Andrew N. Rubin

Washington, DC

Andrew N. Rubin

Washington, DC

Andrew N. Rubin is a scholar in residence in Engllish and Comparative Literature at Georgetown University. His most recent book is entitled Archives of Authority: Empire, Culture, and the Cold War (Princeton, 2012). Rubin is also the co-editor of Adorno: A Critical Reader (Blackwell) and the co-editor of The Edward Said Reader (Vintage).

He has written on the work of Edward Said, Theodor Adorno, George Orwell, and Joseph Conrad, and more widely on theories of world literature and transnational modernisms for magazines and journals including Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, The South Atlantic Quarterly, The Journal of Palestine Studies, Arab Studies Quarterly, The Nation, The New Statesman, and al-Ahram.

His most recent book, Archives of Authority, has been highly acclaimed. According to Anne McClintock, the Simone de Beauvoir Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Archives of Authority is "a brilliant, highly original and even invigorating challenge to the ahistorical critical tendencies that claim that world literature owes nothing to political fiat, Rubin draws on years of original research by exploring precisely the historical roots of that ahistoricism in cultural politics of the Cold War. Eye-opening and provocative, Archives of Authority is indispensible reading for all serious scholars of world literature, Cold War cultural politics, and globalization.”

Joan Scott has described how the book "shows in painstaking detail, how a category we take for granted, 'world literature,' one that has acquired commonsense meaning, came into existence. The category 'world literatures' has its roots in colonial and Cold War politics—Rubin's evidence for this is stunning and irrefutable. Rubin argues that the category serves to cover over its own political origins, offering a universal definition in place of a set of practices that impose a single normative standard on diverse and culturally different literary outpourings. Rubin's is the kind of critical work that opens whole new areas of inquiry by problematizing the taken-for-granted and giving its authority a history."

Ammiel Alcalay has written that "Archives of Authority is a brilliant and useful book that ... will open a floodgate of further study and begin to allow us to see just how central so many of the issues it brings up are.

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  • Work
    • Georgetown University
  • Education
    • Columbia University
    • Brown University