Michael J. Drexler teaches classes in 18th and 19th century American literature and specializes in cultural study of the early republic (1776-1820) through the Civil War. He is co-author (with Ed White) of The Traumatic Colonel: The Founding Fathers, Slavery, and the Phantasmatic Aaron Burr (NYU Press, 2014). An edited collection entitled The Haitian Revolution and the Early United States will be published by University of Pennsylvania Press in 2016. He is currently working on a book about North American slave narratives in the context of 19th century literature. Recent courses include North American Slave Narratives, US: Fever Fantasy Desire, and Melville and Monotheism. He is interested in Critical Race Studies, Psychoanalysis, and Marxist criticism and is the current director of Graduate Studies in English.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Brown University
  • M.A., Brown University
  • A.B., Cornell University

Teaching Interests

  • Early and 19th century American literature

Scholarly Interests

  • Psychoanalytic literary method
  • Marxist cultural theory
  • Race studies

Selected Publications

The Traumatic Colonel: The Founding Fathers, Slavery, and the Phantasmatic Aaron Burr, NYU Press, 2014.

"Leonora Sansay's Anatopic Imagination," in Urban Identity and the Atlantic World . eds. Elizabeth Fay and Leonard Von Morze. Palgrave, Forthcoming, 2012.

"Hurricanes and Revolutions," Early American Cartographies . ed. Martin Breuckner. University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

“Those ‘Old Colonial Establishments’ and the New nNgro: The Problem of Slavery in the Career of William Dunlap,”  Literature in the Early American Republic, v3 (2011): 113-144.

"The Constitution of Toussaint," (with Ed White), Blackwell Companion to African American Literature. ed. Gene Jarrett. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, 59-74.

The Theory Gap,” (with Ed White), American Literary History (Summer 2010); Volume 22, Number 2, Summer 2010 pp. 480-494 |  Published Simultaneously in EAL 45.2.

"Secret Witness; or the Fantasy Structure of Republicanism," (with Ed White) Early American Literature 44.2 (spring 2009): 333-363.

"The Displacement of the American Novel: Imagining Aaron Burr and Haiti in Leonora Sansay's Secret History," Common-Place 9.3 (2009).

Beyond Douglass: New Perspectives on Early African-American Literature (with Ed White), Bucknell UP, 2008.

“Haiti, Modernity, and US Identities,” Early American Literature 43.2 (2008): 453-465.

Leonora Sansay's Secret History; or the Horrors of St. Domingo and Laura, Broadview Literary Texts, 2007.

"Colonial Studies3," (with Ed White), American Literary History, 16.4 (2004): 728-757.

"Literary Histories," (with Ed White), the Blackwell Companion to American Fiction, 1780-1865. Shirley Samuels, ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004.

"Brigands and Nuns: the Vernacular Sociology of Collectivity After the Haitian Revolution." Messy Beginnings: Postcoloniality and Early American Studies. Schueller and Watts, eds. Rutgers UP, 2003.

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