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David Kazanjian

Professor of English and Comparative Literature

Fisher-Bennett Hall 214

Office Hours

On leave at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, 2016-17

David Kazanjian received his PhD from the Rhetoric Department at the University of California, Berkeley, his M.A. in Critical Theory from the University of Sussex, and his B.A. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University. His area of specialization is transnational American literary and historical studies through the nineteenth century. His additional fields of research are political philosophy, continental philosophy, Latin American studies (especially nineteenth-century Mexico), colonial discourse studies, and Armenian diaspora studies. His book The Colonizing Trick: National Culture and Imperial Citizenship in Early America (Minnesota) offers a comparative study of colonial and antebellum, racial and national formations, and a critique of the formal egalitarianism that animated early U.S. citizenship. He has co-edited (with David L. Eng) Loss: The Politics of Mourning (California), as well as (with Shay Brawn, Bonnie Dow, Lisa Maria Hogeland, Mary Klages, Deb Meem, and Rhonda Pettit) The Aunt Lute Anthology of U.S. Women Writers, Volume One: Seventeenth through Nineteenth Centuries (Aunt Lute Books). He has also published widely on the cultural politics of the North American-Armenian diaspora, and has participated in the Blind Dates Project, an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration among contemporary artists and intellectuals with ties to the legacies of the Ottoman Empire, curated by Defne Ayas and Neery Melkonian. He is a member of the editorial collective of the journal Social Text and of the organizing collective of the Tepoztlán Institute for Transnational History of the Americas. His most recent monograph, The Brink of Freedom: Improvising Life in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World (Duke) is a study of two nineteenth-century social movements (the black settler colonization of Liberia and the Caste War of Yucatán) that improvised with liberal discursive practices of freedom.


Doctoral Dissertations Chaired


Marina Bilbija "Worlds of Color: Black Internationalism and the Periodical in the Age of Empire"


Rachel Banner "Freedom's Bonds: Reconfiguring Formal Freedom in Antebellum U.S. Law and Literature"


Christen Mucher "Antiquity, Prehistory, Culture: American Narratives of the Distant Past, 1787-1867"
Christopher Taylor "Empire of Neglect: Caribbean Literature, British Liberalism, and New Works of Care, 1776-1888."


Greta LaFleur "American Insides: Popular Narrative and the Historiography of Sexuality, 1674-1815"