William J. Maxwell

Professor of English and of African and African-American Studies in Arts & Sciences; Director of English Undergraduate Studies

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Biography

Rooted in both modernist and African American studies, Maxwell’s scholarly research addresses the ties among African American writing, political history, and transatlantic culture.

Maxwell is the author of  New Negro, Old Left: African American Writing and Communism between the Wars; an edition of Claude McKay’s Complete Poems;F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature, as well as the companion website The F.B. Eyes Digital Archive; and James Baldwin: The FBI File.

With Gary Holcomb, Maxwell prepared the first-ever publication of Claude McKay’s lost novel Romance in Marseille, released by Penguin Classics in February 2020. Maxwell is currently writing Suburban Ferguson, a memoir-history of white reactions to Black Lives Matter that examines the national tide of backlash culture as well as his experiences in St. Louis after the death of Michael Brown.

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Maxwell wins 2016 American Book Award

Maxwell wins 2016 American Book Award

William J. Maxwell, professor of English and of African and African-American studies in Arts & Sciences, has won a 2016 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for “F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature” (2015).