William Scott

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Contact Information

Associate Professor


CL 517D

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William Scott’s research and teaching focus on poetics and linguistics; contemporary African American poetry; African American Literature; gender and sexuality; and opera. He received his MA in German and his PhD in comparative literature from Johns Hopkins University.

Research and Publications

His first book, Troublemakers: Power, Representation, and the Fiction of the Mass Worker, was published by Rutgers University Press in 2012. He is currently working on a study of various modes of articulation—including the innovative forms of linguistic experimentation that attend these—among the aesthetic projects of a range of contemporary African American poets, entitled “Becoming, for a song”: Language and Difference in the Poetry of Harryette Mullen, Nathaniel Mackey, and Erica Hunt.


“Introduction,” Critical Quarterly, vol. 54 no. 2 (Summer 2012): iii-vi.

“Modernism in Translation,” ADFL Bulletin, Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, MLA, vol. 41 no. 2 (Winter 2009): 42-47.

“Revolutionary Acts of Translation: Language and Freedom in Guy Endore’s Babouk,” in Echoes of the Haitian Revolution 1804-2004, edited by Martin Munro and Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw (Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2008), 111-121.

“Belonging to History: Margaret Walker’s For My People,” MLN, Comparative Literature Issue, vol. 121 no. 5 (December 2006): 1083-1106.

“Material Resistance and the Agency of the Body in Ann Petry’s The Street,” American Literature, vol. 78 no. 1 (March 2006): 89-116.

Motivos of Translation: Nicolás Guillén and Langston Hughes,” CR: The New Centennial Review, vol. 5 no. 2 (Fall 2005): 35-71.

“‘To Make Up the Hedge and Stand in the Gap’: Arna Bontemps’s Black Thunder,” Callaloo, vol. 27 no. 2 (Spring 2004): 522-41.

Book Reviews:

“Capturing the Present: Performativity and Pop Literature in Germany,” review essay of Eckhard Schumacher, Gerade Eben Jetzt: Schreibweisen der Gegenwart, in The German Quarterly, vol. 78 no. 1 (Winter 2005): 124-128.

“Eugene W. Holland, Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus: Introduction to Schizoanalysis,” in MLN, Comparative Literature Issue, vol. 116 no. 5 (December 2001): 1102-1105.

“The Radical Novel Reconsidered. Alfred Maund, The Big Boxcar; Abraham Polonsky, The World Above,” in MLN, Comparative Literature Issue, vol. 114 no. 5 (December 1999): 1146-1150.

“Martin Heidegger (Joan Stambaugh [trans.]), Being and Time, a Translation of Sein und Zeit,” in MLN, German Issue, vol. 113 no. 3 (April 1998): 692-695.


Graduate Courses
Revolutionary Poetry of the U.S. Left
Aesthetics and Politics: Modernism and Mass Production
Postmodern African American Poetry
Modernism in African American Poetry
The Blues Woman: Race and Sexuality in Twentieth-Century African American Women’s Fiction
Studies in U.S. Fiction: The Radical Novel in the Great Depression

Undergraduate Courses
Senior Seminar: The New American Poetry, 1945-1980
Senior Seminar: Invisibility in the Twentieth Century African American Novel
Junior Seminar: Modernism in American Poetry
Topics in Black Lit: Black Arts/Black Power, 1960-1975
Topics in Black Lit: Modernism in African American Literature
The Modernist Tradition
20th Century American Literature
20th Century African American Literature
19th Century African American Literature
Literature and Psychoanalysis
Myth and Folktale
Sexuality and Representation
Working Class Literature
Literature of the Americas
American Literary Traditions
Contemporary African American Poetry
Intro to Critical Reading
Introduction to Opera
Literature and the Contemporary
Reading Poetry
Seminar in Composition

Service and Other Duties

University Services:

Faculty Representative, Sexual Assault Task Force, University of Pittsburgh
2014-2017: Humanities Representative, Faculty Assembly, University of Pittsburgh, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.
Graduate Admissions Committee
Graduate Placement and Professional Development Committee
Diversity Committee
Pedagogy Committee
Literature Curriculum Committee
Junior/Senior Seminar Assessment Committee
Planning and Budget Committee
African Americanist Search Committee
Senior American Literature Search Committee
Library Committee

Other Duties and Service:
Reviewer for University of North Carolina Press
Reviewer for Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and The Philosophy of History
 Reviewer for African American Review



Troublemakers: Power, Representation, and the Fiction of the Mass Worker  

Troublemakers: Power, Representation, and the Fiction of the Mass Worker
William Scott. Troublemakers: Power, Representation, and the Fiction of the Mass Worker. Rutgers University Press, 2011