Corina Stan grew up in Romania, studied in Germany, France, and the US, and taught for several years in the Netherlands. Trained as a comparatist, she works at the intersection of literature and the arts, with interests in continental philosophy and the sociology of intellectuals.
Her first book, The Art of Distances (Northwestern University Press, 2018), identifies an insistent preoccupation with interpersonal distance in a strand of twentieth-century European and Anglophone literature, most notably in the work 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.
She is currently working on two other book projects. Distant, yet Contemporary: the Revolutionary Seventeenth Century in Fiction and Drama (1921-2012) examines historical novels and plays of the past century set during the English Civil War, the Restoration and the Glorious Revolution (1640-1688) with the aim to understand the sense of affinity that writers from Rose Macaulay and T. S. Eliot to David Caute and Iain Pears intimated between these two distant periods, bookending the period of Western modernity with an eye to its premises and to its missed opportunities. “Visions of the End of Culture: Civilization, Barbarism, and the Place beyond Forgiveness” (Arcadia, 2015) is the first part of a project that traces the history of the “end of culture” in the West, a most palpable anxiety in the contemporary context of the migration crisis.
Previously at Duke, she taught courses in the Literature Program (Living with Others, Honors Thesis), the Thompson Writing Program (Stories from the Other Europe), and Women’s Studies (Upsetting Boundaries). In the English Department, she teaches Political Drama, Comparative Modernisms across the Arts, Community and Migration (cross-listed in Literature and Ethics), Nobel Literature, Theory and the Contemporary World and Culture, Civilization, World (Literature).
In 2016-2017, she convened, with Toril Moi, the seminar “The Other” sponsored by the Franklin Humanities Institute and the Center for Philosophy, Arts, and Literature.
Since 2017, she has been co-director of the Representing Migration Humanities Lab, funded by a Mellon grant.