Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue
Amy J. Elias UTK English

Amy J. Elias

Amy J. Elias
Chancellor’s Professor and Distinguished

Chancellor’s Professor and Distinguished Professor
of English

Director, UT Humanities Center

2217 Dunford Hall, UT Humanities Center
Phone: 865-974-4222


Amy J. Elias is UT Chancellor’s Professor and Distinguished Professor of English and since 2017 has served as Director of the University of Tennessee Humanities Center. She earned tenure at the University of Alabama at Birmingham before coming to UTK in 2002. Elias is the author of Sublime Desire: History and Post-1960s Fiction (Johns Hopkins, 2001), winner of the George and Barbara Perkins Book Prize from the International Society for the Study of Narrative. She is also co-editor of The Planetary Turn: Relationality and Geoaesthetics in the Twenty-First Century (Northwestern, 2015), co-editor of Time: A Vocabulary of the Present (NYU Press, 2016), and editor of the forthcoming Speculative Light: The Arts of Beauford Delaney and James Baldwin (Duke, forthcoming) and authored more than 35 articles and book chapters. She was principal founder of ASAP: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present and the founding co-editor-in-chief of ASAP/Journal (Johns Hopkins UP). She is completing a book about speculative forms of dialogue emerging from anthropocene, decolonial, and digital environments and is beginning work on energy humanities studies.


  • Ph.D., English and American Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
  • M.A., English, The Pennsylvania State University
  • B.A., English, Wilkes University

Editorial Positions

Founding co-editor-in-chief, ASAP/Journal: The Scholarly Journal of The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, 2012-2017 with issues in production through 2018. Published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

  • Association of American Publishers award, 2019 Prose Award Best New Journal in the Humanities
  • Council of Editors of Learned Journals 2018 award for Best New Journal 
  • Council of Editors of Learned Journals 2017 Award for Best New Journal Design


Books and Journal Special Issues

  • Speculative Light: The Arts of Beauford Delaney and James Baldwin. Duke University Press, forthcoming.
  • Special Issue Co-editor (with Melissa Lam, Hong Kong; Jonathan P. Eburne, Pennsylvania State University), “Rules of Engagement: Arts, Process, Protest.” ASAP/Journal, Issue 3, no. 2, May 2018.
  • Time: A Vocabulary of the Present. Coeditor with Joel Burges. New York University Press, 2016.
  • Special Issue Editor, “Art and the Commons: Tract, Circuit, Sphere.” ASAP/Journal, Issue 1, no. 1, January 2016.
  • The Planetary Turn: Relationality, and Geoaesthetics in the 21st Century. Coeditor with Christian Moraru. Northwestern University Press, 2015.
  • Sublime Desire: History and Post-1960s Fiction. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Articles/Book Chapters since 2011

  • “Chemical Inscription as the New Nature Writing.” ASAP/Journal 7, no. 2 (May 2022): 282-89.
  • “Realist Ontology in William Gibson’s The Peripheral.” In William Gibson and the Future of Contemporary Culture, edited by Mathias Nilges and Mitchell R. Murray, 167-178. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2021.
  • “Context Rocks!” PMLA 134, no. 3 (2019): 579-86.
  • “The Voices of Hayden White.” LARB: Los Angeles Review of Books. April 22, 2018. https//   
  • Amy Elias with Jered Sprecher and Fred Wilson. “Objects and Identities: An Interview with Fred Wilson.” ASAP/Journal 2, no. 1 (2017): 3-28.
  • “Past/Future.” In Time: A Vocabulary of the Present, edited by Joel Burges and Amy J. Elias, 35-50. NYU Press, 2016.
  • Amy Elias, Matthew Hart; David James; Samuel Cohen; Mary Esteve. “Postmodern, Postwar, Contemporary: A Dialogue on the Field.” In Postmodern/Postwar—and After, edited by Jason Gladstone, Andrew Hoberek, and Daniel Worden. University of Iowa Press, 2016.
  • “Historiographic Metafiction and Metahistorial Romance.” In The Cambridge History of Postmodern Literature, edited by Len Platt and Brian McHale, 293-307. Cambridge University Press, 2016.
  • “Cyberpunk, Steampunk, Teslapunk, Dieselpunk, Salvagepunk: Metahistorical Romance and/vs the Technological Sublime.” In Metahistorical Narratives and Scientific Metafictions: A Critical Insight into the Twentieth-Century Poetics, edited by Giuseppe Episcopo, 201-220. Edizioni Cronopio, 2015.
  • “The Commons . . . and Digital Planetarity.” In The Planetary Turn: Art, Relationality, and Geoaesthetics in the 21st-Century, edited by Amy J. Elias and Christian Moraru, 37-69.: Northwestern University Press, 2015.
  • “The Dialogical Avant-Garde: Relational Aesthetics and Time Ecologies in Only Revolutions and TOC.” Contemporary Literature 53, no. 4 (2013): 738-78.
  • “Virtual Autobiography: Autographies, Interfaces, and Avatars.” In The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature, edited by Joe Bray, Alison Gibbons, and Brian McHale, 512-27.  Routledge, 2012.
  • “Faithful Historicism and Philosophical Semi-Retirement.” In The Limits of Literary Historicism, edited by Allen Dunn and Thomas Haddox, 29-53. Tennessee Studies in Literature 45. University of Tennessee Press, 2012.
  • “Metafiction.” In The Cambridge Companion to American Fiction After 1945, edited by John Duvall, 15-29. Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • “History.” In The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Pynchon, edited by Inger H. Dalsgaard, Luc Herman, Brian McHale, 123-35. Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • “Psychogeography, Détournement, Cyberspace.” New Literary History 41, no. 4 (2011): 822-46.
  • “The Narrativity of Postconvergent Media: No Ghost Just a Shell and Rirkrit Tiravanija’s (ghost reader C.H.).” SubStance 40, no. 1 (2011): 182-202.

Digital and Public Scholarship since 2017

  • PI and Host/Organizer,”Just Environments: Rivers and Waterways” Online Symposium. March 10, 2022. Speakers: Kevin Dawson, J.T. Roane, Cornelius Eady, Natalie Diaz, and Saretta Morgan.
  • “Public Humanities and the Arts of the Present: Education as a Public Good.” ASAP/J, November 29, 2021, n.p.,
  • Online Interview. “A Conversation with Terry Tempest Williams.” UT Humanities Center Distinguished Speakers Series, April 15, 2021.  
  • Online interview. “American Sunrise: A Conversation with Joy Harjo.” Humanities Tennessee, Southern Festival of Books, October 3, 2020.  
  • PI and Host/Organizer, “In a Speculative Light: The Arts of Beauford Delaney and James Baldwin.” NEH-funded symposium hosted by University of Tennessee Humanities Center in collaboration with the Knoxville Museum of Art, February 19-21, 2020. Keynotes Hilton Als and Fred Moten.
  • Co-organizer, with Michelle Commander. “The Futures of Afrofuturism.” West Wing, Haslam Business College, The University of Tennessee, March 30-31, 2017. Plenary by Nnedi Okorafor.  

Professional Service since 2012

  • Board Member, Humanities Tennessee NEH State Council; Board Member: Big Ears Festival, Knoxville, TN; Council Member, Gathering Light: The Delaney Project, Knoxville, TN, 2018-2021 
  • Editorial Advisory Boards: Liquid Blackness: Journal of Aesthetics and Black Studies, Contemporary Literature, ASAP/Journal
  • 2022-23 Chancellor’s Leadership Academy, University of Tennessee
  • 2020-present Chancellor’s Professor, University of Tennessee 
  • 2020-25 Distinguished Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, UTK 
  • 2019-21 Lindsay Young Professor of English, UTK 
  • 2019-20 Leadership Program, Office of the Provost, University of Tennessee
  • 2016-18 Lindsay Young Professor of English, UTK 
  • 2016-18 Matei Calinescu Book Prize committee, Modern Language Association
  • 2006-12 Executive Committee, Prose Fiction Division, Modern Language Association

Selected Awards, Honors, & Grants since 2012

  • 2021- NEH Connections Grant(Planning Grant), Co-PI with Hilary Havens and Amir Sadovnik ($35,000), “Designing a Humanistic Computing Curriculum at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.” Proposal narrative posted at NEH website as one of their 3 example proposal narratives. 
  • 2021- UTK internal grants totaling > $15,000 for “Just Environments: Rivers and Waterways” symposium, UTK (Haines Morris Endowment, Hodges Better English Fund, Office of Community Engagement and Outreach) as part of “Black Ecologies Week” coordinated by Amy Elias and involving 9 UTK departments
  • 2019- NEH Collaborative Research Grant, PI, $50,000, for the “In a Speculative Light: The Arts of James Baldwin and Beauford Delaney” symposium held Feb. 19-21, 2020.  Proposal narrative posted at NEH website as one of their 3 example proposal narratives. 
  • 2019- UTK internal grants totaling >$40,000 for “In a Speculative Light: The Arts of James Baldwin and Beauford Delaney,” Symposium, Feb. 19-21, 2020, UTK (Office of Research and Engagement, Hodges Better English Fund, Haines Morris Endowment, Office of the Vice President for Research)
  • 2019- Excellence in Humanities Award, Office of Research, University of Tennessee
  • 2019- Honorary Inductee, Phi Beta Kappa
  • 2018- “Amy J. Elias Founder’s Award,” ASAP: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present. Named fund to provide support to independent artists, non-tenure-track professionals, and graduate students for conference attendance.  
  • 2018- UTK internal grants totaling >$18,000 “Tracy K. Smith: Poet Laureate,” hosted by UTHC  (Hodges Better English Grant, College of Arts and Sciences, Ready for the World) 
  • 2013-14- UT Humanities Center Faculty Fellowship      

Selected Keynotes & Invited Lectures since 2012

  • “Dialogic History.”  Lifetimes Research Seminar, University of Oslo, via Zoom, September 10, 2021.
  • Keynote. “The Euchronian Temporality of Dialogue.” Utopia 2021 Graduate Student Conference, Florida State University, via Zoom, April 2, 2021.
  • Plenary. “History as the Sideways Future Glance.” Against Orthodoxies: Working with Hayden White, November 1-2, 2020, University of California at Santa Cruz. Pleanary Speakers: Judith Butler, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Carol Mavor, Susan Stewart, Karyn Ball, Amy J. Elias, Amir Eshel, María Inés la Greca, Roland Greene, Robert Pogue Harrison, Ethan Kleinberg, Paul Kottman, David Palumbo-Liu, Todd Presner, Veronica Tozzi.
  • Keynote.  “The Futurity of Dialogue.” Forming the Future: An Interdisciplinary Conference. University of Plymouth, UK. September 2-3, 2019.  
  • “Dialogue and ‘The Character’ in a Time of Flow.” George Ford Lecture, University of Rochester, September, 2018.
  • Plenary. “Formal Dialogics: Glyphs, Remediation, and Media as Ecology.”  Invited plenary talk for Research and Teaching New Media and Contemporary Literature: A Symposium. Queen Mary University, London, April 2017.
  • “The Temporality of Dialogue: The Promise of Silence.” Coevality: Global Ethics in a Time of Total Change. University of Pittsburgh, April 2016. 
  • “Kindness and Zombies: The Queer Ethics of Dialogue.” Cagle Lecture, Rice University. October 16, 2014. 
  • Plenary. “The Contemporary, As Soon As Possible: Periodization vs. Relationality.” Stanford Colloquium on “The Contemporary.” Stanford Humanities Center, May 30, 2014. 
  • “Troping the Zeitgeist: Irony to Dialogue in the Contemporary Arts.” Project Narrative Speakers Series, Ohio State University, April 24, 2012.
  • Plenary panelist. “Form as Communication.” Honoring Seymour Chatman, recipient of the ISSN Lifetime Achievement Award. ISSN, Las Vegas, April 2012.