Wai Chee Dimock

Wai Chee Dimock's picture
William Lampson Professor of American Studies, Professor of English

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.

Since 2013, Dimock has helped organize an annual graduate conference in April.  Her team-edited anthology, American Literature in the World: Anne Bradstreet to Octavia Butler, was published by Columbia University Press in 2017.  Her new book, Weak Planet: Literature and Assisted Survival, will be published by U of Chicago Press in October 2020.

Selected Publications

-“Weak Planet: Literature and Assisted Survival, University of Chicago Press, October 2020

- “Humanists as Builders,” PMLA, Editor’s Column, May 2018

- “Historicism, Presentism, Futurism,” PMLA, Editor’s Column, March 2018

- “Climate Humanists,” PMLA,  Editor’s Column, January, 2018.

- “Education Populism,” PMLA,  Editor’s Column, October, 2017

- “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)


Undergraduate: Food in Literature, Culture, and Science (junior seminar); American Literature in the World (freshman seminar); Global Cities (freshman seminar); Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner (lecture course); American Literature in the Shadow of War (junior seminar)

Graduate: Performing American Literature ; The Nonhuman in Literature and Culture; Genres, Media, Webs; Regions, Hemispheres, Oceans.