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David Palumbo-Liu

Professor of Comparative Literature
Professor, by courtesy, of English
Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor
Chair of Graduate Studies, Comparative Literature
1988: Ph.D., Comparative Literature, University of California at Berkeley

I am most interested in issues regarding biospheric justice, race and ethnicity, human rights, globalization, and the specific role that literature and the humanities play in helping us address each of these areas.  My latest book, Speaking Out of Place: How to Get Our Political Voices Back, is a consideration of the idea of political voice, and was published by Haymarket Books in Dec 2021. 

Its extension, the Speaking Out of Place podcast, is devoted to culture, politics, and the arts. We cover a wide range of topics: human rights, environmental justice, race, indigeneity, and gender. We have done episodes on Palestine, Kashmir, India, Iran; the climate crisis and activism around it; sexual harassment and violence; and decolonizing museums and conservation. We partner with The Creative Process and are also featured on all major podcast channels. Upcoming episodes will feature Michael Hardt (The Subversive Seventies), Sara Ahmed (Feminist Killjoy Handbook), Ayça Cubukçu (Left Internationalism), Kimberle Crenshaw (#SayHerName), A. Naomi Pak (Abolition Sanctuary), Suchitra Vijayan (Indian political prisoners), Darren Byler and Munawwar Abdulla (Uyghur rights and culture), Nadia Abu El-Haj (Combat Trauma), Keiho Saito (Slow Down! Degrowth Communism).

Every quarter I convene "Scholarship and Activism" (CL316), a collaborative project that focuses on the intersection of learning and acting for positive change; a one-unit course offered each Weds throughout the year, participants create a set of readings, activities, and shared meals. It is open to everyone.

My public writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Nation,  Jacobin, Truthout, The Boston Review, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Salon, The Hill, and other venues.  I serve on the Board of Directors of Truthout.

I have served on the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association, and as President of the American Comparative Literature Association.  I am a former Chair of the Stanford Faculty Senate.



(650) 725-4915
Pigott Hall, Bldg 260, Rm 229

Office Hours

By appointment.

Research Interests

  • Literary and Cultural Theory


  • Marxism, Literature, and Society


  • Political History, Theory & Culture


  • Postcolonial Studies