Fellow 2021-2022STEPHEN SHAPIRO

Term: 10/2021 – 03/2022

Stephen Shapiro has been part of the University of Warwick Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies team since 1999 until the present day. He is the first ever Professor of American Literature at Warwick (the highest held title at the University of Warwick), and has been since 2010. His research interests focus on the writing and culture of the United States, Cultural Studies, literary theory and Marxism, world-systems analyses, urban and spatial studies, sociology of religion, television studies, and critiques of mental disease. He was Associate Professor from 2006 to 2010, Junior Lecturer B from 2000 to 2006, and Junior Lecturer A from 1999-2000. In 2015 he was a Fellow at the University of California Humanities Research Institute; while in 2010 he was Visiting Professor at the University of California Irvine’s Department of English. He was a Nominated Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Edinburgh in 2010 and was a Fellow in Creativity and Learning for the Royal Shakespeare Company/CAPITAL at the University of Warwick from 2008 to 2009. He was also a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Saarland, Germany from 1997 to 1998. A selection of his book-length publications includes titles such as: 


• Pentecostal Modernism: Lovecraft, Los Angeles, and World-Systems Culture, 
(first author, with Philip Barnard), (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017). 
• Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature, WReC (Warwick Research Collective) co-authored (Liverpool UP, 2015).
• The Culture and Commerce of the Early American Novel: Reading the Atlantic World-System, (Penn State Publishing, 2008).
• How to Read Foucault’s Discipline and Punish (with Anne Schwan), (Pluto, 2011).
• How to Read Marx’s Capital, (Pluto, 2008).
• Neoliberalism and Contemporary American Literature (ed. with Liam Kennedy), 
(Dartmouth College Publishing, 2019).
• World Literature, Neoliberalism, and the Culture of Discontent (ed. with Sharae Deckard), (Palgrave, 2019).


Disease, Data, and the Replacement of the Individual

I will examine the rise of catastrophic thought, especially with regards to pandemics, in the current age of big data algorithms and a world based on digital correlations, rather than analog causation. Apocalyptic thought is a means for considering historical transformation caused by the rise of viral movements, both epidemiological and digital. The recent rise of post-truth (Querdenken) cultural responses registers the surfacing of anxieties about these social changes. The real truth is that the long secular trend of liberal subjectivity, dating back to the Enlightenment and Revolutionary Eras, is coming to an end. Yet a post-liberal society does not have to necessarily result in a series of dire social and political emergencies. Our challenge is to consider the ways in which apocalyptic thought can become used to forge new social narratives about how to better exist together in this emerging world.