Raised in Norwich, VT, I have lived in California since 1984 and taught in the LMU English department since 1992; I have also been President of the Faculty Senate and Chair of the English Department.
My scholarship and teaching reflect a deeply curious spirit, and I have relished the academic and professional freedom to pursue a rich range of intellectual interests. I have published essays in literature and science, chaos/complexity theory, literary theory, neuroscience, architecture, constraint-based writing, Bergsonian philosophy, and the interdisciplinary study of time. I have published on canonical American authors (Poe, Melville, Faulkner), and 20th century European writers (Beckett, Perec, Calvino). I have become a recognized specialist on Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers of Los Angeles. My recent publications and teaching focus on Big History and my current manuscript project uses Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy to theorize an “itinerant spirituality.” I have taught courses informed by this work including: Detecting the Divine; A Course About Nothing; Spaces of Wonder; Time in Film, Fiction and Philosophy; and From Eternity to Here.
My persistent professional passion for interdisciplinary intellectual exchange is evident in three professional commitments. I served as President of the International Society for the Study of Time (ISST) from 2004 – 2013. The ISST, founded in 1966 by the late Dr. J.T. Fraser, constitutes a uniquely systematic attempt to explore the nature of time through the collective power of scientific knowledge and humanistic insight.
I have been an editor of SubStance: A Journal of Literary Criticism and Theory since 1996. Renowned as the leading journal on French theory in English, SubStance has in recent years featured issues on topics including ecology and literature, anarchism, consumption, and graphic narratives. I have edited four special issues on topics in philosophy, science, and literature, and review 10 – 20 essays monthly.
I have fostered interdisciplinary engagement at LMU through SynThink, a forum I directed from 1999 – 2006. For SynThink, I taught courses on interdisciplinary themes and hosted conferences that addressed the theme from a variety of critical and creative perspectives. The conferences regularly included papers given by outside scholars and artists, LMU faculty, and LMU graduate and undergraduate students.
University of California at Irvine: Ph.D., English 1991
University of California at Irvine: M.A., English 1986
McGill University: B.A., English 1984
Areas of Expertise (7)
2016-17 Daum Professorship (professional)
Created from a legacy received from Harry M. Daum, Class of 1938, the Daum Professorship is an annual award to a senior professor in the College who has exhibited a record of excellence in teaching and advising, scholarship or creative work, and service to the department, college and university.
President (2004 – 2013), International Society for the Study of Time (http://www.studyoftime.org/) (professional)
Served three terms as President of ISST.
Faculty Senate President, 2010 – 2011 (professional)
Facilitated vote for new Core Curriculum, Faculty Handbook revision
Chair of English Department, 2011 – 2015 (professional)
Chaired department during curriculum revision and transition to 4 unit courses.
- SubStance: A Journal of Theory and Literary Criticism (Co-Editor)
- International Society for the Study of Time
Research Grants (6)
Summer Research Grant
Temporal Suspension in the Cretan Labyrinth
Faith and Justice Research Grant
Re-Engaging Canonical Wisdom Texts: Homelessness in the Book of Job and King Lear
Faith and Justice Course Development Grant
Detecting the Divine
Summer Research Grant
“Cosmic Epics and Global Ethics”
Catholic Studies Course Development Grant
“Wisdom and the Void”
Marymount Institute Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies
Loyola Marymount University
2004 - 05
First Year Seminar: From Eternity to Here
Spaces of Wonder
Homelessness: From The Book of Job to the Streets of L.A.
Time in Philosophy, Fiction, and Film
Detecting the Divine
Style in Writing
A Course About Nothing
Constraint-based Writing and Literature
The Labyrinth in American Literature
Contemporary Critical Theory
"Tracing the Cretan Labyrinth: Mythology, Archaeology, Topology, Phenomenology." Kronoscope: Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Time: 14 (2014): 133-49.
“Introduction: David Mitchell in the Labyrinth of Time” SubStance 136 Vol 44, no. 1, 2015: 3-7.
“David Mitchell in the Laboratory of Time: An Interview with the Author.” SubStance 136 Vol 44, no. 1, 2015: 8-17.
“David Mitchell’s Fractal Imagination: The Bone Clocks.” SubStance 136 Vol 44, no. 1, 2015: 148-53.
“Sam Rodia's Watts Towers in Six Sections in Succession." In Luisa del Giudice, ed.,Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts (New York: Fordham UP, 2014): 79-89.