Assistant Professor of English
Undergraduate Academic Advisor
Ph.D. Columbia University, Comparative Literature
M.A. Columbia University
B.A. Barnard College
Office: 114B Swan Hall
Office Hours: Tues 3:30 - 5:30 pm, Thurs 1:30 - 3:30 pm
Carolyn Betensky confesses to being in this business so that she can teach and write about things that make her uncomfortable. Although she is really pretty happy most of the time, she has spent most of her academic career thinking about such topics as guilt, disgust, and procrastination, and she writes regularly on the insidiousness of officially uplifting cultural phenomena. Betensky loves to work with British nineteenth-century texts because of their explicit renderings of certain awkward cultural negotiations and fantasies that remain very much with us today.
Carolyn Betensky's book, Feeling for the Poor: Bourgeois Compassion, Social Action, and the Victorian Novel (2010), appeared in the Victorian Literature and Culture Series of the University of Virginia Press. Her articles on slippery ideological operations in Victorian and contemporary culture have appeared in Novel, Cultural Critique, and the Henry James Review, and she has contributed essays to books on Pierre Bourdieu and George Sand. Along with the essays on Bourdieu and Sand, her translation of Bourdieu's “The Role of Intellectuals in the Modern World” in the journal Telos reminds her of her brief former life as a French professor. Currently, she is working on two projects: a new book, provisionally titled “Freud” in America: Psychoanalysis as Allegory, and a translation from the French of Eugene Sue’s 1843 blockbuster Les Mysteres de Paris.