Susan Gillman
  • Title
    • Distinguished Professor
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • Literature Department
  • Affiliations Literature Department, Research Center for the Americas, Academic Senate
  • Phone
    831-459-4199 (Office), 831-459-1924 (Message)
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Humanities Building 1, 640 Humanities 1
  • Mail Stop Humanities Academic Services
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Literature, African American / Black Studies, American Studies, Race, US History, Slavery, Ocean Studies, Language and Linguistics, Popular Culture, Atlantic World

Summary of Expertise

Race, Black Studies, transnational studies, multilingualism

Research Interests

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

Biography, Education and Training

I am a scholar of race and race-relations 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 in progress 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.

Selected Publications