Amanda Goldstein


Amanda Jo Goldstein specializes in Enlightenment and Romantic literature and science, with particular interests in rhetoric and poetics, pre-Darwinian biology, ecocriticism, and materialist theories of history, poetry, and nature. Her book, Sweet Science: Romantic Materialism and the New Logics of Life (University of Chicago Press, 2017), shows how writers from William Blake to Goethe, Percy Shelley and the young Karl Marx revived ancient atomist science to argue for poetry as a privileged technique of empirical inquiry, especially when it came to representing the new problem of biological life in its dependency upon broader social and natural histories. The book has been awarded the MLA prize for a First Book and the Kenshur Prize for an outstanding monograph of interest to eighteenth-century scholars. Her second book project takes up the ecology of utopia in the early socialist projects dubbed “Romantic” and “Utopian” while a series of recent articles seek the poetic and scientific roots of the “new” concepts of biosemiosis and plasticity in the long history of epigenetic neuroscience.

Before joining the Berkeley faculty, Goldstein worked as an assistant professor of English at Cornell University (2012-17) and a postdoctoral fellow in Biopolitics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2011-12). She received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (English, German, French) from U.C. Berkeley in 2011.

Goldstein teaches undergraduate courses such as “Romanticism and the Culture of Experiment,” “Age of Revolution: U.S./France/Haiti,” “The Lunar Society: Science, Poetry, and the Politics of Enlightenment,” and “Ecology of Utopia.” Graduate seminars include “Radical Enlightenment?,”  “Materialisms,” and “Romanticism and the Life of Things.”