Ralph James Savarese
Associate Professor of English, Grinnell College
Ralph James Savarese will be working at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences with Michael Platt, Deborah Jenson, and the Neurohumanities Research Group on a project entitled “A Dispute with Nouns: Autism, Poetry and the Sensing Body.” This project argues that many classical autistics have an unacknowledged affinity for poetry and make palpable its status as fully embodied knowledge.
He also plans to join the emerging humanities network led by Charlotte Sussman and Doris Iarovici, “Learning to Listen: Empathy in Literature and Medicine.” He brings to it an interest in training pre-med and medical students to think differently about neurological disorders so they can provide better care for autistics. More broadly, he hopes to foster in the world at large what he calls “neuro-cosmopolitanism,” or the ability to be at home with all manner of neurologies.
Professor Savarese earned his Ph.D. and M.F.A. from the University of Florida. He earned his B.A. with Honors in English from Wesleyan University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa. He joined the faculty of Grinnell College in 2001. He is widely published as a scholar, a poet, a translator, and as a commentator on disability studies.