Walter Benn Michaels

Professor of American Literature and Literature Theory

University of Illinois at Chicago

Walter Benn Michaels specializes in American Literature and literary theory.  Michaels's work has generated a set of arguments and questions around a host of issues that are central to literary studies: problems of culture and race, identities national and personal, the difference between memory and history, disagreement and difference, and meaning and intention in interpretation. His work has been published by numerous journals such as Critical Inquiry, the Structuralist Review, The Georgia Review, Representations, Paideuma, the San Diego Law Review and New Literary History, as well as essay collections. Michaels's books include: The Gold Standard and the Logic of Naturalism: American Literature at the Turn of the Century; Our America: Nativism, Modernism and Pluralism; The Shape of the Signifier: 1967 to the End of History; and The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality.

His most recent book is The Beauty of a Social Problem; Photography, Autonomy, Economy (2015).