Jonathan Arac

Jonathan Arac
Andrew W. Mellon Professor

Jonathan Arac's main teaching interests are US literature and culture since 1820; British literature and culture 1740-1940; literary criticism and theory.

Jonathan Arac returned to Pitt in 2006 after five years at Columbia University, where he served as department chair. Since 1979 he has served on the editorial group of boundary 2. He is author of four published books on American and British fiction, poetry, and social criticism. Two new books are in their final stages:  Impure Worlds (Fordham Up) and Against Americanistics (Duke Up). He has also edited six published volumes of original essays by many hands on topics in criticism. His current work focuses especially on the novel in the US and on questions of language in American writing. In 2008 he became the founding director of the humanities center at the University of Pittsburgh, a project of the School of Arts and Sciences to foster advanced research.


  • Language in American Literature; US Novel, 1850-1950


  • Introduction to Critical Reading
  • Junior Seminar on British Literature and Criticism 1740-1940
  • Senior Seminar on Literature and the Sublime;
  • Honors College course on Masterpieces of American Literature and Masterpieces of European Social Theory


    Jonathan Arac. Impure Worlds: The Institution of Literature in the Age of the Novel. Fordham University Press, 2010

  • Jonathan Arac. Critical Genealogies: Historical Situations for Postmodern Literary Studies. Columbia University Press, 1999

  • Jonathan Arac. Huckleberry Finn As Idol and Target: The Functions of Criticism in Our Time. University of Wisconsin Press, 1997

  • Jonathan Arac. Consequences of Theory: Selected Papers from the English Institute, 1987-88. . The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990

  • Jonathan Arac. After Foucault: Humanistic Knowledge, Postmodern Challenges. Rutgers University Press, 1988

CV:  Jonathan Arac CV

Website:  The Humanities Center

Contact Information:
CL 612