Sam Cooper

  • The American University in Cairo
  • Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Samuel Cooper is Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the American University in Cairo. His work combines the fields of ancient Greek and Latin literature and philosophy, science fiction, classical reception studies, and ecocriticism. He received his PhD in Classics from Princeton in 2016, and from 2017-2020 he was Assistant Professor in the Department of World Languages at Bard High School Early College Queens, where his courses included Antiquity in Science Fiction, Fantastic Voyages in Antiquity, Queer Ecology and Petronius’ Satyricon, and First Year Seminar. He also taught Latin at all levels, focusing on inclusive and dynamic pedagogy: he introduced Ørberg into the curriculum and spearheaded digital pedagogy initiatives that included a role-playing Latin composition project based on Twitter, and blogging as a way for students to publish and share their work. He is a co-architect, with Jesse Weiner (Hamilton College), of Back to the Future, a digital platform for teaching classics and science fiction that is supported by the Hamilton Digital Humanities Initiative.

His publications include “The potency of the past in comic science fiction: Aristophanes and Philip K. Dick” (Classical Receptions Journal 10.1, 2018), “The ‘Modern’ Prometheus in Antiquity: Aristophanes and Lucian” (American Journal of Philology 140.4, 2019), and “Speculative Fiction, Ecocriticism, and the Wanderings of Odysseus” (Ramus 48.2, 2019). He is co-editing, with Michiel van Veldhuizen (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), a volume of essays entitled Imagining Ecocatastrophe from Antiquity to Science Fiction; his own contribution to that volume, “Olaf Stapledon: Posthuman Tragedy and the Final End”, arose from research conducted in the Stapledon Archive at the University of Liverpool Library with the support of an R. D. Mullen Postdoctoral Research Fellowship awarded by the journal Science Fiction Studies. Other ongoing projects include articles on “ecoclassicism”, defined as any aesthetic link between an imagined cultural past with the aura of the classical, and the ecological imagination; a chapter entitled “Pauline Hopkins’ Uchronic Re-vision of a Past and Future both African and American” for a volume on classical reception and uchronias; and a book manuscript entitled “The Ecology of the Quest from Antiquity to Science Fiction.”