Barbara Herrnstein Smith

Barbara Herrnstein Smith

Braxton Craven Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature and English

External address: 
9 Towhee Drive, Topsham, ME 04086
Internal office address: 
Box 90670, The Program in Literature, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 612-5065

Smith's research has been concerned with literary theory, poetry and poetics, ideas of value and judgment, and intellectual controversies over science and knowledge. Her current work focuses on developments in cognitive science and the philosophy of biology, intellectual issues involving science and religion, and the historical, intellectual and institutional relations between the sciences and the humanities.


  • Ph.D., Brandeis University 1965
  • M.A., Brandeis University 1955
  • B.A., Brandeis University 1954

Smith, B. H. Scandalous knowledge: Science, truth and the human. 2006, pp. 1–198.

Smith, Barbara Herrnstein, and Arkady Plotnitsky. Mathematics, Science, and Postclassical Theory. Duke University Press, 1997.

Smith, Barbara H., and Darryl J. Gless, editors. The Politics of Liberal Education. Duke University Press, 1991.

Smith, Barbera Herrnstein. Contingencies of Value: Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory. Harvard University Press, 1988.

Smith, B. H. Poetic Closure. Edited by Alex Preminger at al, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton 1993), 1974.

Smith, B. H., et al. Shakespeare’s Sonnets. New York: Avon Books, and New York UP, 1969.


Smith, B. H. “Science and religion, natural and unnatural.” Sacred Science?: On Science and Its Interrelations with Religious Worldviews, 2012, pp. 101–10. Scopus, doi:10.3920/978-90-8686-752-3_8. Full Text

Smith, B. H. “Comment.” Goodness and Advice, 2009, pp. 132–44.

Smith, Barbara Herrnstein. “SCIENTIZING THE HUMANITIES.” Common Knowledge, vol. 22, no. 3, Duke University Press, Sept. 2016, pp. 353–72. Crossref, doi:10.1215/0961754x-3622212. Full Text Open Access Copy

Smith, B. H. “Anthropotheology: Latour speaking religiously.” New Literary History, vol. 47, no. 2–3, Mar. 2016, pp. 331–51. Scopus, doi:10.1353/nlh.2016.0017. Full Text Open Access Copy

Smith, Barbara Herrnstein. “What Was “Close Reading”?.” The Minnesota Review, vol. 2016, no. 87, Duke University Press, 2016, pp. 57–75. Crossref, doi:10.1215/00265667-3630844. Full Text Open Access Copy

Smith, B. H. “An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns.” Common Knowledge, vol. 20, no. 3, Duke University Press, Oct. 2014, pp. 491–93. Crossref, doi:10.1215/0961754x-2732820. Full Text Open Access Copy

Watson, J. “On Free-Wheeling Careers: An Interview with Barbara Herrnstein Smith.” The Minnesota Review, vol. 2013, no. 80, Duke University Press, Jan. 2013, pp. 62–79. Crossref, doi:10.1215/00265667-2018361. Full Text Open Access Copy

Smith, B. H. Science and religion, natural and unnatural. Dec. 2012, pp. 101–10. Scopus, doi:10.3920/978-90-8686-752-3. Full Text

Smith, B. H. “Reading at large: Reflections on the forum "What can reading do?".” Novel, vol. 45, no. 1, Mar. 2012, pp. 27–29. Scopus, doi:10.1215/00295132-1541333. Full Text

Smith, B. H. “"Dolls, Demons and DNA".” London Review of Books, vol. 34, Mar. 2012. Open Access Copy

Smith, B. H. “Chinese comparisons and questionable acts.” Common Knowledge, vol. 17, no. 1, Dec. 2011, pp. 42–47. Scopus, doi:10.1215/0961754X-2010-034. Full Text Open Access Copy

Smith, B. H. “The Entwinement of Religion and Economics: Comments on Bradley Bateman's "In a Space of Questions".” History of Political Economy, vol. 43, no. 2, Duke University Press, June 2011, pp. 423–28. Crossref, doi:10.1215/00182702-1257514. Full Text Open Access Copy


Smith, Barbara Herrnstein. “Netting Truth.” Pmla, vol. 115, no. 5, JSTOR, 2000, pp. 1089–1089. Crossref, doi:10.2307/463280. Full Text