Director, Gauss Seminars in Criticism
Andrew Cole studied in the English Department and Literature Program at Duke University at a moment when the best minds in theory and criticism were gathered there, 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.” It is also the first volume of a three-part study, to be followed by Foundations of the Dialectic and Unmodernism. Andrew’s work on dialectics, idealism, materialism, and the histories of philosophy and theory appears in such venues as Artforum, PMLA, October, Problemi, the minnesota review, Representations, Crisis and Critique, Critical Inquiry (reviews); these and other papers are available here.
In early 2019, Andrew will deliver the Clark Lectures at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. Other engagements include a keynote presentation at the conference, “Concept/S: Hegel’s Aesthetics” at the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana, January 2018, and a seminar at the University of Freiburg in the summer of 2018.
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 seminar leaders 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 series will hold a symposium on Hegel & the Humanities (September 29) and host a visit by the philosopher Catherine Malabou (February 13 and 14).
The Middle Ages are a primary interest for Andrew and indeed a focal point for his work in theory and philosophy. With his departmental colleague, D. Vance Smith, Andrew 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 and Speculum, and—most recently—Chaucer Review (Jan. 2017), with forthcoming articles on the manuscripts of Chaucer’s religious tales, and Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess.
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.