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Indiana University Bloomington

George B. Hutchinson

George B. Hutchinson


Booth Tarkington Professor of Literary Studies
Adjunct Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies
Adjunct Professor of American Studies

Ph.D. in English and American Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1983
M.A., Indiana University, Bloomington, 1980
A.B., Brown University, 1975
U.S. Peace Corps, Burkina Faso, 1975-77

My focus for the past fifteen years has been on American modernism and African American literature, although I started out as an American Renaissance scholar and have never abandoned my first love, Walt Whitman. I teach courses in modern American poetry, African American literature, interracial literature, modern American literature, Whitman, and the Harlem Renaissance. Much of my work deals with interracial relationships in literature and literary history. My second book, The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White (1996) is a large-scale intellectual and cultural history of the formation of an African American literary field. In 2006, I published a "biography of the color line" in the form of a life of Nella Larsen and her world and a critique of color line culture as it exists today. "To write the life of Nella Larsen," I argue, "is to write a biography of color line culture by way of what that culture hides." I recently edited The Cambridge Companion to the Harlem Renaissance (2007), and I am currently beginning a project on American literature and culture in the 1940s.

Click here for further information regarding Professor Hutchinson's work in American Studies. >>

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Selected Publications (click images for more information)


Slang: The People’s PoetryIn Search of Nella Larsen: A Biography of the Color Line. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006.

The Cambridge Companion to the Harlem RenaissanceThe Cambridge Companion to the Harlem Renaissance, editor, (2007).

The Harlem Renaissance in Black and WhiteThe Harlem Renaissance in Black and White. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1995.

The Ecstatic Whitman: Literary Shamanism and the Crisis of the Union. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1986.

Co-editor, The Future of the Harlem Renaissance, special issue of Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal 80.4 (Winter 1997).

Recent Articles:

"Harlem Central." American Literary History 23.2 (Summer 2011): 405-422.

"American Transnationalism and the Romance of Race." Amerikastudien/American Studies 55.4 (April 2011)

“The Letter from Birmingham Jail.” A New Literary History of America, ed. Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009), pp. 913-18.

"The Harlem Renaissance." Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008- .

"An End to the Family Romance: Nella Larsen, Black Transnationalism, and American Racial Ideology," in Race, Nation, and Empire in American History, ed. Matthew Guterl and James Campbell (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007).

“The Novel of the Negro Renaissance,” in The Cambridge Companion to the African American Novel, ed. Maryemma Graham (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 50-69.

“Aftermath: African American Literary Responses to the Great War,” in Flavia Brizio-Skov, ed., Reconstructing Societies in the Aftermath of War: Memory, Identity, and Reconciliation (Boca Raton, FL: Bordighera Press, 2004), pp. 188-199.

"Race and the Family Romance: Whitman’s Civil War,” Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 20 (2003): 134-50

“Subject to Disappearance: Interracial Identity in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand,” in Temples for Tomorrow, ed. Geneviève Fabre and Michel Fleiss ( Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2001), pp. 177-192.

“Identity in Motion: Placing Cane,” in Jean Toomer and the Harlem Renaissance, ed. Geneviève Fabre and Michel Fleiss (New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2001), pp. 38-56.

Select Honors and Awards

Guggenheim Fellowship, 2011-12
Induction Address for Phi Beta Kappa, Indiana University, Bloomington, 2008.

For In Search of Nella Larsen: A Biography of the Color Line:

2007 Christian Gauss Award, from Phi Beta Kappa, for an outstanding book of literary scholarship or criticism.
2007 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Best Nonfiction list of 2006, Washington Post
Booklist Editors’ Choice 2006
Pulitzer Prize nomination, biography, 2006.
Bronze Medal, Independent Publishers Book Award for Biography, 2007.
Honorable Mention, Association of American Publishers’ Professional/Scholarly Publishing Award for 2006, Biography & Autobiography.
New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, September 2006

For The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White:

Finalist, Rea Non-Fiction Prize of Boston Book Review
Pulitzer Prize nomination, history, 1996

Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Achievement, University of Tennessee, 1997.
Phi Beta Kappa fall lecturer, University of Tennessee, 1997.
Darwin T. Turner Award of 1995, from MLA Division on African American Literature and Culture
Phi Beta Kappa award for outstanding scholarship in the humanities, University of Tennessee, 1994.
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers, 1989-1990.
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 1988.
John C. Hodges Award for Outstanding Teaching, The University of Tennessee, 1986.
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Summer Seminar Stipend, Vanderbilt University, Summer 1986.
Kenneth Curry Chair of English, University of Tennessee, 1998-2000.

Other Professional Activies

Advisory Council and Nominating Committee, American Literature Section of MLA
Christian Gauss Award Selection Committee (Phi Beta Kappa), 2008-11; Chair, Ten-year review of the Department of English and Iowa Writers Workshop, University of Iowa, 2011.
Chairman of American Studies Program, University of Tennessee, 1987-2000; Visiting Professor of American Studies, Universität Bonn, Germany, 1993-94, 1998; PMLA Editorial Advisory Committee, 1996-1999; editorial boards of Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal and Borderlines: Studies in American Culture; Chairman of the English Department, 2006-09.