Wai Chee Dimock

Wai Chee Dimock's picture
William Lampson Professor of English & American Studies
63 High St, New Haven, CT 06511-6642
Phone number: 

B.A. Harvard University, 1976
Ph.D. Yale University, 1982

Wai Chee Dimock has written on American literature of every period, from Anne Bradstreet to Star Trek.  She argues for a broad conception of literature, embracing a variety of time frames, bringing together materials both high and low, and scales both local and global. Editor of PMLA, and a film critic for the Los Angeles Review of Books, her essays have also appeared in Critical Inquiry, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times, and the New Yorker.

Dimock’s book, Through Other Continents: American Literature Across Deep Time (2006), received Honorable Mention for the James Russell Lowell Prize of the Modern Language Association and the Harry Levin Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association.  This approach is further developed in a collaborative volume, Shades of the Planet: American Literature as World Literature (2007).

Dimock’s lecture course, “Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner,” is available through Open Yale Courses.

Outside Yale, Dimock was a consultant for “Invitation to World Literature,” a 13-part series produced by WGBH and aired on PBS stations in the fall of 2010.  A related Facebook forum, “Rethinking World Literature,” is still ongoing.

Her online teaching, centered on an open-source platform, features course material from several classes, an annual graduate conference, and a teaching initiative, “DSL: Doing Science through Literature.” Her team-edited anthology, American Literature in the World: Anne Bradstreet to Octavia Butler (2017) was just published by Columbia University Press. She is now working on two book projects, “Weak Theory: Wobbly Networks, Fuzzy Genres, Minimal Criticism,” and “Higher Education 2.0.”


- “Climate Changed,” New York Times Book Review, May 5, 2017

- “Experimental Humanities,” PMLA, Editor’s Column, March 2017

- “Infrastructure Art,” Editor’s Column, PMLA, January 2017

- “Weak Theory,” Critical Inquiry 39 (Summer 2013): 732-753

- “Low Epic,” Critical Inquiry 39 (Spring 2013): 614-631

- Shades of the Planet: American Literature as World Literature, co-edited with Lawrence Buell (Princeton UP, 2007)

- Through Other Continents: American Literature across Deep Time (Princeton UP, 2006)

- Literature and Science: Cultural Forms, Conceptual Exchanges. Special issue of American Literature, co-edited with Priscilla Wald (Duke UP, 2002)

- Residues of Justice: Literature, Law, Philosophy (U of California P, 1996)

- Empire for Liberty: Melville and the Poetics of Individualism (Princeton UP, 1989)


American Literature in the World (freshman seminar); Literary Cities (freshman seminar); Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner (lecture course); American Literature in the Shadow of War (junior seminar); Shapes of the Nonhuman (junior seminar)


American Literature: Genres, Media, Webs; Interdisciplinary Approaches to American Literature: Regions, Hemispheres, Oceans; The Nonhuman in Literature and Culture