Erik Sherman Roraback teaches and writes at the conceptual intersections 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, he teaches critical theory / philosophy (from Spinoza-Leibniz-Schelling-Kant-Hegel to Benjamin-Adorno-Luhmann to Bataille-Blanchot and after), theoretical psychoanalysis (from Freud-Lacan-Žižek-Mari Ruti and after), commodity culture / experience and the philosophical baroque, international cinema (Griffith, Keaton, German Expressionism, Maya Deren, Italian neo-realism, American Film Noir, 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, Pynchon, and United States and Canadian literature.
E.S. Roraback holds a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford, UK (doctoral thesis examiners Terry Francis Eagleton, Oxford and Maud Ellmann, Cambridge) where he first taught tutorials for Magdalen College, Oxford and for Mansfield College, Oxford. He gained a B.A. from Pomona College, USA (Cum Laude in English) where he also spent one semester on a Pomona in University College, Oxford program (director All Souls College, Oxford) earning a perfect 4.0 GPA studying under such scholars as Robert Maslen (Christ Church College), Geoffrey Tyack (Stanford University Centre in Oxford) and the then Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, Rowan Williams (Christ Church College). Erik Roraback was unanimously elected Visiting Professor in the Université de Provence, France (2005), is a 6-time Visiting Erasmus + Scholar at the University of Winchester, UK (2012–present), and was with the support of the German teacher-scholar Aleida Assmann a 10-time Visiting Researcher at the Universität Konstanz, Germany (2004–14). In the English Department at the University of Washington-Seattle, USA he was a Visiting Scholar from 2015–19 and now holds after a quorum in a unanimous vote of 45 faculty an Affiliate Associate Professor appointment from September 2019. In December 2014 he was awarded a Five-Year University Visiting Research Fellowship in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Winchester. As a visiting D.Phil. student, he studied for six months in the École Normale Supérieure and attended the 1995 Seminar of the Algerian-born Jewish-French philosopher Jacques Derrida in the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales at Paris on a French government grant; 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.).
Erik Roraback has published three notable books: 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.). Erik Roraback is currently preparing for publication a book length monograph on forms of cinematic capital and their nexus with forms of aesthetic and economic movement, circulation, and thought in C20 cinema; he has another incubating treatise on conflicts of authority that addresses the divisions and contradictions embedded in self-identity, in the cultural unconscious, in Shakespeare, and in cultural modernity. In addition, Erik Roraback has published or forthcoming in print 41 book chapters in scholarly monographs or articles in scholarly journals or volumes in Europe (Czech Republic, France, Germany, UK) and in the United States (Bloomsbury Academic, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Continuum Publishing Company, De Gruyter Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Theory and Criticism, Pynchon Notes, Literature and Social Class from Routledge Publishing Ltd, etc.). Erik Roraback is also the author of 70 conference papers or guest lectures in 15 countries in Europe (Aix-en-Provence, 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 United States (Evergreen State College-Olympia, Washington, K-State-Manhattan, Kansas and Newport, Rhode Island). In October 2019, Jacques Rancière gave a shout out for Erik Roraback to participate in a post-film debate on the experimental Poems from which we have learned (with Nick Nesbitt, Princeton University). On 31 iii 2021, Erik Roraback gave a guest lecture “Forms of Cinematic Capital: Circulation, Movement, and Thought” at the University of Winchester, Winchester, UK as part of a Faculty of Arts Research Seminar Series and an Eight–Year University Visiting Research Fellowship; attendees included multiple from the University of Winchester, as well as Stanley Corngold (Princeton University), Henry Hills (experimental filmmaker from New York City/Vienna), Fredric R. Jameson (Duke University), and Paul Saint-Amour (University of Pennsylvania).
Erik S. Roraback welcomes thesis proposals in the following topic areas:
BA, MA, PhD: U.S. fiction, especially Melville, James, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stein, Faulkner, Pynchon, and D.F. Wallace; Shakespeare; Joyce; critical theory from Spinoza and Leibniz to German Idealism to post-war French Theory to the Frankfurt School (including Walter Benjamin) to Systems Theory (Niklas Luhmann), to the Italian School (Giorgio Agamben and Roberto Esposito) to philosophic and to psychoanalytic perspectives (Jacques Lacan and Slavoj Žižek), and encounters with cultural-studies and literature; United States and international cinema, particularly American Film Noir, American Neo-Noir, Buster Keaton and Orson Welles and contemporary TV, such as Sons of Anarchy. Erik Roraback has supervised 5 PhD dissertations to the successful accomplishment of the doctoral degree (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2017) on subjects ranging from Thomas Pynchon / James Joyce and the puzzle novel, local color fiction and southern US literature, the concept of textual and ideological space in writings by Pynchon, the cultural pair linkage between Orson Welles / William Shakespeare, and Herman Melville and critical theory. Erik Roraback has also supervised to successful completion 22 MA and 16 BA theses; furthermore, he is the author of some 56 official reader’s reports (6 external to Charles) as the opponent/external reader of various PHD (4), MFA (1 at FAMU), MA (31) and BA (20) theses.