Claire Laville


I work on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature (mostly American), along with Frankfurt School critical theory, feminist and queer theory, and some strands of pragmatism. In my dissertation, "The Personality Test: Character, Method, and Complicity in U.S. Writing from Emerson to Adorno," I demonstrate that recurrent literary figures and changing theories of reading drove the evolution of personality testing, and argue that the ubiquity of testing demands that we reconsider the priority granted to character and “lived” experience in recent critical theory and U.S. intellectual history.

My most visible online presence is at, where I document student and faculty resistance to the erosion of the liberal arts at Emory. Offline? About six years ago, I heard a song on college radio with the chorus "I like punk rock, but I'm not." That describes me pretty well.