Barbara C. Foley

Barbara C. Foley


bfoley [at]



Office Location

360 Dr. Martin L. King Blvd.
Hill Hall Room 513
Newark, NJ 07102

Office Hours

By Appointment

A leading authority on twentieth-century U.S. literary radicalism, Barbara Foley is a Distinguished Professor of English and American Studies at Rutgers-Newark. She has authored six books: Telling the Truth: The Theory and Practice of Documentary Fiction (1986); Radical Representations: Politics and Form in U.S. Proletarian Fiction, 1929-1941 (1993); Spectres of 1919: Class and Nation in the Making of the New Negro (2003); Wrestling with the Left: The Making of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (2010); Jean Toomer: Race, Repression, and Revolution (2014); and Marxist Literary Criticism Today (2019). 

She has published widely in the fields of Marxist theory, African-American literature, and the literature of the Left. Prof. Foley is vice-president of the Marxist journal Science & Society, where she serves on the manuscript committee and editorial board. She is past president of the Radical Caucus of the Modern Language Association and currently serves as chair of the Task Force on Combating Racism of NOW-NJ.

Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses

  • Literature of Social Protest in the United States
  • Survey of American Literature
  • Representations of Race in American Literature
  • Studies in American Authors: Richard Wright; Langston Hughes; Ralph Ellison
  • The Novel in America to 1950; The Novel in America Since 1950
  • Social Class in American Literature (Honors)
  • The Harlem Renaissance
  • The Radical Tradition in American Literature
  • Survey of African-American Literature

Graduate Courses

  • U. S. Proletarian Literature
  • Marxist Literary Theory
  • Literature of the Great Depression
  • Urban Literature
  • The American 1920s
  • The Harlem Renaissance
  • The American 1930s
  • The American Novel Between the Wars

Ph.D. Thesis Supervision/Participation

Shana Russell, "Literary Laborers and Real Life Radicals: Domestic Work, Sex Work, and Black Women's Revolutionary Class Consciousness." American Studies, Rutgers-Newark. Thesis Director.

Paul Heideman, "Banquo's Ghost: The Russian Revolution in New Negro Thought." American Studies, Rutgers-Newark, Thesis Director.

Taylor Black, "Time Out of Mind: Style and the Art of Becoming:" American Studies, Rutgers-Newark.

Anna Einarsodottir, "The Concept of the Proletariat: On Proletarian Literature in the Americas." University of California-Davis.

Rich Hancuff, “The New Masses and the Politics of Race.”  George Washington University. 

Kimberly De Fazio, “Materialist Representations of the City in Contemporary Culture.”  State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Jennifer Cotter, “Feminist Theory and Cultural Critique: Class, Globalization, and Social Differences.”  University of Pittsburgh. 

Sondra H Guttman, "The Representation of Rape in Modernist Literature." Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

Charles Cunningham, “Middle-Class Voyeurism and Writing about the ‘Poor’ in Depression-Era America.”  Carnegie Mellon University.

Marcial González, "The Postmodern Turn in Chicano Studies."  Stanford University.

Anthony Squiers, "Bertolt Brecht as Political Theorist" Western Michigan State University.

Tamlyn Avery, “Youth of the Nation: The Evolution of the American Bildungsroman.”    University of New South Wales, Australia. 

Independent Studies (graduate and undergraduate)

  • Proletarian Writers
  • African American Writers and the Left
  • The Harlem Renaissance
  • Feminism and Marxism in 1930s U. S. Literature
  • Marxist Theory
  • Women and the Marxist Tradition
  • Americans Abroad
  • Writing Radical Fiction

M.A. and Undergraduate Honors Thesis Supervision

            “Capital Letters: On the Reproduction of Perpetual War Economy in the English  Language Arts Classroom”     

            “Race and Circassian Women: Then and Now.”      

            “The Black Feminist Bildungsroman.

            “Crime and Punishment in American Literature.”

            “Radical Black Writers of the 1930s.”

            “Motherhood in Black Women's Literature.”

            “Leftist Female Journalists of the 1930s.”

            “The Politics of John Steinbeck.”


Research Grant, Rutgers Research Council.  2008-09.

FASP Leave, Rutgers University.  Fall 2008.

FASP Leave, Rutgers University.  Spring 2005.

Scholar-Activist of the year.  Golden Key Society.  Rutgers University.  2004.

Research Grant, Rutgers Research Council.  2001-02.

Teacher of the Year Award, University College, Rutgers University. 2000.

Research Grant, Rutgers Research Council. 1998-99.

FASP Leave, Rutgers University. Fall 1998.

National Endowment for the Humanities.  1996-97. 

Research Grant, Rutgers Research Council.  1995-96.

The Graduate School, Rutgers University.  1993-94.

The Graduate School, Rutgers University.  1990-91.

FASP Leave, Rutgers University.  Fall 1990.

National Endowment for the Humanities/Newberry Library Fellowship.  1987-88.

American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship.  1987-88.

Office of Research and Special Projects Grant, Northwestern University.  1981-82.

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellowship. 1980.

American Council of Learned Societies Semester Fellowship. Spring 1980.

University of Wisconsin Graduate School Research Grants.  Summers  1978 and 1979.

Special Humanities Fellowship, University of Chicago.  1969-72.

Isabel Briggs Traveling Fellowship, Radcliffe College.  1969.


Ph.D. with Honors, University of Chicago.  1976.
M.A., University of Chicago.  1971.
B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, Magna cum Laude, Radcliffe College.  1969.


Marxist Literary Theory

African-American Literature

Literary Radicalism




Marxist Literary Criticism Today.  London: Pluto Books. 2019

Jean Toomer: Race, Repression and Revolution. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 2014

Wrestling with the Left: The Making of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Durham: Duke University Press. 2010.

Spectres of 1919: Class and Nation in the Making of the New Negro. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 2003. (paperback edition 2008).

Radical Representations: Politics and Form in US Proletarian Fiction, 1929-1941.  Durham:  Duke University Press.  1993.

Telling the Truth: The Theory and Practice of Documentary Fiction.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 1986. Ebook 2018.

Articles, Book Chapters, Encyclopedia Articles, Critical Introductions, Review Essays, Editorial Perspectives, Interviews

“Richard Wright in the Context of Black Lives Matter.” In Richard Wright in Context. Ed. Michael Nowlin.  Cambridge University Press. Forthcoming 2020.

“Ralph Ellison’s Early Writings.”  In Ralph Ellison in Context. Ed. Paul Devlin. Cambridge University Press.  Forthcoming 2020.

“The New Negro, the Left, and the Harlem Renaissance.” In Teaching the Harlem Renaissance.  Ed. Venetria K. Patton.  Modern Language Association. Forthcoming 2020.

“Racism.” Bloomsbury Companion to Marx.  Ed. Jeff Diamanti, Andrew Pendakis, and Imre Szeman.  London: Bloomsbury Academic. 2019. 607-612.

“Proletarian Literature and Social Realism: 1914 to the Present Day.” Blackwell Companion to American Literature.  Ed. Suzanne Belasco et. al.  3 vols. Forthcoming 2020. 

“Intersectionality: A Marxist Commentary and Critique.”  Science & Society 82, 2 (April 2018): 269-75. Revised version published at Monthly Review Online (; at Portside

(; and at Multiracial Unity Blog (

“Retrospective Radicalism: Politics and History in Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.” Co-Authored with Peter Gardner.  College Literature: A Journal of Critical Literary Studies 44.1 (Winter 2017): 1-29.

“Becoming ‘More Human’: From the Drafts of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man to Three Days Before the Shooting…” African American Review 48 (Spring/Summer 2015): 67-82.

“Left Politics and Literary History.”  Symposium on the Legacy of Alan Wald. Science & Society 78 (July 2014): 350-60.

Editorial Perspective: “Value, Exploitation and Anti-Racism: Can the New Communism Learn Something from the Old?” Science & Society 78, 2 (April 2014): 145-50.

"Paths to Revolution: A Commentary on Kevin Anderson’s Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Non-Western Societies.”  Co-authored with Kanishka Choudhury. Mediations. 27, 1-2, (Fall-Spring 2013-14): 411-418

"Biography and the Political Unconscious: Ellison, Toomer, Jameson, and the Politics of Symptomatic Reading."  Biography 36.4 (Fall 2013); 649-71.

"Left Politics and Literary History." Symposium on the Legacy of Alan Wald. Science & Society. 2014.

 “The Color of Blood: John Brown, Jean Toomer, and the New Negro Movement.”  African American Review 46, 2 (Summer 2013). 

 “Critical Credo.” In The Critical Pulse: Thirty-Six Credos by Contemporary Critics.  Ed. Heather Steffen and Jeffrey Williams.  New York: Columbia University Press. 2012.  115-20.

“Reading Forward to Invisible Man” (translated into Chinese).  Theory, Method, Practice.  Changsha: Henan University Press.  2011.  271-83.

“‘A Dramatic Picture of Woman . . . from Feudalism to Fascism’: Richard Wright’s Unpublished Novel Black Hope.” Obsidian 11, 2 (Fall-Winter 2010): 43-54.

“Proletarian Literature Today.” Reconstruction: A Journal of Contemporary Literature.  8, 3: Fall 2010.

 “Rhetoric and Silence in Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father.”  Cultural Logic.  2009.

”Interview of Barbara Foley with Shaobo Xie and Fengzhen Wang: Whither China?" Special Issue of Science & Society on China, 73,2 (April 2009): 193-207.

“The Proletarian Novel.”  A Companion to the Modern American Novel 1900-1950. Ed.   John T. Matthews.  Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.  2009.  353-66.

The Ellison Industry.”  Symbolism: An International Annual of Critical Aesthetics. Ed. Rudiuger Ahrens and Klaus Stierstorfer. Volume 8.  New York: AMS Press, 2008.  323-42.

“Reading Forward from the Left.”  Interview with Joseph Ramsey.  Special Issue on Class, Culture, and Public Intellectuals.  Reconstruction.  February 2008.          

“Dialectics and the Left” (translated into Chinese).  Journal of the Shanghai Academy for Social Sciences.  [Babala Fulei], “Lun Feiduikangxing Maodun?” Heilongjiang Shehui Kexue, 2 (2007) 1-4.

 “Racism Redux: David Horowitz Then and Now.”  minnesota review.  67 (Fall 2006): 123-28. 

 “Ralph Ellison, Intertextuality, and Biographical Criticism: An Answer to Brian Roberts.”  Journal of Narrative Theory 34 (Fall 2004): 229-57.

Race, Class, and Communism: The Young Ralph Ellison and the ‘Whole Left.’”  In Radical Relevance: Essays Toward a Scholarship of the “Whole Left.” Ed. Steven Rosendale and Laura Gray-Rosendale.  Albany, NY: SUNY P.  2004. 31-56.

“Looking Backward, 2001-1969: Student Movements in the Era of ‘Globalization.’” In Amitava Kumar, ed., World Bank Literature.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota P. 2003.  26-39.

Interview with Barbara Foley. Ed. Shaobo Xie and Fengzhen Wang.  In Dialogues on Cultural Studies: Interviews with Contemporary Critics. Calgary: University of Calgary P. 2003.  79-92.

"From Communism to Brotherhood: The Drafts of Invisible Man."  In Bill V. Mullen and James A. Smethurst, eds., Left of the Color Line: Race, Radicalism and Twentieth-Century Literature of the United States. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina P.  2003. 163-82.

“Ten Propositions on the Relationship of Marxism to Working-Class Studies.”  Symposium on “Marxism and Working-Class Studies,” Rethinking Marxism, 14 (Fall 2002): 28-31.  . 

"New Historicism, Liberalism, and the Re-Marginalization of the Left."  Review Essay on Sean McCann, Gumshoe America: Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Rise and Fall of New Deal Liberalism; Catherine Jurca, White Diaspora: The Suburb and the Twentieth-Century American Novel; and Michael Szalay, New Deal Liberalism: American Literature and the Invention of the Welfare Stateminnesota review n.s. 55-57, Special Issue on 50s Culture (2002): 303-18.

"From Situational Dialectics to Pseudo-Dialectics: Mao, Jiang, and Capitalist Transition."   Cultural Logic 5, 3 (Fall 2002).

"The Politics of Post-Positivist Realism." Cultural Logic 4, 2 (2002).

Interview with Barbara Foley.  Conducted by Leo Parascondola.  In Workplace: E-Journal of the MLA Graduate Student Caucus. December 2000.

"From Wall Street to Astor Place: Historicizing Melville's 'Bartleby,'" American Literature 72 (March 2000): 87-116.

"Reading Redness: Politics and Audience in Ralph Ellison's Early Short Fiction," Journal of Narrative Theory 29 (Fall 1999): 323-339.

"Theory Into Practice: An Interview with Barbara Foley."  Conducted by Richard Hancuff and Noreen O'Connor.  minnesota review n.s. 50-51 (October 1999):  113-22.

"Roads Taken and Not Taken: Anticommunism, Post-Marxism, and African American Literature."  Cultural Logic.  Summer 1998.

"Writing Up the Working Class: The Proletarian Novel in the U.S." SAMAR 11 (Spring-Summer 1999): 26-30.

"Ralph Ellison as Proletarian Journalist."  Science & Society 62 (Winter 1998-99): 537-56.

"In the Land of Cotton: Economics and History in Jean Toomer's Cane."  African American Review 32 (Summer 1998): 181-98.

Interview with Barbara Foley.  Conducted by Ron Strickland.  Mediations 21 (Spring 1998): 58-66.

"'Lepers in the Acropolis': Liberalism, Capitalism, and the Crisis in Academic Labor." Review Essay on Cary Nelson, Manifesto of a Tenured Radical, and Cary Nelson, ed., Will Teach for Food: Academic Labor in Crisis.  Contemporary Literature 39 (Summer 1998): 317-36. 

"The Rhetoric of Anti-Communism in Invisible Man."  College English 59 (September 1997): 530-47.

"Jean Toomer's Washington and the Politics of Class: From 'Blue Veins' to Seventh-Street Rebels."  Modern Fiction Studies 42 (Summer 1996): 289-322.  Winner of 1996 Margaret Church Award for best article published in MFS.

Introduction to Myra Page, Moscow Yankee.  The Radical Novel in the United States Reconsidered Series.  Ed. Alan Wald.  Urbana and London: U of Illinois P.  1996.  Pp. vii-xxvii.

"Renarrating the Thirties in the Forties and Fifties." Prospects: An Annual of American Cultural Studies.  20 (1995): 455-66.

"Jean Toomer's Sparta." American Literature 67 (December 1995): 747-775.

"What's at Stake in the Culture Wars."  Review essay on Peter Shaw, Recovering American Literature; John Guillory, Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation; and Gerald Graff, Beyond the Culture Wars: How Teaching the Conflicts Can Revitalize American Education.  New England Quarterly 68 (September 1995): 458-79.

"Proletarianism Revised."  Review essay on James D. Bloom, Left Letters: The Culture Wars of Mike Gold and Joseph Freeman; Walter Kalaidjian, American Culture Between the Wars: Revisionary Modernism and Postmodern Critique; and Michael E. Staub, Voices of Persuasion: Politics of Representation in 1930s America.  minnesota review n.s. 43/44 (November 1995): 198-211.

"Wayne Booth and the Politics of Ethics."  In Rhetoric and Pluralism: Legacies of Wayne Booth.  Ed. Frederick J. Antczak.  Columbus: Ohio SUP.  1995.  Pp. 135-52.

"Generic and Doctrinal Politics in the Proletarian Bildungsroman."  In Understanding Narrative.  Ohio SU Series on the Theory and Interpretation of Narrative.  Ed. James Phelan and Peter Rabinowitz.  Columbus, Ohio: Ohio SUP, 1994.  Pp. 43- 64.

"Class."  Rethinking Marxism.  5 (Summer 1992): 117-28.

"Race and Class in Radical African-American Fiction of the Depression Years."  Nature, Society and Thought: A Journal of Dialectical and Historical Materialism.  3, 3 (1990): 305-24.

"Subversion and Oppositionality in the Academy."  College Literature, Special Edition on The Politics of Teaching Literature 17, 2/3 (1990):  64-79. 

"Marxism in the Post-Structuralist Moment: Some Notes on the Problem of Revising Marx."  Cultural Critique 15 (1990): 5-37.

"Women and the Left in the 1930s."  American Literary History 2 (Spring 1990): 150-169.

"The Politics of Poetics: Ideology and Narrative Form in Dreiser's An American Tragedy and Wright's Native Son."  In Narrative Poetics: Innovations, Limits, Challenges.  Ed. James Phelan.  Columbus, Ohio: Papers in Comparative Studies Vol. 5. 1986-87.  Pp. 55-67. 

"The Politics of Deconstruction." Genre, Special Issue on Deconstruction, 17 (Spring-Summer 1984): 113-34. 

"Charles Feidelson and the Deconstruction of American Literature."  American Quarterly 36 (Spring 1984): 42-64.

"Fact, Fiction, Fascism: Mimesis and Testimony in Holocaust Narrative."  Comparative Literature 34 (Fall 1982): 330-360.

"The Treatment of Time in The Big Money: An Examination of Ideology and Literary Form."  Modern Fiction Studies, Special Issue on John Dos Passos 26 (Autumn 1980): 447-467. 

"History, Fiction, and the Ground Between: The Uses of the Documentary Mode in Black Literature."  PMLA 95 (May 1980): 389- 403.

"Fact, Fiction, and 'Reality.'" Contemporary Literature 20 (Summer 1979): 357-78.

"History, Fiction, and Satirical Form: The Example of Dos Passos' 1919."  Genre 12 (Fall 1979): 357-378.

"From U. S. A. to Ragtime: Notes on the Forms of Historical Consciousness in Modern Fiction."  American Literature 50 (March 1978): 85-105.

Reviews, Notes, Letters, Prefaces, Forewords, Tributes, Encyclopedia Entries, Symposium Commentaries

Review of Richard March, A Great Vision: A Militant Family’s Journey through the Twentieth Century.  Forthcoming, Science & Society. 2019.

Review of David Roediger, Class, Race, and Marxism. Forthcoming, Science & Society.  2019.

Review of Cathy Bergin, “Bitter with the Past but Sweet with the Dream”: Communism in the African American Imaginary: Representations of the Communist Party, 1940-1952. Socialism and Democracy 31,1 (2017): 156-59.

Review of W. Jason Miller, Origins of the Dream: Hughes’s Poetry and King’s Rhetoric.  Science & Society 81 (April 2017): 308-10.

Review of Mary Helen Washington, The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s.  Science & Society 80 (July 2016): 432-34.

Review of T. V. Reed, Robert Cantwell and the Literary Left: A Northwest Writer Reworks American Fiction.  Forthcoming. Journal of American History.  2017.

Review of Earle V. Bryant, ed., Byline Richard Wright: Articles from the Daily Worker and New Masses.

“The Cold War and Black America.” Review of Vincent J. Intondi, African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement; and William J. Maxwell, F. B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature.  African American Review 48 (Spring/Summer 2015): 215-18.

“Interracial Friendship in American Modernism.”  Review of Kathleen Pfeiffer, Brother Mine: The Correspondence of Jean Toomer and Waldo Frank.  American Book Review 35, 1 (November/December 2013): 15.

Symposium commentary, “New Directions in Scholarship on the Harlem Renaissance.”   Modernism/Modernity 20, 3 (September 2013): 439-41.

Review of Michelle Damon Loyalka, Eating Bitterness: Stories from the Front Lines of China’s Great Urban Migration.  Science & Society 78, 1 (January 2014): 120-22.

Review of Terry Eagleton, Why Marx Was Right.  Science & Society 77, 2 (April 2013): 259-61.

Symposium commentary, “The Historian as Novelist: William Appleman Williams’s Ninety Days Inside the Empire: A Roundtable.” Passport: The Newsletter of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations 42, 1 (April 2011): 7-9.

Review of James A. Miller, Remembering Scottsboro: The Legacy of an Infamous Trial.  African American Review 43.4 (2009): 768-770.

Review of Melanie H. L. Bush, Breaking the Code of Good Intentions: Everyday Forms of Whiteness.  Science & Society 73, 4 (October 2009): 564-66.

Introduction, with Bernhard Moss.  Special Issue of Science & Society on China.    73 (April 2009): 167-69.

Review of Alan Wald, Trinity of Passion: The Literary Left and the Antifascist Crusade. 

Science & Society 73 (January 2009): 150-53.

Symposium commentary, “Radical Teaching Now.”  Radical Teacher 83 (2009): 21.

Review of Xiaoli Lindsey, Bold Plum: With the Guerrillas in China’s War Against Japan.  Science & Society 72 (October 2008): 492-94.

Review of Anthony Hutchison, Writing the Republic: Liberalism and Morality in American Political Fiction.  American Historical Review 95, 2 (September 2008): 593-94.

Review of Michel Warschawski, On the Border.  Science & Society 71 (April 2007): 251-54.

Review of Max Shachtman, Race and Revolution, ed. Christopher Phelps.  Science & Society 70 (July 2006): 418-21.

Foreword, The Letters of Jean Toomer, 1919-1924.  Ed. Mark Whalan.  Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.  2006.  vii-xiii.

Symposium commentary, “Reflections on Dick Ohmann as MLA Activist.”  Richard Ohmann: A Retrospective.  Works and Days 45/46 23 (2005): 241-44.

“Dos Passos, John.”  Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics: Censorship, Revolution, and Writing.  3 vols.  Westport, CT: Greenwood P.  2005. I: 208-10.

“Ellison, Ralph.” Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics: Censorship, Revolution, and Writing.  3 vols.  Westport, CT: Greenwood P.  2005.  I: 230-32.

“Invisible Man.”  Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics: Censorship, Revolution, and Writing.  3 vols.  Westport, CT: Greenwood P.  2005.  II: 367-69.

“Page, Myra.”  Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics: Censorship, Revolution, and Writing.  3 vols.  Westport, CT: Greenwood P.  2005.  II: 542-43.

“Toomer, Jean.”  Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics: Censorship, Revolution, and Writing.  3 vols.  Westport, CT: Greenwood P.  2005. III: 719-20.

U.S.A. Trilogy.”  Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics: Censorship, Revolution, and Writing.  3 vols.  Westport, CT: Greenwood P.  2005. III: 726-28.

Review of Helen Langa, Radical Art: Printmaking and the Left in 1930s America. Science & Society 69 (October 2005): 631-33.

Reply to Steven J. Whitfield.  New England Quarterly 76 (December 2003): 661-62.

Review of Alan Wald, Exiles from a Future Time: The U.S. Writer and the Left.  New England Quarterly 76 (September 2003): 490-92.

Review of Class and Its Others, ed. J. K. Gibson-Graham, Stephen A. Resnick, and Richard D. Wolff; and Re/Presenting Class: Essays in Postmodern Marxism, Ed. J. K. Gibson-Graham, Stephen A. Resnick, and Richard D. Wolff.  Science & Society 67 (Summer 2003): 245-48.

"Proletarian Literature." Encyclopedia of American Studies. Vol. 3.  New York: Grolier, 2002. Pp. 417-419.

Review of Erin A. Smith, Hard-Boiled: Working-Class Readers and Pulp Magazines.  Journal of American History.  Journal ofAmerican History (December 2001): 1126-27.

Review of Bill V. Mullen, Popular Fronts: African Americans and Communism, 1936-1945. African American Review 35 (Spring 2001): 8-9.

Review of Caren Irr, The Suburb of Dissent: Cultural Politics in the United States and Canada During the 1930s.   American Historical Review 105 (December 2000): 1725-26.

Review of Robert B. Jones, ed., Jean Toomer: Selected Essays and Literary Criticism. Resources for American Literary Study 25, 1 (1999): 122-23.

Review of Fredric Jameson, The Seeds of Time.  Modern Philology 94 (February 1997): 422-26.

Review of Douglas Wixson, Worker-Writer in America: Jack Conroy and the Tradition of Midwestern Literary Radicalism, 1898-1990.  Modern Philology 94 (November 1996): 271-75.

Review of Carla Cappetti, Writing Chicago: Modernism, Ethnography, and the Novel.  Modern Philology 94 (August 1996): 129-32.

Reply to Sanford Pinsker.  New England Quarterly 59 (June 1996): 320-21.

Review of Constance Coiner, Better Red: The Writing and Resistance of Tillie Olsen and Meridel Le Sueur.  American Literature 68 (June 1996): 485-86.

“The Federal Writers project.”  In Encyclopedia of African American History and Culture.  Ed. Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith and Cornel West.  5 vols.  v. 2.  Pp. 946-48.

Review of Terry A. Cooney, Balancing Acts: American Thought and Culture in the 1930s.  Journal of American History 82 (March 1996): 1625-26.

"Tillie Olsen."  In A Companion to American Thought.  Ed. Richard Wightman Fox and James T. Kloppenberg.  Oxford and Cambridge: Basil Blackwell.  1995. Pp. 509-11.

Review of Michael E. Staub, Voices of Persuasion: Politics of Representation in 1930s America.  American Literature 67 (September 1995): 403.

Review of Phyllis Frus, The Politics and Poetics of Journalistic Narrative: The Timely and the Timeless. Modern Fiction Studies 41 (Summer 1995): 344-46.

Review of Dana D. Nelson, The Word in Black and White: Reading 'Race' in American Literature, 1638-1867, and James S. Leonard et al., Black Perspectives on "Huckleberry Finn".  Modern Philology 92 (February 1995): 379-85.

Review of Tobin Siebers, Cold War Criticism and the Politics of Skepticism.  Modern Fiction Studies 40 (Winter 1995): 446-47.

Review of Alan A. Block, Anonymous Toil: A Re-Evaluation of the American Radical Novel in the Twentieth Century.  Modern Fiction Studies 40 (Autumn 1994): 153-54.

Review of James Murphy, The Proletarian Moment: The Controversy Over Leftism in Literature, and Lynn Hanley, Writing War: Fiction, Gender, and Memory.  Modern Fiction Studies 38 (Autumn 1992): 989-91.

Review of Paula Rabinowitz, Labor and Desire: Women's Revolutionary Fiction in Depression America.  American Literature 64 (December 1992): 837-39.

Review of Naomi Jacobs, The Character of Truth: Historical Figures in Contemporary Fiction.  Modern Philology 90 (November 1992): 308-12.

Review of Lawrence Schwartz, Creating Faulkner's Reputation: The Politics of Modern Literary Criticism.  Novel: A Forum on Fiction 23 (Winter 1990): 218-20.

Review of Donald Pizer, Dos Passos' U. S. A.: A Critical Study.  Journal of English and Germanic Philology 89 (April 1990): 266-69.

Review of Peter J. Rabinowitz, Before Reading: Narrative Conventions and the Politics of Interpretation.  Novel: A Forum on Fiction 23 (Fall 1989): 92-94.

Review of Lennard J. Davis, Resisting Novels: Ideology and Fiction.  Ariel 20 (1989): 189-91.

Review of Alan Wald, The New York Intellectuals: The Rise and Fall of the Anti-Stalinist Left from the 1930s to the 1980s. minnesota review n.s. 30/31 (Spring-Fall 1988): 205-208.

Review of Jonathan Arac, Postmodernism and Politics.  Comparative Literature Studies 25, 2 (1988): 197-201.

Review of John Frow, Marxism and Literary History.  Ariel 18 (July 1987): 86-88.

Review of Gail L. Mortimer, Faulkner's Rhetoric of Loss: A Study in Perception and Meaning.  American Literature 57 (March 1985): 161-62.

Review of Lennard J. Davis, Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English Novel.  Genre 17, (Winter 1984): 422-25.

Review of Lawrence Langer, Versions of Survival: The Holocaust and the Human Spirit.  Comparative Literature 36 (Summer 1984): 282-84.

Review of Tony Bennett, Formalism and Marxism.  Modern Philology 80 (May 1983): 443-46.

Review of Robert C. Rosen, John Dos Passos: Politics and the Writer.  International Fiction Review 9, 2 (1982): 129-32.

"E. L. Doctorow."  In Twentieth-Century Novelists, 3rd Ed. London and New York: Macmillan and St. Martin's Press, 1982.  Pp. 182-83.

Letter of response regarding 1980 PMLA article, “Fiction, History, and the Ground Between: The Uses of the Documentary Mode in Black Literature.” PMLA 96 (January 1981): 106-07.

Reprints, Excerpts, and New Editions

“Intersectionality: A Marxist Commentary and Critique.”  Science & Society 82, 2 (April 2018): 269-75.

          Revised version published at Monthly Review Online (; at Portside; and at Multiracial Unity   Blog (

Paperback edition of Spectres of 1919: Class and Nation in the Making of the New Negro. 2008.

“The Politics of Post-Positivist Realism” (retitled “Post-Positivist Realism”). 

         Rpt. In Comparative Literature East and West (7 (Autumn-Winter 2005): 1-38.  (Publication of the Department of Comparative Literature, Institute of Comparative Literature, Sichuan University, China)

Interview with Barbara Foley. Conducted by Rich Hancuff and Noreen O'Connor.

        Rpt. in Jeffrey J. Williams, ed., Critics at Work: Interviews 1993-2003. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.  2004.

“Ten Propositions on the Relationship of Marxism to Working-Class Studies.”

        Translated into Chinese and rpt. in Marxist Philosophical Research.  Institute of Marxist Philosophy: Wuhan University, PRC.  2003.  Pp. 36-38.

 “Jean Toomer’s Sparta.”

         Rpt. in Short Story Criticism.  Ed. Justin Carr.  45: 289-301.  Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group.  2001.

“Jean Toomer’s Washington and the Politics of Class: From ‘Blue Veins’ to Seventh-Street  Rebels.” 

         Rpt. in Short Story Criticism.  Ed. Justin Carr.   45: 311-25.  Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. 2001.

“In the Land of Cotton: Economics and Violence in Jean Toomer’s Cane.”

          Rpt. in Short Story Criticism.  Ed. Justin Carr.  45: 333-44.  Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. 2001.

"Subversion and Oppositionality in the Academy."

          Rpt. in Pedagogy Is Politics: Literary Theory and Critical Teaching.  Ed. Maria-Regina Kecht. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. 1992.  Pp. 70-89. 

          Rpt. in Margins in the Classroom: Teaching Literature.  Ed. Kostas Myrsiades and Linda S. Myrsiades. Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press. 1994.  Pp. 137-52.

          Rpt. in Beyond the Corporate University: Culture and Pedagogy in the New Millennium. Ed. Henry A. Giroux and Kostas Myrsiades.  Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. 2001.  Pp. 195-212.

Telling the Truth: The Theory and Practice of Documentary Fiction.

          Excerpts of Chapter One, “The Documentary Novel and the Problem of Borders.” Rpt. in Essentials of the Theory of Fiction.  Ed. Patrick D. Murphy.  Durham: Duke University Press. 1996. 

            Rpt. as Open Access Paperback and Ebook, 2018

"The Politics of Poetics: Ideology and Narrative Form in Dreiser's An American Tragedy and Wright's Native Son."

          Rpt. in Richard Wright: Critical Perspectives Past and Present.  Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and K. A. Appiah.  Amistad Literary Series.  New York: Amistad.  1993.  Pp. 188-199.

"The Politics of Deconstruction."

          Rpt. in Rhetoric and Form: Deconstruction at Yale.  Ed. Robert Con Davis and Ronald Schliefer.  Norman, OK: U of Oklahoma P.  1985.  Pp. 113-134.

"From U. S. A. to Ragtime: Notes on the Forms of Historical Consciousness in Modern Fiction." 

          Rpt. in E. L. Doctorow: Essays and Conversations.  Ed. Richard Trenner.  Princeton: Ontario Review Critical Series. 1983.  Pp. 158-179.

          Excerpted in Contemporary Literary Criticism,Vol. 18.  Ed. Sharon Gunton.  Detroit: Gale Research Co. 1982.  Pp. 121-23. 

          Rpt. in The Chelsea House Library of Literary Criticism.  Ed. Harold Bloom.  New York: Chelsea House.  1985.

Keynote Addresses/Conference Presentations/Panel Organizing

"Intersectionality, Race, and Class: What's at Stake in Current Debates Over Marxism and Identity." York University, Toronto, CA. March 2019.

“Proletarian Internationalism: Then and Now.” Conference on “Smashing Borders.” Rutgers University-Newark. November 2018.

“The Harlem Renaissance and World War I.” Montclair State University.  April 2018.

Panel Organizer, “Can It Happen Here?  Literary Representations of Fascism.”  MLA Convention. January 2018.

“Universities and Gilded Ages: A Marxist Commentary.” Special Session on the Centenary of Thorstein Veblen, The Higher Learning in America (1918). MLA Convention. January 2018.

“From Negation to Totality: The Russian Revolution and US Proletarian Literature.”  Marxist Literary Group Summer Institute. June 2017.

Panel Organizer and Presenter.  “The Russian Revolution and US Proletarian Literature.”  Historical Materialism Conference on “Resurgent Radicalism in a Polarizing World.” April 2017.

 “Academic Labor and the Reproduction of Social Inequality: Then and Now.”  Roundtable on “Can the Precariat Speak? The New Material Conditions of Corporatized Academia.” Sponsored by the Community College Humanities Association (CCHA).  MLA Convention.  January 2017.

Panel Organizer and Presenter.  “Introducing Marxist Literary Criticism to Undergraduate Students.” Marxist Literary Group Summer Institute.  June 2016.

Co-Presenter.  “Race and Class: A Commentary on Adolph Reed and Ellen Meiksins Wood. Marxist Literary Group Summer Institute.  June 2016.

Panel Organizer and Presenter.  “Intersectionality: A Marxist Commentary and Critique.” Left Forum.  May 2016.

“Black Proletarian Literature and the Challenge to Intersectionality.”  MELUS Panel on Social Class in American Multiethnic Literature.  MLA Convention.  January 2016.

“Marxism and the New Negro in the Great War.” Presenter and Panel Organizer, Special Session on “‘Her Thirteen Black Soldiers’: African Americans and the Great War.”  MLA Convention.  January 2016.

“Not a Cocktail Party: The New Negro Movement and the Harlem Renaissance.” Symposium in Tribute to James A. Miller. George Washington University.  September 2015.

Chair, Respondent, and Panel Organizer, “The Political Economy of Racism.”  Marxist Literary Group Summer Institute.  June 2015.

Panel Organizer and Presenter.  “Retrospective Radicalism: Politics and History in Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.”  Co-Presented with Peter Gardner.  Left Forum Session on “The Great War in Marxist Perspective.” Sponsored by Science & Society.  May 2015.

“Jean Toomer and the New Negro Movement: Biography, Politics, and History in Cane.” Invited Lecture, William Paterson University.  April 2015.

“Leftist Organizing in the Modern Language Association: 1968 to the Present.”  MLA Convention, Radical Caucus Session on “Politics and Academics: Then and Now.” January 2015.

“‘The Not Yet in the Now’: Dialectics as Methodology in Tillie Olsen’s Yonnondio.”  MLA Convention, Special Session on Tillie Olsen. January 2015.

“Ralph Ellison in Context”: Teaching VideoConference.  Kansas State University. April 2014.

Keynote Address, “The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted.” English Graduate Student Conference.  Brooklyn College, CUNY.  April 2014.

“Biography and the Political Unconscious: Ellison, Toomer, Jameson, and the Politics of Symptomatic Reading.” Robert Elliott Memorial Lecture, University of California-San Diego. February 2014.

“Radical Modernism beyond the Nation: Jean Toomer.” Special Session on “Harlem's Transnational Modernisms: Recovering the Black Archive beyond the Nation.”  MLA Convention. January 2014.

Roundtable Participant, “Modernist Studies and the Harlem Renaissance.” Modernist Studies Association.  MLA Convention. January 2014.

“The Politics of the U.S. Proletarian Novel.” Session on “The Golden Age of Proletarian Literature and the Renaissance of Proletarian Literature.”  Labor and Working-Class History Association.  June 2013.

“Antiracism, Internationalism, and the Communist Horizon.” Participant and Panel Organizer, “The Idea of Communism.”  Marxist Literary Group/Institute on Culture and Society.  June 2013. 

“Communism and Anti-Communism in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.”  Historical Materialism Conference on “Confronting Capital.”  NYU. April 2013.

“Encountering Invisible Man.”  Rice University, Houston.  February 2013. Emmanuel College, Boston.  April 2012.  University of Massachusetts-Boston.  April 2012.  Montclair State University.  April 2012.  University of Hawaii-Manoa.  February 2012. Brecht Forum, NYC. February 2011.  Rutgers-Newark.  January 2011.  Ramapo College of New Jersey. November 2010.

“What Is at Stake When We Say That Marx Was Right.” Special Session on Terry Eagleton’s Why Marx Was Right.  MLA Convention January 2013.

“Line as Inspiration, Line as Limit: The Dialectics of Literary Radicalism.” MLA Radical Caucus Session on “Left Politics and Radical Literature.”  MLA Convention. January 2013.

“Encountering, Re-Encountering, and Re-Assessing Invisible Man.”  Keynote Address, Ford-Turpin Annual Symposium.  Celebrating the Sixtieth Anniversary of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.  Morgan State University.  October 2012.

“The Bitterness of Capitalism.”  Response to Michelle Dammon Loyalka, Eating Bitterness: Stories from the Front Lines of China’s Great Urban Migration.  Brecht Forum, NYC.  April 2012.

“The Jazz Age Reconsidered.”  National Endowment for the Humanities “Picture America” Teaching Conference.  Newark Museum.  April 2012.

“Radicalism and Reformism.”  Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Series, Occupy Boston.  April 2012.

“Biography and History in Marxist Literary Study.”  Graduate English Program, University of Hawaii-Manoa.  February 2012.

“Putting the Left at the Center in US Literary History.” American Studies Program, University of Hawaii-Manoa.  February 2012. 

“‘Confusion about Communism’”: Ralph Ellison’ Three Days Before the Shooting….” Panel Organizer and Chair, Special Session on Ralph Ellison and Civil Rights.  MLA Convention. January 2012.

“Jean Toomer as New Negro.” Special Session on Jean Toomer and Politics.  MLA Convention. January 2012.

“Event, Non-Event, and Arrested Dialectic.”  Marxist Literary Group. June 2011.

“Encountering Invisible Man.”  Rutgers University-Newark, January 2011; Brecht Forum, New York, February 2011; Ramapo College of New Jersey, November 2010.

“Surface, Depth, and Marxist Literary Theory.”  Marxist Literary Group Session on “The Way We Read Now.”  MLA Convention. December 2011.

Chair, Organizer, and Respondent, “Proletarian Literature: Then and Now.”  MLA Convention. December 2011.

“The Politics of the Political Unconscious.”  Marxist Literary Group Summer Institute.  June 2010.

Chair and respondent, Session on “Mommy/Daddy’s Work?” Conference on “All in the Family?”  CUNY Graduate Center.  March 2010.

“Sounding the Knell: Marxism, American Literature, and Pedagogy.” Radical Caucus Session on “Apocalypse Now: Pedagogy in the Current Crisis.” MLA Convention. December 2009.

“Barack Obama and the Rhetoric of Silence.”  Conference on New Marxian Times.  Rethinking Marxism. November 2009.

“The Color of Blood: John Brown, Jean Toomer, and the New Negro Movement.”  John Brown Remembered: 150th Anniversary of the Raid on Harpers Ferry: An Academic Symposium. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. October 2009.

 “Literature Was a Weapon: Lessons from the Culture of the Last Great Depression.” Interdisciplinary Colloquium & Teach-In on the Effects of the Economic Crisis on Students and Workers: Historical Perspectives/Global Challenges.  Ramapo College.  April 2009.

“One Woman’s Voyage from Feudalism to Fascism”: Richard Wright’s Unpublished Novel Black Hope.” Special Session on “The Later Richard Wright.” MLA Convention. December 2008.

Respondent, “Future Projects in the Study of U.S. Literary Radicalism.”  Special Session on “The Future of Literary Radicalism.”  MLA Convention. December 2008.

Panel Organizer.  Special Session on “The Iron Heel at 100.”  MLA Convention.  December 2008.

Spectres of 1919 and current scholarship on African-American Writers and the Left.”  A conversation with Professor Joshua Guild, Princeton University.  November 2008.

“Ralph Ellison, Marxism, and Anti-Marxism.”  Marxist Literary Group.  June 2008.

Session Organizer and Chair, “Literature and Left Politics.”  Session organized by Science & Society.  Left Forum.  March 2008.

“The ‘War on Terror’ and the War for Empire: A Marxist Analysis.”  Conference on “Freedom at Risk in America.”  New York University.  February 2008.

“Ralph Ellison and the Making of Invisible Man.”  Invited Lecture.  University of Maryland, College Park.  February 2008.

Session Organizer and Presenter.  “Marxism and Migration in Richard Wright’s Twelve Million Black Voices.”  Special Session on Richard Wright’s Chicago.  MLA Convention.  December 2007.

Chair and Respondent.  “Teaching the Literature of Social Protest.”  Session organized by the MLA Radical Caucus.  MLA Convention.  December 2007.

“Important Developments in Cultural and Literary Study in the United States Over the Past Thirty Years.”  Keynote Address.  International Conference on Literary Theories in the Past Thirty Years and the Fourth Convention of the Chinese Association for Sino-Foreign Literary Theory and Cultural Critique.  Central China Normal University. June 2007.

“New Directions in Scholarship on Ralph Ellison.”  Invited Lecture.  Hunan University.  June 2007.

“American Literary Radicalism: Then and Now.”  Invited Lecture.  Hunan University.  June 2007.

“The Poetry of the U.S. Left.”  Invited Lecture.  Hunan Normal University.  June 2007.

“Putting the Left at the Center: Red/Black Writing Between the Wars.”  Session on “Seeking Revolutionary Change through Culture.”  Sponsored by Science & Society.  Left Forum.  March 2007.

“Marxism in the Classroom.” Session on “Radicalizing Students: Teaching Politically in the Time of David Horowitz.”  Sponsored by the MLA Radical Caucus.  Left Forum.  March 2007.

“Ralph Ellison, T. S. Eliot, and the Politics of Modernism.”  Special Session on the Politics of Modernism.  MLA Convention.  December 2006.

Respondent, “Working Class and ?”.  Special Session Sponsored by the MLA Radical Caucus.  MLA Convention.  December 2006.

“The Radical Origins of the Harlem Renaissance.”  Invited Keynote Address.  Écriture et engagement aux États-Unis 1918-1939.  Université de Paris 13.  November 2006.

“Teaching U.S. Proletarian Literature in China.”  Speaker and panel organizer, “Red Pedagogy in the Humanities.”  Rethinking Marxism.  University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  October 2006.

Chair and Discussant, “American Democracy (Such as It Is) Under Assault as Never Before: What Can/Should the Left do About It? Sponsored by the International Endowment for Democracy.  Rethinking Marxism.  University of Massachusetts-Amherst. October 2006.

“African American Writers and the Left.”  A Reconsidered Past: New Scholarship in African American History.”  New Jersey Council for the Humanities.  Monmouth University.  July 2006.

“Rereading the Thirties in the Forties and Fifties: The Politics of Cold War Criticism.” Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.  June 2006.

Series of Eight Lectures on U.S. Literary Radicalism Between the World Wars, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China.  June 2006.

“The New Negro: From Political Activist to Culture Hero.” Southwest China University of Science and Technology, Mianyang, China; Luoyang Normal University, Luoyang, China.  June 2006.

 “Women and the Left in the 1930s.”  Leshan Normal University, Leshan, China.  June 2006.

“American Proletarian Literature.” Henan University, Kaifeng, China.  June 2006.

“Dialectics and the Left.”  Conference on Alternative Modernities/Cultural Studies.  Wuhan University, Wuhan, China.  June 2006.

“Class, Conflict, and Modernity.”  Conference on Modernity.  Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.  Shanghai, China.  June 2006.

“Is Democracy Compatible with Capitalism?” Session Sponsored by the International Endowment for Democracy.  Left Forum.  March 2006.

“Academic Freedom and the Rise of the Right.” Session Sponsored by Science & Society and Historians Against the War. Left Forum.  March 2006.

Keynotes Addresses/Conference Presentations/Panel Organizing from 1977-2005 (PDF)