Affiliated Faculty

Michael Allen | History

Michael Allen

Michael Allen (Ph.D. Northwestern University, 2003) is an historian of United States political culture since 1945, with a particular interest in the relationship between domestic politics and foreign affairs. His research and teaching combine questions and sources from political and diplomatic history with cultural history's interest in language and ideas to produce new insights on the domestic roots and repercussions of U.S. engagement with the world. His first book Until The Last Man Comes Home: POWs, MIAs, and the Unending Vietnam War (University of North Carolina Press, 2009) examined the unprecedented level of concern regarding captive and missing Americans during and after the Vietnam War to reveal the ways in which Americans constructed and contested the meaning of their nation's defeat in Vietnam. His new book project, provisionally titled Tug of War: Confronting the Imperial Presidency, 1968-1992, examines the movement of antiwar activism into organized politics in the 1970s and considers its legacies. Focused on efforts to expose and reform abuses of presidential power, it highlights the persistence of liberal reform energies in national politics in the "long 1970s" and seeks to explain their eclipse in the 1980s and beyond.

Kate Baldwin | Communication Studies, Rhetoric and American Studies

Kate Baldwin

Kate Baldwin is a scholar and teacher who specializes in comparative public cultures. She is a core faculty member in the Ph.D. Program in Rhetoric and Public Culture, the Ph.D. Program in Screen Cultures, the Gender and Sexualities Studies Program, Associate Professor of American Studies and affiliate faculty in the Department of English in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Her first book, Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain: Reading Encounters between Black and Red, remaps black American modernism by addressing the involvement of African-American intellectuals with Soviet communism and a Russian intellectual heritage. She has completed a book manuscript titled Cold War Hot Kitchen that examines the relationships between domestic space and cultural diplomacy during the Cold War. Looking at midcentury design, film, advertising, fashion, and literature, Cold War Hot Kitchen maps how structures of feeling associated with U.S. domesticity were taken up, championed, reconstituted, and resisted in the Soviet Union during the 1950s and 1960s.

Nicola Beisel | Sociology and Gender Studies

Nicola Beisel

Professor Beisel studies the relationship between moral politics and the reproduction of children. Her first book, Imperiled Innocents: Anthony Comstock and Family Reproduction in Victorian America (Princeton, 1997), examined the career of Anthony Comstock and his wealthy supporters in the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. Comstock authored the nineteenth-century laws banning the distribution of "obscene" materials, including information about birth control and abortion. Beisel is currently working on a book titled Aborting Race: Color Blindness in the American Abortion Debate. Her paper, "Abortion, Race and Gender in Nineteenth Century America," which was co-authored with former Gender Studies major Tamara Kay, appeared in the American Sociological Review in 2004. The paper was awarded Best Recent Article prizes by the Political Sociology Section and the Race, Class and Gender Section of the American Sociological Association (2004).

Shana Bernstein | Legal Studies

Shana Bernstein

Shana Bernstein (Ph.D., Stanford University, 2003) specializes in 20th Century U.S. History, particularly comparative urban social reform movements. She is Associate Professor of History at Southwestern University in Texas and a Visiting Associate Professor at Northwestern University. Her first book, Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles (Oxford University Press, 2011), reinterprets U.S. civil rights activism by revealing its roots in the interracial efforts of Mexican, Jewish, African, and Japanese Americans in mid-century Los Angeles, and showing how the early Cold War facilitated, rather than derailed, some forms of activism. Bernstein is currently working on two studies. Jewish Americans in the American Century integrates Jewish Americans into twentieth-century U.S. history, revealing how they shaped twentieth-century U.S. history in previously unrecognized, and central, ways, particularly in terms of secularism, foreign policy, civil rights, feminism, and political liberalism more broadly. The second project examines the environmental justice activism of multiracial working class, immigrant neighborhoods in Chicago from the early through mid twentieth century. She teaches classes on comparative race and ethnicity, immigration, environmental health, and the U.S. West.

Geraldo Cadava | History

Geraldo Cadava

John Alba Cutler | English

John Alba Cutler

John Alba Cutler (Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2008) specializes in U.S. Latino/a literatures, particularly Chicano/a literature. He teaches courses on Latino/a literature, multiracial contemporary poetry, nationalist movements and print culture, and American literature more generally. He has published essays in American LiteratureAztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, and MELUS, among other places, and in 2013 was a recipient of the Weinberg College Distinguished Teaching Award. His current book project, The Ends of Assimilation: Race, Gender, and the Formation of Chicano Literature, examines how Chicano/a literary works represent processes of assimilation, and what those representations can teach us about the historical formation of the field of Chicano/a literature. The Ends of Assimilation argues that Chicano/a literature illuminates and critiques the historical consolidation of assimilation as a sociological discourse, but also that assimilation discourse helps to clarify the myriad ways that Chicano/a literature imagines cultural change. Assimilation represents a nexus of thematic concerns for Chicano/a literature, demonstrating the inextricability of race, gender, and the insatiable desire for authenticity.

Brian Edwards | English, Comparative Literary Studies, American Studies and MENA

Brian Edwards
  • Director of the Program in Middle East and North African Studies (MENA)
  • Phone: 847-491-4718
  • E-mail: bedwards@northwestern.edu

Brian T. Edwards (B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Yale University) teaches and writes about US literature and culture in its international context, globalization and culture, and contemporary literary and cultural production of North Africa and the Middle East. He has a particular interest in transnational approaches to American Studies and the ways in which US cultural production—including the discipline of American Studies itself—is received, consumed, understood, and taught outside of the US. Edwards is the author of Morocco Bound: Disorienting America's Maghreb, from Casablanca to the Marrakech Express (Duke UP, 2005).  He is co-editor, with Dilip Gaonkar, of Globalizing American Studies (U of Chicago Press, 2010), a collection of essays that provides global perspectives on US history and culture. Edwards has lectured extensively in the US and abroad, including in Egypt, India, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Qatar, and throughout Europe. He has been visiting faculty at the University of Tehran, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and University College Dublin, and a Fulbright Senior Specialist in American Studies at both Cairo University, Giza, and the Università degli studi di Napoli "L'Orientale" in Italy.  At Northwestern, Edwards directs the Globalizing American Studies Project, a multi-year initiative featuring a series of symposia and an international network of scholars. He is also the founding Director of Northwestern’s Program in Middle East and North African Studies (MENA).

Betsy Erkkilä | English

Betsy Erkkilä

Betsy Erkkilä (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) is the Henry Sanborn Noyes Professor of Literature. Her teaching and research are in the field of American literary and cultural studies, with a particular interest in American poetry, comparative American cultures, race and gender studies, and cultural and political theory. She has been awarded fellowships by the Guggenheim Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the American Council for Learned Societies, and the Fulbright Foundation. She is the author of Mixed Bloods and Other American Crosses: Essays on American Literature and Culture; The Wicked SistersWomen Poets, Literary History, and Discord; Whitman the Political Poet; and Walt Whitman Among the French: Poet and Myth.

Lane Fenrich | History and Weinberg Dean's Office

Lane Fenrich

Lane Fenrich is Distinguished Senior Lecturer in Gender & Sexuality Studies and also Assistant Dean for Freshmen. Fenrich is a cultural historian of the twentieth-century United States. He has received a number of major teaching awards, including the Arts and Sciences Alumni Teaching Award in 2000 and the Weinberg College Student Advisory Board Community Building Award in 2007. He was also named the Charles Deering McCormick University Distinguished Lecturer in 2008. Lane Fenrich regularly teaches one of Gender and Sexuality Studies’ gateway courses, "Sexual Subjects: Introduction to Sexuality Studies" as well as a very popular course on "U.S. Gay and Lesbian History."

Gary Fine | Sociology

Gary Fine

Gary Alan Fine is John Evans Professor of Sociology. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Social Psychology, with a minor in Folklore and Mythology. He served as a member of the American Studies faculty at the University of Minnesota from 1976-1990, and has been affiliated with the American Studies Program at Northwestern since 1997. He is an Americanist who writes on political and literary reputations (Difficult Reputations: Collective Memories of the Evil, Inept, and Controversial  and Sticky Reputations: The Politics of Collective Memory in Midcentury America). His work also includes studies of rumor (Whispers on the Color Line: Rumor and Race in America). He teaches courses on Collective Memory, and on Reputations and Rumors.

Marcia Gealy | Jewish Studies

Marcia Gealy

Marcia B. Gealy teaches a variety of writing and literature courses in the WCAS Writing Program, American Studies, Comparative Literary Studies, and Jewish Studies. She received an M.A. in English and Comparative Literature with Honors from Columbia University in NY and a Ph.D. in English with a special field in Modern Jewish Literature and History from the Ohio State University. She has been recognized for excellence in teaching by Mortar Board, the Associated Student Government Honor Roll (most recently in 2012-2013), and is a Charles Deering McCormick University Distinguished Senior Lecturer. Her research interests include the teaching of minority students and the Storytelling tradition in American Jewish Literature, two fields in which she has published articles. Her research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, the Illinois Humanities Council, and a Hewlett Endownment Grant.

Jay Grossman | English and American Studies

Jay Grossman

Jay Grossman (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) teaches and writes about eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature and culture, especially Emerson and Whitman, the history of the book, and the history of sexuality. His book, Reconstituting the American Renaissance: Emerson, Whitman, and the Politics of Representation, was published in Spring 2003 by Duke University Press. He has also co-edited (with Betsy Erkkila), Breaking Bounds: Whitman and American Cultural Studies (Oxford, 1996). For his current work, a cultural biography of the literary critic and political activist F. O. Matthiessen, he has received fellowship support from the ACLS, and in 2002-03 he was a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts. One section of this biography was published as "The Canon in the Closet: Matthiessen's Whitman, Whitman's Matthiessen" in American Literature (December 1998); another, on the sexual and textual intersections between Whitman, Matthiessen, and T. S. Eliot, appeared in Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essays, edited by Belasco, Folsom, and Price (Nebraska, 2008); and a third, “’Autobiography Even in the Loose Sense’: F. O. Matthiessen and Melville,” appeared in “Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies” (March 2011).

William Haarlow | American Studies and WCAS Admissions

William Haarlow

Bill is Senior Lecturer in American Studies and has taught in the Program since 2004.  His scholarship and teaching focuses on the history of education, particularly higher education and the liberal arts. He has presented papers at academic conferences around the nation and his publications include encyclopedia articles, reports, and several essays. His book, Great Books, Honors Programs, and Hidden Origins: The Virginia Plan and the University of Virginia in the Liberal Arts Movement, was published by Routledge/Falmer in 2003. He was named to the Northwestern ASG Faculty Honor Roll in 2008, 2012, and 2013. Bill is also the Director of College-Admission Relations, a member of the Undergraduate Admission Committee, and Director of the Weinberg College Undergraduate Research Grants Program. Bill earned his bachelor's degree in history at Princeton University, his master's degree at the University of Chicago, and his PhD at the University of Virginia. He has been at Northwestern in the College Dean's Office since 2002.

E. Patrick Johnson | African American Studies and Performance Studies

E. Patrick Johnson

E. Patrick Johnson has published widely in the areas of race, class, gender, and performance. He has written two award-winning books, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (Duke UP, 2003), which won the Lilla A. Heston Award, the Errol Hill Book Award, and was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History (University of North Carolina UP, 2008), which was recognized as a Stonewall Book Award Honor Book by the LGBT Round Table of the American Library Association, and co-edited Black Queer Studies—A Critical Anthology(Duke UP, 2005). His essays have appeared in Text and Performance Quarterly,Callaloo, Theater Journal, and the Journal of Homosexuality, among others. He is currently co-editing two anthologies — one on black and Latina/o queer performance work, Blaktino Queer Performance, and the other on black solo women performers, solo/black/woman; he is also working on an oral history of black lesbians of the South tentatively titled, Honey Pot. Johnson’s performance work dovetails with his written work. He toured his one-man show, Strange Fruit, an autobiographical mediation on race, gender, class, and region to over 30 college campuses from 1998–2003. His staged reading, "Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales" is based on his book, Sweet Tea, and has toured to over 80 college campuses from 2006 to the present.

Susan Manning | English, Theatre, and Performance Studies

Susan Manning

Susan Manning has pursued her research interest in dance studies, an emergent discipline within the humanities, by working through the more established fields of drama, theatre, and performance studies. As a Professor of English, Theatre and Performance Studies at Northwestern University, she teaches the history and theory of twentieth-century theatrical performance, including dance, drama, and music theatre.

Kate Masur | History

Kate Masur

Kate Masur is mainly an historian of the nineteenth-century United States and specializes in questions of slavery, emancipation, civil rights, and politics.  A faculty affiliate of the Department of African American Studies, she is the author of An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, D.C. (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). Professor Masur has published several scholarly journal articles, including most recently, “Patronage and Protest in Kate Brown’s Washington,” Journal of American History (March 2013). Her writing has also appeared in the op-ed pages of the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Atlantic Online.  She holds degrees in History (B.A.), Modern Culture and Media (B.A.), Women and Gender Studies (graduate certificate), and American Studies (Ph.D.).  The recipient of fellowships from the ACLS, the NEH, and Library of Congress’s John W. Kluge Center, Professor Masur teaches general courses in U.S. history and more specialized topics such as the Civil War and Reconstruction, Abraham Lincoln, civil rights in the nineteenth century, and comparative emancipations. She has recently added U.S. women’s history to her repertoire.

Shaundra Myers | English

Shaundra Myers

Robert Orsi | Religious Studies

Robert Orsi

Robert Orsi is the first holder of the Grace Craddock Nagle Chair in Catholic Studies. Professor Orsi studies American religious history and contemporary practice; American Catholicism in both historical and ethnographic perspective; and he is widely recognized also for his work on theory and method for the study of religion. In 2002-2003, he was president of the American Academy of Religion. Professor Orsi has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Fulbright Foundation. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2010 he received the E. Leroy Hall Award for Teaching Excellence, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University, the highest recognition for teaching offered by WCAS.

Susan Pearson | History

Susan Pearson

Susan J. Pearson (PhD University of North Carolina, 2004) is an historian of the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century United States with special interest in the cultural politics of reform, rights discourse, the development of American liberalism, the history of childhood, and the history of human-animal relations. Her first book, The Rights of the Defenseless: Protecting Animals and Children in Gilded Age America (University of Chicago Press, 2011) examines the institutional and cultural linkages between animal and child protection organizations. Professor Pearson is also the author of Infantile Specimens: Showing Babies in Nineteenth Century America, which won the Best Article Prize from the Society for the History of Children and Youth. Professor Pearson is at work on a new project that examines the spread of compulsory and universal birth registration in the United States. Her research details how a once-locally and unevenly-practiced form of recordkeeping became the most essential mechanism for recording and establishing individual identity.

Janice Radway | Communication, American Studies, and Gender & Sexuality Studies

Janice Radway

Janice Radway is the Walter Dill Scott Professor of Communication and Professor of American Studies and Gender Studies at Northwestern University.  She received her Ph.D. in English and American Studies from Michigan State University and is past President of the American Studies Association and former editor of American Quarterly.   She is the author of Reading the Romance:  Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature and A Feeling for Books:  The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste and Middle Class Desire. She is co-editor (with Carl Kaestle) of Volume 4 of A History of the Book in America, Print in Motion: The Expansion of Publishing and Reading in the United States, 1880-1940.  She is also co-editor (with Kevin Gaines, Barry Shank, and Penny Von Eschen) of American Studies:  An Anthology and is currently working on a book about girl zines, subjectivity, and the future of feminism in the twenty-first century.

Ramón Rivera-Servera | Performance Studies

Ramón Rivera-Servera

Ramón H. Rivera-Servera's research focuses on contemporary performance in North America and the Caribbean with special emphasis on the ways categories of race, gender, and sexuality are negotiated in the process of (im)migration. His work documents a wide array of performance practices ranging from theatre and concert dance to social dance, fashion, and speech. His teaching ranges from seminar courses on Latina/o and queer performance, sound and movement studies, and visual cultural studies to workshop courses on social art practices, the performances of non-fiction, ethnographic research methods, and performance art.

Monica Russel y Rodriguez | Anthropology and Weinberg Dean's Office

Monica Russel y Rodriguez

Monica Russel y Rodriguez is an ethnographer with broad disciplinary interests that include Anthropology, Latina/o Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Gender Studies. She works primarily with US Latina/o populations and larger questions of representation of Latinas/os in academe, public policy, and the media. Her interests are gender, sexuality, race and class in Latina/o communities.  Her research areas include Los Angeles, Denver, rural New Mexico, and Chicago and the Chicago suburbs. Her research agenda and publications focus on Chicana feminist theory, theories and methods of ethnography, and questions of race and mixed race in Chicana/o communities. Her activism has centrally involved women's health and reproductive rights, particularly for underserved and undocumented Latinas.

William Savage | English and Weinberg Advising

William Savage

Nitasha Tamar Sharma | African American Studies and Asian American Studies

Nitasha Tamar Sharma

Nitasha Sharma is an Associate Professor of African American Studies and Asian American Studies and an Affiliate of the Department of Performance Studies. Trained in anthropology, Dr. Sharma's first book, Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness (Duke U Press, 2010) analyzes how second generation members of an upwardly mobile and middle-class immigrant group use hip hop to develop racial--and not just ethnic--identities. The racial consciousness expressed by these hip hop artists as “people of color” facilitates the development of multiracial coalitions that cross boundaries while explicitly acknowledging “difference.” Her current book, Hidden Hapas: Multiracial Blacks and Blackness in Hawaii, is an ethnography is based on interviews with 60 non-White mixed race Blacks in Hawai'i, including Black Hawaiians, Black Samoans, and Black Okinawans to analyze how mixed race people negotiate, express, and repress race as they identify across constructed racial categories. This work speaks to debates in Mixed Race Studies, Comparative Race Studies, and Diaspora Studies to analyze Blackness in the Pacific and offer new theories of belonging that emerge from the intersection of race and indigeneity. Dr. Sharma teaches courses on Asian/Black relations, Hip Hop, and the Multiracial Experience.

Elizabeth Son | Theatre

Elizabeth Son

Elizabeth Son is an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre with courtesy appointments in the American Studies Program, Asian American Studies Program, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, and the Department of Performance Studies.  Her research and teaching interests include Asian & Asian American theatre and performance; Korean diasporic performance; transnational/diaspora studies; critical race studies; gender studies; trauma and memory; and human rights and social movements. Her current research focuses on the intersection between performance and politics in a transnational Asian/American context. Her book manuscript, The Performance of Redress: Transpacific Acts of Remembering Gender Violence, explores the political and cultural significances of performances in Korea, Japan, and the United States for the transnational processes of reckoning with the history of Japanese military sexual slavery. She looks specifically at protests, tribunals, theatre, testimonial acts, and monument building as sites for reimagining what constitutes redress. She received her PhD in American Studies from Yale University and is a former visiting research scholar in the women’s, gender, and sexuality studies program at Northeastern University.

Julia Stern | English and American Studies

Julia Stern

Julia Stern (Ph.D. Columbia) is the author of The Plight of Feeling: Sympathy and Dissent in the Early American Novel (a finalist for the MLA's first book prize) and Mary Chesnut's Civil War Epic, both published by the University of Chicago Press. Currently, she is at work on a book manuscript tentatively titled: "Through Bette Davis Eyes: Representing Race at Warner Brothers, 1938-1962." Her teaching interests include American Literary Traditions 1630-1850, 1850-1900, Race and Politics in the Major Novels of Faulkner, and American Women Auteurs, from Ann Bradstreet to Bette Davis.

Lawrence Stuelpnagel | Journalism

Lawrence Stuelpnagel

Prior to coming to Northwestern University in 1995, Larry covered the New Jersey Statehouse and the state's congressional delegation for WNET TV in New York and New Jersey Public Television. His political reporting earned an Emmy award in 1989. In Political Science, Larry teaches courses on politics, the press and how the media impact the political process. His research interests include media ownership and how that affects news coverage and diversity in the news industry. He is the faculty advisor to the Northwestern News Network, a newscast produced by students from across the university.

Sarah McFarland Taylor | Religious Studies

Sarah McFarland Taylor

Award-winning author Sarah McFarland Taylor is an associate professor of Religious Studies, specializing in the study of media, religion, and American culture, with a particular interest in the study of the aesthetics and representations of ecologies and environmental issues in American popular culture. Her first book, Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology, was published with Harvard University Press in 2008.  Her current book, Green Convergence: Media, Ecology, and Piety in Popular Culture, is forthcoming. Taylor co-chairs the "Religion, Media, and Culture" research unit for the American Academy of Religion and is the former co-chair of its "Religion and Ecology" section. Among other courses, she regularly teaches American Studies seminars on "American Teenage Rites of Passage" and on "Religion, Media, and American Popular Culture." Taylor's "American Jezebels" course deals with transgressive women in America's religious past and present.

Ivy Wilson | English

Ivy Wilson
  • Director of American Studies, 2015 - 2018
  • Phone: 847-491-3496
  • Office Location: University Hall 027 | FQ 2015 office hours | T 3:00-5:00
  • E-mail: i-wilson@northwestern.edu

Ivy Wilson teaches courses on the comparative literatures of the black diaspora and U.S. literary studies with a particular emphasis on African American culture. His book, Specters of Democracy: Blackness and the Aesthetics of Nationalism(Oxford UP, 2011), interrogates how the figurations and tropes of blackness were used to produce the social equations that regulated the cultural meanings of U.S. citizenship and traces how African American intellectuals manipulated the field of aesthetics as a means to enter into political discourse about the forms of subjectivity and national belonging. Along with recent articles in ESQArizona Quarterly, and PMLA, his other work in U.S. literary studies includes two forthcoming edited books on the nineteenth-century poets James Monroe Whitfield and Albery Allson Whitman. His current research interests focus on the solubility of nationalism in relationship to theories of the diaspora, global economies of culture, and circuits of the super-national and sub-national.

Kelly Wiscup | English

Kelly Wiscup
Kelly Wisecup specializes in Native American literature, early American literature, and medicine and literature. Her research studies the ways in which Native American and African-descended people responded to and critiqued Euro-American science in North America and the Caribbean before 1900. She has published essays in Early American Literature, Early American Studies, Atlantic Studies, and Studies in Travel Writing. Her first book, Medical Encounters: Knowledge and Identity in Early American Literatures (2013) explores how medical knowledge served as a form of communication among colonists, Native Americans, and African Americans, one in which people defined and defended their bodies, their relationship to the environment, and to other than human beings. Her current book project, Assembled Relations: Compilation, Collection, and Native American Writing, investigates how Native American writers, diplomats, ministers, and tribal leaders adapted forms of compilation and collection—herbals, vocabulary lists, museum inventories, catalogs, and commonplace books—to restore and remake environmental, epistemological, and interpersonal relations disrupted by colonialism.

Michelle Wright | African American Studies

Michelle Wright

Michelle M. Wright works on American Studies from a comparative perspective, specifically looking at how African American expression of blackness compare and contrast to those in Europe, the Caribbean and West Africa through the lenses of gender, sexuality, class, nationality, ethnicity, religion, philosophy, history and theory. The majority of courses she teaches through African American Studies, the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and the Program in Science and Human Cultures look closely at the construction of black identities in literature and theory. Her most recent research interest is how spacetime informs collective identity formation.