May 8, 2006

Jonathan Culler elected to American Philosophical Society

Jonathan Culler, the Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cornell, has been elected to the American Philosophical Society (APS).

He was among 49 members selected this year by APS, the oldest learned society in the United States, whose membership signifies extraordinary accomplishments.

Culler's scholarship in literary theory is among the most highly regarded in the field. His seminal texts, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, include "Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics and the Study of Literature" (1975, revised 2002), "On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism After Structuralism" (1982), "Framing the Sign: Criticism and Its Institutions" (1992) and "Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction" (1997).

Culler's honors include the James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association, a Rhodes Scholarship and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has served as president of the American Comparative Literature Association and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Arriving at Cornell in 1977, Culler previously had taught at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Yale. In 1982 he was awarded his endowed chair. He has served as director of the Society for the Humanities (1984-93), as chair of the Department of Comparative Literature (1993-96) and of the Department of English (1996-99), and as senior associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences (2000-03). He earned his B.A. in history and literature at Harvard University in 1966 and a B.Phil. in comparative literature in 1968 and D.Phil. in modern languages in 1972, both at Oxford.

Based in Philadelphia, APS was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin. It currently has more than 700 distinguished members from around the world. More than 200 members have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

Other current and emeritus Cornell faculty members in the APS include President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes, M.H. Abrams, Brian Tierney, Robert C. Richardson, Roald Hoffmann, Thomas Eisner, Benjamin Widom, Jerrold Meinwald and Edwin Salpeter. APS members in the past have included the late Carl Sagan, Hans Bethe, Thomas Gold and Robert R. Wilson.

Also elected to the APS this year are U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Cornell Class of 1954; novelist Joan Didion; and Yale English professor Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, famed for her work in gender studies.

Linda Grace-Kobas is senior director of Cornell's Office of Humanities Communications.