Martha Woodmansee


Martha Woodmansee

Martha Woodmansee received her MA and PhD in German and English at Stanford with a specialization in literary theory. She has been a member of the English faculty at CWRU since 1986, and the Law faculty since 2002. She has also taught at Columbia, Harvard, and the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1990 she has been Director of the Society for Critical Exchange, a national organization devoted to collaborative interdisciplinary research in theory.

Professor Woodmansee has published widely at the intersection of aesthetics, economics, and the law. Her books include The Author, Art, and the Market (Columbia UP 1994); a collection of essays co-edited with Peter Jaszi, The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature (Duke UP 1994); and the collection , The New Economic Criticism: Studies at the Intersection of Literature and Economics (Routledge 1999). A volume devoted to Contexts of Invention: Creative Production in Legal and Cultural Perspective , which she is completing with Mario Biagioli and Peter Jaszi, will be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2008. A monograph in progress, Commerce in Ideas , concerns book piracy and the emergence of international copyright during the nineteenth century.

She has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, and the Ford, Fulbright, and Rockefeller Foundations.

As director of the Society for Critical Exchange she has been instrumental in fostering scholarly research across traditional disciplinary boundaries, especially those dividing literary, economic, and legal studies. These initiatives have resulted in burgeoning new research focuses in “authorship studies” and “new economic criticism,” and they have drawn in lawyers and economists to grapple with the historical and theoretical roots of issues of such pressing public concern as the legitimacy and limits of intellectual property.

At CWRU, Professor Woodmansee is presently devoting her energies to developing the department’s PhD concentration in Writing History and Theory and to establishing a university-wide Center for the Study of Writing . She teaches a range of courses, from 18 th and 19 th century British and European literature and culture, to history of the book, critical theory, and law and literature. Recent law and literature offerings include a University Seminar on intellectual property pirates and privateers, an advanced undergraduate collaboratory on rights in traditional culture and bioknowledge , and a graduate seminar devoted to intellectual property and the construction of authorship . She also coordinates (and intermittently directs) the Arts and Sciences Dissertation Seminar, which she developed with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 1996.


Guilford House

Other Information

Degree: PhD, MA, Stanford University