Michael J. Drexler is an Associate Professor, and Director of Graduate Studies in English, who teaches courses on early and 19th Century American literature. He writes about the material and cultural legacy of colonialism and enslavement in post-revolutionary America. His interests include psychoanalytic literary method, Marxist cultural theory, and race studies.

His co-authored book (with Ed White), The Traumatic Colonel; or The Burr of American Literature is forthcoming from NYU Press.  And he has edited a collection on Haiti and the Early United States that will be published by University of Pennsylvania Press next year (with Elizabeth M. Dillon).  He is also editor of the novels of Leonora Sansay and collaborates on the Collected Writings of Charles Brockden Brown. His collection Beyond Douglass: New Perspectives in Early African American Literature (with Ed White), was named an Outstanding Academic Title by CHOICE in 2009.  A complete cv can be found on his personal website with links to several open access essays.

Educational Background

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

Teaching Interests

  • Early and 19th century American literature

Scholarly Interests

  • Psychoanalytic literary method
  • Marxist cultural theory
  • Race studies

Selected Publications

"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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