Jocelyn Rodal

Jocelyn Rodal
Jocelyn Rodal
Associate Research Scholar | Lecturer
B44 McCosh Hall
Office Hours: 
Fall 2020: Wednesdays 12:00 - 2:00 p.m., and by appointment
Jocelyn Rodal received her Ph.D. in English from U.C. Berkeley in 2016, where she earned the Benjamin and Barbara Kurtz Dissertation Prize and served as the Jeffrey Berg Fellow at the Townsend Center for the Humanities. She received her S.B. from M.I.T., and she has held appointments as a postdoctoral associate at Rutgers University's Center for Cultural Analysis and as a postdoctoral fellow at Penn State’s Center for Humanities and Information.
 
She is currently at work on a book manuscript titled Modernism’s Mathematics: From Form to Formalism. That project reads literary modernism alongside a contemporaneous modernist movement in mathematics. During the modernist era, mathematicians turned toward dramatic abstraction, with strange new math that seemed non-representative of the world. Modernism’s Mathematics examines the shared intellectual history of literary and mathematical modernism: a common attempt to rethink foundational axioms, a common ambivalence toward growing abstraction, and a common interest in and anxiety about form. Examining authors such as T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Virginia Woolf, the book traces how modernist math stood at the origin of modernist form—form that, in turn, engendered formalism in literary studies. Modernism’s Mathematics uses mathematical theories of syntax and semantics to understand form, arguing that literary formalism has structural and historical roots in mathematics.