Michael Drexler

Michael Drexler

Professor of English
Specialization: early and 19th century American literature, literary theory, slavery and resistance in the Americas
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About Michael Drexler

Michael teaches 18th and 19th century American literature. He is a senior fellow in the Humanities Residential College and an affiliate faculty of Critical Black Studies and Comparative Humanities. 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 with Elizabeth Maddow Dillon entitled The Haitian Revolution and the Early United States appeared from U Penn Press in 2016. White and Drexler also collaborated on Beyond Douglass: New Perspectives in Early African-American Literature (Bucknell UP, 2008) and heis the editor of Broadview's edition of Leonora Sansay's Secret History and Laura. Early His work has appeared in Early American Literature, American Literary History, Modern Language Studies, and several essay collections. He is currently writing a novel about the mansion built on the site where the abolitionist John Brown was executed in 1859. His research interests are in psychoanalytic and Marxist literary criticism. He's really excited about a relatively new class he's offered called Melville's Sea, Faulkner's South, and Morrison's Song.

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

Personal website

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 Negro: 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.

Further Information

Contact Details


203 Vaughan Literature Building