Michael Trask

matras2's picture
  • Guy M. Davenport Professor in English
  • Director of Graduate Studies
  • English
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Social Theory
1263 Patterson Office Tower
Research Interests:


Ph.D. The Johns Hopkins University (1998)
B.A. Wesleyan University (1990)


I work at the intersection of queer theory and feminism, high and low culture, and social theory and traditional literary criticism.  Although I mainly teach and write on 20th-century American Literature, I also teach courses on 19th-century British literature (Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, the Victorian Triple-Decker).  I earned my Ph.D. in English from Johns Hopkins in 1998 and my B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1990.  My most recent book, Ideal Minds: Raising Consciousness in the Antisocial Seventies (forthcoming from Cornell in 2020), considers a variety of post-1970 social and intellectual trends and their literary resonances, including the ethical turn in political theory, animal liberation, deep ecology, and libertarianism.  I am currently working on two books: a critique of strong materialism (thing theory, ANT, affect theory, posthumanism) in the contemporary humanities from the vantage of neo-Kantian political and moral philosophy; and a set of close readings of 21st-century novelists (Tao Lin, Ben Lerner, Alex Kleeman, Ben Fountain, Sheila Heti, Rachel Cusk).



Areas of Specialty:

  • Social Theory
  • History of Sexuality
  • Modernism
  • 20th-Century American Literature
Selected Publications: 
  • Camp Sites: Sex, Politics, and Academic Style in Postwar Culture, Stanford UP, May 2013


  • "Patricia Highsmith's Method," ALH  22.3 (2010): 584-614

  • "Class and Sex in American Fiction: From Casual Laborers to Accidental Desires," A Companion to the Modern American Novel 1900-1950, ed. John Matthews (Blackwell 2009)

  • "In the Bathroom with Mary McCarthy," Criticism 49.1 (2007): 7-33

  • Cruising Modernism: Class and Sexuality in American Literature and Social Thought, Cornell UP, 2003

  • Other articles in Novel, Differences, American Literature

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