Photo of Joeseph Arthur Keith


Associate Professor, English Department

Ph.D., Columbia University, 2006
MA., The Johns Hopkins University, 1994
tel.: 607-777-2353 
fax.: 607-777-2408 

Areas of Interest

Nineteenth and Twentieth Century American Literature
Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies
Transnational American Studies
Postcolonial Studies
Anglophone Caribbean Literature
Cold War Literature and Culture
Critical Theory (esp. Marxism)

Selected Publications


Unbecoming Americans: Writing Race and Nation from the Shadows of Citizenship, 1945-1960. (Rutgers University Press, American Literatures Initiative Series, 2013).

Neocolonial Fictions: U.S. Literatures of the Global Cold War. Co-edited volume with Steven Belletto (in progress).

 “Invisible Islands: Remapping the Transpacific Archipelago of U.S. Empire in                        Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart.” Forthcoming in Archipelagic American Studies: Decontinentalizing the Study of American Culture. Eds. Michelle Stephens and Brian Roberts. (Duke University Press, 2017). pp. 178-202.

 “Islands of Empire.” Review Essay. Forthcoming in American Literary History. 

Review of Stephen Tuck’s The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union: A Story of Antiracist Protest (2014) in Journal of American History (in progress).

“Keeping Secrets: Richard Wright, The Cold War and the Epistemology of Un-         Belonging.” Richard Wright: Writing America at Home and Abroad. Ed. Virginia Whatley Smith. (University Press of Mississippi, 2016).

“Comparative Race Studies and Interracialisms.” Cambridge Companion to Asian American Literature. Eds. Crystal Parikh and Daniel Kim. (Cambridge University Press, 2015). pp. 183-197.

Review of Transatlantic Spectacles of Race: The Tragic Mulatta and the Tragic Muse (2012); Claiming Exodus: A Cultural History of Afro-Atlantic Identity, 1774-1903 (2013)in American Literature 87:3 (August 2015):609-611.

Review of Lawrence Buell’s The Dream of the Great American Novel in Journal of American History 102: 2 (September 2015): 520-21.

“At the Formal Limits: C.L.R. James, Moby Dick and the Politics of the Realist Novel.” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 11(3) (fall 2009): 333-347.

“Richard Wright, The Outsider and the Empire of Liberal Pluralism: Race and American Expansion After WWII.” The Black Scholar 39:1-2 (spring-summer 2009): 51-59.

“What Went Wrong?: Reappraising the ‘Politics’ of Theory.” Postmodern Culture 18:1 (fall 2007): 112-118.

Current Project

"America's Archipelago: Islands and the Anomalous Geography of Empire" examines writers from the Caribbean, the Philippines and the U.S. for whom the figure of the island becomes an imaginative and geo-historical challenge to the U.S. during the course of the twentieth century. The book project focuses on specific islands (the Philippines, the Caribbean, Guantánamo Bay) as liminal spaces situated not only at the geographical but also the legal and ideological limits of the nation-states. It explores how these floating colonies – both part of and outside of the nation – confound the borders between the foreign and the domestic and reveal the anomalous workings of empire at the heart of U.S. culture. Unhinged from the nation, these "islands" bear witness on one hand to the uneven incorporation of racialized subjects into the "mainland" of American citizenship. At the same time, they also become social and textual spaces within which these authors recount un-told stories of the U.S. and imagine new communities that extend beyond the nation's perimeters, and which incorporate the colonial spaces and histories of the Caribbean, the Philippines and Africa.

Recent Courses Taught

Transnational American Studies
Race, Empire and the U.S. Novel after 1945
Cultures of the Cold War
National Identity, Immigration, Empire
Modern Theory and Criticism
Migrations, Diasporas, Borders


Dean's Research Semester, (Spring), Binghamton University, 2013
Institute for Advanced Studies of the Humanities Fellowship, Binghamton University, 2012
Dean's Research Semester, (Fall) Binghamton University, 2010
President's Fellowship, Columbia University, 1998-2003
New York Council of the Humanities/NEH Grant, 2002
University Fellowship, The Johns Hopkins University, 1993-1994

Last Updated: 7/27/16