Andrew Cole

Andrew Cole
Andrew Cole
Wilson Professor of Literature | Director of the Gauss Seminars in Criticism
31 McCosh Hall
(609) 258-4090
Office Hours: 
Thursdays 1:00pm - 3:00pm and by appointment
Teaching and Research Interests: 

Andrew Cole (Ph.D., Duke) is the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature, an endowed chair previously held by scholars like Samuel Hynes, Arnold Rampersad, and Valerie Smith. He was a Guggenheim Fellow (2014), a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College at the University of Oxford (2010), a Bloomfield Fellow at Harvard University (2006), the Clark Lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge University (2019), and a visiting professor at the Society for Criticism and Theory at Cornell University (2022). Upcoming events include a plenary lecture on Hegel in Ljubljana, Slovenia, as well as television appearances on SLO-TV (fall 2022); the Gladys Krieble Delmas Lectures at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon (winter 2023), and the Brinley Rhys Memorial Lecture at the Sewanee Medieval Colloquium (spring 2023).

Primarily a critical theorist, Andrew writes on subjects spanning antiquity to modernity. For example, his book, The Birth of Theory (University of Chicago Press, 2014), interprets Hegel within a frame of reference ranging from Plato and Plotinus to Deleuze and Jameson. This title was reviewed by a variety of specialists in PMLA’s “Theories and Methodologies” (May 2015), and a German translation by Eva Heubach, with a new preface by Mladen Dolar, is forthcoming from Turia+Kant, 2023. This book is the first of a three-part study to be followed by The Dialectic of Space; work on this topic includes the essay “The Dialectic of Space: An Untimely Proposal” and a conversation between Andrew and the architect Julian Rose in deem, a journal of architectural design and social practice whose theme for this issue is “envisioning equity.” 

Andrew recently edited a volume of South Atlantic Quarterly called “The Ideology Issue” (October 2020) and co-edited a cluster of essays for PMLA’s “Theories and Methodologies” (May 2022) on the work of his teacher, Fredric Jameson. Andrew’s writings in theory and philosophy appear in Artforum, PMLA, October, Problemi, the minnesota review, Representations, Crisis and Critique, Critical Inquiry, The Bloomsbury Companion to Marx, Polygraph, and Subject Lessons, ed. Sbriglia and Žižek; some of these papers are available here. Andrew also serves on the advisory boards of symplokē studies in theory, the Hegelian association in Ljubljana, Združenje Aufhebung, and CT&T: Continental Thought and Theory.

Since 2015, Andrew has directed the Gauss Seminars in Criticism. Instituted in 1949, the Gauss Seminars are among the university’s oldest and most internationally known lecture series. Past speakers have included Erich Auerbach, Hannah Arendt, W. H. Auden, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Paul de Man, Roman Jakobson, Jürgen Habermas, Herbert Marcuse, Elaine Scarry, and Joan Scott. 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, as well as a two-day visit by the philosopher Catherine Malabou. In 2018-19, Wendy Brown and Fred Moten spoke in the series; and in 2019-20, Naomi Klein/Keeanga-Yamahhta Taylor; and Michael Hardt. The Gauss seminars were on hiatus during the initial phases of pandemic but have resumed with Alenka Zupančič’s two-day visit in April 2022. In 2022-23, which concludes Andrew’s directorship, the seminars will welcome Hortense J. Spillers (October 25-26) and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (April 4-5, 2023).

Andrew has written on the Middle Ages, as well. He authored a highly praised study of late medieval literature entitled, Literature and Heresy in the Age of Chaucer (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and he has co-edited The Legitimacy of the Middle Ages: On the Unwritten History of Theory, with an Afterword by Fredric Jameson (Duke University Press, 2010). His co-edited Cambridge Companion to Piers Plowman (2014) capped off 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 more recently in Chaucer Review and A New Companion to Critical Thinking on Chaucer (2021). Andrew serves on the advisory board for the Yearbook of Langland Studies.


† On Woodrow Wilson’s racism, see an unvarnished account here, and review the decision by the Trustees to remove Wilson’s name from the School of Politics. Like Wilson, Andrew is from Georgia, but unlike Wilson, he works against these pernicious legacies of racism in his teaching, writing, and activism.