John Michael's research interests include contemporary relations between academic intellectuals and popular politics, the problematics of national identity in American literary romances and films, and the complex interrelations between the interpretation of literature and the reading of history.
Identity and the Failure of America from Thomas Jefferson to the War on Terror, University of Minnesota 2008
Anxious Intellects: Academic Professionals, Public Intellectuals, and Enlightenment Values, Duke 2000
Emerson and Skepticism: The Cipher of the World, Johns Hopkins 1988
"Profiles in Courage, JFK's Books for Boys," in American Literary History (5 July 2012)
"Liberal Justice and Particular Identity: Cavell, Emerson, Rawls," in Arizona Quarterly 64.1 (2008), 27-47
"Identity, Masochism, and the Democratic Intellectual in the War on Terror," in Intellectuals and Public Responsibility, spec. issue of The Hedgehog Review (2007), 71-80
Review: George Snedeker, The Politics of Critical Theory: Language/Discourse/Society, in Socialism and Democracy 19.1 (2005)
“Death, Love, and Emerson’s Poetry"
Work in progress
Modern Poetry in Nineteenth-Century America: Poe, Whitman, Dickinson, and Death
John Michael's teaching interests span the corpus of American literature, the questions of aesthetics, and the demands of worldly criticism and critical theory in a situation that has been global for a very long time.