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tim dean

Tim Dean
Professor of English;
Director of Graduate Admissions and Fellowships

College of Arts and Sciences
University at Buffalo
411 Clemens Hall
Phone number: 645-2575 ext. 1034
E-mail address: 
Personal website:

Ethics of the Impersonal

My book project asks why, how, and with what consequences the idea of impersonality emerged in literary theory, philosophy, psychology, and sociology during the past century. The book assesses modernist writers’ varied commitments to the doctrine of art as something other than a mode of self-expression; it also expands the significance and scope of impersonality beyond the canonical literary field to which it has been relegated. My research thus far suggests that impersonality should be understood less as a discredited technique of poetic voicing than as an ethical paradigm of modernity.

Aspiring to provide a genealogy of the concept of impersonality, my project seeks also to evaluate its ethical ramifications. On one hand, in its severe qualification of personhood, impersonality may be understood as an anti-essentialist notion that contributes to the critique of identity politics. On the other hand, however, the assumption that poetry represents something more than a means of self-expression raises questions about vocal appropriation and the ethics of speaking on behalf of others. For more than a century, the curiously willed passivity that impersonal voicing entails has occasioned concerns about agency, will, enslavement, and emasculation. Impersonality is thus a question not just for modernism or poetic practice, but for the philosophical and political enterprise of modernity. My research situates the impersonal in this broader context so as to demonstrate its continuing relevance for our understanding of subjectivity, culture, and political agency today.

Tim Dean teaches and publishes in the areas of Anglophone modernism, poetry and poetics, queer theory, gender theory, aesthetic theory, and psychoanalytic theory. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.


Kalliopi Nikolopoulou
Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies,
Department of Comparative Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
University at Buffalo
638 Clemens Hall
Phone: 645-2066, ext. 1099
Web site:

Tragically Speaking: Ancients and Moderns

My project examines the relationship of the ancients to the moderns particularly through the notion of tragedy and its philosophical reception from German Idealism to the present. The term tragic is not restricted to tragic drama, but is to be understood in a larger sense as our ontological disposition in the world. I am intrigued by the double bind of modern and contemporary philosophical discourse, which finds tragedy still indispensable for its thinking of ethics at the same time that it pronounces a certain end of this tragic disposition. This disavowal of the tragic and the concomitant privileging of discursivity were diagnosed by Nietzsche as modernity’s false optimism–the sure mark of the tragedy of theory. As such, the impetus behind this project is to unfasten philosophy qua account, or logos from the act that is called tragedy, and to concentrate instead on the tragic as event, experience, and exposure. To probe the question of the tragic means to unsettle the false optimism of theoretical reason, which attains calmness only by retreating from the world, sanitizing strife, and sidelining action and life. In other words, the question ?Whither tragedy?? requires at bottom the examination of the worldliness of philosophy.

Kalliopi Nikolopoulou was born in Greece and educated in the United States and Germany. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Rochester. Before joining the UB faculty, she was the Mellon Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Vanderbilt University, and visiting faculty at the English Department of the University of Cyprus.

Her research and teaching interests focus on philosophical approaches to European modernity (English, French, and German literatures, particularly poetry and poetics), psychoanalysis, and the relationship of the ancients to the moderns (with special emphasis on the genre of tragedy and its importance for philosophical thought from German Idealism to the present).

She has published articles on literature and continental aesthetics, on figures such as Homer, Baudelaire, Henry James, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Adorno and Kant. She is currently working on two book-length projects: the first on the relation of the modern lyric to tragedy and catastrophe, and the second on philosophical misreadings of the tragic.

jiyuan yu

Jiyuan Yu
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
College of Arts and Sciences
University at Buffalo
122 Park Hall
Phone:  645-2444 ext. 122
Web site:

Philosophy as the Art of Living in Greece and China

For both ancient Greek philosophy and Chinese philosophy, the ultimate goal of the quest for philosophical wisdom is not just the achievement of abstract knowledge, but for one to live and to transform oneself. This is different from the prevailing modern university conception of philosophy according to which philosophy is mainly a theoretical discipline to address a set of problems or a set of doctrines and philosophical reflection is peripheral to life, even when it comes to those who practice it. My book project will investigate and compare how Greek and Chinese philosophers conceive of the idea that philosophy is an art of living, how this goal of philosophy determines its style, how many general of ways of living there are, and how such an idea can be carried out in human life. This is to keep alive the ancient conception of philosophy as an art of living. and also to reveal some fundamental features of these two ancient philosophical traditions. The book project is a sequel to my The Ethics of Confucius and Aristotle: Mirrors of Virtue (Routledge, March, 2007), the completion of which benefited from a fellowship by the National Humanities Center, North Carolina, in 2003-4.

Jiyuan Yu was educated in China (Shandong University, and Renmin University ), Italy (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Canada (University of Guelph). After a three year post of research fellow at the University of Oxford, England (1994-1997), he joined the Department of Philosophy, State University of New York at Buffalo in 1997. He received the University’s Exceptional Scholar (Young Investigator) Award, and also the College of Arts and Sciences’ Excellence in Teaching Award in 2002. He was a Fellow at the National Humanities Center in 2003-4.

His primary areas of research and teaching are Ancient Greek Philosophy and Ancient Chinese Philosophy. At UB he offers graduate seminars and supervises Ph.D students in both of these areas. He has served and serves on the Editorial Boards of History of Philosophy Quarterly (2002-2005), World Philosophy (2000 –), Frontiers in Philosophy (2006–), The Chinese translation of the Complete Works of Aristotle (1988-1998), and the book series on Chinese and Comparative Philosophy (New York: Global Publications). He also served as a guest editor for the Journal of Chinese Philosophy. He is a member of the American Committee of the Philosophy Summer School (Chinese-English-America).


David Gray Library Fellow

Edith Vasquez
Edith Morris Vásquez
Assistant Professor, English and World Literature
College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences
Pitzer College
Scott 205
1050 North Mills Avenue
Claremont CA 91711
Phone:  (909)621-8481
Web site:

William Carlos Williams:  Identity and Innovations

As the David Gray Fellow whose research centers on William Carlos Williams, I aim to apply and reflect upon the ethnic considerations of Modernist cultural production through this movement’s perhaps least understood but most approachable figure-the doctor-poet from New Jersey, a first-generation immigrant American who would by today’s standards would be considered a Latino writer.   I hope to show that Williams laid the ground for ethnic poets and counter-cultural poets of the late 20th Century. He did so directly as a poet as well as indirectly, as a theorist.  Though he is not perhaps to be considered an ethnic poet nor did ethnicity necessarily represent in his lifetime what it does now, Williams worked through important cultural considerations to develop poetic techniques he felt would guide American poetry away from staid conventions and toward new places, places he imagined as “inhabited by hordes.”  A careful examination of the poet’s thoughts on racial identity, as he deployed these in his poems, yields more question than answers; William articulated notions which contained a great deal of ambiguity, of acknowledged ambiguity, perhaps of racial ambiguity. For even as he held tightly to his American identity against the trend to valorize European perspectives in the Modern period, he did so in keeping with an own iconoclastic view of what being American meant to him.  Interestingly, studies of Williams as an ethnic poet have bifurcated.  Some argue that he is a failed ethnic poet who does not live up to the expectations of a minority identity, while others argue that much too much is made of his mother’s Puerto Rican background and his quite passionate disavowal of his English lineage.  I hope to draw from both groups of critics, but to draw more so from Williams in his own words and from Williams’s process of revision.

Edith Vasquez received her academic degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles and Riverside.  She has taught and published in the fields of Chicana/o and Latina/o literature and cultural studies. A poet and fiction writer, she is interested in deploying at times paradoxical and contrasting critical methodologies in order to produce what she hopes are enlivening critical studies of literary works.

Charles D. Abbott Library Fellow

yolanda morato
Yolanda Morató Agrafojo
Department of English
University of Huelva, Spain

Wyndham Lewis Research Project for Spanish Editions and Translations

Click Here for an article regarding Prof. Morató’s research here at UB

My gratitude to all who made possible my research stay at Buffalo is infinite. Thanks to The Charles D. Abbott Fellowship I was awarded in 2007, I had access to books, manuscripts and unique documents related to the work by painter and writer Wyndham Lewis, which are only available in the UB Libraries special collections. I was warmly welcomed by the UB Humanities Institute and its Assistant Director Michele Bewley, who became my guide for everything I needed to know. At The Poetry Collection, curator Michael Basinski and his staff made me feel at home from the beginning.

During the time I spent in the UB Libraries, I had the opportunity to examine rare books and unpublished material and to deliver a public lecture on my research at the final stage of my stay. The experience was very rewarding and, at the end of the talk, many people engaged in conversation, evidencing the enthusiastic atmosphere of professors and students alike.

Although my main goal was to focus on works by Wyndham Lewis published in the 1920s, I had the opportunity –so I stretched out my schedule every week– to look into the rest of the material. This was especially relevant to my research, taking into account I was to translate Lewis’s Blasting and Bombardiering (1937) on my return to Spain. This annotated edition and translation into Spanish – Estallidos y bombardeos (Madrid, Impedimenta)– has just won the AEDEAN Annual Award for Translation in 2008.

Thus, I strongly recommend this fellowship for visiting scholars and graduate students. Because of the outstanding collection on Wyndham Lewis and the helpfulness of people working there, Buffalo is definitely the place to go to.

Yolanda Morató BA (Hons) in English, University of Huelva, Spain, presented a dissertation on Literature and Visual Modernisms (Buñuel, Picasso and Wyndham Lewis) for her Master’s degree at Birkbeck College, University of London. She has published articles and chapters on modernist writers and has delivered papers at international conferences (Cornell, Harvard, Weimar, Edinburgh, London).

She has been awarded four times the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching. For her translation of Georges Perec from French into Spanish she was awarded the Prize of the Critics Banda Aparte. She is currently preparing the first collection of Wyndham Lewis’s books in Spanish to be launched in early 2008.

James Joyce Library Fellow

Stacey Herbert
Independent Scholar
Dublin, Ireland

The James Joyce Bibliography

My research at the Poetry Collection will further work on the James Joyce Bibliography, a project I began in 2001 with the support of UB Libraries and advanced by study of the Joyce archives at Princeton University , University of Tulsa , University of Texas at Austin, the National Library of Ireland, and the Zurich James Joyce Foundation. Designed as a digital project for the web, it aims to provide a descriptive and illustrated bibliography including publishing and textual histories, which provide a window on the modernist literary marketplace ( ). My broader interests are in intersections between archival studies and theoretical studies of print culture, especially of the modernist period, and in ways digital modes of presentation can enhance such research.

Stacey Herbert received her PhD in Comparative Literature from SUNY Buffalo in 2002. She has contributed installations on ?WB Yeats and the Book Arts? (2006) and ?James Joyce’s Ulysses in Print? (2004) to the National Library of Ireland’s Exhibitions ( ) and ( ). She was curator of ?A Samuel Beckett Audio-Visual Library? for Ireland’s Department of Arts (2006) and co-curator of ?In Good Company? at the University of Tulsa (2003) ( ). Her ?Overview of the Composition and Publishing History of the Major Works? will appear in Joyce in Context (Cambridge UP, 2008).

She currently lives in Dublin where she works as a freelance consultant to Irish and UK libraries and museums interested in presenting their collections through digital technologies.

Library Fellow

idit alphandury
Idit Alphandary
Tel Aviv University, Israel
Departments of Literature and NCJW Women and Gender Studies Program

Autonomy and Fellowship in Guy de Maupassant and D. W. Winnicott

Autonomy and fellowship are terms whose particular meanings are inscribed in the history of thought. Hence intuitively we feel that these terms greatly differ from one another; they do not appear together. Autonomy refers to thinking or to certain operations related to the rational will and to making judgments about reality and about one’s duties in relation to living together with other human beings. Autonomy or freedom excludes heteronomy. They emerge from certain initiatives of the individual that can become a universal law precisely because free or autonomous judgments are not grounded on inclination but on duty. Fellowship is immersed in heteronomy. We normally associate the fellowship with what does not exist under the omnipotent control of the individual. The fellowship?a group of people that have something in common or that unites in order to achieve particular goals and then the members might decide to dissolve the fellowship?seems to exist independently of the individual. The subject, we assume, will join a fellowship that can advance her interests and enable her to attain pleasure or to operate within the fellowship without risking a loss of agency. Many examples of such fellowships can easily be found, but I would like to mention the fellowship of the Naturalist writers, which was formed by Émile Zola, and to whose first and only publication, Les Soirées des Mèdan, Guy de Maupassant contributed a short masterpiece called Boule de suife.

I would like to introduce my intervention to this context. First, rather than view autonomy as a uniquely abstract Kantian term, I will show that it has psychoanalytical meanings, too. Next, I will show that rather than refer uniquely to practical states of affairs, the term fellowship carries emotional and conceptual meanings. I would like to suggest that as the subject is always immersed in reality, her/his autonomy comprises an ability to distinguish between what D. W. Winnicott calls objective objects and subjective objects. Here, the mind of an autonomous subject does not own or invent its contents, but, on the contrary, the subject analyzes her interaction with the others or with external ideas and tries to define individual feelings, thoughts, and goals. For example, when the subject assumes responsibility for actions taken or for refraining from speech or action s/he wrestles with the object, too, not just with autonomy. This definition of autonomy as a posture that is construed within, or that emerges from, the relations of the self and the object brings me to offer a different psychoanalytical and philosophical understanding of the fellowship. I think that the fellowship does not exist uniquely outside of the subject. Winnicott shows that the existence of the “me” or the “true self” does not precede the existence of the object or the “not me.” Thus Winnicott argues that inner objects or introjected objects, in the language of Melanie Klein, influence the emergence of a true or a false self. The fellowship does not uniquely comprise people or social formations external to the subject. On the contrary, the subject is made up of a fellowship of (oedipal) others, (pre-oedipal) good and bad objects, as well as of emotions, affects, ideas, and desires. In this context, the Socratic imperative: “Know yourself” shows that philosophical investigation is as crucial to understanding the realm of human pathology as it is to recognizing the light that shines forth form the good.

This view of the relation of autonomy to fellowship implies that already at the outset these concepts are tied up with one another. If the individual is overwhelmed by the fellowship, and thus, in the encounter with reality s/he is weighed down by the “shadow of the object,” in the language of Christopher Bollas?be this object a subjective or an objective object, a contemporary or a mnemic object?than s/he will neither practice autonomy nor attain freedom. This means that the subject will not be able to act freely within reality and either the subject will automatically react to reality or s/he will hide from humanity as a rule. Yet, a subject who could use the fellowship or master what Winnicott calls “the use of an object,” will be able to manipulate subjective and objective objects and render the others useful and meaningful in the construction of new inner and external realities. While the subject is instituting changes in reality and in her/his own rational and emotional structure, freedom emerges from intercommunicating with others and from the decisions that the subject makes and the actions that s/he takes. To a certain extent these operations agree with a Kantian worldview and, indeed, merit respect as they contributes precisely to the subject’s self-preservation; these enhance the subject’s ability to attain happiness.

My current book asks why Guy de Maupassant? Why approach Maupassant to examine these important issues of autonomy and its relation to fellowship? How do works by Maupassant crystallize the literariness of autonomy and playing, in the language of Winnicott, at the wake of the crisis of identity, which in France has been increasingly evident since the second half of the nineteenth century?

Idit Alphandary is in the Department of Poetics and Comparative Literature and Women and Gender Studies at Tel Aviv University . She submitted her doctoral dissertation at Yale University (2001). She is currently completing the manuscript of her fist book The Subject of Autonomy and Fellowship in Guy de Maupassant and D. W. Winnicott.


Mary C. Foltz
Graduate Student, Department of English
College of Arts and Sciences

Reading Between the Lines (RBTL) Book Discussion:

Wasting Away: Contemporary Writing on Environmental Crises

Contemporary science writers and novelists address our contemporary environmental crisis and call us to have responsible movement in the world that revolves around altered interactions with waste. Beginning with Garbage Land : On the Secret Trail of Trash, by Elizabeth Royte, we will explore how we contribute daily to the landfill. This journalist’s adventure through the underworld of detritus will inspire examination of our garbage, the movement of personal waste to the landfill, and the impact of local disposal on the environment. Next, we will turn to the fictional dark comedy of Don DeLillo’s White Noise and explore a toxic cloud that hovers over a small city. While characters worry about the damage of exposure, we will enjoy DeLillo’s witty critique of this fear due to their previous consumption of toxic goods made for the home and found in the pesticides on lawns, the paint on walls, and the fumes from chlorinated pools. Thus, the pollution of the environment cannot be blamed entirely on industry; instead, we will evaluate personal choices. On the reading group’s website, readers can discover a real life example in India of DeLillo’s fictional toxic cloud and thereby connect the concern for air pollution in the United States to the world scene. The third session will address Vandana Shiva’s Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution and Profit, moving us further into the global problems of access to clean water and of private purchase of this natural resource. We will conclude the reading series with Octavia Butler’s dystopian novel The Parable of the Sower, which explores human life after a fictional environmental collapse and celebrates the human capacity for change. All of the texts read in this series call us to examine the impact of local practices of wasting and consumption and their global impact.

Clic here to view Foltz’s RBTL Book Discussion List


Kosciuszko Foundation Fellow
Slawomir Jozefowicz
Institute of Political Science
Warsaw University, Poland

Utopias of Freedom

Political philosophy of liberalism shaped, to a great extent, the present Western world. To some degree it can be regarded as a result of historic coincidence. It can also be seen as an example of a utopia in the making, especially in case of more radical currents of liberal ideology, which in US would be called libertarian rather than liberal.

Being interested both in utopianism and liberal thought, I try to look at the anthropological and philosophical assumptions of the 20th century libertarian philosophies in terms of a utopian project. Libertarianism, represented mostly by American thinkers, is interesting as a maximalist, though not necessarily coherent, attempt to defend and carry out in the contemporary world the principles of freedom, as designed by classical liberals of the 17th, 18th and early 19th century.

Another aspect of my present research is concerned with the concept of ‘culture wars’, as supposedly picturing the main ideological conflict of the contemporary Western societies. I am planning to investigate striking analogies between the ongoing culture wars in US and Poland.

Slawomir Jozefowicz was born and educated in Warsaw, Poland. He graduated from the Faculty of Journalism and Political Science, University of Warsaw (M.A. in Political Science, First Class Honors). He pursued his Ph.D. research at Birkbeck College, University of London (as the Foreign Office and City of London Scholarship Fellow), New School for Social Research, New York and University of California at Berkeley (as Kosciuszko Foundation Fellow) and received his Ph.D. from the Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences. He also worked in the area of management and support for higher education programs at the Stefan Batory Foundation in Warsaw.

At his home University of Warsaw (and in Collegium Civitas) Dr. Jozefowicz teaches courses in the history of political thought and modern political ideas, with special focus on the political philosophy of liberalism.

His research interests focus on modern political theory and political philosophy. He has published articles and co-authored books on the political traditions of republicanism, the foundations of the European civilization, the problems of contemporary democracies, the political meaning and importance of post-modernism in philosophy, and the phenomenon of ‘political correctness’.

At Buffalo, as the Kosciuszko Foundation Visiting Professor, he works for the Polish Studies Program teaching courses on the history of Poland and Central Europe, as well as contemporary Polish and Central European politics.

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