John Brenkman


Location: VC 7-243
Phone: (646) 312-3921


John Brenkman, Distinguished Professor, teaches American literature, the novel, and various special topics in modern literature. He also teaches in the PhD Programs in English and Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center and directs the U.S.-Europe Seminar at Baruch College. A literary critic and political theorist, Professor Brenkman’s latest book is The Cultural Contradictions of Democracy: Political Thought since September 11 (Princeton University Press, 2007):

Previous publications include Culture and Domination (Cornell) and Straight Male Modern: A Cultural Critique of Psychoanalysis (Routledge) and more than fifty essays and articles. Recent work on novel theory includes “Innovation: Notes on Nihilism and the Aesthetics of the Novel” (The Novel, Volume 2: Themes and Forms, ed. Franco Moretti [Princeton]), “On Voice” (Essentials of the Theory of Fiction, ed. Hoffman and Murphy [Duke]), and several essays for the journal L’Atelier du roman. Other recent essays include “Freud the Modernist” (The Mind of Modernism, ed. Mark S. Micale [Stanford]), “Queer Post-Politics” (Narrative), and “Extreme Criticism” (Critical Inquiry). He has lectured most recently at Columbia, Northwestern, Dartmouth, Stanford, Minnesota, University of Paris, and University of Turin.

Educated at the University of Iowa, Professor Brenkman taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University before coming to CUNY. He has been a fellow at the Oregon State University Humanities Center and a Visiting Professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Institut du Monde Anglophone at the University of Paris III, and he directed an NEH Summer Seminar for College Teachers in 1995 on “Culture and Democracy: Emergent American Literatures.” He is a past president of the English Institute at Harvard University.

Professor Brenkman was a founding editor of the journal Social Text. He also edited the literary magazine Venue. He contributes regularly to the French political quarterly Le Meilleur des mondes. During 2008-2009 he is a participant in the seminar of the Great Issues Forum at the Graduate Center on the topic “Power in the Contemporary World”; he regularly contributes to the seminar’s blog: (Seminar@The Forum).

The City University of New York