Seth Moglen

Ph.D. University of California, Berkley, 1999

Seth Moglen is a scholar of 19th- and 20th-century American literature, with particular expertise in modernism and African American writing. His research and teaching focus on the relationship between literary and political movements in the United States.

Moglen is the author of Mourning Modernity: Literary Modernism and the Injuries of American Capitalism (Stanford University Press, 2007). He has published an edition of T. Thomas Fortune’s Black and White: Land, Labor and Politics in the South (1884) – a neglected masterpiece of the African American freedom struggle (Simon and Schuster, 2007). He is co-editor of Out of Apathy: Voices of the New Left 30 Years On (Verso, 1989). He has published scholarly articles on modern American literature, on Left politics in the U.S. and Britain, on psychoanalytic theory, and on the democratic promise of the 21st-century research university. He is currently at work on a book, “Bethlehem: American Utopia, American Tragedy,” which employs modernist literary techniques to explore the 270-year history of one iconic American city.

Moglen’s teaching, like his research, focuses on the relationship between expressive culture and the politics of liberation. His recent seminars include: “Imagining Freedom: 19th-Century African American Literature and Politics”; “Literature and Social Justice”; “Modern American Writing and the Problem of War”; “Modernism and Mourning”; “The Harlem Renaissance”; and “The Politics of American Realism.” Moglen has strong theoretical interests in the traditions of psychoanalysis and cultural materialism. He is an affiliated faculty member in the Africana Studies and American Studies Programs at Lehigh, and he was founding Co-Director of the South Side Initiative, a project of democratic university-community collaboration in the city of Bethlehem.

Moglen has held research fellowships, most recently, from the American Council of Learned Societies (2014-15) and from the Institute for Advanced Study (School of Social Science) in Princeton (2009-10). He has received numerous awards for teaching and service at Lehigh, including the Stabler Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Having studied history as an undergraduate at Yale University and as a graduate student at Balliol College, Oxford University, Moglen received his Ph.D. in English at the University of California, Berkeley in 1999.

Research Interests:
19th- and 20th-Century American Literature; African-American literature and culture; American studies; psychoanalytic theory and cultural materialism