Kenneth Warren

Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor

University of Chicago

Kenneth Warren is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor and faculty member in the Department of English, Committee on African & African-American Studies, Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, and the Committee on the History of Culture. He recevied his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1988 and has been teaching at Chicago since 1991.

His scholarship and teaching focuses on American and African American literature from the late nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth century. Warreb is particularly interested in the way that debates about literary form and genre articulate with discussions of political and social change. His two books, Black and White Strangers: Race and American Literary Realism (1993) and So Black and Blue: Ralph Ellison and the Occasion of Criticism (2003), explore how various understandings of black/white racial difference have affected, and continue to affect, the way that American authors write about and pass critical judgment on American literature. So Black and Blue explores the uncomfortable possibility that our desire to value the work of twentieth-century American authors—even those authors who, like Ellison, set out to challenge the nation's racial status quo—might, paradoxically, tend to underwrite our commitment to a racially unequal social order.

Professor Warren's selected publications include What Was African American Literature? (2011); So Black and Blue: Ralph Ellison and the Occasion of Criticism (2003); Black and White Strangers: Race and American Literary Realism (1993); "Still on the Lower Frequencies: Invisible Man at 50," The Common Review: The Magazine of the Great Books Foundation (Fall 2002); "As White as Anybody: Race and the Politics of Counting as Black," New Literary History (Autumn 2000); "A Inevitable Drift?: Oligarchy, Du Bois and the Politics of Race Between the Wars," "Sociology Hesitant," a Special Issue of boundary 2 (Fall 2000); "The End(s) of African American Studies," "History in the Making," a Special Issue of American Literary History (2000); "Appeals for (Mis)recognition: Theorizing the Diaspora," in Donald Pease and Amy Kaplan, eds. Cultures of U.S. Imperialism (1993); "Thinking Beyond Catastrophe: Leon Forrest's There is a Tree More Ancient than Eden," Callaloo (1993); "The Problem of Anthologies, or Making the Dead Wince," in "Forum: What Do We Need to Teach?" American Literature (1993); "From Under the Superscript: A Response to Michael Awkward," American Literary History (Spring 1992); and "Frederick Douglass's Life and Times: Progressive Rhetoric and the Problem of Constituency," Frederick Douglass: New Literary and Historical Essays, ed. Eric Sundquist (1990).