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Jeffrey Cohen

Dean of Humanities
Administrative, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2501
Dean & Professor
Faculty w/Admin Appointment, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2501
Biography

Jeffrey Cohen is the dean of humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. Professor Cohen comes to ASU from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he served as a professor and chair of the department of English. During his 23-year tenure there, he founded the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute, which brought together 22 faculty members across nine departments, as well as allied faculty from area institutions. He currently serves, with Stacy Alaimo, as co-president of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE), the largest professional organization in the environmental humanities. 

His research examines strange and beautiful things that challenge the imagination, phenomena that seem alien and intimate at once. He is especially interested in what monsters, foreigners, misfits, inhuman forces, objects and matter that won't stay put reveal about the cultures that dream, fear and desire them. He is widely published in the fields of medieval studies, monster theory, posthumanism and ecocriticism. His book, “Stone: An Ecology of the Inhuman,” received the 2017 Rene Wellek Prize for best book in comparative literature from the American Comparative Literature Association. In collaboration with ASU Professor Lindy Elkins-Tanton, he recently co-wrote the book “Earth,” a re-examination of Earth from the perspectives of a planetary scientist and a literary humanist. Currently, he’s co-writing a book titled "Noah's Arkive: Towards an Ecology of Refuge."  

At ASU, Professor Cohen is laying the groundwork for projects that intensify the university's strengths in the environmental humanities; increase opportunities for the work of humanities scholars to reach wider publics; and ensure the next generation of scholars, teachers and researchers (especially in traditional fields) is the most diverse to date.

Education
  • B.A. English and Classical Studies, University of Rochester, NY 1987
  • A.M. English, American Literature and Language, Harvard University 1989
  • Ph.D. English, American Literature and Language, Harvard University 1992 
Publications

Media

Founder of the medieval studies group blog In the Middle <inthemedievalmiddle.com>. The blog has been accumulated more than 3 million page views, received Cliopatria’s “Best Group Blog” award for 2007 and has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Education.

Publications: Books

  • Veer Ecology: A Companion for Environmental Thinking. University of Minnesota Press, 2018. Editor, with Lowell Duckert. 2018.
  • Earth. Co-authored with Lindy Elkins-Tanton. Bloomsbury (Object Lessons series), 2017.
  • Stone: An Ecology of the Inhuman. University of Minnesota Press, 2015. Winner of the René Wellek Prize for best book in comparative literature, 2017.
  • Elemental Ecocriticism: Thinking with Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. University of Minnesota Press, 2015. Editor, with Lowell Duckert.
  • Prismatic Ecology: Ecotheory Beyond Green. University of Minnesota Press, 2013. Editor.
  • Cultural Diversity in the British Middle Ages: Archipelago, Island, England. Palgrave Macmillan, New Middle Ages series, 2008. Editor.
  • Hybridity, Identity and Monstrosity in Medieval Britain: Of Difficult Middles. Palgrave Macmillan, New Middle Ages series, 2006.
  • Medieval Identity Machines. University of Minnesota Press, Medieval Cultures series, 2003.
  • Thinking the Limits of the Body. State University of New York Press, Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art series, 2002. Editor, with Gail Weiss.
  • The Postcolonial Middle Ages. Palgrave, New Middle Ages series, 2000. Editor.
  • Of Giants: Sex, Monsters, and the Middle Ages. University of Minnesota Press, Medieval Cultures series, 1999.
  • Becoming Male in the Middle Ages. Garland Publishing, New Middle Ages series, 1997. Editor, with Bonnie Wheeler.
  • Monster Theory:  Reading Culture. University of Minnesota Press, Visible Evidence series, 1996. Editor

Book Project in Progress

"Noah's Arkive: Towards an Ecology of Refuge." Co-authored with Julian Yates. Under contract with the University of Minnesota Press, delivery 2019.

Open Access

  • Object Oriented Environs. punctum books, 2016. Editor, with Julian Yates.
  • Inhuman Nature. Oliphaunt / punctum books, 2014. Editor.
  • Burn After Reading vol. 2: The Future We Want. Oliphaunt / punctum books, 2014. Editor.
  • Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects. Oliphaunt / punctum books, 2012. Editor.

Special Issues of Journals

  • “Assembling the Ecological Digital Humanities.” Essay cluster for PMLA 131 (2016), co-edited with Stephanie LeMenager (2016).
  • “Ecomaterialism.” postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 4 (2013). Edited with Lowell Duckert.
  • “New Critical Modes.” postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 2 (2011). Edited with Cary Howie.
  • "Medieval Noise.” Exemplaria 16.2 (2004).

Book Chapters and Journal Articles

  • “Anarky.” Reading in the Anthropocene: Literary History and Geologic Times, ed. Tobias Menely and Jesse Oak Taylor (Penn State University Press, 2017).
  • “Afterword: Monster Classroom (Seven Theses).” Monsters in the Classroom: Essays on Teaching What Scares Us, ed. Adam Golub and Heather Richardson Hayton (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 2017) 228-35.
  • “Posthuman Environs.” Environmental Humanities: Voices from the Anthropocene, ed. Serenella Iovino and Serpil Oppermann (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) 25-44.
  • “Introduction: Assembling the Ecological Digital Humanities,” with Stephanie LeMenager, PMLA 131.2 (2016): 340-46.
  • “Aninormality.” Fragments for a History of a Vanishing Humanism, ed. Myra Seaman and Elieen A. Joy (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2016) 129-50.
  • “Introduction (An Environing of this Book),” with Julian Yates. Object Oriented Environs, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Julian Yates (punctum books, 2016) xi-xxv.
  • “Introduction: Eleven Principles of the Elements,” with Lowell Duckert. Elemental Ecocriticism: Thinking with Earth, Air, Water and Fire, ed. Jeffrey J. Cohen and Lowell Duckert (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015) 1-26.
  • “The Sea Above.” Elemental Ecocriticism: Thinking with Earth, Air, Water and Fire, ed. Jeffrey J. Cohen and Lowell Duckert (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015) 105-33.
  • “The Sea is a Conveyance-Machine: A Waterlog” and (with Allan Mitchell) “Oceanic Dispatches,” Oceanic New York, ed. Steve Mentz (New York: punctum books), 131-41, 201-208
  • “On the Necessity of Ignoring Those Who Offer Themselves as Examples.” How We Write: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blank Page, ed. Suzanne Conklin Akbari (New York: punctum books, 2015) 44-56.
  • “Geophilia, or the Love of Stone.” continent. 4.2 (2015): 8-17.
  • “Foreword: Storied Matter.” Material Ecocriticism, ed. Serenella Iovino and Serpil Oppermann (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014) ix-xii.
  • “Ecostitial.” Inhuman Nature, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (Washington DC: Oliphaunt / punctum books, 2014) i-x.
  • “Elemental Relations.” O-Zone: A Journal of Object-Oriented Studies 1 (2014): 53-61.
  • “Introduction: Ecology’s Rainbow.” Prismatic Ecology: Ecotheory Beyond Green, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014) xv-xxxv.
  • “Grey.” Prismatic Ecology: Ecotheory Beyond Green, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014) 270-89. Reprinted as “Grey: A Zombie Ecology” in Zombie Theory: A Reader, ed. Sarah Juliet Lauro (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017) 381-94.
  • “The Swerve Code.” Exemplaria 25 (2013): 367-70.
  • “Undead (A Zombie Oriented Ontology).” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 23.3 (2013): 397-412.
  • “In the Middle of the Early Modern.” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 13 (2013): 129-33.
  • “Race.” A Handbook of Middle English Studies, ed. Marion Turner (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2013) 109-122.
  • “The Future of the Jews of York.” Christians and Jews in Medieval England: Narratives and Contexts for the York 1190 Massacre, ed. Sarah Rees Jones  and Sethina Watson (Suffolk: Boydell and Brewer, 2013) 278-93.
  • “British Chaucer.” Magistra Doctissima: Essays in Honor of Bonnie Wheeler, ed. Dorsey Armstrong, Ann W. Astell, and Howell Chickering (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2013) 25-33.
  • “Howl.” With Lowell Duckert. postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 4 (2013): 1-5.
  • “Fire.” With Stephanie Trigg. postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 4 (2013): 80-92.
  • “Sublunary.” Speculative Medievalisms: Discography, ed. The Petropunk Collective (Brooklyn: punctum books, 2013) 207-18.
  • “The Werewolf’s Indifference.” Special cluster on “Animalia.” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 34 (2012): 351–56.
  • “The Sex Life of Stone.” From Beasts to Souls: Gender and Embodiment in Medieval Europe, ed. E. Jane Burns and Peggy McCracken (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2013) 17-38. Published in an adapted form as “Queering the Inorganic.” Queer Futures: Reconsidering Normativity, Activism and the Political, ed.  Eveline Killian, Elahe Haschemi Yekani and Beatrice Michaelis (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012) 149-164.
  • “Why We Blog: An Essay in Four Movements.” With Karl Steel, Mary Kate Hurley, and Eileen A. Joy. Literature Compass 9 (2012): 1016–1032.
  • “All Things.” Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects, ed. Jeffrey J. Cohen (Washington DC: Oliphaunt / punctum books, 2012) 1-8.
  • “The Promise of Monsters.” The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous, ed. Asa Simon Mittman and Peter Dendle (Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2012) 447-462. Published in an earlier form as “La promesa de los monstruos,” De Animales y Monstruos (Barcelona: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, 2012) 91-101.
  • “Preface: Losing Your Head.” Heads Will Roll: Decapitation in the Medieval and Early Modern Imagination, ed. Larissa Tracy and Jeff Massey (Leiden: Brill, 2012) vii-ix.
  • “Novelty.” postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 2 (2011): 239-241. Co-written with Cary Howie.
  • “An Abecedarium for the Elements.” postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 2 (2011): 291-303.
  • “Blogging the Middle Ages.” Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog: Medieval Studies and New Media, ed. Brantley L. Bryant (New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2010) 29-42.
  • “Stories of Stone.” postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 1 (2010): 56-63.
  • “Pilgrimages, Travel Writing, and the Medieval Exotic.” The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature in English, ed. Elaine Treharne and Greg Walker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) 611-628.
  • “Time out of Memory.” The Post-Historical Middle Ages, ed. Sylvia Federico and Elizabeth Scala (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) 37-61.
  • “Introduction: Infinite Realms.” Cultural Diversity in the British Middle Ages: Archipelago, Island, England, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) 1-16.
  • “Green Children from Another World, or The Archipelago in England.” Cultural Diversity in the British Middle Ages: Archipelago, Island, England, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) 75-94.
  • “An Unfinished Conversation about Glowing Green Bunnies.” Afterword to Queering the Non/Human, ed. Noreen Giffney and Myra J. Hird (Ashgate, 2008) 363-75.
  • "Inventing with Animals in the Middle Ages." Engaging with Nature: Essays on the Natural World in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ed. Barbara A. Hanawalt and Lisa J. Kiser (University of Notre Dame Press, 2008) 39-62. Reprinted in Re-Imagining Nature: Environmental Humanities and Ecosemiotics, ed. Alfred Kentigern Siewers (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2014) 141-58.
  • "Afterword: Intertemporality." Cultural Studies of the Modern Middle Ages, ed. Eileen A. Joy, Myra J. Seaman, Kimberly K. Bell, and Mary K. Ramsey (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) 295-300.
  • "The Ruins of Identity." Chapter from Of Giants reprinted in The Postmodern Beowulf: A Critical Casebook, ed. Eileen A. Joy, Mary K. Ramsey and Bruce M. Gilchrist (West Virginia University Press, European Middle Ages series, 2007) 345-381.
  • "Pink Vectors of Deleuze: Queer Theory and Inhumanism." In "The Becoming-Deleuzoguattarian of Queer Studies," a special issue of the journal Rhizomes ed. Michael O'Rourke (Rhizomes 11/12 [2005]). Co-written with Todd Ramlow.
  • "Postcolonialism."  Chaucer: An Oxford Guide, ed. Steven Ellis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) 448-462.
  • "Kyte oute yugilment: An Introduction to Medieval Noise," Exemplaria 16.2 (2004): 267-76.
  • "The Flow of Blood in Medieval Norwich." Speculum 78 (2004): 26-65.
  • "Introduction: Bodies at the Limit," Thinking the Limits of the Body, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Gail Weiss (SUNY Press, 2002), 1-10.
  • "The Inhuman Circuit," Thinking the Limits of the Body, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Gail Weiss (SUNY Press, 2002), 167-186.
  • "The Postcolonial Jew: Trauma, Race and Nation c.1144." Incontrare i Mostri: Variazoni sul tema nella letteratura e cultura inglese e angloamericana, ed. Maria Teresa Chialant (Naples: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane,  2002), 31-43.
  • "On Saracen Enjoyment: Some Fantasies of Race in Late Medieval France and England," Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 31.1 (2001):111-144.
  • "Introduction: Midcolonial," The Postcolonial Middle Ages, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (St. Martin's Press, 2000), 1-17.
  • "Hybrids, Monsters, Borderlands:  The Bodies of Gerald of Wales," The Postcolonial Middle Ages, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (St. Martin's Press, 2000), 85-104.
  • "Dwindling Masculinity in Chaucer's Tale of Sir Thopas," Masculinities in Chaucer, ed. Peter Beidler (Boydell & Brewer, 1998), 143-155.
  • "Masoch/Lancelotism," New Literary History 28.2 (1997): 231-260.
  • "Introduction:  Becoming and Unbecoming," Becoming Male in the Middle Ages , ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Bonnie Wheeler (Garland Publishing, 1997), vii-xx.
  • "Gowther among the Dogs:  Becoming Inhuman c.1400," Becoming Male in the Middle Ages , ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Bonnie Wheeler (Garland Publishing, 1997), 219-44.
  • "The Armour of an Alienating Identity," Arthuriana 6.4 (1996): 1-24.  Published previously in hypertext as "Medieval Masculinities:  Heroism, Sanctity, and Gender," Interscripta (November-December 1993, revised October 1995), www.georgetown.edu/labyrinth/e-center/interscripta/mm.html
  • "Preface:  In a Time of Monsters," Monster Theory:  Reading Culture, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (University of Minnesota Press, 1996), vii-xiii.
  • "Monster Culture (Seven Theses)," Monster Theory:  Reading Culture, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 3-25. Translated into Portuguese as “A cultura dos monstros: sete teses,” Pedagogia dos monstros: os prazeres e os perigos da confusão de fronteiras, ed. Tomaz Tadeu da Silva (Belo Horizonte: Autêntica, 2000).
  • "The Limits of Knowing:  Monsters and the Regulation of Medieval Popular Culture," Medieval Folklore III (1994): 1-37.  Published in revised form as "The Order of Monsters:  Monster Lore and Medieval Narrative Traditions," Telling Tales:  Medieval Narratives and the Folk Tradition, ed. Francesca Canadé Sautman, Diana Conchado, and Giuseppe Carlo Di Scipio (St Martin's Press, 1998), 37-58.
  • "Decapitation and Coming of Age:  Constructing Masculinity and the Monstrous," The Arthurian Yearbook III (1993): 171-190.
  • "Old English Literature and the Work of Giants," Comitatus  24 (1993): 1-32.
  • "The Use of Monsters and the Middle Ages," SELIM (Revista de la Sociedad Española de Lengua y Literatura Inglesa Medieval / Journal of Old and Middle English Studies of Spain), no. 2 (1992): 47-69.
Honors / Awards
  • Réné Welleck Prize for Best Book in Comparative Literature, 2017
  • Dean's Research Chair, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, GWU, 2014-17
  • Morrow Scholar in Residence, Bucknell University, 2013.
  • John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 2011-12
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (one year of leave to pursue project "Stories of Stone: Dreaming the Prehistoric in the Middle Ages," 2011-12)
  • International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts Distinguished Scholarship Award (2012)
  • Ida Beam Visiting Professorship, University of Iowa (spring 2011)
  • GW Service Excellence Faculty/Staff Choice Award nominee (2009)
  • Faculty Speaker, Columbian School of Arts and Sciences Commencement (faculty member chosen by students to deliver speech at ceremony, 2009)
  • University Facilitating Fund Grant, George Washington University: “Dreaming the Prehistoric in the Middle Ages” (2009).
  • Monster Theory: Reading Culture honored at the fifteenth anniversary of its publication through a special session “Monster Culture: Seven Theses (A roundtable)” at the International Congress of Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo 2008.
  • Research Enhancement Fund of the George Washington University (three year sponsorship of a medieval and early modern studies institute, funded at $120,000 in startup)
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (one year of leave to pursue project "The Flow of Blood in Medieval Norwich," 2003-04)
  • Columbian Research Fellow, George Washington University (one year of teaching release to complete manuscript of The Flow of Blood in Medieval Norwich, 2003-04)
  • University Facilitating Fund Grant, George Washington University: "Mixed Racial Heritage and Personal Identity in the Middle Ages" (2000)
  • Instructional Technology Lab Course Grant, George Washington University
  • Monster Theory: Reading Culture included in the exhibits "A Telling of Wonders: Teratology in Western Medicine," New York Academy of Medicine Library (November 1, 1999 - February 15, 2000) and "Terrors and Wonders: Monsters in Contemporary Art," DeCordova Museum, Lincoln MA (Sept. 15 2001-Jan. 6 2002)
  • Columbian School of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Academic Advising Award, George Washington University (1999)
  • Nominee, Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching, George Washington University (1999, 2002)
  • Junior Faculty Incentive Award, George Washington University for research at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (1998)
  • Cooperative Grant for Faculty, Consortium of Washington Universities:  "The Limits of the Body:  An Interdisciplinary Research Group, Symposium, and Edited Volume" (with Gail Weiss, 1997)
  • Human Sciences Course Development Grant, George Washington University: "Cultural Theory:  Culture and Society" 
  • Derek Bok Center Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, Harvard University (1992, 1993, 1994)
  • Jacob K. Javits Fellowship for Graduate Study (1988-1992)