Dr. Gregory Jones-Katz
Gregory Jones-Katz is an American historian based at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he works in the fields of intellectual and cultural history, the history of higher education, and the global history of the humanities. Greg’s first book Deconstruction: An American Institution was published in 2021 with the University of Chicago Press. His scholarly work has also appeared in History and Theory, Analyse & Kritik, and Modern Intellectual History. He is committed to public-facing scholarship, and has written for the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Boston Review.
At KWI, Greg will concentrate on his new book project, Globalizing American Theory: The Cultural Politics of the Academic Left and the Neoliberal University. This project aims to tell a comprehensive history of American Theory, investigating the reasons for this body of work’s domestic production and its wider influence in the United States from the 1960s to the 2000s. The project will also trace American Theory’s reception and distribution in Europe and China. By examining the texts, presses, curricula, institutes, journals, and symposia invested in Theory during the last three decades of the twentieth century, this new work aims to illuminate how uses of theory and its cultural politics transformed the humanities and social sciences, influencing not only higher education and intellectual life, but cultural and political conversations beyond university walls. While at KWI, Greg will work on the first chapters of Globalizing American Theory; “Decline, Decay, and Decentering: Theory’s Domestic Production, 1975-1985,” and“The Neoliberal Work Ethic and Leftist Cultural Politics, 1985-1995.”
Greg is also writing a travelogue in which he reflects on his intellectual life in China as an American academic. Examining his own cultural disorientation, Greg contemplates his refracted view of America through the lens of his experiences as an expatriate. He considers topics including history, technology, education, and simulacra. A selection from this project has been published in Merkur.