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Erik Sherman Roraback

Erik Sherman Roraback

Enseigneur Erik Sherman Roraback teaches, researches, and writes at the conceptual corridors between, and among, literature / philosophy / cinema / theoretical psychoanalysis / critical theory. He was born in Seattle, USA, and serves as Director and faculty in the American Literature & Cultural-Studies section, and faculty in the Centre for Critical & Cultural Theory. Erik Roraback is a Docent of English and American Literature. At Charles and at FAMU (The Academy of Performing Arts, Film and TV School) of Prague, Czechia, he teaches critical theory / philosophy (from Spinoza-Leibniz-Schelling-Kant-Hegel to Heidegger-Arendt to Benjamin-Adorno-Luhmann-Fredric Jameson to Bataille-Blanchot-Debord-Foucault-Baudrillard-Derrida-Nancy-Stiegler-Althusser-Jacques Rancière, and after), theoretical psychoanalysis (from Freud-Klein-Lacan-Julia Kristeva-Slavoj Žižek-Judith Butler-Mari Ruti and after), commodity culture / experience (Debord, Baudrillard) and the philosophical baroque, transnational cinema (Alice Guy Blaché, Griffith, Lois Weber, Keaton, German Expressionism, Maya Deren, Italian neo-realism, American Film Noir, La Nouvelle Vague / French New Wave, Das Neue Kino / New German Cinema, American Neo-Noir, Chantal Akerman, et cetera), Henry James, Shakespeare-Orson Welles, Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, D.F. Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, and USA and Canadian literature.

E.S. Roraback holds a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford, UK (viva voce examiners Terry Eagleton, Thomas Warton Professor of English Literature, St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, and Maud Ellmann, King’s College, Cambridge), where he first taught individual tutorials for Magdalen College, Oxford and for Mansfield College, Oxford. As a visiting D.Phil. student, he studied on a French government grant for six months in the École Normale Supérieure, and regularly attended the 1995 Seminar on “Questions de responsabilité” / “Questions of Responsibility” of the Algerian-Jewish-French philosopher Jacques Derrida in the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales at Paris; he also spent one academic year 1993 in the global south in the University of Western Australia on a Rotary Foundation Graduate Ambassadorial Scholarship where he earned an A+ for his comparative cultural research under Hilary Fraser (D.Phil., Oxon). He gained a B.A. from Pomona College, USA (Concentration in English Cum Laude) where he also spent one semester on a Pomona College in University College, Oxford program (director All Souls College, Oxford) earning a 4.0 GPA studying under such scholars as Robert Maslen (Christ Church College), Geoffrey Tyack (Stanford University Centre in Oxford), and the Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, Rowan Williams (Christ Church College and later Archbishop of Canterbury).

With the nomination of Annick Duperray, Erik Roraback was unanimously elected Visiting Professor in the Université de Provence, France (2005), is a 7-time Visiting Erasmus + Scholar at the University of Winchester, UK (2012–present) where he also possesses since 2014 a University Visiting Research Fellowship, and with the invitation of Aleida Assmann and support of DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), he has been a 10-time Visiting Researcher at the Universität Konstanz, Germany (2004–14). In the English Department at the University of Washington-Seattle, USA, Erik Roraback was a Visiting Scholar from 2015–19, and now after an unanimous quorum of 45 faculty holds from September 2019 an Affiliate Associate Professor appointment.

Erik Roraback has published three weighty works: The Dialectics of Late Capital and Power: James, Balzac and Critical Theory (Cambridge Scholars, UK, 2007, xviii + 312pp., 1 ill.), The Philosophical Baroque: On Autopoietic Modernities (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2017, xvi + 295pp., 3 ill.) and The Power of the Impossible: On Community and the Creative Life (Winchester/Washington DC: Iff, 2018, x + 384pp., 3 ill.). These works have yielded most positive published reviews from respectively: Gerardo Del Guercio–York College, City University of New York; William Egginton–Decker Professor in the Humanities & Director, Alexander Grass Humanities Institute, The Johns Hopkins University; and Ian James–Professor of Modern French Literature and Thought, Downing College, University of Cambridge.

Erik Roraback is currently preparing for publication three original book-length monographs: I) forms of cinematic cultural capital and their nexus with forms of circulation, movement, and thought in transnational C20 cinema; II) a treatise on Shakespeare’s Richard II on the problem of new forms of life vis-à-vis melancholic subjectivity, modes of production, utopian rhetoric, and the cultural unconscious; III) a manuscript on forms of experience and commodity culture in transnational cultural modernisms in USA literature as well as in Continental European writings of Theodor Adorno, Georges Bataille, Walter Benjamin, Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, and Joyce’s 1922–39 Paris Project, Finnegans Wake.

In addition, Erik Roraback has published 45 book chapters in scholarly monographs, or articles in scholarly journals or volumes in Europe (Czechia, France, Germany, UK) and in the USA (Bloomsbury Academic, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Continuum Publishing Company, De Gruyter Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception—a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2020, Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Theory and CriticismPynchon NotesThe Routledge Companion to Literature and Class, Rowman & Littlefield, et cetera). E.S. Roraback too made a chapter contribution on “Emancipating Forms Of Death With Polanyi And Leibniz” to Death And Anti-Death, Volume 14: Four Decades After Michael Polanyi, Three Centuries After G.W. Leibniz (Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2016).

Erik Roraback is also the author of 76 conference papers, guest lectures, and plenary lectures in 16 countries in Europe (Aix-en-Provence, Bratislava, Brno, Budapest, Cardiff, Constance, Cork, Dublin, Freiburg, Helsinki, London, Nicosia, Olomouc, Oxford, Paris, Prague, Szeged, Tours, Trieste, Vienna, and Winchester), in the Middle East (Tel Aviv), in Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg), and in the USA (Evergreen State College-Olympia, Washington, K-State-Manhattan, Kansas, and Newport, Rhode Island).

In October 2019, French philosopher Jacques Rancière requested beforehand that Erik Roraback participate in a post-film debate (with Nick Nesbitt from Princeton University) on the experimental film, Poems from which we have learned, which engages Rancière’s work. In March 2021, Erik Roraback gave a Winchester Fellowship lecture online, “Forms of Cinematic Capital: Circulation, Movement, and Thought”, which was attended by a transnational audience, including from Winchester, Stanley Corngold (Princeton University), Henry Hills (Film Director and Guggenheim Fellow), Fredric R. Jameson (Duke University), and Paul Saint-Amour (University of Pennsylvania). In March 2022, Erik Roraback gave a Winchester Fellowship lecture online, “Melancholic Subjectivity, Modes of Production, and the Utopian Rhetoric of Shakespeare’s Richard II (c. 1595)”, whose audience included multiple from Winchester, Damian Bracken (University College, Cork), Antonio Cerella (Nottingham Trent University), and Christopher Norris (Cardiff University).  

Erik S. Roraback welcomes thesis proposals in the following topic areas:

BA, MA, and PhD: USA fiction, especially Melville, James, Wharton, Zitkala-Ša (“Red Bird”), Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stein, Faulkner, Baldwin, Pynchon, and Wallace; Shakespeare; Joyce; critical theory from Spinoza and Leibniz to Kant and German Idealism including Hegel to post-war French Theory to the Frankfurt School and after (including Benjamin, Adorno, Althusser, Foucault, Derrida, Rancière, Stiegler, and Jameson) to Systems Theory (Luhmann), to the Italian School (Giorgio Agamben and Robert Esposito) to philosophic and to psychoanalytic perspectives (Freud, Klein, Lacan, Kristeva, Žižek, and Butler), and encounters with cultural-studies and literature; USA and transnational cinema, particularly American Film Noir, American Neo-Noir, Keaton, and Welles and contemporary TV, such as Sons of Anarchy or The Expanse.

Erik Roraback has supervised 6 PhD dissertations to the successful accomplishment of the doctoral degree (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2017, and 2022) on subjects ranging from Lacanian Sexuation as an Alternative to the Genderqueer paradigm, Pynchon / Joyce and the puzzle novel, local color fiction and southern US literature, textual and ideological space in writings by Pynchon, the cultural pair linkage between Welles / Shakespeare, and Herman Melville and critical theory; external doctoral thesis reader-examiners include Richard Burt, Barbara C. Ewell, J. Hillis Miller, and Gabriel Tupinambá. Erik Roraback has also supervised to successful completion 26 MA and 18 BA theses; furthermore, he is the author of some 61 official reader’s reports as the opponent/external reader of various PHD (3), MFA (1 at FAMU), MA (31), and BA (26) theses. Currently, he is supervising 4 PhD students, 5 MA students, and one MFA student at FAMU.