Rutgers English

Faculty Profile

Douglas A. Jones, Jr.
Associate Professor of English

36 Union Street | Room 101
College Ave Campus

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Douglas Jones works on (African) American literatures of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, drama and performance studies, and cultural histories of slavery in British North America and the US. His current research agenda is mainly concerned with the foundations and forms of democratic individuality in American thought, especially Frederick Douglass’ elaborations that emerged from his absorption of slave culture and Transcendentalism. As an editor, Professor Jones is in the midst of two projects: a special issue of Modern Drama called “Slavery’s Reinventions” that will offer accountings of the ubiquity of slavery in drama and theatre of the long twentieth century; and a co-edited volume tentatively titled “Time Signatures” that will consider the many ways in which (racialized) performance keeps time and theorizes temporality.

Professor Jones is the author of The Captive Stage: Performance and the Proslavery Imagination of the Antebellum North (Michigan, 2014), which traces how proslavery thought shaped the development of several performance and literary cultures of the free antebellum north, including early blackface minstrelsy, reform melodrama, and abolitionist discourse. His articles and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Early American Literature, J19: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century AmericanistsTheatre SurveyTDR/The Drama Review, and ESQ: A Journal of The American Renaissance, among other scholarly journals, as well as in a wide range of edited collections. He serves on the Executive Committee of the American Society for Theatre Research (2016-2019).

At Rutgers, he is director of the Certificate in Drama and Performance Studies and coordinates the Literature and Political Theory working group in the Center for Cultural Analysis (CCA). A former fellow of the Princeton Society of Fellows, Professor Jones is also on faculty at the Bread Loaf School of English, where he has held the Frank and Eleanor Griffiths Chair.

Education Areas of Specialization

PhD, Stanford
BFA, New York University

American literatures before Reconstruction; African American culture and writing before 1920; performance theory; literature and/as political philosophy, especially American democratic theory
  • The Captive Stage: Performance and the Proslavery Imagination of the Antebellum North (Michigan, 2014)
  • Co-editor, with Harry J. Elam, Jr., The Methuen Drama Book of Post-Black Plays (Methuen/Bloomsbury, 2012)
Recent and Forthcoming Publications
  • “Out of One, Many: The American Public, then its Audiences,” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 6.2 (2018)
  • “Slave Evangelicalism, Shouting, and the Beginning of African American Writing,” Early American Literature 53.1 (2018) 
  • “Disturb the Hive,” Theatre Survey 57.3 (2016)
  • “The Fruit of Abolition: Discontinuity and Difference in Terrance Hayes’ ‘The Avocado’” in The Psychic Hold of Slavery: Legacies in American Expressive Culture (2016)
  • “Slavery’s Performance-Texts” in The Cambridge Companion to Slavery in American Literature (2016)
  • "Douglass' Impersonal," ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 61.1 (2015)
 Undergraduate Courses Taught  Graduate Course Taught
  • Slavery and American Culture: Seminar
  • Uncle Tom and Anti-Toms: Seminar
  • Black American Literature to 1910
  • Introduction to Performance Theory
  • Staging America from the Colonial Period to the Civil War
  • The Literature of Black New York from Slavery to the Great Migration
  • Twentieth-Century American Drama
  • Civilization and its Discontents
  • Form, Genre, and Period in Early African American Writing
  • Emerson and Douglass
Awards and Distinctions
  • Winner of the inaugural Josè Esteban Muñoz Working Session, American Society for Theatre Research (2016)
  • Frank and Eleanor Griffiths Chair, Bread Loaf School of English (2015)
  • Cotsen Fellow, Princeton Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, 2011-2013, Princeton University
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 2011-2012 (Declined), Center for African American Studies, Princeton University
  • Wendell Cole Memorial Award for Distinguished Dissertation, Stanford University