Brad Evans
Associate Professor of English


African-American & Diaspora, Nineteenth Century American

Nineteenth and twentieth century American literature, African American literature, Native American literature, the history of anthropology and folklore, cultural and network theory with an emphasis on circulation, the aesthetic arts movement and the avant-garde, the history of the short-story, and modernist periodicals

My work has covered a broad range of media—literature, magazines and early cinema—and is deeply interdisciplinary. It focuses on the dynamics of circulation, and how the historical crossings of literary and anthropological culture force the issue of conceptualizing racial and cultural difference, aesthetic innovation, and group artistic movements. In Before Cultures: The Ethnographic Imagination in American Literature, 1865-1920 (University of Chicago Press, 2005), I asked the question how social difference was perceived, produced and represented artistically in a period before the emergence of cultural pluralism. I then co-produced the restoration and screening series of the landmark silent feature film In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914, dir. Edward S. Curtis with the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations, British Columbia), and co-edited a volume of companion essays about the project, Return to the Land of the Head Hunters: Edward S. Curtis, the Kwakwaka’wakw, and the Making of Modern Cinema (University of Washington Press, 2014). I am currently completing a study of how artistic movements take shape, move, and are forgotten. In a book tentatively titled “Black Cats, Butterflies, and the Ephemeral Bibelots,” I consider this question by telling the story of a largely unremembered, international craze for proto-modernist art journals, known as ephemeral bibelots. My most recent publication on this topic, “Relating in Henry James (The Artwork of Networks),” recently appeared in The Henry James Review.

Office / Office Hours

43 Mine Street, Room 202, College Ave Campus


  • "What Travels? The Movement of Movements; or, Ephemeral Bibelots from Paris to Lansing, with Love," in eds. James J. Connolly, Frank Felsenstein, Kenneth R. Hall, Robert Hall, and Patrick Collier, Print Culture Histories Beyond the Metropolis (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming).
  • "Relating in Henry James (The Artwork of Networks)," The Henry James Review 36:1 (Winter 2015) 1-23.
  • "Indian Movies and the Vernacular of Modernism," in eds. Evans and Glass, Return to the Land of the Head Hunters (Univ. of Washington Press, 2014), 190-211.
  • “Ephemeral Bibelots’ in the 1890s,” The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines, Vol 2, North America 1894-1960 (2012).
  • “Introduction to Le Petit Journal des Refusées,” The Modernist Journals Project, Online Publication:
  • “Introduction: Rethinking the Disciplinary Confluence of Anthropology and Literary Studies”
    Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts 49.4, 2007
  • “Where Was Boas During the Renaissance in Harlem? Race, Diffusion, and the Culture Paradigm in the History of Anthropology” 
    History of Anthropology Series 11, 2006
  • “Howellsian Chic: The Local Color of Cosmopolitanism” 
    ELH: English Literary History 71, 2004
  • "Commentary: Catherine Russell's Recovery of the Head-Hunters"  
    Visual Anthropology 11, 1998
  • "Cushing's Zuni Sketchbooks: Literature, Anthropology and American Notions of Culture" 
    American Quarterly 49, December 1997

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to American Literature: The Classics and the Canon
  • American Realism and Naturalism
  • Nineteenth Century Black Literature
  • The Short Story
  • Post-Bellum/Pre-Harlem: Literature of Race and Culture
  • The American 1890s
  • Henry James
  • Principles of Literary Study, Fiction
  • The Cultural History of Now
  • American Literature 1865-1920
  • Post-Bellum/Pre-Harlem: Literature of Race and Culture
  • Circulation and Cultural Theory
  • American Regionalism
  • Henry James
  • Edith Wharton, Henry James, and the Ends of Realism
  • Franz Boas v. Henry James: Competing Pluralisms

Awards and Affiliations

  • ACLS Fellowship, 2012-2013
  • Rutgers Center For Historical Analysis, Faculty Fellow, 2006-2007
  • Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers University, Teaching Fellow, 2006-2007
  • Andrew W. Mellon Time-Release Grant Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, Spring 2004
  • Executive Committee, Division of Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century American Literature, Modern Languages Association (elected term 2010-2015)
  • Board of Advisors, The Modernist Journals Project (
  • Executive Committee, Division on Anthropological Approaches to Literature, Modern Languages Association (elected term, 2001-2005)
  • Member, American Anthropological Association
  • Member, American Studies Association
  • Member, Modern Languages Association


PhD, University of Chicago
MA, University of Chicago
BA, University of Cincinnati

Other Information of Interest