Pieter Vanhove holds a Ph.D. in Italian and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in New York. From 2018 to 2022, he was an Associate Lecturer at Lancaster University. He lives in London, is neurodivergent, and is taking a career break. He is a writer and artist.
Pieter’s academic book is titled World Literature After Empire: Rethinking Universality in the Long Cold War (Routledge Studies in Comparative Literature, 2021; a recorded interview about the book is available on the New Books Network). The book makes the case that world literature and the philosophical concept of universality broadly speaking are not exclusively Euro-American phenomena. Using concrete examples, Pieter shows how during the Cold War and in the wake of decolonization a plethora of historical attempts were made to reinvent cultural and philosophical worldliness from an anti-imperialist perspective. The book also highlights the pitfalls of any attempts at universalization. Pieter’s main research interests include critical theory, translatability, and critical world literature.
Pieter’s publications include articles in Comparative Literature Studies, Critical Asian Studies, estetica: studi e ricerche, Senses of Cinema, and Studi pasoliniani. He curated Columbia M.F.A. Graduate Wang Xu’s first solo exhibition in 2014.
From 2009-11, Pieter worked on a research project on Pier Paolo Pasolini’s theater with funding from the Research Foundation Flanders. In 2009, he obtained his M.A. in Italian from Columbia University with funding from the Belgian American Educational Foundation. He holds Master’s degrees in Romance Philology and Comparative Literature from the University of Leuven and spent a year of his studies at Université Paris IV–La Sorbonne.
Pieter has been learning Mandarin Chinese since he was 17. In 2014, he received a grant to attend Harvard University’s Institute for World Literature in Hong Kong, and in 2016-17, he was awarded the Columbia GSAS-Mellon Humanities Travel Fellowship for research in Paris and Beijing.