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David Kazanjian

David Kazanjian

Professor of English and Comparative Literature

Fisher-Bennett Hall 214

Office Hours

fall 2020

Office Hours: Wednesdays 5:30-7, Thursdays 3:30-5, and by appointment


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.


Doctoral Dissertations Chaired


Eve Eure "The Grammar of Kinship: Black and Native Intimacies in the 19th Century"


Evelyn Soto "Beyond the Black Legend: Spanish-American Political Imaginaries in the U.S., 1800 - 1855"


Najnin Islam "Reading the Coolie: Race, Caste and Narratives of Asian Indentureship"


Ana Schwartz "Feeling Past Politics: Affection, Settlement, and the Disciplines of Civil Society in Early Anglo America, 1620-1682"


Laura Soderberg "‘Vicious Infants’: Antisocial Childhoods and the Politics of Population in Antebellum U.S. Literature"


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"

Courses Taught

fall 2020

ENGL 790.402 Marx and Globality  

spring 2020

fall 2019

ENGL 600.301 Proseminar  
ENGL 790.401 Marx and Globality canceled  

fall 2018

ENGL 600.301 Proseminar  

spring 2018

ENGL 089.001 Trash: The Novel  
ENGL 294.301 Marx and Marxism  

fall 2017

ENGL 600.401 History Literary Theory  

spring 2016

ENGL 790.401 Marx and American Studies  

fall 2015

ENGL 089.001 Trash: The Novel  
COML 501.401 Proseminar  

fall 2014

spring 2014

fall 2013

ENGL 705.301 Race, Across Time and Space  

spring 2013

ENGL 790.301 Marx and Globality  

fall 2011

COML 501.401 History Literary Theory  

spring 2010

fall 2009

ENGL 790.401 Derrida and The Political  
ENGL 801.301 Pedagogy  
ENGL 850.301 Field List  

spring 2009

fall 2008

ENGL 790.301 Marx and American Studies  

spring 2008

spring 2006

fall 2005

ENGL 573.301 Literature and History