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Faculty

American Literature

Gerald Butters is a historian of film specializing in the intersection of race and gender in motion pictures. A Fulbright scholar, Butters has lectured on film in Romania, Luxembourg, France and Canada and at many American universities. His books include Black Manhood on the Silent Screen, Banned in Kansas: Motion Picture Censorship, 1915–1966, and the upcoming From Sweetback to Superfly: Race and Film Audiences in Chicago's Loop. He is editor of an anthology on Blaxploitation films. Butters received his Phd in History from the University of Kansas.


Jay Grossman

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Jay Grossman teaches and writes about eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature and culture, especially Emerson and Whitman, the history of the book, and the history of sexuality. He is the author of Reconstituting the American Renaissance: Emerson, Whitman, and the Politics of Representation, and co-editor of Breaking Bounds: Whitman and American Cultural Studies. A portion of his current work on the literary critic and political activist F. O. Matthiessen was published as "The Canon in the Closet: Matthiessen's Whitman, Whitman's Matthiessen" in American Literature; another, on the sexual and textual intersections between Whitman, Matthiessen, and T. S. Eliot, is forthcoming in a collection of essays from the Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Conference. Grossman received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Kramer

Michael Kramer

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Michael J. Kramer works at the intersection of historical scholarship, the arts, digital technology, and cultural criticism. He is the author of The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture (Oxford University Press, 2013; paperback, 2017). His current research explores the relationship between technology and tradition in the US folk music revival from the early twentieth century to the present; it includes a multimodal digital history project about the Berkeley Folk Music Festival, which took place annually on the University of California-Berkeley campus between 1958 and 1970, as well as more technical research on image sonification for historical interpretation, machine-learning sound analysis software, and the design of the digital essay. Future research focuses on the history of arts criticism in the United States, an intellectual history of the anarchist imagination in America, a history of the service worker in the US, and a biography of Chicago dance critic Ann Barzel. He teaches history and American studies at Middlebury College, where he is Associate Director of the Digital Liberal Arts. He has previously taught at Northwestern University, where he co-founded NUDHL, the Northwestern University Digital Humanities Laboratory. He also freelances as a dance dramaturg and an editorial consultant. He writes about history, the arts, politics, digital humanities, and other topics for numerous publications and blogs at michaeljkramer.net.


Bill Savage (PhD Northwestern) has been teaching in the SPS MALit program for almost two decades. He is a scholar of Chicago literature, history, and culture, and his most recent publication is an annotated edition of George Ade’s The Old-Time Saloon: Not Wet, Not Dry—Just History (1931; University of Chicago Press, 2016). He also co-edited and annotated Chicago by Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker’s Guide to the Paris of America (1892; Northwestern University Press, 2013). His current research focuses on popular culture and dynamics of urban space, especially focused on vernacular architectural matters like the design of hot dog stands and saloons. He writes book reviews and op-ed essays regularly for local media, and performs frequently in various live lit venues, including The Paper Machete. He is a lifelong resident of Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood.


Helen Thompson (B.A. English and Chemistry, Amherst College; M.A. The Writing Seminars, Johns Hopkins University; Ph.D. Duke University) teaches eighteenth-century British and transatlantic literature, philosophy, the history of science, and feminism. She is the author of two books, Ingenuous Subjection: Power and Compliance in the Eighteenth-Century Domestic Novel (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005) and Fictional Matter: Empiricism, Corpuscles, and the Novel (University of Pennsylvania Press, January 2017). Thompson’s articles have appeared in Eighteenth-Century Studies, ELH, The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, and numerous edited collections. She is currently at work on two projects: a study of eighteenth-century feminist utopian thought and a book tentatively entitled “Alchemy’s Culture: Radical Change in Restoration England.” She co-organizes the Eighteenth Century Seminar at the Newberry Library, Chicago, and serves on the Advisory Board of the journal Eighteenth-Century Studies as of July 2017. As an affiliate of the Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at Northwestern, Thompson teaches a lecture class on second-wave feminism of the 1960s and 70s as well as classes on utopian and dystopian science fiction from the second wave until today. In English, she teaches an array of courses in eighteenth-century literature from Boyle to Jane Austen and sometimes beyond. She was placed on the Associated Student Government Faculty Honor Roll in Spring 2015 and received the E. LeRoy Hall Award for Excellence in Teaching from Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in Spring 2016.


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