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Corina M Stan

Associate Professor of English
Box 90014, Durham, NC 27708-0257
311 Allen Building, Durham, NC 27708


Corina Stan grew up in Romania, studied in Germany, France, and the United States, and taught for several years in the Netherlands. Trained in comparative literature, she works at the intersection of European history, arts, philosophy and literatures in English, French, German, Romanian, Spanish, and Dutch. She is an avid runner and enjoys playing the piano.

Her first book, The Art of Distances: Ethical Thinking in Twentieth-Century Literature (Northwestern University Press, 2018; publicly available through a Knowledge Unlatched grant here), identifies an insistent preoccupation with interpersonal distance in the work of thinkers from Montaigne and Nietzsche to Martin Heidegger, Theodor Adorno, Roland Barthes, Jean-Luc Nancy, Peter Sloterdijk and Pierre Zaoui, and a strand of twentieth-century European and Anglophone literature, most notably in the writings of George Orwell, Paul Morand, Elias Canetti, Iris Murdoch, Walter Benjamin, Annie Ernaux, Günter Grass, Damon Galgut, and others. In the problematic of distance – in the varied approaches these writers have taken to establishing the grammars, idioms, imaginaries and ethics of proximity, immersion, identification, hesitation with which we might engage one another, particularly in moments of social disruption and historical crisis – she reads an original reflection on the question of the ethical life, a nuanced and often moving contribution to the rethinking of community in the course of the past century.  

Between 2017 and 2020, she co-directed the Representing Migration Humanities Lab, a research group involving faculty, graduate and undergraduate students funded by a Humanities Unbounded Mellon grant. The Palgrave Handbook of European Migration in Literature and Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023), which she co-edited with Charlotte Sussman, includes 40 essays on literature and film about migration to, from, and within Europe, alongside contributions by philosophers, museum curators, film makers, translators, and writers. She is currently writing a book on the European self-understanding after decolonization, entitled After the West. Her work has appeared in academic journals (New German Critique, Comparative Literature Studies, Modern Language Notes, English StudiesJournal of Postcolonial Writing, among others) and public venues such as The Point, Aeon, LA Times, Esprit, and Public Books. Her essay "Between Us: A History of Social Distance" was selected as "notable essay of 2020" in The Best American Essays 2021 (Harper and Collins, 2021.)

She teaches courses cross-listed in German, Romance Studies, Literature, the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and Art History, such as Comparative Modernism across the Arts; Political Theater; Nobel Literature; Community and Migration; Laws of Love and Obedience: Parents, Children, Rebels; After the West; Culture, Civilization, World Literature; Living with Others; Anatomy of a Fascination: Historical Fiction; History of Criticism.

Office Hours

Spring 2024 Semester:

Tuesdays 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and by appointment.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Associate Professor of English · 2019 - Present English, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Education, Training & Certifications

Duke University · 2010 Ph.D.