John Peters appointed the inaugural María Rosa Menocal Professor of English
John Durham Peters, newly appointed as the inaugural María Rosa Menocal Professor of English, is a media historian and social theorist.
Peters is the author of three books, including “Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication,” which has been translated into eight languages. His book, “Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition,” was recently translated into Hungarian. His most recent work, “The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media,” explores the history of the media in an attempt to understand their environmental relevance. He has also co-edited two volumes: “Mass Communication and American Social Thought: Key Texts 1919-1968” and “Canonic Texts in Media Research: Are There Any? Should There Be? How About These?”
Peters has published numerous essays, chapters, and reviews in scholarly books and journals.
A graduate of the University of Utah, Peters earned a Ph.D. in communication theory and research from Stanford University. Prior to his arrival at Yale in 2017, Peters had served on the faculty of the University of Iowa since 1986, most recently as the A. Craig Baird Professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies. At Iowa he served as the director or co-director for over 30 doctoral dissertations.
Peters’ honors include the Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression from the National Communication Association and the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence from the University of Iowa. He has received several fellowships, including from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Foundation, and the University of Helsinki.
The María Rosa Menocal Professorship was established by an anonymous donor to honor the memory of the former Sterling Professor of the Humanities and director of the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale. Menocal’s research on the literary traditions of the Middle Ages and on the interaction of religious and cultural groups in medieval Spain garnered international acclaim.