Bruce Robbins

Bruce Robbins

Department of English and Comparative Literature



Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities

Faculty profile

Areas of Interest
19th- and 20th-century fiction; transnational literature; literary and cultural theory.


B.A., Harvard (1971); M.A., Harvard (1976); Ph.D., Harvard (1980). Bruce Robbins works mainly in the areas of nineteenth and twentieth century fiction, literary and cultural theory, and postcolonial studies. He is the author of Upward Mobility and the Common Good: Toward a Literary History of the Welfare State (Princeton, 2007), Feeling Global: Internationalism in Distress (NYU, 1999), Secular Vocations: Intellectuals, Professionalism, Culture (Verso, 1993) and The Servant's Hand: English Fiction from Below (Columbia, 1986; Duke pb 1993). He has edited Intellectuals: Aesthetics, Politics, Academics (Minnesota, 1990) and The Phantom Public Sphere (Minnesota, 1993) and he has co-edited (with Pheng Cheah) Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling beyond the Nation (Minnesota, 1998) and (with David Palumbo-Liu and Nirvana Tanoukhi) Immanuel Wallerstein and the Problem of the World: System, Scale, Culture (Duke, 2011). He was co-editor of the journal Social Text from 1991 to 2000. His most recent book is Perpetual War: Cosmopolitanism from the Viewpoint of Violence (Duke, 2012).  A companion volume is in the works to be entitled “The Beneficiary: Cosmopolitanism from the Viewpoint of Inequality.”  He is also working on a documentary on American Jews who are critical of Israel.