Professor of English at the University at Buffalo since 1988, where I teach twentieth and twenty-first century literature. My research interests include postmodern fiction, transnational politics and the novel of globalization, literature after 9/11, multimodal literature, film adaptation of the novel, postmodern theory, literature and science, literature and film of migration, poetry and poetics.
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 e-book in 2016. Book chapters and articles on a wide range of contemporary fiction and poetry have appeared in American Literature in Transition: 1990-2000, Passage (Denmark), Modern Fiction Studies, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, The Cambridge Companion to Don DeLillo, The Holodeck in the Garden: Science and Technology in Contemporary American Fiction, the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Sagetrieb, and The Review of Contemporary Fiction, among others.
I have been a SUNY Senior Fellow at the New York—St. Petersburg State University Institute of Cognitive and Cultural Studies in St. Petersburg, Russia and Visiting Professor in Comparative Literature at Capital Normal University in Beijing, China. In 2013-14 I was a University at Buffalo Humanities Institute Faculty Research Fellow.
My forthcoming book, Transnational Politics and the Post-9/11 Novel, suggests that literature after September 11, 2001 reflects a shift from the provincial politics of nation-states to that of transnational politics—issues that require adjudication across national, geographic, cultural, linguistic, religious, and racial borders. Descendants of the nineteenth-century political novels that countered the imperialist aspirations of the Nation State, the post-9/11 novels that I treat emerge in resistance to the global hegemony of the Market State and explicitly critique transnational politics that arise as a result of globalization. Don DeLillo’s Falling Man directly represents 9/11 through a World Trade Center survivor whose trauma and recuperation begins the “counternarrative” to terrorism. Orhan Pamuk’s Snow, set in eastern Anatolia, foregrounds the tensions and resistance between Islam and Turkey’s secular state as girls, forbidden to wear head scarves to school, commit suicide. J. M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year ventures a series of“strong opinions” on terrorism and the state that question the purpose of writing in an ethically confused and disputatious world. These and other works suggest that post-9/11 novels have engaged global politics and that it is mostly through novels that world citizens do their deepest thinking about themselves.