Phillip John Usher is a scholar of Comparative and French-language literature at New York University. His research is increasingly situated at the crossroads of early modern studies and contemporary theory, with a particular emphasis on classical reception and the conceptual histories of cartography and ecological thought. Usher is the author, translator, or (co-)editor of seven volumes, including most recently L'aède et le géographe (2018). Most of his current work takes place in an intellectual sandbox he calls the Humanist Anthropocene.
Before being hired as an Associate Professor at New York University in 2014, Usher taught at Barnard College, Columbia University, where he was Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Associate Director of the Center for Translation Studies. He has also held visiting positions at Boston University and Harvard University, and taught in the Université de Bourgogne Dijon-based summer program run by Miami University.
Phillip John Usher occupies various leadership roles in the profession, including at present being Chair of the Forum on 16th Century French Literature at the Modern Language Association (MLA) (2016-2019), a member of the MLA Prize for a First Book Selection Committee (2018-), and Discipline Representative for French Literature at the RSA (2018-21). He is also the editor of a book series titled French Renaissance Texts in Translation (FRENTT) at the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS).
He recently published "Untranslating the Anthropocene" in a Diacritics issue on "Untimely Actualities" (publ. August 2017). More details here. Full article on Project Muse.
Just published (Feb 2018)
October 5-7, 2017: Discussion of "Plant Sound" at conference "Sense of Sound" co-organized by Sarah Kay and François Noudelmann, New York University.
October 24, 2017: Discussion of On the Exterranean at French Seminar Series, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
October 26-29, 2017: Paper on "Plant Theory and 16th-Century Botany" on panel "Contemporary Readings" at Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, Milwaukee.
October 26-29, 2017: Chairing Panel on "Corpus Naturalis: Biology and Ecology in Renaissance France" at Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, Milwaukee.
January 5, 2018: Chairing Panel on "New Work in Sixteenth-Century French Literature and Culture" at the MLA, New York City. 8.30-9.45am, Madison (Hilton). Panel no 226.
March 21, 2018: Invited talk on "The Globe vs. the Exterranean" at Tulane University, New Orleans.
March 22-24, 2018: Presenting on "Geomedia in Early Modern Normandy" on panel "Dreams in Stone: The Early Modern Lithic Imaginary" (organized by Lyle Massey and Brownen Wilson, chaired by Tiffany Werth). At the RSA, New Orleans.
March 22-24, 2018: Presenting on "Exterranean" on roundtable "Eco-philology: Early Modern Environmental Words and Worlds" (organized by Pauline Goul and Stephanie Shirilan, chaired by Roland Greene). At the RSA, New Orleans.
April 11-13, 2018. Keynote address on "Vegetalities." at the Swedish National Research Conference in Comparative Literature, on "Parenthetic Modernity: New Challenges for Literary Studies" at Linköping University, Sweden.
April 20, 2018: Paper "Terra and the Exterranean" at conference on "World-Making: Local and Global Imagining in Early Modern Literature," Columbia University, NYC.
April 27, 2018: Keynote address on "The Life of an Ode." At conference at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.