Stephen Kern taught at Northern Illinois University, completing his time there as a Distinguished Research Professor, before coming to Ohio State in 2002. He was appointed a Humanities Distinguished Professor at Ohio State in 2004. He has been awarded A.C.L.S., N.E.H., Rockefeller, and Guggenheim Fellowships and received the Ohio Academy of History Distinguished Historian Award for 2007.
His area of specialization is modern European cultural and intellectual history of the ninteeenth and twentieth century. His current research project is on time and space in technology and culture over the past forty years.
His major publications are The Culture of Love: Victorians to Moderns (Harvard, 1992), Eyes of Love: The Gaze in English and French Paintings and Novels, (Reaktion, 1996), A Cultural History of Causality: Science, Murder Novels, and Systems of Thought (Princeton, 2004), The Modernist Novel: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge, 2011), and Modernism After the Death of God: Christianity, Fragmentation, and Unification (Routledge 2017).