Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Faculty: American Literary Studies

Dale M. Bauer, Professor of English

Dale Bauer

Since 2004, Dale M. Bauer has published Feminist Dialogics, Edith Wharton’s Brave New Politics, and edited collections on Bakhtin and feminism, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-paper,” and 19th-century American women’s writing.  Her new book, Sex Expression and American Women’s Writing, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in May 2009.  This is a study of American women’s writing about sexuality, from 1860 to 1940, with sentimental fictions like The Morgesons and The Silent Partner to the huge bestsellers by Jewish-American writer Fannie Hurst.  This new rhetoric of sexuality enables critical conversations about who had sex, when in life they had it, and how it signified. She is now studying the 50+ novels of the 19th-century writer E.D.E.N. Southworth (essay forthcoming in Arizona Quarterly), as well as editing the Cambridge History of American Women’s Literature (forthcoming Spring 2012).


Jodi Byrd, Associate Professor of English and American Indian Studies

Jodi Byrd

Jodi Byrd's research interests include Indigenous studies and governance, indigenous and postcolonial literatures, cultural studies, film, and theory.



Lisa Marie Cacho, Associate Professor of English, Asian American Studies, Latina/Latino Studies, and LAS Global Studies

Lisa Marie Cacho

Lisa Marie Cacho is a faculty member in Latina/Latino Studies, Asian American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and the Department of English. Lisa Cacho’s research interests include Asian and Latina/o gendered immigration, comparative race and ethnic studies, militarism, and racial segregation. Cacho is an interdisciplinary scholar, who is engaged in blurring the boundaries between the humanities and social sciences. Her most recent publication examines Proposition 187 through law, print media, and short fiction.


J.B. Capino, Associate Professor of English

J.B. Capino

J.B. Capino studies American nonfiction film, Philippine cinema, the cultures of U.S. imperialism, transnational cinema, melodrama, and moving-image erotica. He is the author of Dream Factories of a Former Colony: American Fantasies, Philippine Cinema (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), winner of the 2012 Book Prize in Cultural Studies from the Association for Asian American Studies. His current book projects are called "Projections of Empire" and "Marcos and Melodrama."


Ramona Curry, Associate Professor of English, Media and Cinema Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, and Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies

Ramona Curry

Ramona Curry teaches histories, theories, and strategies for writing about cinema and other forms of popular media and culture. Her research focuses on the sociocultural impact of media institutions, including film stars and cinema distribution and exhibition historically. She is author to date of a book on the shifting cultural functions of Mae West's image over eight decades and of numerous essays that have appeared in anthologies and journals in the US, Europe, and Asia. Prof. Curry has written extensively about German cinema and also about films made in Hong Kong. Her most recent publications draw heavily on census and genealogical records, shipping manifests, and other newly digitized government and newspaper archives, to reveal fresh facets of early trans-Pacific film distribution and reception. Prof. Curry is currently completing a monograph entitled "Trading in Cultural Spaces: How Chinese Film Came to America," which takes an urban cultural geographic and historiographic approach to rewriting American cinema history “from the margins.” She received a 2011 National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship for work on the project, which the NEH has recognized as advancing the goals of its "We the People" initiative.


Stephanie Foote, Associate Professor of English

Stephanie Foote

Stephanie Foote is Associate Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies. Her work is in three interrelated areas: late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century U. S. literature and culture; queer theory; and environmental humanities with a focus on contemporary lifestyle politics and new media.  She is the author of Regional Fictions: Culture and Identity in Nineteenth -Century American Literature (University of Wisconsin Press), the editor of two reprints of Ann Aldrich’s classic 1950s lesbian pulps for the Feminist Press, and the co-editor of Histories of the Dustheap(MIT Press, forthcoming).   She has published numerous peer-reviewed essays in her field in such journals as American Literature, College Literature, Signs, MELUS, The Henry James Review, and Arizona Quarterly, and has won the LAS as well as the University award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.  She is currently at work on several projects that bring together her interests in American Studies and environmentalism, including one on the intersection of sustainability and the ideal of homesteading, and one on the rise of class as an identity in the late nineteenth century.


Christopher Freeburg, Associate Professor of English

Christopher Freeburg





Irvin Joseph Hunt, Assistant Professor of English




Gordon Hutner, Professor of English

Gordon Hutner

Gordon Hutner studies American fiction from the nineteenth century through the twenty-first.  He began his career writing about Hawthorne and Henry James.  Later, he moved toward the turn- of-the-twentieth century, editing collections of immigrant autobiographies and Abraham Cahan’s stories of the Jewish ghetto.  He has also produced new editions of Sinclair Lewis’ Babbitt as well as Andrew Carnegie’s autobiography.  More recently he has published a study of modern American fiction, from 1920 to 1960, What America Read:  Taste, Class, and the Novel (2009).  Professor Hutner’s new project is a history of the American novel since 2000.  Along the way, he has assembled an anthology of American literary criticism as cultural critique.  Hutner also is the founder and editor of the scholarly journal, American Literary History, which remains one of the most influential publications in the field.


Candice Jenkins, Associate Professor of English


Candice M. Jenkins is Associate Professor of English and African American Studies. Her research uses a critical black feminist lens to consider how a variety of African American cultural texts address evolving questions of racial subjectivity, sexual politics, and class in the United States. Her first book, Private Lives, Proper Relations: Regulating Black Intimacy, published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2007, examines how African American writers articulate the political consequences of intimacy for the already-vulnerable black subject. Private Lives, Proper Relations was awarded the 2008 William Sanders Scarborough Prize by the Modern Language Association. She is now at work on a new manuscript exploring the conundrum of black middle-class embodiment in post-Civil Rights-era African American fiction. She also recently guest-edited a special issue of the journal African American Review on “Hip Hop and the Literary.” She teaches courses on “post-soul” or post-Civil Rights era African American fiction, African American literature and the politics of color, including contemporary “passing” narratives, multicultural American literature, and hip hop (as) narrative, as well as black women’s writing and black feminist theory.



Susan Koshy , Associate Professor of English


Susan Koshy (Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles, 1992) is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work draws on the insights of literature, anthropology, legal studies, and history. Her work on race, ethnicity and diaspora is part of a larger theoretical interest in modernity, neocolonialism, and the processes of globalization. Her research is situated at the conjuncture of globalization theory, postcolonial studies, and ethnic studies and interrogates the boundaries of these disciplinary formations. Her book, Sexual Naturalization (Stanford University Press, 2004) locates narratives of white-Asian miscegenation in the context of anti-miscegenation laws, Asian immigration to the US, and US expansionism in Asia. Her articles have appeared in the Yale Journal of Criticism, Boundary 2, Differences, Diaspora, Social Text, and in several anthologies. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Delhi University.



Trish Loughran, Associate Professor of English and History

Trish Loughran

Trish Loughran is Associate Professor of English and History. She was trained at the University of Chicago and practices Critical American Studies—a body of work that places pressure on exceptionalist, liberal, and neoliberal accounts of the United States in history, politics, and culture. Her first book, The Republic in Print: Print Culture in the Age of U.S. Nation-Building, focuses on American state formation in the years 1770-1870, with special attention to how print culture did and did not create imagined communities across time and space.  Her research interests include eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth century culture (both visual and literary); the construction of spatial imaginaries; old and new media (print and virtual); and the history of the present. Her undergraduate teaching focuses, like her research, on American cultural history, and her two most recent graduate seminars were titled “The American Enlightenment: The Material Culture of Nation-Building” and “The Psychic Life of Empire: American Colonialism and its Aftermath.” 



Bruce Michelson, Professor of English (emeritus)

Bruce Michelson

Most recent book: Printer’s Devil: Mark Twain and the American Publishing Revolution (California, 2006). Previous books include Literary Wit (2000); Mark Twain on the Loose (1995) and Wilbur’s Poetry (1991).  Also three editions of Teaching With the Norton Anthology of American Literature.


Current research interests:

Based on a set of lectures I gave in Germany in the summer of 2011, I am writing two essays on the evolving predicament of biographical and autobiographical narrative, the verbal reconstruction of personal identity, in a context where the inscription and and collation of electronically-gathered data, on nearly every aspect of public and private life, poses an unprecedented challenge – immense and ever-accumulating alternative biography, possibly accelerating beyond our own agency, as subjects and interpreters, to edit or escape.  As President Elect of the American Humor Studies Association, I am also preparing a more-conventional essay called “Humor Studies, Humor Research,” which seeks to describe and differentiate these two scholarly practices, address the habit of using these terms interchangeably, and advocate for a stronger relationship between our study of the comic and our broader critical and theoretical discourses.  In April I will give a paper at the University of Rochester called “American Realism in the First Virtual Age,” describing how the ontological dilemmas that faced the best of the American Realist writers are more complex and interesting that recent political and social constructions of the mode have recognized.




Justine Murison, Associate Professor of English

Justine Murison

Justine S. Murison is Associate Professor of English.  Her research concentrates on the literatures of the Early Republic through the turn of the nineteenth century, with a special emphasis on the antebellum United States. Her work examines the changing relation of the material to the immaterial across different historical registers, the boundary between, for instance, psychological emotion and physiological response; between imaginative reading and social consequences. Her first book, The Politics of Anxiety in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (Cambridge, 2011), focused on the rise of the nervous system as an explanatory matrix for the self in the nineteenth century.  She is now at work on a second book project, Suspensions of Disbelief: Secularism and American Fiction, 1790-1865 that charts the intertwined relationship of popular fiction with matters of faith from the Early Republic through the Civil War.  She is also the co-editor with Jordan Alexander Stein of “Methods for the Study of Religion in Early American Literature,” a special issue of Early American Literature.



Cary Nelson, Professor of English (emeritus)

Cary Nelson

My first book, The Incarnate Word, was a largely phenomenological study of literary form in both poetry and fiction, but as my teaching became increasingly focused on American poetry, my research followed suit. A long history of left-oriented political commitments joined forces with my research; just as I was teaching anti-war poetry in the midst of the Vietnam war, I began to write about it and about the political implications of American poetry in the Whitman tradition. Our Last First Poets: Vision and History in Contemporary American Poetry was the result. Then American studies began to take up canon revision, and my horizons widened accordingly. My Repression and Recovery: Modern American Poetry and the Politics of Cultural Memory adopted a poststructuralist form to survey a wide range of canonical and noncanonical poetry from 1910-1945. Looking beyond the canon has also lead me to write about still more fugitive forms of poetry, especially virtually unknown examples of poetry ephemera from around the world. My current research focuses on poetry broadsides, cards, and postcards from both Europe and the United States. Its first fruit is When Death Rhymed: Poem Cards and Poetry Panics from the Great Wars. I will soon be looking at rare Holocaust poems distributed by Russian and German forces in World War II.



Tim Newcomb, Professor of English

Tim Newcomb

I have published three books on American poetry, Wallace Stevens and Literary Canons (1992), Would Poetry Disappear? American Verse and the Crisis of Modernity (2004), and How Did Poetry Survive? The Making of Modern American Verse (2012), along with a variety of essays on such topics as Edna St. Vincent Millay, Archibald MacLeish, Stephen Crane, W. B. Yeats, and skyscraper verse.  I have long been fascinated with the historical trajectory of poetry in the U. S. after the Civil War, particularly its startling re-emergence as an aesthetic and cultural force in the 1910s after many had believed it was withering away in the accelerated pace and commodified culture that characterized urban modernity.  My second and third books are twinned attempts to account for that decline and re-emergence as a process in which poets had to learn, often with great struggle, how they could immerse their art in the modern city rather than shunning it as most of their predecessors had done. 


More broadly I am interested in convergences between the aesthetic and social dimensions of literature and film: what social (or even political) meanings can texts take on, and what roles do their forms play in that process?  And how have those potential meanings and effects been shaped, expanded, limited, and otherwise inflected by the conditions of urban-industrial modernity?  All my teaching, whether in modern American poetry, Hollywood film, critical theory, or other areas, seeks to foreground and complicate such questions.


Robert Dale Parker, James M. Benson Professor of English, American Indian Studies, Criticism and Interpretive Theory, and Writing Studies

Robert Dale Parker

Robert Dale Parker writes about American literature and critical theory, especially poetry and fiction, and including American Indian literature. His scholarship and teaching pursue interests in literary form and aesthetics, history, gender, the socio-political roles of literature, and a pleasure in thinking through critical theory. Parker has published two books and seven articles on the fiction of William Faulkner, including Faulkner and the Novelistic Imagination (1985) and “Absalom, Absalom!”: The Questioning of Fictions (1991), as well as The Unbeliever: The Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop (1988) and The Invention of Native American Literature (2003), a critical and theoretical study of the emergence of Indian literature and Indian literary studies across the twentieth century. He has also undertaken a large-scale recovery of early American Indian poetry, leading to a series of articles and two books: Changing Is Not Vanishing: A Collection of American Indian Poetry to 1930 (2011) and The Sound the Stars Make Rushing through the Sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft (2007), which includes an edition of the works of the first-known American Indian literary writer along with a biography and cultural history. Committed to merging scholarship with readability and theory with interpretation, he has also published How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies (2nd ed. 2011) and Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies, 2012. Recognized by campus awards for both undergraduate and graduate teaching, Parker has taught courses in the various periods of American literature, especially after 1900, as well as critical theory surveys and courses in American Indian literature, Faulkner, and other topics. Students are welcome to knock on his office door during office hours, no appointment necessary.


Richard T. Rodríguez, Associate Professor of Criticism and Interpretive Theory, English, Latina/Latino Studies, and Gender and Women's Studies

Richard T. Rodríguez

Richard T. Rodríguez is Associate Professor of English and Latina/Latino Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he is also affiliated with the Department of Gender and Women's Studies and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory.  He received his B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley and his Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research, teaching, and writing are grounded in Latina/o cultural studies, with particular interests in literary and visual culture studies, critical theory, comparative ethnic and race studies, and gender and sexuality studies. His publications include articles and reviews in American Quarterly, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, American Literary History, Biography: An Interdisciplinary QuarterlyVelvet Barrios: Popular Culture and Chicana/o Sexualities, Theatre Journal, A Concise Companion to American Studies, and Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader.  His book, Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics, published by Duke University Press, won the 2011 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Book Award.


At Illinois he has been awarded the Latina/o Congratulatory Ceremony Faculty Award, the LGBT Resources/Office of the Dean of Students Faculty Leadership Award, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising. Recently named a Conrad Humanities Scholar, a designation supporting the work of exceptionally promising associate professors in the humanities within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois, he is currently writing a book on Latino sexualities and the politics of social space.


Michael Rothberg, Professor of English, Criticism and Interpretive Theory, Jewish Culture and Society, Comparative and World Literature, and Germanic Languages and Literatures

Michael Rothberg

I am a comparatist by training and inclination, but post-1945 US literature and culture has always been one of the fields I have worked in and taught. I am particularly drawn to literary, cinematic, and theoretical works that pose questions about race, immigration, violence, justice and memory. Both of my books—Traumatic Realism: The Demands of Holocaust Representation (2000) and Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (2009)—contain significant engagement with American materials. In Traumatic Realism, I consider such Jewish American figures as Grace Paley, Philip Roth, and Art Spiegelman and also discuss Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List as well as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In Multidirectional Memory, the African American writers W. E. B. Du Bois and William Gardner Smith—along with the German/Jewish/American political thinker Hannah Arendt—play important roles in my development of a dialogic, transcultural theory of memory. Because of my interest in trauma, memory, and politics, I have also written essays on literature in the wake of 9/11 and on the novels of Toni Morrison. I teach contemporary American prose at the graduate and undergraduate levels and either as part of stand-alone courses or as part of comparative explorations of world literature. I regularly serve on dissertations about twentieth-century American literature and have directed dissertations on such topics as race and ecology in African American literature, the emergence of the graphic novel, and commemorations of the Vietnam War.


Derrick Spires, Assistant Professor of English

Derrick Spires

My primary research interests are representations of race and citizenship the U.S. before the Fourteenth Amendment, print culture, and political aesthetics.  My current project, Black Theories of Citizenship in the Early U.S. (1794-1860), analyzes how early African Americans’ engagement with fundamental issues of early U.S. citizenship:  the ethical responsibilities between citizens, the meaning of republican-style governance, and the relationship between civil society and the market.  Recovering the work of under-studied figures and texts like William J. Wilson, The Anglo-African Magazine, and convention proceedings in alongside more canonical figures and texts like Frederick Douglass, Henry David Thoreau, and the Federalist Papers, I show that black activists were some of the most important political theorists of their day. Not only do these texts offer theoretical readings of citizenship, but their articulation of civic practice and their very structure also model the theories they seek to outline, both how republican institutions ought to look and the critical sensibilities of the citizens who would constitute and, in turn, be constituted through them.  My work in early African American print culture has led to a second project on the literary sketch, an amorphous form at the crossroads of history, science, literature, and visual culture.  It asks, “What happens to our sense of American literary history and culture when we focus on a form in which instability, whim, and discursive free play are not simply elements of individual texts but rather are constitutive elements of the form itself?”



Robert Warrior, Professor of English, American Indian Studies, and History

Robert Warrior

Robert Warrior is Director of American Indian Studies and the Native American House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is a professor of American Indian Studies and English. He is the author of The People and the Word: Reading Native Nonfiction, Amertican Indian Literary Nationalism (with Craig Womack and Jace Weaver). Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (with Paul Chaat Smith) and Tribal Secrets: Recovering American Indian Intellectual Traditions. He holds degrees from Union Theological Seminary (Ph.D., Systematic Theology), Yale University (M.A., Religion), and Pepperdine University (B.A. summa cum laude, Speech Communication). His academic and journalistic writing has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including American Quarterly, Genre, World Literature Today, News from Indian Country, Lakota Times, Village Voice, UTNE Reader, Guardian, and High Times. He and his coauthors Craig Womack and Jace Weaver were the inaugural recipients of the Beatrice Medicine Award for Scholarly Writing from the Native American Literature Symposium and Warrior has also received awards from the Gustavus Myers Foundation, the Native American Journalists Association, the Church Press Association, and others. Professor Warrior has lectured in a wide variety of places, including Guatemala, Mexico, France, Malaysia, Yale University, Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Chicago, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of Miami.



David Wright, Associate Professor of English

David Wright

David Wright teaches African-American and American literature, with a particular focus on the period from the Civil War to the present. His courses use a range of cultural artifacts (music, dance and film as well as literature) as a way to interrogate representations of race, class, gender and sexuality in the eras being studied. A fiction and nonfiction writer, he recently wrote the screenplay for a documentary based on the subject of his first book, Fire on the Beach: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers ( and, and also just completed a novel about the 2005 Paris riots and another about post-WWII France. The latter, for which he received a Fulbright fellowship in 2011, explores a love triangle between a Holocaust survivor, an African student from the colonies, and a black G.I.

This page was last modified 9/21/2012.