Alex Brostoff

English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian
20th & 21st century
Academic Area: 
Literature of the Americas; gender & sexuality studies; autotheory & performative philosophy; performance studies; critical theory & critical pedagogy; cultural criticism

Research Areas


Alex Brostoff is a writer, teacher, and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature with a Designated Emphasis in Gender, Women, and Sexuality. She earned her B.A. in Comparative Literature at Sarah Lawrence College (2009) and her M.A. in Education, Curriculum, and Instruction (2013) while teaching and translating at the Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador, Brazil. In her study of contemporary queer writing by Latin American and U.S. feminists, Alex hones in on the emergence of innovative, new bodies of theory — from “theory in the flesh” to “autotheory” and beyond — that rewrite the relationship between embodied experience and critical theory. At the center of her dissertation are the relational effects of theory on self-figuration and the ways in which embodied subjects contest what constitutes theory today.

Alex is the guest editor (with Lauren Fournier) of a special issue of ASAP/Journal on “autotheory.” Her writing and translations have also appeared or are forthcoming in Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, In the Midst (the blog of Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory), Reading in Translation, Hyperallergic, and Hypocrite Reader. Her research has been supported by fellowships at the Institute of International Studies, the Center for Race & Gender, the Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) program, the Center for Studies in Higher Education, the Center for Teaching & Learning, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities, where she is a 2020-2021 Townsend Dissertation Fellow and recipient of the Professor Norman Jacobson Memorial Teaching Award for innovative pedagogy in the humanities and interpretive social sciences.

At UC Berkeley, Alex has designed and taught transdisciplinary courses in Comparative Literature, Reading & Composition, and American Cultures. A two-time recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon-funded Cal Performances Grant in arts-integrated curricula (2015, 2017), her courses span studies in the gender and sexual politics of contemporary cultural production. She has also enjoyed leading workshops on academic writing and critical pedagogy at the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the GSI Teaching & Resource Center, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.