Nineteenth and twentieth century American literature, the history of anthropology, periodical studies, and documentary film. Topics of current interest include pragmatism, the American short-story, and relational aesthetics.
Professor Evans is a specialist in 19th and 20th century American literature and culture and the history of anthropology. He is the author of Before Cultures: The Ethnographic Imagination in American Literature (2005) and Ephemeral Bibelots: How an International Fad Buried American Modernism (2019). He also co-produced the restoration of a silent feature film that premiered in 1914, In the Land of the Head Hunters, which was directed by the photographer Edward Curtis and starred an all-indigenous cast from the Kwakwaka’wakw community of British Columbia, Canada. The film is now listed in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Each of these projects has been quite different from the other, covering a broad range of media, but they were inspired by something the anthropologist Franz Boas wrote in 1911. In a major study of American Indian languages, Boas noted that race, language and culture circulate independently and at remarkably different rates. Evans’s research has focused on historical episodes of uneven circulation—episodes that generated new thinking about the concepts of race and culture, the relation of art and anthropology, and the dynamics of artistic movements.
43 Mine Street, Room 202, College Ave Campus
American Literature Survey 1865-Present
Principles of Literary Study, Fiction
19th Century American Literature
19th Century Black Literature
American Realism and Naturalism
Early 20th Century American Literature
The Short Story
The Cultural History of Now: Inequality, The New Gilded Age?
English Honors Thesis Proseminar
Seminar: American Vernacular
Seminar: Black Writing at the Fin de Siècle
Seminar: Henry James
Seminar: Henry James, Edith Wharton and the Ends of Realism
SAS Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar: What is Culture?
Byrne Seminar: The Paris Art Scene in 1900, Reading The Ambassadors
Byrne Seminar: Restoring A Silent Film
Byrne Seminar: What is Culture?
Byrne Seminar: The Fault in Our Fiction: John Green and Literary Criticism Today
Relational Aesthetics and American Literature
Franz Boas v. William James: Pluralism at the Turn of the Century
Circulation and Cultural Theory
Locating American Realism
An Infidelity to Realism
American Literature 1860-1925
From Balzac to Noguchi: American Literature 1860-1910
Henry James, Edith Wharton, and the Ends of Realism
- 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 (dl.lib.brown.edu/mjp)
- 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
- "Realism as Modernism," in ed. Keith Newlin, The Oxford Handbook of American Realism (forthcoming).
- "Review Essay: Racial Mediums," American Literary History 28:3 (Fall 2016) 613-623.
- "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, 2016) 181-214.
- "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: http://dl.lib.brown.edu/mjp/render.php?id=mjp.2005.00.119&view=mjp_object.
- “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
PhD, University of Chicago
MA, University of Chicago
BA, University of Cincinnati
- Companion website to In the Land of the Head Hunters film restoration project: www.curtisfilm.rutgers.edu
- NPR Radio Program, Odyssey: "The Culture of Culture" (55 minutes, audio file): www.chicagopublicradio.org/audio_library/od_raaug05.asp