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John Michael

John Michael

  • Professor, English/Visual and Cultural Studies

PhD, English, Johns Hopkins University

404D Morey Hall
(585) 275-4974


Graduate Courses Taught

  • ENG 426:  American Realists
  • ENG 430:  Poe, Whitman, Dickinson
  • AH 506:  The Sublime
  • ENG 540:  19C American Literature
  • ENG 543:  American Cosmopolitanism
  • ENG 550:  Aesthetics
  • ENG 557:  Aesthetics and Ethics

Undergraduate Courses Taught

  • ENG 115:  Survey of American literature
  • ENG 226:  American Realists
  • ENG 230:  Poe, Whitman, Dickinson
  • AH 306:  The Sublime
  • ENG 396:  Art and Media in Criticism and Culture

Selected Publications


  • Identity and the Failure of America from Thomas Jefferson to the War on Terror. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008.
  • Anxious Intellects: Academic Professionals, Public Intellectuals, and Enlightenment Values.  Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 2000.
  • Emerson and Skepticism: The Cipher of the World. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.


  • “Profiles in Courage,” JFK’s Book for Boys,” American Literary History, 24 (Fall 2012) 3: 424-443.
  • “Transnational American Studies or, Tainted Love,” New  Literary History 42 (Summer 2011) 3: 409-417.
  • “Death, Love, and Emerson’s Poetry” in Emerson for the Twenty-first Century:  Global Perspectives on an American Icon, ed. Barry Tharaud (Newark:  University of Delaware Press, 2010) 379-402.
  • “The Presence of Immigrants, or Why Mexicans and Arabs Look Alike,” Storia della Storiographia (Special Issue: Making Sense of Presence:  Philosophy, History and Politics) 55(2009): 144-58.
  • “Introduction: Taking Poe Seriously” in Edgar Allan Poe: Nevermore, Prose and Poems.  Rochester, N.Y.: Big Pencil Press, 2009.
  • “Liberal Justice and Particular Identity:  Cavell, Emerson, Rawls,”  64:1 Arizona Quarterly (Spring 2008) 27-47.
  • “Identity, Masochism, and the Democratic Intellectual in the War on Terror” in The Hedgehog Review Special Issue: Intellectuals and Public Responsibility (Spring 2007) pp. 71-80.
  • “Beyond Us and Them:  Identity and Terror from an Arab-American’s Perspective,” in SAQ: Special Issue: Palestine America 102 (Fall 2003) 4: 701-728.
  • “Democracy, Aesthetics, Individualism: Emerson as Public Intellectual,” in Nineteenth-Century Prose: Special Issue:  Ralph Waldo Emerson Bicentenary  30(Spring/Fall 2003) 195-226; reprinted in Ralph Waldo Emerson:  Bicentenary Appraisals ed. Barry Tharaud (Trier:  Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 2006) pp. 91-116.
  • “Intellectuals in a Time of Terror,” Politics and Culture: An International Review of Books 4: 2002 online (
  • “After 9/11: Intellectuals and the Clash of Cultures,” Socialism and Democracy 16 (Winter-Spring 2002) 1: 137-43.


  • Eileen Ka-May Cheng, The Plain and Noble Garb of Truth:  Nationalism and Impartiality in American Historical Writing, 1784-1860  in The  Journal of American History 96 (December 2009) 3.
  • George Snedeker, The Politics of Critical Theory: Language/ Discourse/ Society in Socialism and Democracy 19(2005) 1.
  • Eduardo Cadava, Emerson and the Climates of History, in American Literature 72 (2000) 3: 630-31.
  • Richard Waswo, The Founding Legend of Western Civilization from Virgil to Vietnam, in Passages: Journal of Transnational and Transcultural Studies 1 (1999) 2: 302-304.
  • Richard E. Brantley, Coordinates for Anglo-American Romanticism: Wesley, Edwards, Carlyle and Emerson, in Studies in Romanticism 35 (1996) 3: 474-77.
  • Stanley Cavell, Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome:  The Constitution of Emersonian Perfectionism, in Modern Philology 91 (1993) 2: 260-67.
  • Representative Men:  The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol. 4. edited by Douglas Emory Wilson, introduction and notes by Wallace  E. Williams, in Resources for American Literary Study.
  • Donald Pease, Visionary Compacts:  American Renaissance Writings in Cultural Context, in Genre 20 (Spring 1987).
  • Ernst Mandel, Delightful Murder:  A Social History of the  Crime Story, MLN 102 (December 1987).
  • Evan Carton, The Rhetoric of American Romance:  Dialectic and Identity in Emerson, Dickinson, Poe, and Hawthorne, in Genre 20 (Spring 1987).

Selected Awards/Grants

  • Presidential Fellow, Salzburg Seminars, Salzburg, Austria, 1993
  • Fulbright Lecturing Award, Instytut Anglistyki, Uniwersytet warszawski, Poland, 1990-91
  • CIES Fellowship, Summer Polish Institute, University of Pittsburgh, 1990
  • Junior Faculty Research Fellowship, University of Rochester, 1989
  • William B. Kenan Teaching Fellowship for Excellence and Innovation in Undergraduate Teaching, The Johns Hopkins University, 1981-82, 1982-83
  • Humanities Center Fellowship for Study in Paris, The Johns Hopkins University, 1980-81
  • Human Biology Fellowship, The Johns Hopkins University, 1979-80
  • Graduate Fellowship, The Johns Hopkins University, 1977-79


  • Modern Language Association
  • North American Modern Language Association
  • American Studies Association
  • Marxist Literary Group
  • Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies
  • Society for Cinema Studies
  • Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists
  • American Comparative Literature Society

Current Projects

  • Articles: “The American Novel and Early Cinema” (forthcoming); “Posmodernism” (encyclopedia article—forthcoming).
  • Book MS in Progress:  “Modern Poetry in Nineteenth-Century America:  Poe, Whitman, Dickinson and Death.”