Peter Katz, PhD

Peter Katz, PhD

Assistant Professor of Humanities

Phone: (916) 378-3562

Education and Postdoctoral Training

  • Ph.D. in Victorian Literature – Syracuse University
  • B.A. with majors in English Literature and European History
  • A.S. in Music – Pacific Union College


Dr. Peter Katz teaches English and Philosophy, with an emphasis on the history of medicine and the history of emotions. His research focuses on the intersection of the Humanities and life sciences, and the conversation between them in the nineteenth century. As a scholar of affect (embodied feeling), Dr. Katz looks to the formation of professional literary studies the origin of our tendency to ask of literature: “what does this mean?” instead of “how does this make me feel?” His research and teaching challenges the supremacy of interpretation and seeks instead to cultivate empathy and an ethics of care through reflective, emotional reading. In other words, rather than ask what a character represents, he encourages readers to ask how their body responds to that character – and how the character’s body might feel.

Dr. Katz’s forthcoming monograph examines the relationship between Victorian science and the emergence of professional literary studies. His other work has appeared in Victorian Literature and Culture, the Journal of Victorian Culture, Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, as well as edited collections on embodiment and Victorian literature. His current project explores what martial arts can teach us about the cultivation and embodied experience of affect.