About

Professor of English at the University at Buffalo since 1988, where I teach twentieth- and twenty-first century literature. My research interests include transnational politics and the global novel, literature after 9/11, postmodern fiction and theory, the literature of migration, multimodality in literature, film adaptation of the novel, literature and science, modern poetry and poetics.

I am pleased to announce the publication of my book from Routledge in November 2019, Transnational Politics in the Post-9/11 Novel, available in hardback (9780367236069) and eBook (9780429280733). Transnational Politics in the Post-9/11 Novel suggests that literature after September 11, 2001 reflects the shift from bilateral nation-state politics to the multilateralism of transnational politics. While much of the criticism regarding novels of 9/11 tends to approach these works through theories of personal and collective trauma, this book argues for the evolution of a post-9/11 novel that pursues a transversal approach to global conflicts that are unlikely to be resolved without diverse peoples willing to set aside sectarian interests. These novels embrace not only American writers such as Don DeLillo, Dave Eggers, Ken Kalfus, Thomas Pynchon, and Amy Waldman but also the countervailing perspectives of global novelists such as J. M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk, Mohsin Hamid, and Laila Halaby. These are not novels about terror(ism), nor do they seek comfort in the respectful cloak of national mourning. Rather, they are instances of the novel in terror, which recognizes that everything having been changed after 9/11, only the formally inventive presentation will suffice to acknowledge the event’s unpresentability and its shock to the political order.

My book, Design & Debris: A Chaotics of Postmodern American Fiction, received the Elizabeth Agee Prize in American Literature from the University of Alabama Press in 2002. Unending Design: The Forms of Postmodern Poetry was published by Cornell University Press in 1991 and released as an eBook in 2016. Book chapters, journal articles, and review essays on a wide range of contemporary literature and criticism have appeared in Trump Fiction (Lexington Books, 2019), American Literature in Transition: 1990-2000 (Cambridge UP, 2017), Passage (Aarhus UP, Denmark), Twenty-First Century Literature (Seoul National University, South Korea), Modern Fiction StudiesEssays on Italian American Literature and Culture (Calandra Institute, 2012), Critique: Studies in Contemporary FictionThe Cambridge Companion to Don DeLillo (Cambridge UP, 2008), The Holodeck in the Garden: Science and Technology in Contemporary American Fiction (Dalkey Archive Press, 2004), the Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Poets Since World War II (editor and contributor, Gale Research Press), Sagetrieb, and The Review of Contemporary Fiction, among others.

I have been a SUNY Senior Fellow at the New York—St. Petersburg Institute of Linguistics, Cognition and Culture in St. Petersburg, Russia and Visiting Professor in Comparative Literature at Capital Normal University in Beijing, China. I have been awarded a University at Buffalo Humanities Institute Faculty Research Fellowship, a Lilly Foundation Teaching Fellowship, and a Whiting Foundation Fellowship in the Humanities. I received my Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Stanford University in 1988.

Brief Curriculum Vitae 05.31.19

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1 thought on “About”

  1. Christy Burns said:

    Joseph Conte Hello! Christy Burns. Nice to see how much work you are doing. I have a project on modernism at the moment and have taught Pynchon’s works as well as teaching a regular Joyce course every year for my College. I had to sever due to some bad personnel issues, and that has left me without a noon-time project other than fussing the house. So I’ve resolved to return to poetry in some form. I also have a writing group at my Quaker meeting house, and those folks are pretty good writers. You will remember Margo? She has survived some difficult years with cancer but she is still writing, and helping her young son on his way to college. I saw her a while back when we both went to see some theater that my a friend was performing in. I would have kept up in the academic world, but for airborne mold in my system, which makes it hard to keep me on a regular clock but otherwise I’ve been healthy. Just frustrated, I had a great time teaching at the College, I was their top earner, until I ran into mold in my. house, not realizing what it was. I’m cleaned up from that now, but it doesn’t make it easy to step back in, unless I’m doing a Joyce or Pynchon course. I did do the Joyce course for Brown University and they kept me for several months. These days I live in Virginia, which is probably about as cold as Buffalo. Nice to see you on the web.

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