Jake Mattox

Jake Mattox

Department Chair

Associate Professor of English

Contact Information

Office Location: Wiekamp Hall, Room DW3146
Office Phone: (574) 520-4408

Go Here for current Office Hours


Ph.D. Literature (University of California, San Diego, 2007)
M.A. Literature (University of California, San Diego, 2003)
B.A. English (Pitzer College [Claremont Colleges], 1992)

What I do

I teach a variety of periods of U.S. literature—mostly, though not entirely, pre–1900. I’m particularly invested in teaching U.S. literary production as a centrally multicultural endeavor, but that goes beyond simply an appreciation of different cultures and groups with their linguistic and cultural traditions. It also means considering “literature” broadly speaking as a terrain on which social and political struggle is waged. I also want to foreground the larger questions on which our study is based: what is literature and why does it matter?

In my research, I’m currently working on a few projects. One has to do with the interaction of Critical Pedagogy and New Historicism. Specifically, I have been exploring—on my own and with students—the links between, on the one hand, a pedagogy that asks us to deeply historicize our own scenes of teaching as related to larger social relations and questions of social justice and, on the other, a literary studies methodology that insists on analyzing the material and social contexts of literary production. Another project has to do with the 1890s and the ideological complexities of the representations put forth by both Mexican and U.S. participants at the Chicago World’s Fair. I spent a few energizing weeks in Mexico City archives for this project, but working through cell phone photos of faded, 1890s documents in longhand has proven a bit time-consuming. And I’m revising a piece on Melville and his engagement with empire.


Critical Pedagogy

U.S. Literature and Culture, especially pre–1900

Literature and Empire

Critical Race Theory

Other Things

Cincinnati Review crosswords and study abroad in Oaxaca

Courses Recently Taught at IU South Bend

ENG-L 202: Literary Interpretation

ENG-L 352: U.S. Literature 1865–1915

ENG-L 351: U.S. Literature 1800–1865

ENG-L 350: American Literature to 1800

ENG-L 653: Optimism and Fear in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Culture

ENG-L 680: New Historicism, Critical Pedagogy, and U.S. Literature

ENG-T 190: Literary and Intellectual Traditions: The Purposes and Potential of Education in the United States

ENG-T 390: Conquest, “Progress,” and the U.S. West

Service at IU South Bend

Chair, Department of English

Campus IU Regional Law School Scholarships Committee

Senate Faculty Welfare Committee

Hiring Committee for Director of Student and Community Engagement and Civil Rights Heritage Center

African American Studies Committee

American Studies Committee

Civil Rights Heritage Center Faculty Advisory Committee

Campus Ally Network (CAN)

Honors and Awards

Nominee, Educator of the Year, IU South Bend SGA / Student Life Leadership Recognition Awards 2013

IU South Bend Trustees’ Teaching Award, 2012

Member, Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching (FACET), May 2012

IU South Bend Trustees’ Teaching Award, 2010


Mattox, Jake D. “‘All you needed was Godzilla behind them’: Situating (Racial) Knowledge and Teaching Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992.” Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies 1.2 (2014): 221–231.

Mattox, Jake D. “Claiming Panama: Genre and Gender in U.S. Isthmiana, 1840–1857.” American Studies 53.1 (2014): 117-147.

“In Nicaragua with Martin Delany and the ‘Cotton Americans,’” American Literature 81.3 Sept. 2009): 527-554.

“Cormac McCarthy,” Blackwell Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century American Fiction.

“Kurt Vonnegut,” Blackwell Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century American Fiction.

Review of Black Nationalism in the New World by Robert Carr, Mississippi Quarterly, 16.3 (Summer 2003): 445-448

Review of Buffalo Bill's Wild West: Celebrity, Memory, and Popular History by Joy S. Kasson, Western American Literature 38.1 (Spring 2003): 88-90

Selected Papers and Presentations

"But Why Aren't We Reading American Literature in This Class?": Learning to Teach Multi-Ethnic U.S. Literatures," MELUS Annual Conference, April 2009 (Spokane, WA)

"'A Ghastly Pudding': Mobility, Resistance, and Dissolving Bodies in the Fiction of George S. Schuyler," The Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900, February 2009

“Dis/Claiming Panama: Women's Travel Writing and Antebellum U.S. Visions of America,” American Studies Association Annual Meeting, October 2007 (Philadelphia, PA)

"Providential Circulation: Antebellum Science, Manifest Destiny, and National Space,” American Studies Association Annual Meeting, October 2005 (Washington, D.C.)

“Popular Science, Popular Literature: The Antebellum Geographies of Matthew Maury,” Western Humanities Alliance Annual Conference, October 2005 (Tucson, AZ)