Berkeley English Faculty

Amanda Jo Goldstein

Amanda Jo Goldstein

Associate Professor; Placement Coordinator

Wheeler Hall 462
Office Hours Friday 11am-1pm

Professional Statement

I specialize in Enlightenment and Romantic literature and science, with particular interests in rhetoric and poetics, pre-Darwinian biology, and materialist theories of history, poetry, and nature. My first book, Sweet Science: Romantic Materialism and the New Logics of Life (University of Chicago Press, 2017), shows how writers from William Blake to Goethe, Percy Shelley and the young Karl Marx revived ancient atomist science to argue for poetry as a privileged technique of empirical inquiry, especially when it came to representing the new problem of biological life in its dependency upon broader social and natural histories. The book has been awarded the Kenshur Prize for an outstanding monograph of interest to eighteenth-century scholars and the MLA Prize for a First Book (2018). A new research project takes up the ecology of utopia in the early socialist projects dubbed “Romantic” and “Utopian”; another seeks the poetic and scientific roots of the “new” concepts of biosemiosis and plasticity in the long history of epigenetic neuroscience.

Before joining the Berkeley faculty this year, I worked as an assistant professor of English at Cornell University (2012-17) and a postdoctoral fellow in Biopolitics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2011-12). I received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (English, German, French) from U.C. Berkeley in 2011.

I teach undergraduate courses such as “Romanticism and the Culture of Experiment,” “Age of Revolution: U.S./France/Haiti,” “The Lunar Society: Science, Poetry, and the Politics of Enlightenment,” and "The Ecology of Utopia." Graduate seminars include "Radical Enlightenment?,"  “Materialisms,” and “Romanticism and the Life of Things.”

Sweet Science: Romantic Materialism and the New Logics of Life
Sweet Science: Romantic Materialism and the New Logics of Life

Winner of the Kenshur Prize for an outstanding monograph of interest to eighteenth-century scholars and the MLA Prize for a First Book, 2018. ....(read more)

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

"Epigenesis by Experience: Romantic Empiricism and Non-Kantian Biology," forthcoming in History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences.

“Reluctant Ecology in Blake and Arendt: A Response to Robert Mitchell and Richard Sha,” The Wordsworth Circle 46.3 (Summer 2015), special issue on “Experiment,” 143-155.

“Growing Old Together: Lucretian Materialism in Shelley’s ‘Poetry of Life,’” Representations 128.1 (Fall 2014), 60-92.

“Irritable Figures: Herder’s Poetic Empiricism,” in The Relevance of Romanticism: Essays in German Romantic Philosophy, ed. Dalia Nassar, (Oxford UP, 2014).

“William Blake and the Time of Ontogeny,” in Systems of Life: Economics, Politics, and the Biological Sciences 1750-1850, ed Warren Montag and Richard Barney, (Fordham UP, 2018).

“Obsolescent Life: Goethe’s Journals on Morphology,” European Romantic Review 22.3 (2011), 405-14.

Review, Martin Priestman, The Poetry of Erasmus Darwin: Enlightened Spaces, Romantic Times, (Ashgate, 2013), Review of English Studies (November 2014). 

Current Research

Nerve Poetry and Fiber Art 

Industrial Attraction: Natural Technology in Socialist Utopia

Recent English Courses Taught
fall, 2019


Literature in English: Late-17th Through Mid-19th Centuries

45B/101 -- discussion section

Struhl, Abigail

45B/102 -- discussion section

Wang, Jacob

45B/103 -- discussion section

Struhl, Abigail

45B/104 -- discussion section

Wang, Jacob

45B/105 -- discussion section

Yniguez, Rudi

45B/107 -- discussion section

Yniguez, Rudi


Problems in the Study of Literature

fall, 2018


Special Topics: The Ecology of Utopia


Research Seminar: William Blake

spring, 2018


Special Topics: Romantic Science


Graduate Readings: Radical Enlightenment?