This seminar focuses on American literature and culture in all periods and with an interdisciplinary lens. It showcases new work by scholars engaging with well-established and emergent methodologies in the history of American culture, politics, and aesthetics.

Upcoming Events

Nan Z. Da, University of Notre Dame
CANCELLED: Tracking Devices: on Infelicity and the Ends of Criticism
Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - 6:00pm

We are sorry to announce that, in response to the updated University guidance on COVID-19, all events and seminars at the Mahindra Humanities Center have been cancelled starting Wednesday, March 11 until further notice. Please check our website and social media for updates as we work to reschedule as much of our events as possible for the fall.
We look forward to seeing you again at Mahindra Center events as soon as possible.

Kelly Rich, Harvard University

Past Events 2019 - 20

Branka Arsic, Columbia University
Coral Psyches: Melville on Minds and Islands
Min Hyoung Song, Boston College
Everyday Denial and Climate Lyricism
Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University
La Stufa di Pensilvania: Benjamin Franklin's Conservationist Bestseller
Michael Birenbaum Quintero, Boston University
Political / Apolitical / Impolitical: Black Affective Politics in Buenaventura, Colombia
Holly Jackson, University of Massachusetts, Boston
The Whole World Will Burn: Antebellum Radicalism and the Apocalyptic Imagination

Past Events 2018 - 19

Takeo Rivera, Boston University
Model Minority Agony: The Afro-Asian Superego in the Theater of Philip Kan Gotanda
Sari Altschuler, Northeastern University
Touching The Scarlet Letter: What Disability History Can Teach Us About Literature
Jerome Tharaud, Brandeis University
Resurrection Ecology: Rewilding, Religion, and the Buffalo Commons Novel
Philip Deloria, Harvard University
Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Abstract
Shirley Moody-Turner, Pennsylvania State University
Shadow Books and Excess: Anna Julia Cooper’s Publishing Praxis
Karen Sánchez-Eppler, Amherst College
Data and Destitution: Reading the Registers of the Chicago Nursery and Half-Orphan Asylum

Past Events 2017 - 18

Robin Bernstein, Harvard University
The Tragedy of William Freeman: A Story of Mass Murder, Slavery, and Convict Labor in the North
Christopher Looby, University of California, Los Angeles
Abraham Lincoln, Artemus Ward, and the Literary Event
Joshua Kotin, Princeton University
W.E.B. Du Bois's Hermeticism
Dorothy Wang, Williams College
Whither Poetry Studies?
Tess Chakkalakal, Bowdoin College
The Other Side of America: How Realism Shaped American Literature
Anita Patterson, Boston University
"Projections in the Haiku Manner": Richard Wright, T. S. Eliot, and Transpacific Modernism

Past Events 2016 - 17

Nathan Wolff, Tufts University
Desire, Disgust, Democracy (Henry Adams vs. Walt Whitman)
Nadia Nurhussein, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Claude McKay's New Novel and Harlem's Response to the War in Ethiopia
Imani Perry, Princeton University
Looking for Lorraine: Hansberry's Queer Archive
Ju Yon Kim, Harvard University
"The Face Behind the Paper": Race, Casting, and Suspicion in Julia Cho's The Piano Teacher
Leonard Von Morze, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Did the Early U.S. Have a Multilingual Public Sphere?
Jason Ruiz, University of Notre Dame
Narcomedia: Latinxs, Drug Economies, and the Politics of Representation

Past Events 2015 - 16

Deak Nabers, Brown University
Thoreau, Douglass, Harpers Ferry, and the Aesthetic Mechanics of Emancipation
Kevin Ohi, Boston College
Revision, Origin, and the Courage of Truth: Henry James's New York Edition Prefaces
Carrie Hyde, University of California, Los Angeles
The Speculative Constitution of Early US Citizenship
Nicole Aljoe, Northeastern University
The Memoir of Florence Hall and the Long Song of the Caribbean Colonial Archives
William Huntting Howell, Boston University
The Occasion of Anthony Burns
Robin Kelsey, Harvard University
Ted Serios (who?) and the Death of Modernism

Past Events 2014 - 15

Nancy Cott, Harvard University
The Accidental Internationalist: A 1920s Counternarrative of Americans Abroad
Murray Forman, Northeastern University
Old Flow: Negotiating Age and Aging in Hip-Hop
Elisa Tamarkin, University of California, Berkeley
Art and Fallacy: A Story of Red Herrings
Gene Jarrett, Boston University
Agency, Literacy, Slavery: The Limits of African American Literary Studies
Joseph Rezek, Boston University
What are the Standard Novels? Thoughts on Richard Bentley’s Transatlantic Editions
Theo Davis, Northeastern University
Whitman and Ornamental Distinction

Past Events 2013 - 14

Michael Warner, Yale University
The Evangelical Black Atlantic: Wheatley and Marrant
Kate Marshall, University of Notre Dame
Novels by Aliens: Nonhuman Narration and American Realism
Steven Biel, Harvard University
The Deer Hunter Debate: Artistic License and Vietnam War Remembrance
Maurice Lee, Boston University
Carrying Out the Wealth of the Indies: Emerson’s Many Books
Jennifer Roberts, Harvard University
Reversing American Painting: Print and the Force of Inversion in Nineteenth-Century Trompe-l'oeil
Lisa Lowe, Tufts University
Ruses of Liberty, and the Social Life of Empire

Past Events 2012 - 13

Jill Lepore, Harvard University
“The Ladies’ Library: Or, Benjamin Franklin’s Sister’s Books”
Kimberly Juanita Brown, Northeastern University
"Engendering Fury: Visuality and Retrieval in the Works of Lucille Clifton and June Jordan"
Robert Chodat, Boston University
“That Horeb, That Kansas: Gilead, Evolution, and Why I Act”
Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Northeastern University
"Kinship Imagined and Unimagined: The Atlantic Origins of the Novel"
Christopher Castiglia, Pennsylvania State University
“The Practices of Hope: Cold War Melancholy and the Americanist Future”
John T. Matthews, Boston University
"Faulkner to Film in the Fifties"