Robert Chodat


Associate Professor; Associate Chair

BA, MA, McGill University
PhD, Stanford University

Room 545
For CV click here

My research focuses on post-WWII American fiction, the relation between literature and philosophy, and the intersection of these two areas. My published work includes Worldly Acts and Sentient Things: The Persistence of Agency from Stein to DeLillo (Cornell University Press, 2008), as well as articles on Richard Powers, Lorrie Moore, Philip Roth, and others. In recent years I have published articles considering the status of literature and practical action in the writings of Stanley Cavell, Walker Percy, American pragmatism, and evolutionary and cognitive theory.

Before coming to BU, I was a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2003-4). I have also been Humboldt Research Fellow at the Technische Universität Berlin (2006-7), and in 2009-10, I had a Junior Fellowship from the BU Center for the Humanities. My teaching covers a wide range of twentieth-century literature, theory, and intellectual history, and includes “Philosophical Fictions,” “Irony and Postwar Literature,” “The Sixties in Fiction and Theory,” “The Mind in Literature and Theory,” and “Ordinary Language Philosophy and Contemporary Literature.” I also have taught surveys of post-WWII American fiction and the history of criticism from Plato to Nietzsche.

Selected Publications
  • Worldly Acts and Sentient Things: The Persistence of Agency from Stein to DeLillo (2008)
  • “The Novel,” in Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Literature (forthcoming)
  • “Is Style Information?” Partial Answers (2013)
  • “The American Evasion of Pragmatism: Minds, Souls, and the Case of Walker Percy.” nonsite 3.1 (2011)
  • “Empiricism, Exhaustion, and Meaning What We Say: Cavell and Contemporary Fiction.” Stanley Cavell and Literary Studies: Consequences of Skepticism (2011)
  • “Philosophy and the American Novel,” Cambridge History of the American Novel (2011)
  • “Evolution and Explanation: Biology, Aesthetics, Pragmatism,” Contemporary Pragmatism (2010)
  • “A Commitment to the Meaningful,” Twentieth-Century Literature (2008)
  • “Naturalism and Narrative, or, What Computers and Human Beings Can’t Do,” New Literary History (2007)
  • “Jokes, Fiction, and Lorrie Moore,” Twentieth-Century Literature (2006)
  • “Fictions Public and Private: On Philip Roth,”Contemporary Literature (2005)
  • “Sense, Science, and the Interpretations of Gertrude Stein,” Modernism/Modernity (2005)
  • “Beyond Scientism and Supermen: Bellow and Mind at Mid-Century,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language (2003)
  • “Real Toads and Imaginary Gardens: Freud and Davidson on Meaning and Metaphor,”Representing Realities: Essays on American Literature, Art, and Culture (2003)
Honors, Grants, and Awards
  • BU Humanities Foundation Fellowship (20089)
  • Humboldt Research Fellowship (20067)
  • Visiting Scholar, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (20034)
  • Mabel McLeod Lewis Fellowship (20023)
  • Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Stipendium (1999)
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