- Chair, English
- Associate Professor, English
- Co-director, Film Studies
- Contemporary American Literature
- Environmental Studies
- Popular Culture
- Popular Music
I specialize in contemporary American literature, film studies, popular music, popular culture, environmental studies and the 1980s. I am the author of several books, including Stranger Things and the ’80: The Complete Retro Guide, This Thing Called Life: Prince, Race, Sex, Religion, and Music, James Baldwin and the 1980s: Witnessing the Reagan Era, and Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson.
My work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Guardian, Slate, The Huffington Post, The Boston Review, Forbes and PopMatters. My articles have also been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including the James Baldwin Review, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Review, The Journal of Popular Culture, The Journal of American Culture, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies.
- Ph.D. English University of Rochester
- M.A. English University of Rochester
- B.S. English Utah Valley University
- Popular Music
- African American Studies
James Baldwin and the 1980s: Witnessing the Reagan Era. University of Illinois Press, 2018.
This Thing Called Life: Prince, Race, Sex, Religion, and Music. Bloomsbury Academic, 2018.
Stranger Things and the ’80s: The Complete Retro Guide. Cardinal Books, 2018.
Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson. Sterling, 2011.
“On James Baldwin’s Radical Writing For Playboy Magazine.” Literary Hub (April 17, 2018)
“Whitewashing Slave Rebellion: The Confessions of Quentin Tarantino.” Journal of American Culture, 41.1 (March 2018).
“‘To Crush the Serpent’: James Baldwin, the Religious Right, and the Moral Minority.”
James Baldwin Review, 2 (December 2016).
“‘Civilization’s Going to Pieces’: The Great Gatsby, Identity, and Race, From the Jazz Age to the Obama Era.” F. Scott Fitzgerald Review, 13.1 (December 2015).
“Freaks in the Reagan Era: James Baldwin, the New Pop Cinema, and the American Ideal of Manhood.” The Journal of Popular Culture, 48.3 (June 2015).
“‘I Ain’t Scared of No Sheets’: Re-screening Black Masculinity in Michael Jackson’s Black or White.” Journal of Popular Music Studies, 27.1 (March 2015).
“James Baldwin’s Decline of Reputation in the 1980s.” Forthcoming in James Baldwin in Context, ed. D. Quentin Miller (Cambridge University Press).
“Bruce Springsteen,” in The American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress and Poverty, ed. Robert Rycroft. New York. Greenwood, 2016. “Michael Jackson,” in America in the World, 1776 to the Present, ed. Edward J. Blum. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 2016.
“‘Thriller’ (1982) by Michael Jackson,” in the National Recording Registry (Library of Congress, September 2014).
- Russel B. Nye Award, Popular Culture Association (PCA), 2016.