Stathis Gourgouris was born in Hollywood and grew up in Athens, Greece. He got his PhD in Comparative Literature at UCLA in 1990. He has taught Comparative Literature at Princeton and Columbia, and has been Visiting Professor at Yale (European Studies), the University of Michigan (Comparative Literature and the International Institute), and the National Polytechnic in Athens (Graduate Program of Epistemology). He was a National Endowment of the Humanities recipient in 2003 (as a Senior Fellow in the American School of Classical Studies in Athens), as well as Senior Fellow at the Center for Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture, Rutgers University (2000). He serves currently on the Board of Supervisors of the English Institute, Harvard University, and has recently been elected President of the Modern Greek Studies Association.
He has published two books: Dream Nation: Enlightenment, Colonization, and the Institution of Modern Greece (Stanford UP, 1996) – translated in Serbo-Croatian (Belgrade Circle, 2005); Greek translation forthcoming (Kritiki, 2006) – and Does Literature Think? Literature as Theory for an Antimythical Era (Stanford UP, 2003) – Greek translation published by Nefeli (2005). In addition to literary writings, he has written articles on politics, psychoanalysis, music, and film studies, published in boundary 2, South Atlantic Quarterly, Thesis Eleven, New Literary History, Performing Arts Journal, Qui Parle, Cardozo Law Review, Strategies, Diaspora, Social Text, as well as in journals in Greece, France, Italy, Serbia, Turkey, and Egypt.
He is a poet, with three books of poetry in Greek, and many poems published in English in anthologies and journals such as Harvard Review, Jacaranda Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, Compages, LA Weekly. He has translated various Greek poets in English, notably Yiannis Patilis’ Camel of Darkness (Selected Poems 1970-1990) in the Quarterly Review of Literature Book Series (1997), as well as the poetry of Heiner Müller and Carolyn Forché into Greek.
In 1988, with friends and peers from many departments at UCLA, and under the sage guidance of Teshome Gabriel, he co-founded the Group for the Study of Composite Cultures and became first editor of Emergences (a pioneering, even if shadowy, journal in postcolonial studies that has become legendary for reasons that still escape us). Committed to periodical projects, he has been associated with the Greek literary journal Planodion since its inception in 1987 (currently holding a regular column – Passports), while continuing, since 1996, to contribute commentary on matters of politics and culture to the Athens daily newspaper Eleftherotypia [R.I.P.].
His current research and teaching interests focus on problems of secular criticism, the danger of the sacred, anarchy and autonomy, the pleasures of modernism, and the politics of sublimation. Shadowing it all is a long-term meditation on contemporary music, collected under the title On Transgressive Listening.