Ernest Mitchell

Ernest Mitchell's picture
Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies

Ph.D., Harvard University, 2019

M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School, 2009

A.B., Princeton University, 2006

I study literature, philosophy, and religion — how they converge, how they shape one another, how they fashion our sense of being modern. Methodological insights from black studies guide me in this research.

My literary focus is the “Harlem Renaissance,” viewed expansively as integral to transatlantic modernism. My philosophical writing centers on aesthetics and phenomenology, largely in German thinkers from Kant to Benjamin. My interest in religion ranges from the ancient Mediterranean to the contemporary Caribbean.

I am finishing a biography of the Jamaican writer Claude McKay for Yale University Press and preparing a new edition of Jean Toomer’s Cane for the Norton Library. I am also completing a study of the rich yet undervalued theological vein in the work of Zora Neale Hurston. These books reflect on questions of style — charm, revision, grace.

Selected Publications

“Tenderness in Early Richard Wright.” The Cambridge Companion to Richard Wright, ed. Glenda R. Carpio, 199-216. Cambridge UP, 2019.

Zora’s Politics: A Brief Introduction.” Journal of Transnational American Studies 5, no. 1 (2013).

“‘Black Renaissance’: A Brief History of the Concept.” Special issue, “African American Literary Studies: New Texts, New Approaches, New Challenges,” ed. Glenda R. Carpio and Werner Sollors. Amerikastudien / American Studies 55, no. 4 (2010): 641-65.

Courses

ENGL 351: Fictions of the Harlem Vogue (HUMS 370 / AFAM 354)

ENGL 127: Readings in American Literature

HUMS 223: Claude McKay: Interpretations (ENGL 242)

DRST 002: Directed Studies: Literature