19th Century Literature and Culture, Race and Gender Studies


James Salazar received his PhD and MA in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley, and his BA in Philosophy from the University of California, San Diego. His research and teaching interests include nineteenth-century U.S. literature and culture, race and gender studies, political cultures of the U.S., childhood, rhetorical theory, and critical theory. He has published articles and reviews in the journals American Quarterly, Journal of American Studies, American LiteratureLeviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, Emerson Society Papers, and Social Semiotics; and in Our Sister’s Keepers: Nineteenth-Century Benevolence Literature by American Women, edited by Jill Bergman and Debra Bernardi. His first book, Bodies of Reform: The Rhetoric of Character in Gilded Age America, was published by New York University Press as part of its series “America and the Long 19th Century,” sponsored by the Mellon Foundation’s American Literatures Initiative. 

He is currently working on two new book projects. Sounding Time: The Art and Science of Rhythm in Turn of the Century America considers the emergence of an influential, far-reaching, yet little studied fascination with “rhythm” across a diverse range of popular, professional, scientific, and academic discourses in 19th century American culture. Captivating Arabia: Echoes of the Barbary Captivity Narrative in Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture examines the Barbary captivity narratives published by Americans captured and enslaved by North African “pirates” in the early nineteenth century and the role they played in the development of national culture and literary aesthetics in the United States.

Selected Publications

  • Bodies of Reform: The Rhetoric of Character in Gilded-Age America. New York: New York University Press, September 2010 (America and the Long Nineteenth Century Series, Eds. David Kazanjian, Elizabeth McHenry, and Priscilla Wald).
  • “Restoring the State’s Power to Defame: The Legal Life of Character in the Era of Roosevelt and Trump,” Journal of American Studies volume 55, issue 2 (May 2021): 446-473.
  • “Fashioning the Historical Body: Reflections on the Political Economy of Denim,” Social Semiotics vol. 20, no. 3 (June, 2010): 293-308.)
  • “Philanthropic Taste: Race and Character in Melville’s The Confidence-Man.” Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies vol. 7, no. 1 (March, 2005): 55-74.
  • “Character’s Conduct: The Democratic Habits of Jane Addams’s ‘Charitable Effort’.” Our Sister’s Keepers: Nineteenth-Century Benevolence Literature by American Women. Ed. Jill Bergman and Debra Bernardi. Tuscaloosa: U. of Alabama Press, 2005, 249-281.
  • "Remapping Citizenship,” American Literature vol. 84, no. 4 (December 2012).
  • “A Good Judge of Character?” American Quarterly vol. 54, no. 2 (June 2002): 325-332.

Courses Taught

  • Literatures of Catastrophe (graduate seminar)
  • Transnational American Studies (graduate seminar)
  • The Nineteenth-Century Child (graduate seminar)
  • Fetishism and the Imagination (graduate seminar)
  • Narratives of Empire
  • Piracy in U.S. Literature and Culture
  • The Environment in 19th Century Literature and Culture
  • Speculative Fiction in Nineteenth Century America
  • American Romanticism
  • The Gilded Age