Director, Gauss Seminars in Criticism
Andrew Cole studied medieval literature and critical theory in the English Department and Literature Program at Duke University, earning his Ph.D. in English in 2000. Since then, he has been a Guggenheim Fellow (2014), a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College at the University of Oxford (2010), a Bloomfield Fellow at Harvard University (2006), and the Clark Lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge University (2019). He serves on the advisory boards of symplokē studies in theory; Združenje Aufhebung (Ljubljana); and the Yearbook of Langland Studies.
Andrew works primarily as an intellectual historian with an interest in Hegelianism, Marxism, and the Middle Ages. His book, The Birth of Theory (University of Chicago Press, 2014), typifies his concerns, ranging from Plotinus to Deleuze and thinking with the disciplines of literature, history, politics, and critical theory. Featured in PMLA’s “Theories and Methodologies” (May 2015), The Birth of Theory is the first volume of a three-part study to be followed by The Dialectic of Space, with chapters on architecture, nature philosophy, geometry, and literature—and then Unmodernism. Andrew is also writing, with Rebecca Comay and Frank Ruda, a book on Marx’s Dialectic for Duke University Press, focusing on The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. His writings in theory and philosophy have appeared in Artforum, PMLA, October, Problemi, the minnesota review, Representations, Crisis and Critique, Critical Inquiry, The Bloomsbury Companion to Marx, ed. Diamanti, Pendakis, Szeman; and Subject Lessons, ed. Sbriglia and Žižek; some of these papers are available here. Currently Andrew is editing a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly (119:4; October 2020) featuring thinkers from a range of disciplines discussing the topics of ideology and critique.
In the fall of 2019 Andrew begins his second four-year term as the director of the Gauss Seminars in Criticism at Princeton. 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, 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, as well as a two-day visit by the philosopher Catherine Malabou. In 2018-19, Wendy Brown and Fred Moten spoke in the Gauss series; and in 2019-20, Naomi Klein and Michael Hardt and will be the featured speakers (respectively, October 1 and October 15-16).
The Middle Ages in its own right are a primary interest for Andrew, around which most all of his inquiries revolve. 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 University Press, 2010). He also authored an influential study of late medieval literature entitled, Literature and Heresy in the Age of Chaucer (Cambridge University Press, 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.