Bernie Rhie

Bernie Rhie
Associate Professor of English
Stetson Hall Rm 608
At Williams since 2005


B.A. University of California, Berkeley (1997)
M.A. University of Pennsylvania, English (2001)
Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, English (2005)

Areas of Expertise

Philosophy and Literature, Wittgenstein, Stanley Cavell, Phenomenology, Literary Theory

Additional Areas of Interest

Asian American Literature, Buddhism in the West, Influence of Buddhism on American Literature and Culture, Contemplative Education

Scholarship/Creative Work

Stanley Cavell and Literary Studies: Consequences of Skepticism. A collection of commissioned essays that explore the relevance of Cavell’s writings for literary theorists and critics. Co-edited with Richard Eldridge (Philosophy, Swarthmore College). New York: Bloomsbury 2011. (This volume is connected to a conference I organized with Richard Eldridge, which took place at Harvard’s Humanities Center in October 2010; more information about that conference can be found here:

Selected essays:

Digital Projects

Founder of OLP & Literary Studies Online, an academic blog for scholars who work at the crossroads of ordinary language philosophy and literary studies. URL: (blog active from 2009-2017)

Awards, Fellowships & Grants

  • Diane Hunter Prize for Best Dissertation, English, University of Pennsylvania, 2006 (Dissertation title: The Philosophy of the Face and 20th Century Literature and Art; Susan Stewart, dissertation advisor)
  • Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, University of Pennsylvania, 2000
  • Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education, 1997-2001
  • Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania, 1997-2002
  • Honors Thesis Prize, English, University of California at Berkeley, May 1997 (Thesis title: “Coleridge’s Middle Passage: Associationism, Abolitionism, and Anthropology”; Stephen Best, thesis advisor)

Overview of Teaching at Williams

Teaching at Other Institutions

  • Berkshire School (2015-2017): 11th and 12th Grade English, Dystopian Fictions (Senior Elective), Modern Wars and Modern Literature (Senior Elective), Meditation for Beginners (Pro Vita 2016), Yoga and Mindfulness (with Stephanie Turner, Pro Vita 2017)
  • Boston University (2013): Contemporary Literature and Ordinary Language, for the BU Graduate Program in English, co-taught with Robert Chodat
  • Germantown Friends School (2003-2005): 12th Grade English, Introduction to Western Philosophy, Self + Portraiture: Modern Views of the Person (Spring Elective)
  • University of Pennsylvania (1998-2000): American Modernism in Verse, Poetry and the City: The Prelude through Howl, British Romanticism, American Literature to 1900

Selected Presentations

  • “Zen and the Art of American Literature” (slideshow), Williams College Faculty Lecture Series, March 1, 2018.
  • Storyteller, Williams College StoryTime, November 12, 2017.


  • “Writing is Thinking 2,” workshop presenter and leader, Center for Philosophy, Arts, and Literature, Duke University, March 1, 2013. By invitation.
  • “On the Philosophy of the Face,” a lecture for the Department of Philosophy, Auburn University, November 11, 2011. By invitation.
  • “Wittgenstein on the Face of a Work of Art,” pre-circulated paper, for “No Quarrels: Literature and Philosophy Today,” a workshop/conference at the Humanities Foundation, Boston University, April 1-2, 2011. By invitation.
  • “Writing is Thinking: Writing as a Way of Life in the Academy,” workshop presenter and leader, Center for Philosophy, Arts, and Literature, Duke University, January 28, 2011. By invitation.
  • “Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of the Face,” a lecture at the Humanities Center, Johns Hopkins University, as part of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences’ “Futures Seminar,” October 29, 2010. By invitation.
  • On Neuroscience and the Arts,” gallery talk associated with the exhibition, Landscapes of the Mind: Contemporary Artists Contemplate the Brain, Williams College Museum of Art, February 25, 2010. 
  • “On the Philosophy of the Face,” workshop presentation at the first “Young Scholars Workshop,” Center for Philosophy, Arts, and Literature, Duke University, February 19-20, 2010. By invitation.
  • “On the Philosophy of the Face,” a lecture sponsored by the Critical Theory Emphasis, U.C. Irvine, November 10, 2009. By invitation.
  • “Philosophy and Literature: Reading across the Disciplines,” workshop participant, Mellon workshop at Wesleyan University, May 9-10, 2007. By invitation.

Current Committees

  • Faculty Review Panel
  • Selected Additional Service at Williams

    • Williams College Faculty Representative, C3/LADO (Liberal Arts Diversity Consortium) Visit, U.C. Berkeley, April 16-17, 2018
    • Director, English Department Honors Program (2018-2019)
    • Mindfulness Instructor, for Wellness at Williams (Spring 2018)
    • Faculty advisor, StoryTime (2018-)
    • First3 Program Div 1 Co-Director (2018-2021)
    • Faculty, Williams College Summer Humanities and Social Sciences Program (2018-2020)
    • Co-organizer (with Seth Wax), Winter Study Half-Day Meditation Retreats, January 4 and 23, 2018
    • Co-organizer (with Jason Josephson Storm), Williams College Meditation Group (2017-)
    • Member, Faculty/Staff Sexual Harassment Working Group (Winter/Spring 2018)
    • Graduate Studies Advisor, English Department (2017-2018)
    • Director of the Williams College Tutorial Program (2013-2015)
    • Faculty Liaison, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) and Williams College Undergraduate Research Fellowship (WCURF) Programs (Spring 2012-Summer 2014)
    • Elected untenured Division I representative, Faculty Steering Committee (2010-2012, 2007-2008)
    • Co-organizer (with Holly Edwards, Art History), Williams College Visual Studies Initiative (2006-2007): a year-long faculty reading group and lecture series, with talks by Margaret Livingstone (Neurobiology), Mieke Bal (Literature), Kwame Anthony Appiah (Philosophy), and William Kentridge (Art)