James I. Porter

Irving G. Stone Professor in Literature, Professor of Rhetoric and Classics

Head Graduate Advisor

Rhetoric and Classics
Program in Critical Theory

BA Swarthmore College

MA, PhD (Comparative Literature), UC Berkeley


  • 354B Dwinelle
  • Office Hours Sign-Ups here. Instructions for Google Appointments here.(Make sure your calendar is set to PST, and that you have an active bCourses account.)

Research Interests

Philosophy (materialism, aesthetics, ethics), Presocratics to modernity

Classical Reception

History of Philology

Critical Theory

History and Theory of Subjectivity (Homer to Foucault)

Interactions between Politics, Culture, and Critique

I began teaching at the University of Michigan in Classics and Comparative Literature (1986-2007), and then at UC Irvine, Classics and Comparative Literature (2007-2015), where I was Director of Critical Theory from 2014-2015. I have held visiting professorships at Princeton and Bristol University (UK). I am co-editor of "Classical Presences," a book series in Classical Reception with Oxford University Press, and am a member of the collective "Postclassicisms" that has been meeting twice a year for the past several years. The most recent workshop, "Swarms, Collectivities, Intensities, Networks, … read more

"Disfigurations: Erich Auerbach's Theory of Figura," Critical Inquiry Fall 2017.

“Forum on Bonnie Honig’s Antigone, Interrupted,” ed. M. Leonard and J. Porter, International Journal of the Classical Tradition (Fall 2014)

Before Subjectivity? Lacan and the Classics, ed. James I. Porter and Mark Buchan, special issue of Helios (2004)

Council of Graduate Schools / UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award for Best Dissertation in the Humanities from 1986-88 | NEH Fellowship for University Teachers 1988, 2005 | NEH Texts and Translation Grant 1992 | Stanford Humanities Center Fellowship 1995-96 | Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Fellowship 1998 | Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professorship, Institute for Advanced Studies and the Department of Classics & Ancient History, University of Bristol, UK 2003 | Old Dominion Fellow in the Council of the Humanities, Princeton University 2004 | Getty Research Institute 2006 | Director, NEH Summer Seminar 2008 | C. J. Goodwin Award of Merit from The Society for Classical Studies for The Sublime in Antiquity (Cambridge, 2016) 2017