New Faculty: Gavin Walker

Gavin Walker

Professor, Comparative Literature

Academic focus:

I work at the intersection of critical theory, continental philosophy and world literature, and politics and aesthetics, principally in English, French and Japanese, alongside material in German and Italian.

Current research project:

I’m currently finishing a new book entitled “The Rarity of Politics: Passages from Structure to Subject,” due out in 2024 from Verso.

Previous positions:

  • Associate Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies and Department of East Asian Studies, McGill University, Canada, 2017-2023
  • Visiting Professor, Institute for Research in the Humanities, Kyoto University, Japan, 2019
  • Assistant Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies and Department of East Asian Studies, McGill University, Canada, 2012-2017

Academic background:

  • Ph.D., East Asian literature, Cornell University, 2012
  • M.A., Asian and Middle Eastern studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2004
  • B.A., Asian and Middle Eastern studies, comparative literature and literary theory, and French, University of Pennsylvania, 2001

Last book read:

“Mémoires d'outre-politique” by Alain Badiou

In your own time/when not working:

I love to read and write, so I’ve always felt lucky that my professional work and personal interests coincide, but outside of that I like cooking, restaurants, travel, naps, leisure, the Montréal Canadiens, Tottenham Hotspur and learning languages.

 Courses you’re most looking forward to teaching:

My graduate seminar in Spring 2024

What most excites you about Cornell:

I finished my Ph.D. right here at Cornell 12 years ago, so for me it's a real experience of the Homeric ‘return to Ithaca.’ A lot has changed in Ithaca and on campus, but I’m excited to be joining a world-class, extraordinary Department of Comparative Literature, one of the best there is in the theoretical humanities, full of exceptional colleagues and brilliant graduate students. And I love the area, its proximity to nature and everyday beauty.

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