Professor of English and Comparative Literature
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 seventeeth through nineteenth-century Mexico), colonial discourse studies, and Armenian diaspora studies. His first 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 co-edits—with Priscilla Wald (Duke) and Elizabeth McHenry (NYU)—a book series on America and the Long 19th Century for NYU Press. 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, which he co-directed from 2017-19. 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.