Director, Gauss Seminars in Criticism
Andrew Cole is a theorist and medievalist who studied in the English Department and Literature Program at Duke University at a particularly exciting time, earning his Ph.D. in English in 2000. His most recent book, The Birth of Theory (Chicago, 2014), details Hegel’s discovery of the dialectic in medieval philosophy, canvassing the long history of dialectical thinking from Plotinus to Deleuze in the effort to revitalize dialectics for contemporary critical practice. This book is featured in PMLA’s “Theories and Methodologies” (May 2015), which includes Andrew’s response paper, “The Function of Theory at the Present Time.” The Birth of Theory is the first volume of a three-part study to be followed by The Dialectic of Space and then Unmodernism.
Andrew’s work in theory and philosophy appears in such venues as Artforum, PMLA, October, Problemi, the minnesota review, Representations, Crisis and Critique, Critical Inquiry (reviews), The Bloomsbury Companion to Marx, ed. Diamanti, Pendakis, Szeman; and Subject Lessons, ed. Sbriglia and Žižek; some of these papers are available here.
In November 2018 Andrew will join Rebecca Comay and Frank Ruda to run a seminar on Marx at the University of Toronto. In early 2019, Andrew will deliver the Clark Lectures at Trinity College, University of Cambridge.
Andrew directs the Gauss Seminars in Criticism. Instituted in 1949, the Gauss Seminars are among Princeton’s oldest and most well-known lecture series, providing a forum at the university for the exchange of ideas in the humanities. Past speakers have included Erich Auerbach, Hannah Arendt, W. H. Auden, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Paul de Man, Roman Jakobson, Julia Kristeva, Jürgen Habermas, Herbert Marcuse, and Elaine Scarry. Under Andrew’s directorship, the Gauss series in 2016-17 hosted Eduardo Viveiros de Castro and co-sponsored with the Institute for Advanced Study the avant-garde filmmaker Robert Beavers. For 2017-18, the Gauss seminars held a symposium on Hegel & the Humanities, sponsored a major memorial gathering in NYC for Werner Hamacher, and hosted a two-day visit by the philosopher Catherine Malabou. In 2018-19, Wendy Brown and Fred Moten will speak in the Gauss series (Oct. 2 and 3; Feb. 27 and 28, respectively).
The Middle Ages are a primary interest for Andrew and indeed a focal point for all of his work in theory and philosophy. With his departmental colleague, D. Vance Smith, he has edited The Legitimacy of the Middle Ages: On the Unwritten History of Theory, with an Afterword by Fredric Jameson (Duke, 2010). He also authored a major study of late medieval literature entitled, Literature and Heresy in the Age of Chaucer (Cambridge, 2008). His co-edited Cambridge Companion to Piers Plowman (2014) concluded his ten years as an editor at the Yearbook of Langland Studies (vols. 18-25), and his many articles on medieval literature (Chaucer and Langland, above all) appear in such journals as ELH, Speculum, and Chaucer Review (Jan. 2017).
Andrew has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College at the University of Oxford, and a Bloomfield Fellow at Harvard University. At Princeton at large, he sits with the executive committees for the Medieval Studies Program and the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities, and is an affiliate in the postclassicisms network.