Pericles Lewis appointed the Smith Professor of Comparative Literature
Pericles Lewis, newly named as the Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of Comparative Literature, is a scholar of modern literature and a member of Yale’s leadership team, responsible for global strategy.
Lewis focuses his scholarly research on the modernists who revolutionized European literature in the early 20th century, exploring their engagements with the broader culture and the distinctively literary solutions that they found for the central problems of their time.
As vice president for global strategy and deputy provost for international affairs, Lewis is responsible for ensuring that the broader global initiatives of the university serve Yale’s academic goals and priorities. He works closely with academic colleagues across all of the university’s schools and provides support and strategic guidance to the many international programs and activities undertaken by the university’s faculty, students, and staff. His primary responsibility is to enhance Yale’s international presence as a leader in liberal arts education and a world-class research institution.
A graduate of McGill University, Lewis earned his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stanford University. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California-Berkeley, he joined the Yale faculty in 1998, with appointments in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature. Lewis has been extensively engaged in the academic life of the campus, serving on an array of university committees and in departmental administrative roles.
From 2012 to 2017, Lewis served as founding president of Yale-NUS College, a collaboration between Yale and the National University of Singapore. Under his leadership, the college developed into a thriving model of residential liberal arts education studied throughout Asia and the world. Since returning to Yale, Lewis has led the planning for the Schwarzman Center, set to open in 2020, and provided oversight for the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, and related academic units. He works closely with the leadership of Yale-NUS College, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London, the Yale Center Beijing, and the Yale Institute for Global Health.
The author or editor of six books, Lewis was also the founding editor of Yale’s Modernism Lab, an early digital humanities project. His most recent work is a new edition of the “Norton Anthology of World Literature.” He has also published a number of recent articles on liberal arts education. A former member of the advisory board of the American Comparative Literature Association, he also serves on several editorial boards and as an advisor to various academic publishers, foundations, and educational institutions in the United States, Canada, China, Taiwan, and Japan.