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

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), Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (1993), The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection (1997), Excitable Speech (1997), Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (2000), » 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.   A study of the ethos of affirmative reticence and recessive action found in the fiction of Mme de Lafayette and Jane Austen, and the poetry of William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson and Thomas Hardy, Open Secrets argues that these works make an open secret of fulfilled experience, where the term “open secret” refers to non-emphatic revelation–revelation without insistence and without rhetorical underscoring. » 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. His most recent book is Fictions of Embassy: Literature and Diplomacy in Early Modern Europe. (Ph.D., Princeton University).

In 2013, Professor Hampton received the Campus Distinguished Teaching Award, Berkeley’s highest honor for teaching excellence. Professor Hampton is currently the Chair for the Department of French.

Curriculum Vitae

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). (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

Professor Kronfeld teaches Hebrew, Yiddish and Comparative Literature with a special emphasis on modern poetry.  She is interested in modernism, minor literatures, the politics of literary history, feminist stylistics, intertextuality, and translation studies. Professor Kronfeld is the author of On the Margins of Modernism (1995), which won the MLA Scaglione Prize in 1998 for Best Book in Comparative Literary Studies.

» read more »

Leslie Kurke

  • Office: 4117 Dwinelle
  • Office Hours: Wednesdays 4-5 (first week of classes); Thursdays 3:30-4:30 and by appointment

Leslie Kurke has specialties that span archaic and classical Greek literature and cultural history, with special emphasis on archaic Greek poetry in its social context, Herodotus and early prose, the constitution of ideology through material practices, and the relations of economics and literature. Her most recent book is Coins, Bodies, Games, and Gold: The Politics of Meaning in Archaic Greece. She has received a MacArthur Fellowship for the years 1999-2004, and plans to use the funding to pursue a project on Aesop and Greek popular culture. (Ph.D., Princeton University).

Curriculum Vitae

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: Never Say I: Sexuality and the First Person in Colette, Gide, and Proust (Duke University Press, 2006);  » 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

  • Office: 6211 Dwinelle
  • Office Hours: Starting 01/22, Mondays 3-4, Wednesdays 12-1 or by appointment

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, 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. (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley).

Harsha Ram

Harsha Ram teaches Russian and comparative European romanticism,symbolism and modernism; the Russian and European avant-garde; Russian poetry; eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century Russian and European literature; early Soviet culture; Georgian literature; modern Indian literature; Italian literature; literary and aesthetic theory, comparative poetics, genre theory, and literary history; aesthetics, politics and comparative modernities; world literature; the cultural and political history of Russia, the Caucasus and Eurasia; » 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, history of science, and visual culture. Her article “A Lens for an Eye: Proust and Photography” appeared in Representations (2012), and “Naming the Indescribable,” an essay on Woolf, Bertrand Russell, William James and the limits of describing first-person experience received the 2013 Ralph Cohen Prize and was published in New Literary History (2014). She is currently at work on a book project that traces a transformation in modes of description in the modernist period.


Robert Alter

Robert Alter 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 (Ph.D., Harvard University).  Professor Alter’s two most recent books are Imagined Cities (Yale, 2005) and Psalms: A Translation with Commentary (Norton, 2007). His new book, Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King James Bible, was published by Princeton University Press, February 2010.

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 works on topics related to Latin American literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, gender theory, and comparative North/South literatures. Her books include Lenguaje e ideología: los movimientos de vanguardia de los años 20, Between Civilization and Barbarism: Women, Nation, and Literary Culture in Modern Argentina, El periodismo femenino del s. xix, and The Art of Transition: Neoliberalism and Latin American Culture. She is also co-author or co-editor of numerous volumes, most recently a book on Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman. Currently, she is writing on Joyce in Latin America. (Ph.D., University of Michigan).

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).