The Department of English Welcomes Alexander Manshel and Sterling Bland


Published: 28Aug2019

The Department of English welcomes two new professors this fall: Alexander Manshel, a tenure-track professor in the department, and Sterling Bland, a visiting Fulbright Canada Research Chair in American Literature.

Alexander Manshel researches and teaches in the fields of twentieth-century and contemporary American literature, multi-ethnic American fiction, literary sociology, and digital humanities. His current book project—Writing Backwards: Contemporary Fiction and the Historical Turn—documents the overwhelming reorganization of the American literary field over the last forty years around historical fiction and the cultural, pedagogical, and political value of historicity. His recent or forthcoming publications explore historical novels set in the very recent past; the "lag" between technological innovation and contemporary fiction; the historical novels of Colson Whitehead; and the influence of literary prizes on the contemporary canon. He is also in the process of writing a work of literary nonfiction that weaves together a lost suitcase of Czech photographs with the history of Prague in the 1960s.

This year at McGill, Manshel is looking forward to teaching courses on the American novel since 1945 (ENGL 227), multi-ethnic historical fiction (ENGL 525), literary institutions (ENGL 322), and contemporary narratives of slavery from Beloved to Get Out (ENGL 407).

Sterling Lecater Bland, Jr. is an associate professor in the departments of English, African American and African Studies, and American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. His teaching and research interests include nineteenth century American literature, African American literature and culture, narrative theory, and jazz studies. His book publications include Voices of the Fugitives: Runaway Slave Stories and Their Fictions of Self-Creation (Greenwood Press 2000), Understanding Nineteenth Century Slave Narratives (Greenwood Press, 2016), and “Narration on the Lower Frequencies in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man” in Narrative, Race, and Ethnicity in the U.S. edited by Jennifer Ho, James J. Donahue, and Shaun Morgan (The Ohio State UP, 2017). Most recently, his essays have appeared in the journals MELUS (Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States), South Atlantic Review, and American Studies. His current research is an intellectual history of the work and thinking of Ralph Ellison entitled In the Shadow of Invisibility: Ralph, Ellison, Identity, and the American Experience.

This fall, he will be teaching ENGL 404, Studies in 19th Century American Literature 1: The Roots of Modern African American Literature.

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