Hegel. The latter has exposed the crucial role that the notions of nothing and negativity have played in developing our modern consciousness, particularly of or around religion and art. Two recent publications examine this role: the first, a preparatory study, constructs a history of ideas around the way the concept of One gives way in Western modernity to an ever-increasing potency of the concept of Nothing and its figurations (Auden's O: The Loss of One's Sovereignty in the Making of Nothing, SUNY, 2013); a second looks in a more focussed manner at one of the key players in this shift, the philosopher Hegel, and the creative - indeed disruptive - role negation plays in his system, and in so much of the modernity and postmodernity to follow him (Hegel and the Art of Negation, I.B. Tauris, 2013). Present work continues to explore the "speculative" implications of Hegel and negation in contemporary thought and practice, both in Western contexts and, increasingly, in a Chinese context, where the concept of Nothing has had a much richer heritage. Since 2004 I have been the Executive General Editor of Literature and Theology: An International Journal of Religion, Theory and Culture that publishes international scholars working in the fields of religion, literature, theory and culture. The Journal helps to sponsor biennial conferences around Europe and the UK, in conjunction with the International Society for Religion, Literature and Culture, of which I am Secretary. The latest conference will be in Leuven, Belgium on "Re-imagining Human" (Sept. 2014). I welcome postgraduate research proposals in the following areas: religion/theology and literature, religion/theology and the arts, religion/theology and continental philosophy (Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, et al.), hermeneutics (Gadamer, Ricoeur, et al.), critical theory, nothing and negation, and other related areas.
Hass AW (2018) Mediation. In: Whistler D (ed.). The Edinburgh Critical History of Nineteenth-Century Christian Theology. The Edinburgh Critical History of Christian Theology, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Hass AW (2017) Hegel and the Negation of the Apophatic. In: Brown N, Simmons A (ed.). Contemporary Debates in Negative Theology and Philosophy. Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion, Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 131-161.
Hass AW (2016) Translation as Trans-Literal: Radical Formations in Contemporary Chinese Art. In: Jasper D, Youzhuang G & Hai W (eds.) A Poetics of Translation: Between Chinese and English Literature. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, pp. 215-237. http://www.baylorpress.com/Book/55/466/A_Poetics_of_Translation.html.
Hass AW (2014) Becoming. In: Peterson DJ, Zbaraschuk GM (ed.). Resurrecting the Death of God: The Origins, Influence, and Return of Radical Theology, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, pp. 155-172.
Hass AW (2013) Hegel Beyond the Ideal of Idealism. In: Jasper D & Wright D (eds.) Theological Reflection and the Pursuit of Ideals: Theology, Human Flourishing and Freedom. Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 131-146. http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409452393.
Hass AW (2007) The Future Of English Literature And Theology. In: Hass A, Jasper D & Jay E (eds.) Oxford Handbook of English Literature and Theology. Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 841-858. http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199271979.do; http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199544486.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199544486.
Fitzgerald T, Hass AW, Jasper A, Darroch F, Roberts R, King R & Carette J (2007) A case of misrepresentation: James L. Cox and Steven J. Sutcliffe, "Religious studies in Scotland: A persistent tension with divinity"