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About James E. Smethurst

James Smethurst received his Ph.D. in English from Harvard University in 1996. He is Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Professor Smethurst is the author of The New Red Negro: The Literary Left and African American Poetry, 1930-1946 (Oxford University Press, 1999), The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s (University of North Carolina Press, 2005), and The African American Roots of Modernism: Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance (University of North Carolina Press, 2011). He is also the co-editor of Left of the Color Line: Race, Radicalism and Twentieth-Century Literature of the United States (University of North Carolina Press, 2003) and Radicalism in the South since Reconstruction (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). His scholarly interests include African American literature and culture; 20th-century poetry in English; 19th- and 20th-century American literature; ethnic studies; literary modernism; film, music and popular culture; literature of industrialization and urbanization; cultural history; intellectual history; and gender studies. He is currently working on a history of the Black Arts Movement in the South and is co-editing SOS?Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Reader with John Bracey and Sonia Sanchez.


Present Professor, Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Curriculum Vitae

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  • AfroAm 151 Literature and Culture
  • AfroAm390C Afro-American Literature of the 1930's
  • AfroAm 701 Major Works in Afro-American Studies I

Contact Information

310 New Africa House
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst MA, 01003


Articles (13)

Books (5)