Jesse Goldberg
Visiting Asst Prof English

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


Dr. Jesse A. Goldberg

PhD, Cornell University, 2018
MA, Cornell University, 2015
BA, State University of New York, College at Geneseo, 2012

Research and Teaching Fields:
--Black Studies and the Afterlife of Slavery
--American Literature (19th century to contemporary)
--American Studies and Critical Prison/Carcerality Studies
--African American Literature and Performance
--Queery Theory and Feminist Theory (especially Queer of Color Critique and Black Feminist Thought)
--Law and Literature
--Theater and Dramatic Literature
--Literary Criticism & Theory

Recent/Upcoming Courses:
ENGL 336 -- American Literature: Realism to Contemporary
ENGL 378 -- Law, Literature, and Difference: Racism & US Law
ENGL 215 -- Histories & Contexts: Major Black Writers
ENGL 210 -- Forms & Genres: Afrofuturism - Beyond Black Panther
ENGL 210 -- Forms & Genres: Neo-Slave Narratives
ENGL 209 -- Introduction to Literary Analysis
ENGL 165 -- Writing & Rhetoric: The New Jim Crow
ENGL 165 -- Writing & Rhetoric: Prisons, Policing, and the Movement for Black Lives

Dr. Jesse A. Goldberg completed his PhD 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. A lifelong teacher, Jesse has thus taught in a private research university, 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 American literature; prisons, policing, and carcerality studies; law and literature; and slavery and its afterlife in African American literature and performance. His scholarly writing appears or is forthcoming in the journals CallalooPublic Culture, MELUS, 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 happening around black studies and the enviornmental humanities, which are articulated in a publicly-available review essay in ASAP/J. His more traditional academic book reviews can be found in CallalooThe Journal of Black Studies, and Nineteenth-Century Prose, and he has published a non-academic essay on martial arts, masculinity, and gender on The Feminist Wire.     

Jesse is currently working on a book project titled Abolition Time: Justice, Literature, and Queer Futures in Slavery's Afterlife. 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. He takes abolition time as a framework for thinking about American literary studies in his review essay up on The Rambler Review titled "The Urgency of Abolition."

Along with his own book project, Jesse is currently co-editing, along with Marquis Bey, Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies at Northwestern University, a special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies on prison abolition and queer liberation. The issue will explore the overlaps and critical conversations around abolitionist and queer theory and praxis and is slated for publication in early 2022. You can find the CFP here!

In addition to his teaching and research at Longwood, Jesse is invested in mentoring students of all backgrounds. As a first-generation college student, labor and prison activist, and queer academic trained in Black studies, he is particularly motivated to help students that colleges usually designate as "non-traditional" find their way through academic life.