Sean Hannan

Assistant Professor, Humanities
Assistant Professor, History

PhD (Chicago); MA (Chicago)

7-352H, City Centre Campus
10700 – 104 Avenue
Edmonton, AB


In his research and teaching, Sean Hannan  tries to track how ideas emerge, survive, and transform across a diverse range of historical periods and geographical regions. He is especially interested in the different ways people have thought about "time" over the course of history. Time is so intimately involved in our everyday lives (we all feel the crunch of the ticking clock), yet when we try to define what it is we come up puzzled. By studying the history of thought about time, and how that history is intertwined with broader developments in culture, politics, and religion, he hopes to challenge students to think a bit more deeply about how different aspects of time condition their own day-to-day lives.

Available to supervise senior students' independent study.

Intellectual history, medieval history, history of religion, history of time, Christianity, Late Antiquity, North Africa, Augustine of Hippo

Teaching and Research Interests

As Sean Hannan tries to put his research interests to work in service of his teaching, he introduces students to a wide range of ideas and perspectives, while focusing on particular issues and conflicts as they arose in specific contexts. With expertise in the fields of the late antique Mediterranean and medieval European worlds, his intent is to help students bridge the gap between Classics and History.

We can best build that bridge by tracing how ideas that emerge in antiquity survive and are transformed in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Reformation. This project of tracking ideas can only succeed if we attend to the religious contexts in which such ideas were born, nurtured and (sometimes) abandoned. In addition to teaching classes on pre-modern history, therefore, he also plans to help build up MacEwan's offerings in the histories of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Finally, he has a bit of a digital humanities mandate, which means that he is committed to ensuring students find the technological resources they need to make sense of these past worlds. That could mean incorporating digital mapping exercises, or publishing a public class blog, or even incorporating digital tools (like OCR or text-analysis) into longer-term student research projects. Far from replacing the traditional methods of scholarship, of course, the goal is to use these resources to amplify our understanding of the past and its treasury of lost ideas.

Selected Publications / Presentations / Conference Papers

Hannan, Sean. “To See Coming: Augustine and Heidegger on the Arising and Passing Away of Things.”  Medieval Mystical Theology: The Journal of the Eckhart Society 21, no. 1 (2012): 75-91.

Hannan, Sean. “The Alienated Interiority of Cogitatio.” North American Patristics Society Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, May 2016.

Hannan, Sean. “Scripture, Death, and Time in Book XIII of Augustine’s City of God.” Patristic, Medieval, and Renaissance Conference, Villanova University, October 2015.

Hannan, Sean. “John Henry Cardinal Newman and Satire.” Seminar on the Thought of John Henry Newman, Merton College, Oxford University, July 2015.

Hannan, Sean. “The Proliferation of Mental Images in Book XI of Augustine’s De Trinitate.” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, November 2014.

Awards / Grants / Fellowships

  • Mellon Foundation, Humanities Dissertation Fellowship (2014)       
  • Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion, University of Chicago, Dissertation Fellowship (2014)       
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Councl of Canada, Doctoral Award (2009)

Professional Associations / Memberships

  • American Academy of Religion
  • North American Patristics Society
  • Society of Biblical Literature