I am a Professor of English at the University of Florida. I teach courses in American literature, cultural studies, American Indian literature, popular culture, and critical theory. My research addresses the intersections of American literature and the social sciences, especially anthropology. I have written two books on the concept of “culture” in the U.S.: Patterns for America: Modernism and the Concept of Culture (Princeton, 1999) and The Cultural Return (California, 2012; pdf). The first examines the joint modernist project of anthropologists and literary critics at the turn of the century to define and deploy the idea of “culture”; and the second traces the history of the “cultural turn” of the 1980s and 1990s to offer an account of culture’s ascendancy as a central interdisciplinary concept, its more recent failing fortunes, and argues for “culture’s” continued importance to our understanding of present society. I have also published work in American Indian studies, museum studies, literary history and theory. I am associate editor of the multi-volume Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Novel (2011). I am currently working on a project on indigeneity in a global context, and another on the history of the popular social sciences in mid-twentieth century US.
I have taught at the University of Florida since 1995. In 1996, I was the William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellow at Vanderbilt University’s Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, and in 2012, I was the Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in American Studies at Uppsala University in Sweden, where I was affiliated with SINAS, the Swedish Institute for North American Studies. I am currently a guest blogger for Amerikaanalys.se, a blog on US politics for a Swedish audience.
From 2014-2017, I was President of UFF-UF, the University of Florida Chapter of United Faculty of Florida (FEA/AFT/NEA). I am a committed labor activist, and so I occasionally also write on Florida politics and academic labor.