Benjamin Balthaser

Benjamin Balthaser
Associate Professor of English

Contact Information

Office Location: Wiekamp Hall, Room DW3177
Office Phone: (574) 520-4221

Go Here for current Office Hours


Ph.D. Literature and Cultural Studies, University of California, San Diego
M.F.A. English, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
B.A., English, University of Washington, Seattle


Benjamin Balthaser’s scholarship, teaching, and creative work investigates the relationships among social movements, racial identity, and cultural production.  His book from University of Michigan Press' Class and Culture Series, Anti-Imperialist Modernism: Race and Transnational Radical Culture from the Great Depression to the Cold War explores the connections between cross-border, anti-imperialist movements and the making of modernist culture at mid-century . Balthaser’s critical and creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals and publications such as American QuarterlyThe Oxford History of the Novel in EnglishReconstructionCriticismIn These TimesCultural LogicMinnesota ReviewMassachusetts Review, and elsewhere. He also published a collection of poems about Jewish victims of the blacklist titled Dedication, that appeared from Partisan Press in the fall of 2011.  

The courses Balthaser currently teaches range in topics from African-American literature, labor and literature, surveys of U.S. multi-ethnic literature, cultures of U.S. modernism and post-modernism, creative writing, the U.S. West in literature, and freshman composition. He currently enjoys living in South Bend, and participates when he can in the St. Joseph Valley Project and helps maintain a bi-weekly reading group on issues of labor, social movements and culture. 


Nineteenth and twentieth century multi-ethnic U.S. literature
American studies in a transnational context
Transnational social movements
Modernism in a global context
Creative writing
Poetry and poetics
Literature of U.S. expansionism, nineteenth and twentieth century
Film and popular culture

Courses Taught at IUSB

English L358:  U.S. literature from 1914-1960
English W203:  Principles of Creative Writing
English T190/390:  Labor and Literature
English L680:  Radical Modernism
English W131:  Principles of Composition
English E110:  Diversity and U.S. Literature
English L379:  Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States
English T190: Beyond Cowboys and Indians:  Myths of the U.S. Frontier
English 130: Principles of Composition
L460 African-American Literature from 1845-present
L501:  Reading Richard Wright

Recent Refereed Publications

 Anti-Imperialist Modernism: Race and Transnational Radical Culture from the Great Depression to the Cold War, University of Michigan Press, Class/Culture Series, December 2015.

"Travels of an American Indian into the Hinterlands of Soviet Russia:  Re-thinking Indigenous Modernity and the Popular Front in the Work of Archie Phinney and D'Arcy McNickle," American Quarterly, Volume 66, Number 1 (March 2014), forthcoming.
"Killing the Documentarian:  Richard Wright and Documentary Modernity," Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts, 55.3 (Fall 2013).

Co-authored with Shelley Streeby, "Mass Culture, the Novel, and the American Left," Oxford History of the Novel in English, forthcoming

“No Local:  Globalization and the Remaking of Americanism,” review of Dislocalism:  The Crisis of Globalization and the Remobilization of Americanism by Sarika Chandra, Reviews in Cultural Theory, 3.1, (Winter/Spring 2012).

"Re-staging the Great Depression:  Genre as Social Memory in Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler," Cultural Logic.  Special Issue:  Culture and the Crisis, 17 (2010).  Reprinted in Works & Days Special Issue on Culture and the Crisis 30, no. 1-2 (Spring-Fall 2012), 249-64.

Dedication, a collection of poems from Partisan Press, Fall 2011.

“Cold War Re-visions:  Negotiating Representation and Resistance in the Unseen Salt of the Earth," American Quarterly 60, no. 2, (June 2008): 347-72.

"From Slacker to Revolutionary:  Generation X and the Rise of the American Global Justice Movement,"  Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture.  Special Issue: Inventions of Activism 10 (3) 2010.

"Fantasies of Empire," Darkmatter, (2008) September, link

Recent Non-Refereed Publications

"Of Rents and Apocalypse:  Why Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century is Bleaker Than You Think," Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, 14.4 (2014)
“Racial Terror in America”:  The Racist Roots of Ron Paul’s Anti-Imperialism,” Darkmatter, 9.1 (July 2012).
“Racial Terror in America”:  The Racist Roots of Ron Paul’s Anti-Imperialism,” Darkmatter, article, 9.1 (July 2012)
"DJ”, “The Tenant,” poems, Common Ground Review, 14(1), 2012.

"Dedication 2 for Sid Grossman:  Philippines," "Dedication 7 for Sid Grossman," "Dedication for Moe Stein:  Brooklyn Bridge," "Dedication for Aaron Isaacson," "Dedication for Rachel Grossman," poems, Omega: a publication of Howling Dog Press, Issue 7, (2009). 
"There is No Outside:  Obama and the Global Justice Movement," essay, Politics and Culture, Issue 1.2, (2009), link
"Dedication: Campaign," poem, Blue Collar Review: working people's poetry award, (summer 2008): 35-6
"Dedication 1 for Hy Mozenter," "Dedication 1 for Sid Grossman," "Dedication 4 for Sid Grossman,"  "Dedication for Arrival," "Dedication for Salt," "Dedication for the Librarian Who Named Names," poems, Pemmican: an on-line magazine of poetry, (2008),link
“At Cabrillo Military Cemetery,” poem, Poetry International, 11 (2007): 78-9
“Dedication #1:  May Mozenter,” poem, Minnesota Review, 63-64 (Spring/Summer 2005): 56
“A New Orientalism: Another Look at Pre-War Coverage of Iraq,” article, Left Curve, 28 (2004), 25-34
“Dedication #2:  HUAC,” poem, Another Chicago Magazine, 44-45, (2004): 167-8

Recent Conference Presentations and Lectures

The Other Revolution:  Haiti and the Production of Modernism," American Studies Association Annual Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 2012.

"Travels of an American Indian to the Hinterlands of Soviet Russia:  Archie Phinney and Native American Radical Modernism," Cultural Studies Association, UC San Diego, May 2011.

"More American than You Ever Thought of Being:  National Belonging and Colonial Resistance in the Work of D'Arcy McNickle and Richard Wright," American Studies Association Annual Meeting, panel session organizer, Baltimore, October 2011.

"Ballads for Post-Americans:  Revisiting the Nationalism of the Popular Front," American Studies Association, panel session organizer, Washington D.C., November, 2009.