Associate Professor Chris   Danta
Future Fellow (ARC)

Associate Professor Chris Danta

BA (ANU), BA (hons) (Melbourne), PhD. (Monash)

Arts,Design & Architecture
School of the Arts and Media

I am an ARC Future Fellow (2021-24) and associate professor in English at UNSW. After doing a BA at ANU, I received honours in English at the University of Melbourne and completed my PhD. in Comparative Literature at Monash University. From 2009 to 2011, I was an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow. 

My research operates at the intersection of literary theory, philosophy, science and theology. I call myself a literary anthropologist and am interested in how literary writers rethink what it means to be human by drawing on other knowledge systems such as religion and science. My first book Literature Suspends Death: Sacrifice and Storytelling in Kierkegaard, Kafka and Blanchot (Bloomsbury, 2011) examines how Søren Kierkegaard, Franz Kafka and Maurice Blanchot critique the biblical story of the sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22 by taking a literary approach to it. My second book Animal Fables after Darwin: Literature, Speciesism and Metaphor (Cambridge University Press, 2018) demonstrates how the rise of the biological sciences in the second half of the nineteenth century provided literary writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, H. G. Wells, T. F. Powys, David Garnett, Franz Kafka and J. M. Coetzee with new material for the fable, new ways to exploit the grotesque comparison of human and ape. After Darwin, the book claims, certain writers turn to the beast fable to problematise traditional philosophical and theological conceptions of the human and to rethink the human predominantly in relation to its biological milieu.

I am currently working on an ARC Future Fellowship with the title Future Fables: Literature, Evolution and Artificial Intelligence. This project aims to understand (1) how the post-Darwin literary imagination has shaped our current anxieties about AI and (2) how literary and scientific writers after Darwin rethink the future of the human species by imagining the co-evolution of humans, animals and machines. 

My articles have appeared in international peer-reviewed journals such as New Literary History, SubStance, AngelakiTextual Practice, Literature and Theology and Modernism/modernity

Phone
+61 2 9385 2282
Location
211, Level 2 Robert Webster

Publications

  • Books | 2018
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2018, Animal Fables after Darwin: Literature, Speciesism, and Metaphor, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9781108552394
    Book Chapters | 2014
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C; Groth H, 2014, 'Introduction: Between Minds', in Danta C; Groth H (ed.), Mindful Aesthetics: Literature and the Science of Mind, edn. 1, Bloomsbury, New York, pp. 1 - 14, http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781472543707
    Edited Books | 2014
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Groth H; Danta C, (ed.), 2014, Mindful Aesthetics. Literature and the Science of Mind, Bloomsbury, New York
    Book Chapters | 2014
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2014, 'Derrida and the Test of Secrecy', in Interpreting Abraham: Journeys to Moriah, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, pp. 187 - 209
    Book Chapters | 2013
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2013, 'Animal Bachelors and Animal Brides: Fabulous Metamorphosis in Kafka and Garnett', in Moran B; Salzani C (ed.), Philosophy and Kafka, edn. Original, Lexington Books, Lanham, pp. 123 - 140
    Book Chapters | 2012
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2012, '"The cold illucid world": The Poetics of Gray in Cormac McCarthy's The Road', in Murphet J; Steven M (ed.), Styles of Extinction: Cormac McCarthy's The Road, edn. Original, Continuum, New York, pp. 9 - 26
    Edited Books | 2011
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C; Kossew SR; Murphet JS, (eds.), 2011, Strong Opinions: J. M. Coetzee and the Authority of Contemporary Fiction, Bloomsbury, New York, https://www.bloomsbury.com/au/strong-opinions-9781441105301/
    Book Chapters | 2011
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2011, 'Introduction J.M. Coetzee: The Janus Face of Authority', in Danta C; Kossew S; Murphet J (ed.), Strong Opinions: J.M. Coetzee and the Authority of Contemporary Fiction, edn. Original, Continuum, London and New York, pp. xi - xx
    Book Chapters | 2011
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2011, 'The Melancholy Ape: Coetzee's Fables of Animal Finitude', in Danta C; Kossew S; Murphet J (ed.), Strong Opinions: J.M. Coetzee and the Authority of Contemporary Fiction, edn. Original, Continuum, London and New York, pp. 125 - 140
    Book Chapters | 2011
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2011, 'Revolution at a Distance: Jane Austen and Personalised History', in Russo S; Napton D; Cousins AD (ed.), The French Revolution and the British Novel in the Romantic Period, edn. Original, Peter Lang, New York and Oxford, pp. 137 - 152
    Books | 2011
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2011, Literature Suspends Death: Sacrifice and Storytelling in Kierkegaard, Kafka and Blanchot, Original, Bloomsbury, New York
    Book Chapters | 2008
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2008, 'The Animal Substitutes', in Lloyd F (ed.), The Finlay Lloyd Book About Animals, edn. Original, Finlay Lloyd Publishers, Braidwood, NSW, pp. 87 - 97
    Book Chapters | 2005
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2005, '`The Absolutely Dark Moment of the Plot`: Blanchot`s Abraham', in HIll L; Nelson B; Vardoulakis D (ed.), After Blanchot: Literature, Criticism, Philosophy, edn. First, Univesity of Delaware Press, Newark, pp. 205 - 221
  • Journal articles | 2019
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2019, 'Panpsychism and speculative evolutionary aesthetics in Samuel Butler's 'The Book of the Machines'', TEXTUAL PRACTICE, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0950236X.2019.1652679
    Journal articles | 2018
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2018, 'The Theology of Personification: Allegory and Nonhuman Agency in the Work of T. F. Powys', Modernism/modernity, vol. 25, pp. 709 - 728, http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/mod.2018.0056
    Journal articles | 2018
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2018, 'Eurydice's Curse: J. M. Coetzee and the Prospect of Death', Australian Literary Studies, vol. 33, http://dx.doi.org/10.20314/als.5a6d5f0afc
    Journal articles | 2015
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2015, 'Acrobats and ascetics: Peter Sloterdijk and the aesthetics of verticality', European Journal of English Studies, vol. 19, pp. 66 - 80, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13825577.2015.1004918
    Journal articles | 2014
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Chrulew M; Danta C, 2014, 'Fabled thought: On Jacques Derrida's the beast & the sovereign', Sub-Stance, vol. 43, pp. 3 - 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/sub.2014.0023
    Journal articles | 2014
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2014, '"Might sovereignty be devouring?" Derrida and the fable', Sub-Stance, vol. 43, pp. 37 - 49, http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/sub.2014.0014
    Journal articles | 2013
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2013, 'The New Solitude: Melancholy Anthropomorphism and the Molecular Gaze', English Studies in Canada, vol. 39, pp. 71 - 86, http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/esc.2013.0017
    Journal articles | 2013
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2013, 'Derrida and the Test of Secrecy', Angelaki - Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, vol. 18, pp. 61 - 75, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0969725X.2013.804991
    Journal articles | 2012
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2012, 'The future will have been animal: Dr Moreau and the aesthetics of monstrosity', Textual Practice, vol. 26, pp. 687 - 705, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0950236X.2012.696490
    Journal articles | 2010
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2010, 'The Metaphysical Cut: Darwin and Stevenson on Vivisection', Victorian Review: an interdisciplinary journal of victorian studies, vol. 36, pp. 51 - 65, http://web.uvic.ca/victorianreview/contents.html
    Journal articles | 2009
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Chris Danta , 2009, 'Kafka and Cultural Zionism: Dates in Palestine, and: Kafka and Photography (review)', Modernism/modernity, vol. 16, pp. 629 - 631, http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/mod.0.0121
    Journal articles | 2009
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2009, 'Coetzee`s Animal Afterlives', Southerly, vol. 69, http://www.brandl.com.au/Southerly/southerly%20longpaddock/1-69/danta.html
    Journal articles | 2008
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2008, 'Kafka's Mousetrap: The Fable of the Dying Voice', SubStance, vol. 37, pp. 152 - 168, http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/sub.0.0014
    Journal articles | 2008
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C; Vardoulakis D, 2008, 'The Political Animal Foreword', SubStance, vol. 37, pp. 3 - 6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/sub.0.0025
    Journal articles | 2008
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    2008, 'The Political Animal', Sub-Stance, vol. 37, pp. 3 - 6
    Journal articles | 2008
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2008, 'Sarah's Laughter: Kafka's Abraham', Modernism/Modernity, vol. 15, pp. 343 - 359, http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/mod.2008.0048
    Journal articles | 2007
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2007, '`Like a dog ..... like a lamb`: Becoming Sacrificial Animal in Kafka and Coetzee', New Literary History, vol. 38.4, pp. 721 - 739, http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/nlh.2008.0011
    Journal articles | 2007
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2007, 'The Poetics of Distance: Kierkegaard`s Abraham', Literature and Theology, vol. 21, pp. 160 - 177, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frm009
    Journal articles | 2006
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2006, 'Two versions of death: The transformation of the literary corpse in Kafka and Stevenson', Textual Practice, vol. 20, pp. 281 - 300, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09502360600703302
    Journal articles | 2005
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Journal articles | 2005
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
  • Conference Presentations | 2007
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2007, 'The Scientific Ape: Robert Louis Stevenson and the Post-Darwinian Fable', presented at RLS 2008, Bergamo, Italy, 12 July 2007 - 13 July 2007
    Conference Presentations | 2005
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2005, 'Transuming Abraham: Fear and Trembling and the Poetics of Identification', presented at 1st International Kierkegaard in Asia Conference, University of Melbourne
    Conference Presentations | 2004
    Associate Professor Chris Danta
    Danta C, 2004, 'The Absolutely Dark Moment of the Plot', presented at Blanchot’s Abraham, International Colloquium: “Blanchot, the Obscure”

Awards

Grants

2009-2011: ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship, The scientific ape: the evolution of the animal fable after Darwin ($242,883) 

2021-2024: ARC Future Fellowship, Future fables: Literature, evolution and artificial intelligence ($930,000)

Media