Department Chair

Sophie Volpp

Sophie Volpp writes about Chinese literature of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. Teaching and research interests include material culture and the history of consumption, gender theory, the history of sexuality, performance studies, and the study of autobiography. Her forthcoming book, Worldly Stage, examines the ideological niche occupied by the theater in seventeenth-century China. Her present project focuses on the representation of objects and the history of consumption. (Ph.D., Harvard).


Frank Bezner

Frank Bezner, Classics (and Program in Medieval Studies) – specializes in medieval and early-modern Latin literature and intellectual history. A major area of his research lies in the so-called “Renaissance of the Twelfth Century”, a crucial phase in the history of post-classical Latin literature: here, his his publications include a book on allegory and literary theory in the 12th century (Vela Veritatis, Brill, 2005) and articles on Abelard, hagiography, or the reception of Plato. » read more »

Karl Britto

Karl Britto teaches courses in modern French literature, particularly francophone colonial and postcolonial literatures of Vietnam, Africa, and the Caribbean. His interests also include anglophone colonial and postcolonial studies, as well as gender and sexuality studies. His publications include Disorientation: France, Vietnam, and the Ambivalence of Interculturality (Hong Kong University Press, 2004), an analysis of Vietnamese francophone novels from the colonial and immediate postcolonial periods. (Ph.D., Yale University).

Professor Britto was honored with a Distinguished Teaching Award for 2008.

Judith Butler

  • Office Hours: By appointment

Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley. She served as Founding Director of the Critical Theory Program at UC Berkeley.  She received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Yale University in 1984. She is the author of Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France (1987), Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), » read more »

Anthony Cascardi

Anthony J. Cascardi works on literature and philosophy, aesthetic theory, and early modern literature, with an emphasis on Spanish, English, and French. He teaches courses on Cervantes, literature and philosophy, aesthetic theory and the early modern period. Most recently he published Cervantes, Literature, and the Discourse of Politics and the co-edited volume Poiesis and Modernity.  His new book is The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and Philosophy (Cambridge, 2014).  (Ph.D., Harvard University). » read more »

Anne-Lise Francois

Anne-Lise François works in the modern period, comparative romanticisms; lyric poetry; the psychological novel and novel of manners; gender and critical theory; literature and philosophy; and ecocriticism. Her book – Open Secrets: The Literature of Uncounted Experience (Stanford University Press, 2008) –was awarded the 2010 René Wellek Prize by the American Comparative Literature Association.   » read more »

Timothy Hampton

Timothy Hampton works on Renaissance and early modern European culture, in both English and the Romance languages. His research and teaching involve the relationship between politics and culture, and focus on such issues as the ideology of literary genre, the literary construction of nationhood, and the rhetoric of historiography. Recently he has been working on the relationship of music and poetry and on popular culture.  His most recent book is Fictions of Embassy: Literature and Diplomacy in Early Modern Europe. A new book, Bob Dylan’s Poetics (How the Songs Work), is forthcoming from Zone Books.  (Ph.D., Princeton University). » read more »

Victoria Kahn

Victoria Kahn specializes in Renaissance literature, rhetoric and poetics, early modern political theory, and the Frankfurt School. She is the author of Rhetoric, Prudence, and Skepticism in the Renaissance (Cornell, 1985), Machiavellian Rhetoric (Princeton, 1994), and Wayward Contracts: The Crisis of Political Obligation in England, 1640-1674 (Princeton, 2004), and The Future of Illusion: Political Theology and Early Modern Texts (Chicago, 2014). A new book, entitled The Trouble with Literature, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2018. (Ph.D., Yale University).


Robert Kaufman

Robert Kaufman’s teaching and research emphasize several interrelated areas:  20th-21st-century American poetry and its dialogues with modern Latin American, German, French, and British poetry; romantic and 19th-century poetry and poetics; philosophical aesthetics, literary theory, and the history of criticism (esp. since Kant and romanticism); and Frankfurt School Critical Theory and the arts (poetry and the other literary genres; music; cinema; painting, etc.). » read more »

Chana Kronfeld

Areas of specialization: Modernism in Hebrew, Yiddish and English poetry, intertextuality, translation studies, theory of metaphor, literary historiography, stylistics and ideology, gender studies, political poetry, marginality and minor literatures, literature & linguistics, negotiating theory and close reading.

Professor Kronfeld teaches Hebrew, Yiddish and Comparative Literature with a special emphasis on modern poetry. » read more »

Leslie Kurke

Leslie Kurke has specialties that span archaic and classical Greek literature and cultural history, with particular emphasis on archaic Greek poetry in its social context, Herodotus, and early prose. She is fascinated by the various interactions of word and world, literature and its “others”: the economics of literature, poetry and/as ritualization, text and popular culture, and the dialectic of performed song and place/monuments. She is the author of The Traffic in Praise: Pindar and the Poetics of Social Economy (Cornell UP, 1991), Coins, Bodies, Games, and Gold: The Politics of Meaning in Archaic Greece (Princeton UP, 1999), and Aesopic Conversations: Popular Tradition, Cultural Dialogue, and the Invention of Greek Prose (Princeton UP, 2011). » read more »

Niklaus Largier

Niklaus Largier, Professor of German and Comparative Literature. He is affiliated with UC Berkeley’s Programs in Medieval Studies and Religious Studies, and the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory. After studying German Literature, Philosophy, and Russian in Zurich and Paris, Professor Largier received his Ph.D. from the University of Zurich in 1989. » read more »

Michael Lucey

Michael Lucey specializes in French literature and culture of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. He also teaches regularly about nineteenth and twentieth-century British and American literature and culture, the novel in particular. Other areas of interest include sexuality studies; social and literary theory; cultural studies of music.  Publications include: Someone: The Pragmatics of Misfit Sexualities from Colette to Hervé Guibert (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming); Never Say I: Sexuality and the First Person in Colette, Gide, and Proust (Duke University Press, 2006); The Misfit of the Family: Balzac and the Social Forms of Sexuality (Duke University Press, 2003); Gide’s Bent: Sexuality, Politics, Writing (Oxford University Press, 1995).  » read more »

Tom McEnaney

Tom McEnaney works on the history of media and technology, Argentine, Cuban, and U.S. literature, sound studies, linguistic anthropology, computational (digital) humanities and new media studies. He has contributed articles to Cultural CritiqueLa Habana EleganteRepresentationsRevista de Estudios HispánicosSounding Out!Variaciones Borges, and others. His book, Acoustic Properties: Radio, Narrative, and the New Neighborhood of the Americas (FlashPoints at Northwestern University Press, 2017) investigates the co-evolution of radio and the novel in Argentina, Cuba, and the United States. » read more »

Eric Naiman

Eric Naiman – Slavic Languages and Literature (Russian) – works in the fields of ideological poetics, sexuality and history, history of medicine, Soviet culture, the gothic novel.  Teaching and research interests include Nabokov, Platonov, Law and Literature, Dostoevsky and Bakhtin. His most recent book is Nabokov, Perversely.  He is also the author of Sex in Public: The Incarnation of Early Soviet Ideology, and the co-editor of two collections of articles: Everyday Life in Early Soviet Russia and The Landscape of Stalinism. His work has appeared in Comparative Literature, Representations, Signs,the Times Literary Supplement and Russian Review (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley; J.D. Yale). For an example of his work, see

Harsha Ram

Harsha Ram teaches in the Departments of Comparative Literature and Slavic Languages and Literatures. He is affiliated with the Department of Italian Studies and the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory. He has B.A. Honours degrees in Russian and Italian literatures from the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney respectively, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Yale University. » read more »

Miryam Sas

  • Office: 4333 Dwinelle
  • Office Hours: By appointment

Miryam Sas (Ph.D, Yale) is Professor of Comparative Literature and Film & Media at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Experimental Arts in Postwar Japan: Moments of Encounter, Engagement, and Imagined Return (Harvard University Press, 2010) and Fault Lines: Cultural Memory and Japanese Surrealism (Stanford UP, released in 2001).  She has written numerous articles in English, French, and Japanese on subjects such as Japanese futurism, intermedia art, experimental animation, pink film, cross-cultural performance, and butoh dance.  She is currently working on a book on media theory and contemporary art in Japan, Media Acts: Infrastructure, Potentiality, and the Afterlife of Art in Japan. » read more »

Barbara Spackman

Barbara Spackman, Ph.D. Yale University, is Professor of Italian Studies and Comparative Literature, and holder of the Giovanni and Ruth Elizabeth Cecchetti Chair in Italian Literature. She works on nineteenth and twentieth century Italian literature and culture, with special interests in decadence, the cultural production of the fascist period, feminist theory, travel writing and Italian Orientalism.  She has published on topics as diverse as Macaronic poetry, Machiavelli and gender, film of the fascist period, the rhetoric of sickness at the fin de siècle, Italian futurism, contemporary feminist theory, the rhetoric of Mussolini’s speeches, Orientalism in the nineteenth century, and migrant writing in the twenty-first.   » read more »

Sophie Volpp

Sophie Volpp writes about Chinese literature of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. Teaching and research interests include material culture and the history of consumption, gender theory, the history of sexuality, performance studies, and the study of autobiography. Her forthcoming book, Worldly Stage, examines the ideological niche occupied by the theater in seventeenth-century China. Her present project focuses on the representation of objects and the history of consumption. (Ph.D., Harvard).

Dora Zhang

Dora Zhang (Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Princeton) works on Anglo-American and European modernism, literature and philosophy, affect theory, visual culture, and history of science. She has written on topics including Proust and photography, Woolf and philosophy of language, and Roland Barthes’s travels in China. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in RepresentationsNew Literary History (where her article “Naming the Indescribable” won the 2013 Ralph Cohen Prize), Modernism/modernity Print Plus, and Qui Parle, as well as Public Books, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She is currently completing a book project on problems of description in the modernist period.


Robert Alter

Robert Alter (Ph.D., Harvard University) teaches courses on the 19th-century European and American novel, on modernism, and on literary aspects of the Bible, and he also teaches and writes on modern Hebrew literature. His publications range from critical biography (Stendhal) to literary theory (The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age) to two recent volumes of Bible translation accompanied by literary commentary —The Book of Psalms, and The Wisdom Books.  His two most recent books are Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King James Bible (Princeton, 2010) and Strong As Death Is Love: The Song of Songs, Ruth, Esther, Jonah, Daniel (Norton, 2015).   His translation with commentary of the complete Hebrew Bible has been published by Norton.

In 2009, he received the Robert Kirsch Award from the Los Angeles Times for lifetime contribution to American letters.

Louise George Clubb

Emerita, Ph.D., Columbia University

L.H.D., Mt. Holyoke
Italian, English, French Renaissance Literature


Francine Masiello

Francine Masiello is Sidney and Margaret Ancker Professor Emerita in the Departments of Comparative Literature and Spanish & Portuguese. Her teaching and research arc covers Latin American literatures of the 19th through 21st centuries and comparative North/South cultures.  She has focused on the relationship between politics and literature, culture under dictatorship and the transition to democracy, and, more recently, the global south as a problem for literature and philosophy. » read more »

James Monroe

James Monroe works in the areas of lyric poetry, the Middle Ages, and East-West relations with particular interest in the importance of the Arab contribution to Spanish civilization. He has published numerous books and articles in the field of Arabic literature with special emphasis on its Hispano-Arabic component, including Ten Hispano-Arabic Strophic Songs in the Modern Oral Tradition: Music and Texts, with Benjamin M. Liu, and The Art of Badi az-Zaman al-Hamadhani as Picaresque Narrative. (Ph.D., Harvard University).