John Cullen Gruesser


Professor of English
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin

Office: CAS 332 
Telephone: (908) 737-0388
Curriculum Vitae (full)
Curriculum Vitae (short)

Current Research Project: Sutton E. Griggs

Elected Positions:



  • Race, Gender, and Empire in American Detective Fiction, Jefferson: McFarland (2013)
  • The Empire Abroad and the Empire at Home: African American Literature and the Era of Overseas Expansion, Athens: U of Georgia P, 2012
  • (Ed.) A Century of Detection: Twenty Great Mystery Stories, 1841-1940, Jefferson: McFarland, 2010
  • (Ed. with Hanna Wallinger) Loopholes and Retreats: African American Writers and the Nineteenth Century, Münster: Lit Verlag, 2009
  • Confluences: Postcolonialism, African American Literary Studies, and the Black Atlantic, Athens: U of Georgia P, 2005
  • (Ed.) The Black Sleuth, by John Edward Bruce, Boston: Northeastern UP, 2002
  • Black on Black: Twentieth-Century African American Writing about Africa, Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 2000
  • (Ed.) The Unruly Voice: Rediscovering Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, Intro. Nellie Y. McKay, Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1996
  • White on Black: Contemporary Literature about Africa, Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1992

Selected Periodicals

  • African American Review
  • American Drama
  • American Literary History
  • Black American Literature Forum
  • CEA Critic
  • Clues
  • Edgar Allan Poe Review
  • The Explicator
  • Journal of African Travel-Writing
  • Journal of Caribbean Literatures
  • Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies
  • North Carolina Literary Review
  • PMLA
  • Studies in Short Fiction

Selected Books Edited by Others

  • American Studies and Peace
  • A Companion to Crime Fiction
  • The Companion to African Literatures
  • Complexions of Race: The African Atlantic
  • The Curious Writer
  • Images of Africa: Myth and Reality
  • Modes of the Fantastic
  • Multicultural Detective Fiction: Murder from the "Other" Side
  • New Readings in American Drama: Something’s Happening Here
  • The Oxford Companion to African American Literature
  • Poe's Pervasive Influence
  • Poe Writing / Writing Poe
  • Polar Noir”: Reading African American Detective Fiction
  • Waging Empathy: Alice Walker's Possessing the Secret of Joy and the Global Movement to End FGM

Fellowships, Honors, and Awards:

  • 2015-16 National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarly Editions and Translations Grant.
  • 2014 Lynn E. May Study Grant, Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives
  • 2012 Kean University Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Scholarship
  • 2007 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar, Columbia University: Hemispheric American Literature
  • 2002 Kean University Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Scholarship
  • 1999 Induction into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Kean University
  • 1994 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar, Princeton University: Literary History in Theory and Practice
  • 1993 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for Black on Black: African American Writing about Africa
  • 1990 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar, University of California, Berkeley: The Problem of Race in American and Afro-American Literature, 1860-1930
  • 1981 Election to Phi Beta Kappa, University of Notre Dame

Public Lectures (Appropriate for Schools, Libraries, etc.)

  • Poe and New York City
  • Po' Boy: Edgar Poe's Money Woes
  • The Fluid Form: Detective Fiction from Poe to the Present
  • The Origins of "The Cask of Amontillado," Or Some Words about Poe and a (Real) Mummy
  • Quoth the Raven: "Eat My Shorts": The Life, Literature, and Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe

Courses Taught:

  • Advanced Interdisciplinary Seminar II: Liberal Studies
  • African American Literature
  • African American Women Writers
  • American Autobiography
  • American Literature from 1860
  • American Literature to 1860
  • American Novel 1920 to the Present
  • Aspects of the Novel
  • Colonial and Postcolonial Literature and Theory
  • Composition
  • Contemporary Literature
  • Crime in Fiction and Film
  • Critical Approaches to Literature
  • Detective Fiction
  • Editing, Annotating, and Preparing a Manuscript for Publication
  • Honors American Autobiography
  • Senior English Seminar
  • World Literature
  • Writing about Literature

Kean University, English Department, CAS 301, 1000 Morris Avenue, New Jersey 07083 :: 908-737-0370