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Anthony Kemp

Associate Professor of English

Contact Information
E-mail: kemp@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3730
Office: THH 443

 

Biographical Sketch

My teaching and writing mainly center on the religious and anti-religious aspects of culture, and particularly on how religion transforms into romanticism. I'm also interested in the interrelations between literature and philosophy. A dilettante of many fields, I find it difficult to stick to one period. I'm an Americanist with special interest in the transatlantic 17th century, though I also teach American 19th century and modernism, and, at least on an undergraduate level, classics and medieval. I'm interested in all culture from the most ancient texts to contemporary performance art. My first book, "The Estrangement of the Past," is about the transformations in the Christian picture of world history from the 3rd century to the beginning of the 20th, and how the present's attitude to the past was reversed from identification to estrangement. I have two books in progress, "The Materialist Ideology: Bacon to Sade," about the extremities of early materialism, and "The School of the Dead," a novel of gothic horror (not for reading alone on stormy nights). I am also a collector of medieval swords and a student of their use.
 

Education

Ph.D. English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, 1989
M.Phil. English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, 1984
M.A. English Literature, Drew University, 1981
 

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Tenure Track Appointments

Associate Professor of English, University of Southern California, 1994-  
Assistant Professor of English, University of Southern California, 1988-1994  
 

Non-Tenure Track Appointments

Adjunct Instructor in English, Pace University, 1994-1995   
Teaching Assistant in English and American Literature and Language, Harvard University, 1984-1988  
 

Visiting and Temporary Appointments

Visiting Scholar, Harvard University, 1991-1992   
 

Other Employment

Research Consultant, Library of America, 1985-1996  
Research Associate, Library of America, 1983-1988  
Editorial Assistant, Columbia University Press, 1981-1982  
 

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Professor Kemp researches American literature and culture, medieval and Renaissance literature, philosophy, critical theory, 18th and 19th centuries and religious culture.
 

Research Keywords

American literature and culture, medieval literature, Renaissance literature, historiography, philosophy, critical theory, eighteenth century, nineteenth century, religion, materialist history
 

Research Specialties

My teaching and writing mainly center on the religious and anti-religious aspects of culture, and particularly on how religion transforms into romanticism. I'm also interested in the interrelations between literature and philosophy. A dilettante of many fields, I find it difficult to stick to one period. I'm an Americanist with special interest in the transatlantic 17th century, though I also teach American 19th century and modernism, and, at least on an undergraduate level, classics and medieval. I'm interested in all culture from the most ancient texts to contemporary performance art. My first book, "The Estrangement of the Past," is about the transformations in the Christian picture of world history from the 3rd century to the beginnning of the 20th, and how the present's attitude to the past was reversed from identification to estrangement. I have two books in progress, "The Materialist Ideology: Bacon to Sade," about the extremeties of early materialism, and "The School of the Dead," a novel of gothic horror (not for reading alone on stormy nights). I am also a collector of medieval swords and a student of their use.
 

Conferences and Other Presentations

Conference Presentations

"Homer's Architectonics of War: Atrocity and Symmetry", Tales of War: Expressions of Conflict and Resolution, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed Paper, University of Bucharest, 2011-2012   
""'The Miller's Tale' as an Example of an Integrative Genre", Genres and Historicity, Keynote Lecture, University of Bucharest, Invited, Spring 2010   
"Cognitive Peril: How Do We Know What Is Real?", Dreams, Illusions, and Other Realities, Keynote Lecture, USC, Thematic Option Research Conference, Invited, Spring 2009   
"Sade and the Terminus of Satire", Eleventh International Congress on the Enlightenment, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed University of California Los Angeles, Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Invited, Fall 2003   
"Full History, Empty History", Claremont Consortium for Medieval and Early Modern Studies/Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed Claremont Graduate University, Spring 2003   
"Marx Goes to Carnival: What Does Materialist History Bring to Medieval Literature?", International Medieval Congress, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed University of Leeds, Invited, Spring 2001   
"Spectacular Darkness, Observer's Eucharist, and the Scatalogical Kiss in The MIller's Tale", Medieval Association of the Pacific, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed Claremont Graduate University, Spring 1999   
"Spectacular Darkness, Observer's Eucharist, and the Scatalogical Kiss in The MIller's Tale", International Medieval Congress, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed University of Leeds, Invited, Spring 1999   
"C. S. Lewis's Pagan Fictions", Talk/Oral Presentation, New York NY, Aurora Institute, Invited, Fall 1998   
"Fierce with Dark Keeping: Francis Bacon's Conflict with the Past", Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed Newport RI, Invited, Fall 1998   
"The Dog in the Court of Love: The Misdirected Kiss and Sacramental Parody in The Miller's Tale", Talk/Oral Presentation, Claremont McKenna College, Grendel Society, Invited, Spring 1998   
"How Are Old Worlds Destroyed?", New Worlds for Old, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed Puerto Vallarta Mexico, American Comparative Literature Association, Spring 1997   
"Antigone and Heroic Death", Talk/Oral Presentation, University of Southern California School of Theater, Invited, Fall 1995   
"The Negation of the Past and the Creation of American Radicalism", Modern Langauge Association of America, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed San Diego CA, Fall 1994   
"Augustine, Paulus Orosius, and the Structure of Time", Talk/Oral Presentation, University of California Los Angeles, Invited, Spring 1993   
"Signs of Trouble: Response to Anthony Grafton and Stephen Greenblatt", Books in Chains, Bodies in Flames: Religion and Culture in the English Renaissance, Talk/Oral Presentation, University of California Los Angeles, University of California Los Angeles/The Huntingto, Invited, Spring 1993   
"Prosthetic God: Fred's Reductive Genealogy", Society for Literature and Science, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed Atlanta GA, Invited, Fall 1992   
"The Empty Cipher:Some Hermeneutic Problems in the Doubloon Chapter of Moby-Dick", Talk/Oral Presentation, New York University, Invited, Spring 1992   
"Historical Consciousness and the Creation of Modernity", Talk/Oral Presentation, Claremont Graduate University, Invited, Spring 1991   
"Franklin's Pilgrim's Progress: The Landscape of Epistemic Dissonance", Talk/Oral Presentation, Boston College, Invited, Fall 1990   
"The Arch to the Labyrinth: Henry Adams' Renunciation of Scientific History", Society for Literature and Science, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed Portland OR, Invited, Fall 1990   
 

Other Presentations

"Fundamentalism and Redemption", What Matters to Me and Why, Office of Religious Life, USC, Spring 2008   
 

Publications

Book

Kemp, A. (2010). The Materialist Ideology: Bacon to Sade.
Kemp, A. (1991). The Estrangement of the Past: A Study in the Origins of Modern Historical Consciousness. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
 

Book Review

Kemp, A. (1999). Inventiones:Fiction and Referentiality in Twelfth-Century Historical Writing. Speculum. pp. 235-237.
Kemp, A. (1994). Habits of Thought in the English Renaissance: Religion, Politics, and the Dominant Culture. ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews.
Kemp, A. (1991). Fleeting Moments: Nature and Culture in American History. Journal of the Early Republic. pp. 545-546.
Kemp, A. (1990). The Last American Puritan: The Life of Increase Mather. ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Nates and Reviews. pp. 183-186.
 

Journal Article

Kemp, A. (2012). Sade and the Terminus of Satire. Language, Literature and Cultural Studies; Langue, litterature et etudes culturelles. Vol. 4 (1), pp. 16.
Kemp, A. (2011). Homer's Architectonics of War: Atrocity and Symmetry. University of Bucharest Review. Vol. 1 New Series (2), pp. 8.
Kemp, A. (1995). The Negation of the Past and the Creation of American Radicalism. Early American Literature. Vol. 30 (2), pp. 145-187.
Kemp, A. (1984). The Greek Joke in Poe's Bon-Bon. American Literature. Vol. 56 (4), pp. 580-583.
 

Novel

Kemp, A. The School of the Dead.
 

Poem

Kemp, A. (1992). The Carnival in Venice. Boston MA. Salamander: A Magazine for Poetry,Fiction, and Memoirs.
 

Honors and Awards

USC or School/Dept Award for Teaching, Mortar Board Senior Honor Society Teaching Award, 1996-1997   
Ph.D. awarded Distinction, Columbia University, 1989-1990   
Harvard-Danforth Award for Distinction in Teaching, Harvard University, 1986-1987   
President's Fellow, Columbia University, 1981-1983  
 

Service to the University

Administrative Appointments

Director of Graduate Studies, 2006-2009  
Director of Graduate Placement, 1999-2003  
 
 
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