Sean Cotter

Professor - Arts And Humanities

Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Comparative Literature
University of Michigan - 2004
M.A. - Humanities
University of Texas at Dallas - 1998
B.A. - English Literature
Loyola University, New Orleans - 1993


Literary Translation and the Idea of a Minor Romania. University of Rochester Press, forthcoming. forthcoming - Publication
Rainer Maria Rilke in Lucian Blagas Translations from English. Perspectives on Literature and Translation: Creation, Circulation, Reception. Ed.Brian Nelson and Brigid Maher (Routledge, 2013). 2013 - Publication
"Romania as Europe's Translator: Translation in Constantin Noica's National Imagination." Contexts, Subtexts, and Pretexts: Literary Translation in Eastern Europe and Russia. Ed. Brian James Baer (John Benjamins, 2011) 79 - 95. 2011 - Publication
"East-Central European Literatures Twenty Years After." East European Politics and Societies 23:4 (2009) 552-81. Co-authored article, edited by Michael Heim. 2009 - Publication
"The Soviet Translation: Romanian Literary Translators after World War Two." Meta: Journal des traducteurs 53:4 (2008) 841-859. 2008 - Publication
"Translated Eliot: Lucian Blaga's Strategy for Cultural Survival and the Soviet Colonization of Romania." The International Reception of T. S. Eliot. Ed. Elisabeth Däumer and Shyamal Bagchee (Continuum, 2007) 55-68. 2007 - Publication
"The Translation of War: Italian Futurism in Ezra Pound's Cathay." Mantis 1:2 (2002) 152-67. 2002 - Publication
"The Sacramental Dada of T. S. Eliot," The Comparatist 26 (May 2002) 69-82. 2002 - Publication


Assistant Professor of Literature and Translation Studies
University of Texas at Dallas [2004–Present]
Graduate Student Instructor
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor [1999–2003]
Teaching Assistant
University of Texas at Dallas [1996–1998]
English as a Foreign Language Teacher and Peace Corps Volunteer
Ioan Cuza High School, Str. Negustorilor 14, Bucharest, Romania [1994–1996]
Spanish Teacher
Bailey Magnet School [1993–1994]

Additional Information

Professional recognitions and honors (study, teaching, research, service)
  • Harry C. Routledge Prize, 2001, Southern Comparative Literature Association
  • Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Grant, 2001, United States Department of Education
  • Horace H. Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, 2003, University of Michigan
  • President Mihai Cimpoi Award, 2003, Moldovan Writers Union
  • Pushcart Prize Nomination, 2006, Lyric
  • Extraordinary Contributions to the Promotion of Romanian Literature through Translation, 2009, The Institute of Romanian Culture
Professional memberships
  • American Literary Translators Association 1997 – 2009
  • American Comparative Literature Association 2006 – 2008
  • Modern Language Association 2001 – 2003, 2009
  • PEN USA 2007 – 2009
Personal Statement

Professor Cotter focuses on Romanian literature, because he is interested in the literature of international cultural exchange. Contemporary Romanian works reflect intense experiences of globalized literary culture, often more clearly than those of writers from larger nations. By incorporating this context into English versions, his translations become literary responses to Romania's new international context. His translation work is informed by his background in Modernism, which he studies as the beginning of a mode of international thinking that made the discipline of Translation Studies possible. His current critical book, Literary Translation and the Idea of a Minor Romania, studies translators and national imagination following the imposition of Communist rule by the Soviet Union after World War Two.

Professor Cotter teaches a range of subjects, such as East European Literature, International Modernisms, critical approaches to translation, and undergraduate and graduate translation workshops. Translation Studies informs his teaching, beyond his translation offerings, in the ways he highlights transcultural aspects of literary works, for example, the conflict of Christian and classical traditions in Augustine's Confessions, the Iberian Arab and Jewish influences on troubadour poetry, or the international reception of Don Quixote. His graduate seminars focus on international influences and transnational creations, including the Soviet imposition of socialist realism on the literatures of Eastern Europe, or multilingual movements such as, Negritude, Futurism and Dada.

News Articles

Romanian Literature Translator Wins NEA Grant
A National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant will support a UT Dallas professor’s quest to make the work of an acclaimed Romanian poet available to readers in English. Dr. Sean Cotter, associate professor of translation studies, international modernist literature and Romanian literature, was among the 20 recipients of a 2011 Literature Fellowship for Translation Projects from the NEA. The $12,500 grant will support the translation from the Romanian of Belgrade in Five Friends and Other Poems by Nichita Stanescu. Stanescu is a major figure in Romanian postwar poetry, credited with bringing modernism into the Communist era, but remains largely un-translated into English.
Professor Wins Prize for Translations of Romanian Poet
Dr. Sean Cotter, associate professor of literature and translation studies, has won the 2013 Best Translated Book Award in poetry given by Three Percent, the international literature magazine of the University of Rochester. Cotter’s winning book, Wheel With a Single Spoke and Other Poems, crosses the language barriers of Eastern Europe and brings the works of one of Romania’s most influential poets, Nichita Stanescu, to English for the first time. “I am very pleased to receive the award and thrilled that people are reading Stanescu,” said Cotter. “In an era of intense cultural politics, his aesthetics made him a leader of his generation, and his poetry was widely read.” Stanescu was the defining poet of Communist-era Romania. Cotter calls Stanescu’s work “innovative, conceptual and challenging poetry charged with energy.”


Grant for Professional Translators
Euro 1000 - Institute of Romanian Culture [2006–2006]