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David Pike Professor and Department Chair, Literature Literature

Send email to David Pike
(202) 885-2996 (Office)
CAS - Literature
Battelle Tompkins - 237
Tu 3-5 and W 4-6, in person or via Zoom (sign-up via the link on the upper right-hand of this page), and by appointment.
PhD, Comparative Literature, Columbia University
MA, French & Romance Philology, Columbia University
BA, Film, Literature & Critical Theory, Swarthmore College

Languages Spoken
French, Spanish, German, Italian (reading), Latin (reading)
Favorite Spot on Campus
My office and the tree and campus quad outside the window
Book Currently Reading
Sanora Babb, Whose Names Are Unknown; Heather McGhee, The Sum of Us; Raúl Homero Villa, Barrio-Logos; Colson Whitehead, Harlem Shuffle
Professor Pike is Chair of the Department of Literature (June 2016-May 2022). His most recent book is Cold War Space and Culture in the 1960s and 1980s: The Bunkered Decades (Oxford UP, 2021). He is the author of Canadian Cinema since the 1980s: At the Heart of the World (U of Toronto P, 2012); Metropolis on the Styx: The Underworlds of Modern Urban Culture, 1800–2001 (Cornell UP, 2007); Subterranean Cities: The World beneath Paris and London 1800–1945 (Cornell UP), shortlisted for the 2006 Modernist Studies Association book prize; Passage through Hell: Modernist Descents, Medieval Underworlds (Cornell UP), recipient of the 1997 Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities from the Council of Graduate Schools and a Choice Outstanding Academic Book for 1997; and articles on medieval literature, modernism, film, neo-Victorianism, subterranea, urban fantasy, global urban culture, slum imaginaries, and Paris and London. He is co-author of Literature: A World of Writing and co-general editor of the Longman Anthology of World Literature.

In addition to urban culture and the underground, he teaches courses on European and Canadian cinema, film noir, the western, modernism, Dante, Roman literature, and the novel. From 1993 to 1995, Professor Pike was Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University. Among his awards and fellowships are NEH Fellowships for College Teachers in 1999 and 2021, an ACLS Fellowship for Junior Scholars, and the American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Other Professional Contributions. Current projects include cold-war culture after the cold war, "Slum Lore," a cultural history of modern urban poverty, and “Corruption Plots: Stories, Ethics, and Publics in the Late Capitalist City,” with Malini Ranganathan (SIS, AU) and Sapana Doshi (UC-Merced, Geography and Development), winner of an ACLS Collaborative Research Grant, 2017-2019.

For a not-so-recent-now profile, visit David Pike's Underworld.

For articles, book chapters, reviews, and talks (for individual research only), visit Publications Archive.


Fall 2021

  • CORE-106 Complex Problems Seminar: Displaced Lives in the DMV

  • HNRS-150 AU Honors Exper Learning

Spring 2022

  • HNRS-151 AU Honors Research Experience: Urban Change/Transnatnl Migrtn

  • LIT-446 Advanced Studies in Film: The Cinematic Slum