Donald E. Pease

Academic Appointments

Professor of English
Comparative Literature
The Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities
Chair of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program
Founding Director, Futures of American Studies Institute

My scholarship and teachingrange across a number of topics, periods, genres and styles from scholarship in 19th century American literature and modern American drama and an interpretive biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel, to more theoretical writing about national narratives, imperial stateexceptionalisms, bio-politics, comparative and transnational AmericanStudies, to edited volumes, special issues of academic journals, introductory editions, and nonacademicpolitical writing. Over the past 24 Summers I have directed the Futures of American Studies Institute at Dartmouth, an academic summer institute dedicated to presenting new work and critiquing the field of American Studies.

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A common thread connecting my monograph Visionary Compacts(which won the Mark Ingraham Prize for best new work in the Humanities in 1987) to the edited and co-edited volumes The American Renaissance Reconsidered (1988), Cultures of US Imperialism(1993), Revisionary Interventions into the Americanist Canon (1994), Postnational  Narratives (1997),  The Futures of American Studies (2002),Re-Framing the Transnational Turn in American Studies (2011), American Studies as Transnational Practice: Turning toward the Transpacific (2015),Democratic Cultures and Populist Imaginaries (2020)to my Duke University Press book series—“New Americanists”— is the effort to rethink the assumptions that have grounded the very idea of the field of American Studies. The New American Exceptionalism(2009) builds on this work by exploring the connections between the narrative ideologies of America, the exercise of state power, and state fantasies that facilitate the construction of national identities and notions of citizenship. 

I am presently working on three monographs. Since only one of them has a title, I’ll restrict myself to a brief account of its working premise. I have chosen the phrase Novel Governmentalities” to refer to the role novels in particular play in shaping and altering the encompassing processes linking the way individual subjects conduct themselves ("ethics") with the forms of power and domination through which states regulate the conduct of national populations. I have published two chapters from this book project “Pip, Moby-Dick, Melville’s Governmentality” and “The Call of the Wild: Psycho-Analyzing the Logics of Naturalism” and expect to finish work on the remaining three chapters this summer.

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219 Sanborn
HB 6032
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
Ph.D. University of Chicago

Selected Publications

.“Ahab’s Electromagnetic Constitution,” Ahab Unbound,Melville and the Materialist Turn, Eds., Meredith Farmer, Jonathan Schroeder (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2022).

“The Après-Coup: President Trump’s Counter-Transference of Power,”Amerikastudien / American Studiesvolume 66, no. 1, 2021, Common Grounds? American Democracy after Trump, eds.Cedric Essi, Heike Paul, and Boris Vormann.

Re-Framing the Transnational Turn in American Studies, co-edited with Winfried Fluck and John Carlos Rowe in Re-Mapping the Transnational: A Dartmouth Series in American Studies 2011

"Donald Trump’s Settler-Colonist State: A New Era of Illiberal Hegemony?” Trump’s America: Political Culture and National Identity,ed. Liam Kennedy (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2020).

“Returning from the Unending Korean War: Toni Morrison’s Home,” Neocolonial Fictions in the Global Cold War, ed. Joseph Keith and Steven Belletto (Iowa City:University of Iowa Press, 2019).

“The Uncanny Re-Worlding of the Post-9/11 American Novel, Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland;Or, The Cultural Fantasy Work of Neoliberalism,” Neoliberalism and Contemporary American Literature ed,Liam Kennedy and Stephen Shapiro (Hanover: Dartmouth College Press, 2019).

Introduction: Re-Framing the Transnational Turn in American Studies ed. Winfried Fluck, John Carlos Rowe, Donald Pease, Re-Mapping the Transnational: A Dartmouth Series in American Studies 2011

 “F.O. Matthiessen: Heir to American Jouissance,Inheritance in Psychoanalysis,eds. Joel Goldbach and James A Godley, pp. 196-216  (SUNY Press: Albany, 2018).

“Gramsci/Agamben: Re-Configurations of American Literary Studies” RSA Journal, RSA Journal 26/2015 special issue American Studies and Italian Theory, edited by Mena Mitrano, August, 2017, pp. 110-115.

"From the Camp to the Commons: Biopolitical Alter-Geographies in Douglass and Melville,” Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and TheoryVolume 72, Number 3, Autumn 2016.

“The Transnational/Diaspora Complex,” American Studies as Transnational Practice:Turning Towards the Trans-Pacific, eds. Yuan Shu and Donald Pease (Hanover: Dartmouth College Press, 2015). 


Futures of American Studies, (Duke University Press, 2002)

National Identities and Postnational Narratives, (Duke University Press, 1994)

New Americanists: Revisionist Interventions into the Canon, (Duke University Press, 1994)

Cultures of U.S. Imperialism, (Duke University Press, 1992) with Amy Kaplan

Editor and introduction: New Essays on the Rise of Silas Lapham, (Cambridge, 1991)

Visionary Compacts: American Renaissance Writings in Cultural Context, (University of Wisconsin, 1987)

The American Renaissance Reconsidered: Selected Papers of the English Institute, 1982-1983, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985) with Walter Benn Michaels.

New American Exceptionalism(University of Minnesota Press, 2009)—Nominated for the James Russell Lowell Prize at MLA

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Works in progress

American Studies after the New Americanists

Transnational American Studies in Theory and Practice

Re-Scripting the Korean War