John Mac Kilgore

Associate Professor
WMS 324
Early American literature, 18th- and 19th-century US literature, American studies, critical theory and philosophy, literature and politics

JOHN MAC KILGORE is a scholar and teacher of early North American and 19th-Century U.S. literature and culture. Dr. Kilgore’s research broadly looks at literature and liberation—the role of aesthetic labor in political activism, protest, resistance, revolution. Dr. Kilgore’s first book, Mania for Freedom: American Literatures of Enthusiasm from the Revolution to the Civil War (2016), uncovers a U.S. tradition of “literary enthusiasm” that transforms the act of literature into a species of popular revival and revolt linked to emancipatory events. Dr. Kilgore is currently writing a book on the Civil War in Florida and the racial politics of public memory.


  • Utopia in the Early U.S.: John Lithgow’s “Equality” and Other Writings. Early American Reprints, 2022. Selected, introduced, with headnotes.
  • “Modern Bigotry: The War for the Ohio, the Whiskey Rebellion, and the Settler Colonial Imagination of the Early Republic,” American Literature in Transition: 1770-1826, edited by William Huntting Howell and Greta LaFleur. Cambridge UP, 2022. 145-164.
  • “John Lithgow’s Real Utopia and the Anti-Capitalist Romance of the Early Republic,” Early American Literature 54.1 (2019): 97-133.
  • Mania for Freedom: American Literatures of Enthusiasm from the Revolution to the Civil War (UNC Press, 2016).
  • "Nat Turner and the Work of Enthusiasm," PMLA 130.5 (2015): 1347-62.
  • "Rites of Dissent: Literatures of Enthusiasm and the American Revolution," Early American Literature 48.2 (2013): 367-398.
  • "The Free State of Whitman: Enthusiasm and Dismemberment in the 1860 Leaves of Grass," ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 58.4 (2012): 529-565.
  • "The Cakewalk of Capital in Charles Chesnutt's The Marrow of Tradition," American Literature 84.1 (2012): 61-87.
  • "Deterritorialization," Understanding Deleuze, Understanding Modernism. Eds. Paul Ardoin, S. E. Gontarski, and Laci Mattison. New York: Bloomsbury, 2014. 416-418.


AML 3311: “The US Literary Revolution, 1850-1855”
AML 4111: “19th-Century Bestsellers”
AML 4111: “The Great American Novel of the Nineteenth Century?”
AML 4213: “The Age of Feeling: 18th-Century American Literature and the Politics of Enlightenment”
AML 4213: “Early American Poetry”
AML 4213: “Old Florida: Literature, Place, Public Memory”
AML 5017: “Affect Theory and US Literature Before the Civil War”
AML 5017: “The American 1848”
AML 5017: “Blake, Whitman, Dickinson (In the Age of Digital Archives)”
AML 5017: “Four Poets: Wheatley, Dickinson, Stein, Lorde”
AML 5017: “Melville’s Sea Tales”
AML 5017: “Writing the Revolution and the Early Republic: American Literature, 1770-1823”
AML 5027: “Realism and Radicalism: The Critique of Political Economy in US Fiction, 1861-1940”
ENG 3014: “Alice in Theoryland: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory”
ENG 3014: “True Theorist: An Introduction to Ideological Critique”
ENG 4932: “D-Y-S-T-O-P-I-A”
ENG 4934: “American Fantastic Literature: Of Terror & the Uncanny”
ENG 4934: “Midnight Movies”
ENG 4934: “The Old, Weird America: Popular Music, Performance, and Cultural Politics”
ENG 4934: “The Rise of the Posthuman, 1975-1985”
ENG 5049: “Black Anti-Capitalism/The Critique of Racial Capitalism”
ENG 5079: “An Answer to the Question: ‘What is Ideology?’”
ENG 5079: “Homo Academicus: Theorizing the University, Literary Studies, and Academic Labor”
IFS 2023/IDS 2673: “Bob Dylan: The Classic Era”
LIT 4033: “Emily Dickinson: Queerness, Antinomianism, Ecstasy, the Handmade”
LIT 4013: “Experiments in First-Person Narrative”
LIT 4013: “Moby-Dick; or, The Whale”
LIT 4013: “Moby-Dick + Invisible Man”

Publications By This Author