Kristiaan Versluys is a full professor of American literature and culture at Ghent University and the founding director of the Ghent Urban Studies Team (GUST). He obtained his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in 1979. He has published The Poet in the City: Chapters in the Development of Urban Poetry in Europe and the United States (1800-1930) and many articles on urban literature, in particular the literature of New York. He is a member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium and a regular guest professor at the summer session of Columbia University. In 2004-2005 he was a fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS).
His interest in trauma theory is related to his current work on the discursive responses to 9/11. Focusing on works by DeLillo, Beigbeder, Foer, Spiegelman, Cunningham, and Updike, and taking his cue especially from the works of Dominick LaCapra and Emmanuel Levinas, he investigates the strategies novelists use to re-introduce trauma into a network of signification without normalizing or naturalizing the experience. Central to his concerns are also the efforts of many authors to deal with 9/11 (that most palpable symbol of enemy intractability) by triangulating the situation, i.e. by finding ways to avoid a stark binary dichotomy between one side that is totally right and another that is totally wrong.