Professor of English and Director, UT Humanities Center
Amy J. Elias is Professor of English, is a Lindsay Young Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, and since 2017 serves as Director of the UT Humanities Center at the University of Tennessee. Elias is the author of Sublime Desire: History and Post-1960s Fiction (Johns Hopkins UP, 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 UP, 2015) and co-editor of Time: A Vocabulary of the Present (NYU Press, 2016). She is at work on a monograph titled Dialogue at the End of the World.
She was the principal founder of ASAP: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, and served as President, Past President, Secretary, and Communications/Media representative for that organization, and she hosted the association’s launch conference in Knoxville in 2009, featuring work by 115 speakers from China, the UK, the U.S., Japan, Canada, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. She is also the founding co-editor-in-chief of ASAP's scholarly publication, ASAP/Journal, published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, with its affiliated open-source reviews site at ASAP/J.
Elias has served on the executive boards of ISSN (the International Society for the Study of Narrative) and The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present; chaired the Modern Language Association’s Division on Prose Fiction; served on book prize committees for the MLA, the ISSN, and ASAP; served as a judge for such competitions as that of the American Academy in Berlin; and serves on the editorial board of Contemporary Literature.
B.A. Wilkes University (summa cum laude)
M.A. The Pennsylvania State University
Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University (American Studies minor)
- Sublime Desire: History and Post-1960s Fiction. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.
- Time: A Vocabulary of the Present. Eds. Joel Burges and Amy J. Elias. New York University Press, 2016. 20 essays.
- The Planetary Turn: Relationality, and Geoaesthetics in the 21st Century. Eds. Amy J. Elias and Christian Moraru. Northwestern University Press, 2015. 12 essays.
Edited Journal Issues
- Sole Special Issue Editor, “Art and the Commons: Tract, Circuit, Sphere,” ASAP/Journal, 1.1 (launch issue of the journal), January, 2016.
- Special Issue Co-editor (with Melissa Lam, Hong Kong; Jonathan P. Eburne, Pennsylvania State University), “Protest.” Issue slated for May 2018 publication.
Articles and Book chapters:
- Elias, Amy J., Jered Sprecher, and Fred Wilson. “Objects and Identities: An Interview with Fred Wilson.” ASAP/Journal, 2.1 (January, 2017): 3-28. doi:10.1353/asa.2017.0001
- Elias, Amy J. “Past/Future.” Time: A Vocabulary of the Present. Eds. Joel Burges and Amy J. Elias. New York: NYU Press, 2016. 35-50.
- Elias, Amy J.; Matthew Hart; David James; Samuel Cohen; Mary Esteve. Postmodern, Postwar, Contemporary: A Dialogue on the Field.” Postmodern/Postwar—and After. Eds. Jason Gladstone, Andrew Hoberek, and Daniel Worden. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2016.
- “Historiographic Metafiction and Metahistorial Romance.” The Cambridge History of Postmodern Literature. Eds. Len Platt and Brian McHale. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 293-307.
- “Cyberpunk, Steampunk, Teslapunk, Dieselpunk, Salvagepunk: Metahistorical Romance and/vs the Technological Sublime.” Metahistorical Narratives and Scientific Metafictions: A Critical Insight into the Twentieth-Century Poetics. Ed. Giuseppe Episcopo. Napoli: Edizioni Cronopio, 2015. 201-220.
- “The Commons . . . and Digital Planetarity.” In The Planetary Turn: Art, Relationality, and Geoaesthetics in the 21st-Century. Eds. Amy J. Elias and Christian Moraru. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2015. 37-69.
- “Past / Future.” In Time: A Vocabulary of the Present. Eds. Joel Burges and Amy J. Elias. New York: New York University Press, 2016. 35-69.
- “The Dialogical Avant-Garde: Relational Aesthetics and Time Ecologies in Only Revolutions and TOC.” Contemporary Literature (Special Issue: “Post-Millennial Commitments,” ed. David James and Andrzej Gasiorek) 53.4 (2013): 738-78.
- “Virtual Autobiography: Autographies, Interfaces, and Avatars.” The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature. Ed. Joe Bray, Alison Gibbons, and Brian McHale. London and New York: Routledge, 2012. 512-27.
- “Faithful Historicism and Philosophical Semi-Retirement.” The Limits of Literary Historicism. Eds. Allen Dunn and Thomas Haddox. Tennessee Studies in Literature Vol. 45. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2012. 29-53.
- “Metafiction.” The Cambridge Companion to American Fiction After 1945. Ed. John Duvall. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 15-29.
- “History.” The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Pynchon. Eds. Inger H. Dalsgaard, Luc Herman, Brian McHale. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 123-35.
- “Psychogeography, Détournement, Cyberspace.” New Literary History (Special issue, “What is an Avant-Garde?”) 41.4 (2011): 822-46.
- “Plots, Pilgrimage, and the Politics of Genre in Against the Day.” Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day: A Corrupted Pilgrim’s Guide. Ed. Jeffrey Severs and Christopher Leise. Delaware University Press, 2011. 29-46.
- “The Narrativity of Postconvergent Media: No Ghost Just a Shell and Rirkrit Tiravanija’s (ghost reader C.H.).” SubStance (Special Issue: Graphic Narratives and Narrative Theory, eds. David Herman and Jared Gardner.) 40.1 (2011): 182-202.
- “Narrative, Ideology, Critique.” Teaching Narrative Theory. Eds. James Phelan, Peter Rabinowitz, Brian McHale. NY: MLA of America, 2010. 281-94.
- “Postmodern Territories: Teaching Mason & Dixon and the Ideologies of Space.” Approaches to Teaching Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 and Other Works. Ed. Thomas Schaub. NY: Modern Language Association of America, 2008. NY: Modern Language Association of America. 130-40.
- “Interactive Cosmopolitanism and Collaborative Technologies: New Foundations for Global Literary History.” New Literary History 39.3 (2008): 705-25.
- “Critical Theory and Cultural Studies.” English Studies: An Introduction to the Discipline(s). Ed. Bruce McComiskey. Urbana, IL: NCTA, 2006. 223-75.
- “Metahistorical Romance, the Historical Sublime, and Dialogic History.” Re-thinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice. 9.2-3 (2005): 159-72.
- “Paranoia, Negative Theology, and Inductive Style.” Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 86.3-4 (Fall/Winter 2003). 281-313.
- “Postmodern Southern Vacation: Vacation Advertising, Globalization, and Southern Living.” South to a New Place. Ed. Suzanne Jones and Sharon Monteith. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002. 253-82.
- “Postmodern Southern Vacation: Vacation Advertising, Globalization, and Southern Living.” Critical Survey 12.1 (2000): 82-110.
- “Oscar Hijuelos’ The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo, and Robert Coover’s The Public Burning.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 41.2 (2000): 115-28.
- “Fragments that Rune Up the Shores: Pushing the Bear, Coyote Aesthetics, and Recovered History.” Modern Fiction Studies 45.1 (1999): 185-211.
- “Holding Word Mongers On A Lunge Line: The Postmodernist Writings of Gerald Vizenor and Ishmael Reed.” Loosening the Seams: The Writings of Gerald Vizenor. Ed. A. Robert Lee. Popular Press, 1999. 131-66.
- “The Pynchon Intertext of Lempriere’s Dictionary.” Pynchon Notes 40-41 (Spring-Fall 1997): 28-40.
- “The Postmodern Turn On(:) The Enlightenment.” Contemporary Literature 37.4 (1996): 533-58.
- “Defining Spatial History in Postmodernist Fiction.” Postmodern Studies 11: Minor Genres and Narrative Turns in Postmodernism. Ed. Theo D’haen and Hans Bertens. Amsterdam: Rodopi,1995. 105-14.
- “Meta-Mimesis? The Problem of British Postmodern Realism.” Postmodern Studies 7: British Postmodern Fiction. Ed. Theo D’haen and Hans Bertens. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1994. 9-31.
- “The Composition and Revision of Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned.” The Princeton University Library Chronicle 51.3 (1990): 254-66.
- “Pygmalion and Puttermesser.” Studies in American Jewish Literature 6 (1987): 64-74.
Radio, Podcast, & Vcast Productions and Social Media Projects:
- Podcast. “ASAP/Journal.” Amy J. Elias and Jonathan E. Eburne. Fall 2016.
- “Teaching Mark Z. Danielewski’s novel The Familiar. Spring 2015. With Rita Raley (U of California, Santa Barbara), Alison Gibbons (De Montfort U), Kate Marshall (U of Notre Dame), Treena Balds/Colin Milburn (U of California, Davis), Julia Panko (Weber State U), and Lindsay Thomas (Clemson U). Wordpress site for project, with my English 456 class’s comments, at https://thefamiliar.wordpress.com Students had unique opportunity to shape the critical reception of a novel, complicating distinctions between “professional” and “amateur" readers.
- “The Contemporary, As Soon As Possible: Periodization vs. Relationality.” Stanford Colloquium on “The Contemporary.” Stanford Humanities Center, May 30, 2014.
- Radio Broadcast: WPR: Wisconsin Public Radio, To the Best of Our Knowledge, 2003. Show title: “Post-Postmodernism: Are We There Yet?” Archived online at http://www.ttbook.org/book/post-postmodernism-are-we-there-yet (go to 16.18 on the audio file to hear A. Elias)
Selected Service to Research Discipline:
- Founding President, ASAP: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (http://artofthepresent.org): Founder (2005), President 2010, Past President 2011, Secretary/Communications
- Founding Co-Editor-in-Chief, ASAP/Journal: The Scholarly Journal of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present
- Press reader: Princeton University Press, Columbia University Press, Dartmouth University Press, Palgrave Macmillan, Ohio State University Press, University of Nebraska Press, PMLA, Postmodern Culture, Poetics Today, LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory, Contemporary Literature
- Matei Calinescu Book Prize committee, Modern Language Association
- American Academy in Berlin, applications review
- Executive Committee, International Society for the Study of Narrative
- Executive Committee, Prose Fiction Division, Modern Language Association
- George and Barbara Perkins Book Prize Committee, International Society for the Study of Narrative (2 terms)
- Modern Language Association's First Book Prize Committee
Selected Service, UT:
- Awards selection committee: PSDA grants, American Academy in Rome Affiliated Fellowship, Rhodes/Marshall/Mitchell Scholarships, Undergraduate Research Awards
- Afrofuturism Week co-creator (with Michelle Commander)
- Undergraduate Research Advisory Council
- CAAS: Contemporary Arts and Society Research Seminar Faculty Co-Convener
- Program and Mid-cycle Review Team, UT Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures
- Graduate Council
- UT Humanities Center Steering Committee
Selected English Department Service:
- Search Committees, UT Department of English: Latino/a Literatures; Creative Writing (2007);Southern Literature (2006); 19th-century Literature (2004)
- English Department Administrative Committee (elected position), 2 terms
- English Department, Advisor and co-creator, NEXUS: An Interdisciplinary Conference
- English Department: Literature and Textual Studies Speakers Series; Graduate Committee; Website and Communications Committee; Recruitment Committee; Hodges Summer Research Grants Committee; Library Committee; MA. Committee; Faculty Mentor (2)
Awards, Honors & Grants
Awards, Honors & Grants (selected)
2017 Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) Award for Best New Journal Design, ASAP/Journal
2017 Funding for "Afrofuturism Week" (with Michelle Commander) (Ready for the World, Haines Morris Endowment, Hodges Better English Fund, UT Humanities Center)
2016-18 Lindsay Young Chair of Excellence in the Humanities
2013 UT Humanities Center Research Fellowship, University of Tennessee
2010 Chancellor’s Award for grant writing, University of Tennessee
2009 Professional Development Grant, University of Tennessee
2009 ASAP/1 conference funding, University of Tennessee (Hodges Better English Fund, Ready for the World, Haines Morris Endowment, UT Graduate School)
2007 College of Arts and Sciences Senior Teaching Award, University of Tennessee
2002 George and Barbara Perkins Book Award for Sublime Desire: History and Post-1960s Fiction
Associations & Organizations
- ASAP: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (2016- present)
- Modern Language Association (1990- present)
- International Society for the Study of Narrative (1994-present)
- Society for Novel Studies (2014-present)
- Society for Critical Exchange (2003-present)
- College Art Association (2014- present)
Invited Talks, Plenary Conference Sessions, and Invited Masterclasses:
“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.
“Time, A Vocabulary: Past/Future.” Project Narrative invited talk, Ohio State University, October 2016.
“The Temporality of Dialogue: The Promise of Silence.” Global Studies Program year-long symposium, “Coevality: Global Ethics in a Time of Total Change.” University of Pittsburgh, April 2016.
Talk to Narrative Theory Graduate Class of Professor Luc Herman, Department of English, Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium. 1-hour class discussion and dialogue with instructor, via Skype. December 18, 2015.
“Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. The University of Tennessee, hosted by the UT Center for the Study of Social Justice and the UT Committee on Social Theory.
Two 2-hour Masterclasses (on Don DeLillo’s White Noise and Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49) to faculty from 18 different nations, at the University of Louisville as part of the U.S Department of State, U.S. Institute on Contemporary American Literature, hosted by the University of Louisville. June 24-26, 2015. Information on institute available at https://louisville.edu/cchs/SUSI.
“Kindness and Zombies: The Queer Ethics of Dialogue.” Cagle Lecture, Rice University. October 16, 2014.
Masterclasses (2): On Zombie fiction and Ethics. Rice University, Louisville KY, October 17, 2014.
“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.” Invited public talk for Project Narrative Speakers Series, Ohio State University, April 24, 2012.
“Form as Communication.” Invited paper on plenary panel honoring Seymour Chatman, recipient of the ISSN Lifetime Achievement Award. ISSN, Las Vegas, April 2012.
“Dialogic History.” Narrative Theory plenary session, NARRATIVE. St. Louis MO, April 2011.
“The Kynicism of Hayden White.” Symposium: “Between History and Narrative: Colloquium in Honor of Hayden White.” University of Rochester, April 2009.