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Chet Lisiecki

Assistant Professor

Curriculum Vitae

Chet Lisiecki received his PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Oregon in 2014. His research focuses broadly on modernism, aesthetics and politics, philosophy and literature, and trauma studies. The first of his current book projects, Reified Complicity: Lyrical and Political Failure in Fascist Europe, investigates the categories of “fascist” and “conservative” both to historicize the politics of modernist poets such as Stefan George and T. S. Eliot and to denote specific deconstructive operations in their poetry. Reimagining these political categories as aesthetic phenomena, Reified Complicity both asserts a particular and distinct subgenre of the conservative lyric and traces its historical complicity in the rise and success of German fascism.


His second project, Object Trauma: Towards a Non-Correlationist Theory of Suffering and Forgiveness, expands his interest in complicity by suggesting an ontological, rather than phenomenological, understanding of trauma. Drawing on the work of trauma survivors, psychologists, philosophers, and literary critics, Object Trauma considers how objects might facilitate, reflect, and constitute complicity (in bystanders), empathy (in perpetrators), and forgiveness (in survivors). Focusing on both individual and large-scale tragedies – from Rembrandt’s Night Watch to South African Apartheid, from Freud’s war neurotics to Jude St. Francis in A Little Life, from the film Room to the glacial erosion that formed the Matterhorn – this project explores the aesthetic, ethical, political, environmental, and psychological consequences of a traumatic ontology of objects.




    • B.A. Colorado College, 2007
    • Ph.D. University of Oregon, 2014