Irvin Joseph Hunt III

Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • African American cultural history, cooperative economics, social movement theory, US Leftist radicalism, political theory, performance studies, humor studies

Research Description

  • My forthcoming manuscript Before the Utopia: A Cultural History ofthe Black Cooperative Movement, 1890-The Present uncovers how four generations of African American artists—W. E. B. Du Bois, George Schuyler, Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, and their circles—established local cooperatives as alternatives to global capital. I argue that these artists used cooperatives to experiment with innovative ways of forming a social movement without investing in progress. One question inspired almost unthinkable forms of activism: where do you move to when you're not trying to move to a better tomorrow? 


  • Ph.D., Columbia University (2014); M.A., University of California, Berkeley (2007); B.A., Morehouse College (2005)

Distinctions / Awards

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in African American Literature, Rutgers University, New Brunswick (2016-17)
  • Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship (2017-18)


  • The End of Poverty in the African American Novel (ENG 461)
  • Writing about Literature: Love and Sound in the Age of Consumption (ENG 300)
  • American Literature after 1945 (ENG 452)
  • Afro-American Literature I & II (ENG 259 & 260)
  • The American Novel since 1914 (ENG 251)
  • Art in US Social Movements since 1940 (ENG 553): Graduate Seminar


Book Contributions

  • "Unco-Opted: Cooperative Economics as Counter Surveillance." African American Literature: In Transition, 1940-50. Cambridge UP, 2019. 30,000 words.
  • "‘There Wont Be Inny Show Tonite’: Humoring the Returns of Scopic Violence in Suzan-Lori Parks’s Venus." History and Humor: British and American Perspectives. Ed. Barbara Korte and Doris Lechner. Bielfeld, Germany: Transcript Press, 2013. 171-92.

Journal Articles

Website Articles


  • "The Demos of Democracy ." Rev. of The Ethics of Swagger & The Time Is Always Now | American Literature | (2015): 622-24.

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