Roger Bellin

I co-host a podcast of critical discussion of books, film, and culture called The Sometime Seminar.
I am on Facebook and Twitter. On the Web, I post on MetaFilter, sometimes talk about baseball on FanGraphs, and used to contribute to Wikipedia.
As a Visiting Assistant Professor in the English Department at Tulane University, I taught a variety of courses from 2010 to 2013: Poe and Genre Fiction (an introductory course for English majors); Digital Humanities (graduate seminar); courses on contemporary authors including J.M. Coetzee and Thomas Pynchon; Transatlantic Romanticism (senior seminar); Afterlives of the American Renaissance (graduate seminar and senior seminar); Emerson and Nietzsche; Introduction to American Literature: Visions of the Public Sphere; Hitchcock and Freud; Modern American Poetry; Persuasive Writing; Uneven Development: Science Fiction and/as Social Theory.
From the fall of 2002 I studied English at Princeton University. Advised by Michael Wood, Eduardo Cadava, and Bill Gleason, I specialized in American literature and literary theory, earning the Ph.D. in 2009. I taught as a lecturer, and before that an assistant in instruction, for many different English courses at Princeton, and occasionally also worked as a research assistant and an associate in instructional technology.
Until the summer of 2002 I worked as a grant-funded research programmer, computer science instructor, and IT support specialist for the Hampshire College School of Cognitive Science (and occasionally also the University of Massachusetts).
I received a B.A. in Computer Science and English Literature from Hampshire College in December of 1999, after transferring from Swarthmore College in 1997.


Book in progress

Argument: The American Transcendentalists and Disputatious Reason
Fordham University Press
The ambiguity of the word “argument,” which means both reason and dispute, points toward the centrality of dispute as both textual and social form of thought. Argument reads the American Transcendentalists as the roots of a tradition of opposition to disputatious reason. An intellectual-historical introduction establishes the descent of argument as a form, with sketches of moments in its history from ancient and Scholastic thought to the eighteenth century. Then, chapters on Emerson's vision of scholarship, Thoreau's politics of style, and Bronson Alcott's pedagogy of questions place the Transcendentalists in a Continental philosophical context, culminating in a further chapter which reads Nietzsche's aphoristic style as an Emersonian mode of resistance to systematic argument. The twentieth-century opposition to argument, and the continued prevalence of argument in today's literary and philosophical academy, are discussed in conclusion.

Selected publications

Roger Bellin. “Techno-Anxiety and the Middlebrow: Science-Fictionalizing in the Fictional Mainstream of the Early Twenty-First Century.” The Poetics of Genre in the Contemporary Novel. Ed. Tim Lanzendörfer. Lexington Books, 2016.
Roger Bellin. “Pynchon’s Dustbin of History: Collecting, Collectivity, and Care for the Past.” Amerikastudien/American Studies 57.2 (2013).
Roger Bellin. “‘Dubitandi ac disputandi’: Descartes’ Argument against Argument.” Concordia Discors. Tübingen: Gunter Narr and the North American Society for Seventeenth-Century French Literature, 2013.
Roger Bellin. “The Seduction of Argument and the Danger of Parody in the Four Quartets.” Twentieth-Century Literature 53.4 (Winter 2007), pp. 421-441. Also in Serbian (translated by Ana Bojanović) in Povelja 34.3 (Belgrade: Kraljevo Library, Dec. 2004), pp. 108-122.
Roger Bellin. “Retrospection and Prophecy in the Structure of Mad Love.” Journal of Modern Literature 30.2 (Winter 2007), pp. 1-16.
S. Weisler, Roger Bellin, L. Spector, N. Stillings. “An Inquiry-Based Approach to E-Learning: The CHAT Digital Learning Environment.” Proc. SSGRR-2001 (L’Aquila, Italy).
T. Murray, L. Winship, Roger Bellin, M. Cornell. “Toward Glass-Box Educational Simulations: Reifying Models for Inspection and Design.” Proc. AIED-2001: Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education.

Book reviews

A Strange Allegory.” Review of J.M. Coetzee, The Childhood of Jesus. Los Angeles Review of Books, 6 November 2013.
Pornotopia.” Review of Samuel R. Delany, In the Valley of the Nest of Spiders. Los Angeles Review of Books, 21 May 2012.
Superman/Everyman.” Review of Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, American Nietzsche. The New Inquiry, 14 February 2012.

Writing in progress

I am writing and planning to write on topics such as: Bronson Alcott’s “eupeptic” dietary strictures; Freud’s ethic of historical narration; liberal interventionist geopolitics as represented in 1990s-2000s space-opera science fiction; the multiplicity of voice in Godard’s recent films; periodicity in Emily Dickinson; the Transcendentalists as Continental philosophers; Jim Woodring’s wordless comics; attempts to adapt novelistic psychology into interactive media; science-fictionalization and middlebrow aesthetics in 21st-Century fiction.

Recommended links


On academia