Carnegie Mellon University

Professor of English


I research and teach in American culture and cultural theory. My special interests in American culture include film, popular music, and late nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction. My theoretical interests concern the historical and institutional production of knowledge, cultural politics, and theories of identity. I am the author of Michel Foucault, Creating American Civilization: A Genealogy of American Literature as an Academic Discipline, Modern Love: Romance, Intimacy, and the Marriage Crisis, John Sayles, and Rock Star: The Making of Cultural Icons from Elvis to Springsteen.  Current projects include a study of realism across media in the U. S. during the 20th century, and an investigation of status as distinct from class in contemporary society.


  • Ph.D., Indiana University
  • MA, Indiana University
  • BA, New College of Hofstra University

Selected Publications

“Rock Stars as Icons,” Handbook of Popular Music.  Ed. Steve Waksman. London: Sage, 2015, 301-316.

"Criticism and Critique: A Genealogy." Criticism after Critique.  Ed. Jeffrey Di Leo. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

"Looking Backward, Looking Forward: Utopia, Avatar, and the Loss of Progressive Metanarrative," Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies  6.1 (2014): 45-59.

"Woody Allen: the Charlie Chaplin of the New Hollywood." The Blackwell Companion to Film Comedy.  Ed. Andrew Horton & Joanna Rapf Malden. MA: Blackwell, 2012.

"Screwball Comedies: Constructing Romance, Mystifying Marriage." The Film Genre Reader IV. Ed. Barry Grant. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2012, 381-401. Rpt. from Cinema Journal. 

"The Star System in Literary Studies." PMLA 112 (January 1997): 85-100.