Jesse Goldberg
Visiting Asst Prof English

Phone (434) 395-2181
Department English and Modern Languages
Office Grainger 110

Dr. Jesse A. Goldberg completed his PhD in African American literature at Cornell University in 2018, where he taught classes for the department of English and the Program in American Studies as well as the Cornell Prison Education Program, before joining the faculty at Longwood University as Visiting Assistant Professor of English. A lifelong teacher, Jesse has thus taught in a private research university, now at a public liberal arts college, and inside the walls of medium and maximum security state prisons. He has even taught martial arts for most of his life and is always ready to talk shop with fellow martial artists.

An interdisciplinary black studies and American studies scholar, Jesse writes and teaches courses on the intersection of race, gender, class, and sexuality with U.S. law; prisons, policing, and carcerality studies; and slavery and its afterlife in African American literature and performance. His scholarly writing appears or is forthcoming in the journals CallalooPublic CultureMELUS, and CLA Journal, as well as the edited volumes Against a Sharp White Background: Infrastructures of African American Print (University of Wisconsin Press), Teaching Literature and Writing in Prisons (Modern Language Association) and Toni Morrison on Mothers and Motherhood (Demeter Press). He also has a growing interest in the overlaps and critical conversations happing around black studies and the enviornmental humanities, which are articulated in a forthcoming review essay in ASAP/J. Jesse's broader teaching interests include American literature from the mid-19th century to the present, drama & theater, law & literature, and theory & criticism. 

Jesse is currently working on a book project titled Abolition Time: Slavery’s Afterlife and the Excessive Present in Law, Literature, and Performance. Coming out of his dissertation work, the project uses the 1781 Zong Massacre as a grounding motif to examine literary and performative texts of the Black Atlantic that engage questions of law, justice, and time. Abolition Time argues that in addition to registering the memory of slavery as exceeding attempts at historical repression, a number of Black Atlantic texts formulate theories of justice which put pressure on the law’s excessive violence through meditating on all that exceeds the law’s reach. These result in literary and performative articulations of an “excessive present” wherein the past and future fold into a single “now” that unfolds into an ethical imperative for abolitionist politics. Abolition time, then, signals the urgency of a political demand which exceeds historical periodization.