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  Susan Gillman

Susan Gillman

Distinguished Professor

831-459-4199 (Office)

831-459-1925 (Fax)


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Humanities Division

Literature Department

Distinguished Professor


Literature Department
Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas
Academic Senate

Regular Faculty

African American / Black Studies
American Studies
US History
Ocean Studies
Language and Linguistics
Popular Culture
Atlantic World

Humanities Building 1
640 Humanities 1

Humanities Academic Services

I am a scholar of race and slavery in the United States, the Americas, and beyond. From my usual base in the nineteenth century, I approach the study of national literatures and cultures from a “worlded” perspective developed by the cluster in World Literature and Cultural Studies at UCSC. My first book – focusing on Mark Twain’s lifelong interest in identity and imposture - explores his engagement with the changing systems of racial classification in the late nineteenth-century US. My second book considers the mode of “American race melodrama,” which I contextualize as part of the “culture of the occult,” a quasi-political meeting ground for both race radicals and conservatives. My current book, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2022, reaches into hemispheric and ocean studies with a project tracing the strange career of the term “American Mediterranean,” a combined scholarly metaphor and folk geographical concept, appearing and disappearing in multiple disciplines, genres, and languages, a point of departure for a comparative critical study of the Americas.

Race, Black Studies, transnational studies, multilingualism

Nineteenth-century American literature and culture; theories of culture, race, and sexuality; world literature and cultural studies; transnational and translational approaches to literature.

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