A project of Brooklyn Historical Society

Werner Sollors

Scholarly and Community Advisor

Werner Sollors earned his doctorate from the Freie Universität Berlin and holds the Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Chair as Professor of English and Professor of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University, where he joined the faculty in 1983. He served as chair of the Afro-American Studies Department from 1984 through 1987 and from 1988 through 1990, of the History of American Civilization Program from 1997-2002, and of Ethnic Studies from 2001 through 2004 and in academic year 2009-10.  He has also taught American literature at Columbia University, at the Università degli Studi di Venezia Ca` Foscari, at the Freie Universität Berlin and, as visiting Professor, at Nanjing Normal University, at La Sapienza in Rome, at the Universität Bern, at Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München, and at New York University Abu Dhabi.

He is the recipient of John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships and of the Constance Rourke award for the best essay in American Quarterly. He is Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences as well as Corresponding Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and of the Bayerische Amerika-Akademie.

Coeditor with Greil Marcus of A New Literary History of America (2009), his major publications include Beyond Ethnicity: Consent and Descent in American Literature and Culture (1986), Neither Black nor White yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature (1997), and Ethnic Modernism (2008). He has written essays on ethnicity, pluralism, migration, multiculturalism, and numerous authors, among them Olaudah Equiano, Mark Twain, W. E. B. Du Bois, Charles Chesnutt, Mary Antin, Jean Toomer, Zora Neale Hurston, Henry Roth, Richard Wright, Ed Bullins, Adrienne Kennedy, Amiri Baraka, and Charles Johnson. His edited books include The Return of Thematic Criticism (1993), Theories of Ethnicity (1996), Mary Antin’s The Promised Land (1997), The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (2000), Interracialism (2000), The Multilingual Anthology of American Literature, coedited with Marc Shell (2000), Charles W. Chesnutt’s Novels, Stories, and Essays (2002), An Anthology of Interracial Literature (2004), Frank. J. Webb, Fiction, Essays & Poetry (2005), Alexandre Dumas’s Georges (2007), African American Literary Studies: New Texts, New Approaches, New Challenges, a special issue of Amerikastudien / American Studies (2011), coedited with Glenda C. Carpio, Die Toten habe ich nicht befragt (2011), David Boder’s interviews with survivors recorded in 1946, coedited with Julia Faisst and Alan Rosen, and the forthcoming Norton Critical Edition of Charles W. Chesnutt’s novel The Marrow of Tradition (2012).

He is currently at work on a book tentatively called Tales of the 1940s and on a John Harvard Library edition of Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson.

His lectures "Americans All?",  "Goodbye Germany,"Multilingual America: Zur  Vielsprachigkeit der Literatur der Vereinigten Staaten“, “’Making America’: On A New Literary History of America”, and his contribution to a panel on "Black Humor"  have been posted on the web.