Associate Professor of Literary Studies
B - 65 West 11th Street
My interest, in teaching and in research, is to make Literary Studies itself an object of study. Historically a bastion of supremacist and exclusionary thought and practice, Literary Studies luckily offers tools for its own deconstruction. The practice of meta-literary studies engages: questions of epistemology, in particular, what counts as scholarly knowledge; disciplinary protocols and interdisciplinary alternatives; canon building and critiques of canons and canonization; the history and present of literary taste-making, and the pathways of cultural taste more broadly; deep exploration of Western literary values such as originality, genius, “timelessness,” and aesthetic quality. Maybe most importantly, I study how power and identity work through academic institutions, publishing, and literary channels of literary distribution – how institutional hierarchies and values establish and preserve inequality along lines of race, gender, class, sexuality, national origin, linguistic origin, and more. My interest is, at root, in how social values are expressed as literary values. The study is meaningful with respect to other cultural domains too, like film, music, “fine” arts, and more.
I’m also interested in very creative nonfiction – or ways of researching and representing the world that comment on and even reject disciplinary modes, and move beyond personal subjectivity as the logical substrate of such representations. How do artists use – and manipulate – documents, archives, found text, inherited symbolism – in order to present an analysis of social phenomena... in order to move or persuade readers/viewers/listeners to understand old things in a new way, to change minds, to bring just futures into being?
MFA, Fiction Writing, Vermont College 2002
PhD, Modern Thought and Literature, Stanford University, 1993
BA, European Cultural Studies, Brandeis University, 1984
Director, Writing On It All, a public/participatory writing project that takes place on Governors Island every June.
Assassin of Youth: A Kaleidoscopic History of Harry J. Anslinger's War on Drugs
University of Chicago Press, 2016
Brief. Jaded Ibis Press, 2012 [app/novel]
Kissed By. Fiction Collective 2, 2007
Selling Out: The Lesbian and Gay Movement Goes to Market. St. Martin's, 2000
Please see www.alexandrachasin.us for more information
Experimental fiction; elements of form; writing from and about history; gender, race, sexuality studies; popular culture; genre; the social practices of literature; book arts
Awards And Honors
2016 New York Foundation for the Arts, for Writing On It All
2013-14 Fellow, Leon Levy Center for Biography, CUNY
2012 New York Fundation for the Arts, Fiction Fellowship
2012 MacDowell, Residency
2011 Yaddo, Residency