James Porter



James Porter 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 he was Director of Critical Theory from 2014-2015. He has held visiting professorships at Princeton and Bristol University (UK). Porter is 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, and Nodes (SCINN),” was held at UC Berkeley’s campus on January 4-5, 2016, and included a number of Berkeley faculty and graduate students from Rhetoric, Classics, and Comparative Literature.

Porter’s teaching and research has followed a few different trajectories. One is a study of Nietzsche’s thought, early and late. Another is a study of models of aesthetic sensation, perception, and experience in ancient Greece and Rome. His most recent book is The Sublime in Antiquity (Cambridge 2016). It received the C. J. Goodwin Award of Merit from The Society for Classical Studies (2017). His next book, on the invention and reception of Homer from antiquity into the present, will be called Homer: The Very Idea  (under contract with University of Chicago Press). Future and ongoing projects include an edition of Philodemus’ “On Poems” (Bk. 5); a long book-essay on the problem of life from Lucretius to Freud; and a book tentatively called “Other Selves: Plato to Foucault.” Porter will also be rounding out two trilogies, on ancient aesthetics and on Nietzsche, with two further titles, “Literary Aesthetics After Aristotle” and “The Seductions of Metaphysics: Nietzsche’s Final Philosophy.” All of these topics spill over into his teaching, and many of them have begun their life there, because he finds that the classroom is one of the most productive places you can ever be.