Dorian F Bell
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • Literature Department
    • Jewish Studies
    • Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Affiliations Cowell College, Oakes College
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Humanities Building 1, Room 227
  • Office Hours Spring 2024: Mon. 2-3:30pm and by appt
  • Mail Stop Humanities Academic Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Courses LIT 182K--Race in France, LIT 81E--Social Media and Society, LIT 101--New Media Theory, LIT 61H--Introduction to Film Analysis: Film Noir, LIT 160G--Jews in Theory, LIT 230A--Theorizing Conspiracy Theory, LIT 200--Stakes of the Global, LIT 280--Race and Space

Summary of Expertise

19th-21st century French culture and history; histories of empire, race, and antisemitism; critical race and whiteness studies; racial capitalism; postcolonial theory; spatial theory; globalization and migration; digital culture; science fiction; film studies

Research Interests

I work broadly on the histories of race in Europe and the US. My first book, Globalizing Race: Antisemitism and Empire in French and European Culture, traces articulations between antisemitism and imperialism that shaped the emergence of European racial thought. Combining critical race studies and spatial theory, I argue that colonial expansion helped modern antisemitism adopt the political, racializing guise that would haunt the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.


My book-in-progress, White Populism: Race and Grievance in the 21st Century, maps the new white racial consciousness roiling politics on both sides of the Atlantic. The book offers the first account of white grievance as a collective international identity. Giving a name to the political result—white populism—I reorient the study of populism toward the social realities of race. White Populism rethinks longstanding assumptions about whiteness as a strategic invisibility. What happens instead, the book asks, when white people contemplate their own whiteness?

Biography, Education and Training

--Member, Institute for Advanced Study (School of Social Science), Princeton, NJ, 2018-19

--Assistant Professor of French, Department of French and Italian, University of California, Irvine, 2008-2010

--Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford Humanities Fellows Program, Department of French and Italian, Stanford University, 2007-2008

--Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory, University of Pennsylvania, 2008

Honors, Awards and Grants

Selected Fellowships:

--EVC Fellow, UC Santa Cruz, 2022-23

--Fellow, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2019

--Member, Institute for Advanced Study (School of Social Science), Princeton, NJ, 2018-19

--Camargo Foundation Fellowship, Cassis, France, 2018-19 (declined)

--National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship, 2011-12

--UC President's Faculty Research Fellowship in the Humanities, 2011-12

--Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Fellows Program, Department of French and Italian, Stanford University, 2007-2008

--Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies, 2007-2008 (declined)

--Fulbright US Student Program Grant, Tunisia, 1999-2000

Awards and Distinctions:

--Globalizing Race book selected for the Modern Language Initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support first books on cultural production in languages other than English, 2017

--Chosen to participate in the Social Heterogeneity: Civil War workshop, part of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Horizons of the Humanities initiative at the University of California Humanities Research Institute, Irvine, CA, 2017

--Larry Schehr Memorial Award for the best junior faculty essay presented at the 2012 Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium (for "Zola, Nietzsche, Marx: Anti-Anti-Semitism and the Politics of Scale")

--Malcolm Bowie Prize for the best article in French studies published in 2009 by an early-career scholar, awarded by the Society for French Studies (for "The Jew as Model: Anti-Semitism, Aesthetics, and Epistemology in the Goncourt Brothers' Manette Salomon")

Selected Publications


Globalizing Race: Antisemitism and Empire in French and European Culture (Northwestern University Press, 2018; downloadable here)

Articles and reviews:

--"White Atlantic: Counterfeiting Race in France," Contemporary French and Francophone Studies: SITES, 2022

--"Unfinished Business: Anti-Semitism, Racial Capitalism, and the Long Era of Empire," Nineteenth-Century French Studies, 2022

--"Beyond the New Anti-Semitism," H-France Salon 11: 2, 2019

--Review of Bruno Chaouat, Is Theory Good for the Jews?: French Thought and the Challenge of the New AntisemitismAntisemitism Studies, 2019

--"Europe's 'New Jews': France, Islamophobia, and Antisemitism in the Era of Mass Migration," Jewish History, 2018

--"If Fossils Could Talk: Balzac, Napoleon, and North Africa," The Balzac Review/Revue Balzac, 2018 

--"Historicizing French Universalism Out of the Impasse," review of Maurice Samuels, The Right to Difference: French Universalism and the JewsH-France Forum, 2017

--"Hannah Arendt, the Jews, and the Labor of Superfluity," PMLA, 2012

--"Balzac's Algeria: Realism and the Colonial," Nineteenth-Century French Studies, 2012

--"Beyond the Bourse: Zola, Empire, and the Jews," Romanic Review, 2011

--"Maupassant and the Limits of the Self," Romanic Review, 2010

--"Agent OSS 117: France, Colonial Memory, and the Politics of Parody," Contemporary French Civilization, 2010

--"The Jew as Model: Anti-Semitism, Aesthetics, and Epistemology in the Goncourt Brothers' Manette Salomon," Modern Language Notes, 2009

--"Cavemen Among Us: Genealogies of Atavism from Zola's La Bête humaine to Chabrol's Le Boucher," French Studies, 2008