John Rowe

USC Associates Chair in Humanities and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity and Comparative Literature
John Rowe
Email Office THH 420 Office Phone (213) 821-5594

Research & Practice Areas

(Ph.D., State University of New York, Buffalo, 1972) Professor of English and ASE: American Studies; Critical Theory

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • Centre for Foreign Policy, Media, and Culture at the University of Birmingham (UK), Faculty Associate
  • Graduate Colloquium, Universitaet Potsdam (Germany), Faculty Associate
  • Humboldt Foundation Transatlantic Cooperative Research Project, Principal Investigator (US)
  • Transpacific Studies, Member


John Carlos Rowe is USC Associates’ Professor of the Humanities and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Henry Adams and Henry James: The Emergence of a Modern Consciousness (Cornell University Press, 1976), Through the Custom-House: Nineteenth-Century American Fiction and Modern Theory (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), The Theoretical Dimensions of Henry James (University of Wisconsin Press, 1984), At Emerson’s Tomb: The Politics of Classic American Literature (Columbia University Press, 1997), The Other Henry James (Duke University Press, 1998), Literary Culture and U.S. Imperialism: From the Revolution to World War II (Oxford University Press, 2000), The New American Studies (University of Minnesota Press, 2002), Afterlives of Modernism: Liberalism, Transnationalism, and Political Critique (Dartmouth Press, 2011), The Cultural Politics of the New American Studies (University of Michigan/ Open Humanities Press, 2012), an open access title available free from, and Our Henry James in Fiction, Film, and Popular Culture (Routledge, 2022), as well as over 200 scholarly essays and critical reviews. He is the editor of: The Vietnam War and American Culture (Columbia University Press, 1991), New Essays on The Education of Henry Adams (Cambridge University Press, 1996), “Culture” and the Problem of the Disciplines (Columbia University Press, 1998), Post-Nationalist American Studies (University of California Press, 2000), Selections from the Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller in the New Riverside Editions (Houghton Mifflin, 2002), A Concise Companion to American Studies (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), (with Eric Haralson) A Historical Guide to Henry James, (with Winfried Fluck and Donald Pease) Re-Framing the Transnational Turn in American Studies, and (with Justin Joyce and Dwight McBride) Lindon Barrett’s Racial Blackness and the Discontinuity of Western Modernity (University of Illinois Press, 2013). His current scholarly project is: Sailing Lessons: Transpacific Studies and the New American Studies.


  • Ph.D. State University of New York, Buffalo, 1/1972
  • B.A. The Johns Hopkins University, 1/1967
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Professor, University of California, Irvine, 01/01/1981 – 01/01/2004
    • Associate Professor, University of California, Irvine, 01/01/1977 – 01/01/1981
    • Assistant Professor, University of California, Irvine, 01/01/1975 – 01/01/1977
    • Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, 01/01/1971 – 01/01/1975
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    John Carlos Rowe is one of the nation’s foremost Americanists, and he has been largely responsible for helping spearhead the “new American studies” as well as the rise of international American studies programs across the globe. He has published widely on Henry James, the intersections of nineteenth-century American literature and postmodern theory and U.S. imperialism.

    Research Keywords

    American Studies, New American Studies, American Literature, Contemporary American Fiction, Modern American Poetry

    Research Specialties

    (Ph.D., State University of New York, Buffalo, 1972) Professor of English and ASE: American Studies; Critical Theory

    Detailed Statement of Research Interests

    Rowe’s works explore the intersections of postmodern theory, U.S. imperialism, and nineteenth-century American literature. In his 1997 book, At Emerson’s Tomb: The Politics of Classic American Literature, he revisited the writings of Poe, Melville, and Emerson, assessing the impact of these prominent authors’ perspectives on race, class, and gender on the specific political changes in nineteenth and twentieth-century American society. His book Literary Culture and U.S. Imperialism examines the critical and contributory responses of various American literary figures, spanning from the late eighteenth century to the 1940s, to U.S. imperialism, considering both the content of their works and the broader public and cultural reactions to imperialist ventures. While reviewing the book, William M. Morgan commended his efforts and said This work is often trenchant and erudite, subtle in its treatment of ideology, and clear about its theoretical underpinnings and wide-ranging subject matter. Just as important, it should be an extremely helpful resource for teachers who are interested in activist pedagogy and social change. His 2011 book Afterlives of Modernism: Liberalism, Transnationalism, and Political Critique explores the relationship between early 20th-century modernist writers and liberalism, advocating for a nuanced perspective that acknowledges liberalism’s successes while critiquing neoliberal trends and emphasizing the transnational engagement and socially engaged intent of these writers in addressing the concerns of marginalized groups.

    Focusing on American Studies, his book The New American Studies (2002) called for the reinvention of the field, advocating for a more theoretically informed, post-nationalist approach that draws on insights from cultural critics and various scholarly disciplines. His 2012 publication The Cultural Politics of the New American Studies examined how neoliberal ideology has employed cultural issues to justify a new American Exceptionalism supporting U.S. global expansion. The book also explored the challenges of critiquing neoliberalism amid media influences, advocating for a reconceived role of the public intellectual in navigating diverse media as a social critic.

    Much of Rowe’s works revolves around Henry James, an American British Author. In his 1984 book titled The Theoretical Dimensions of Henry James he examined James from diverse perspectives, such as the psychology of literary influence, Marxism, feminism, psychoanalysis, literary phenomenology, and deconstruction. In doing so, he transformed James’s literary masterpieces into focal points where various modern critical theories intersect. His book The Other Henry James (1998) presents a redefined perspective on Henry James, portraying him not as an elitist formalist, but as a socially sensitive critic engaged with and critical of the perplexing and oppressive societal issues of his era. His 2022 book, Our Henry James in Fiction, Film, and Popular Culture, offered an examination of Henry James’s continued impact on popular culture, highlighting both the adaptability of his works in film and their ongoing relevance in discussions about social changes, gender and sexuality, and other contemporary issues.

    In addition, Rowe’s written works have focused on a range of themes, notably, including post nationalism, globalism, US imperialism and globalization.

    In recent years, Rowe has focused on indigenous studies in North America and the transpacific region, publishing work on such authors as Sarah Winnemucca and Craig Santos Perez.

  • USC Funding

    • Visions and Voices. Our Native America: Performance and Installation at the Fisher Musuem by Guillermo Gomez Pena, $21000, 2008-2009
    • Spectrum. Our Native America: Lecture by Spokane writer, Sherman Alexie. Proposed to Visions and Voices, but funded and sponsored by Spectrum., $30000, 2008-2009
  • Book

    • Rowe, J. C. (2012). The Cultural Politics of the New American Studies. London: Open Humanities Press/ University of Michigan Publishing.
    • Rowe, J. C. (2011). Afterlives of Modernism: Liberalism, Transnationalism, and Political Critique. Hanover, New Hampshire: Dartmouth College Press of the University Presses of New England.
    • Rowe, J. C. (2000). Literary Culture and U.S. Imperialism: From the Revolution to World War II. New York, New York: Oxford University Press.
    • Rowe, J. C. (1998). The Other Henry James. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press.


    • Rowe, J. C., Bauridl, B. M., Wiegmink, P. (2016). Decolonial Performer: Craig Santos Perez as Poet, Activist, Scholar, Teacher, and Blogger. Approaching Transnational America in Performance. pp. 17.
    • Rowe, J. C. (1998). Post-Nationalism, Globalism, and the New American Studies. pp. 11-28. Cultural Critique, special issue on “The Futures of American Studies,”.
    • Rowe, J. C. (1990). “Fatal Speculations: Murder, Money, and Manners in Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson,” in Mark Twain’s “Pudd’nhead Wilson:”. (Forrest Robinson and Susan Gillman, Ed.). pp. 137-154.. Race, Conflict, and Culture/Durham, N. C.: Duke Univ. Press.
    • Rowe, J. C. (1983). “`What the Thunder Said’: James’s Hawthorne and the American Anxiety of Influence,”. pp. 81-119. A Centennial Essay, The Henry James Review.
    • Rowe, J. C. (1980). “The Internal Conflict of Romantic Narrative: Hegel’s Phenomenology and Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter,”. pp. 1203-1231. MLN, Comparative Literature issue,.
    • Rowe, J. C. (1978). The `Super-Historical’ Sense of Hart Crane’s The Bridge. (Joseph N. Riddel, Ed.). pp. 597-625. Genre, special issue on the twentieth-century long poem.

    Journal Article

    • Rowe, J. C. (2022). Sarah Winnemucca’s Transnational Authority in Life among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims (1883). Amerikastudien. Vol. 67 (1), pp. 57-79.


    • Rowe, J. C. (2002). The New American Studies. University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming 2002.
    • Rowe, J. C. (1997). At Emerson’s Tomb: The Politics of Classic American Literature. Columbia University Press, 1997.
    • Rowe, J. C. (1984). The Theoretical Dimensions of Henry James. University of Wisconsin Press.
    • Rowe, J. C. (1982). through the custom-house: nineteenth-century american fiction and modern theory. the johns hopkins university press.
    • Rowe, J. C. (1976). henry adams and henry james: the emergence of a modern consciousness. Cornell University Press.
    • Native American Literature, English 444, Fall 2008
    • Introduction to American Studies, Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, 2006-2007
    • USC Endowed Chair, USC Associates Chair in Humanities, 2004/09/14-2019/08/15
    • Vice President, Henry James Society, 2010-2011
    • Mellon Mentoring Award: Faculty Mentoring, 2009-2010
    • Elected Member, National Council, American Studies Association, 2004-2007
    • Class of 2000 Outstanding Professor in the School of Humanities, UC Irvine, 1999-2000
    • Director, Residential Research Group, “Post-National American Studies,” University of California Humantities Research Institute, 1996-1997
    • Director, National Endowment of the Humanities Intersegmental Summer Institute, “Bridging the Gaps: Critical Theory, American Literature and American Cultures”, 1995/05/16-1996/08/15
    • Rockefeller Fellowship Recipient, Fellowship in the Humanities, 1982-1983
    • Distinguished Teaching Award, University of California, Irvine, 1981
    • University Fellowship, State University of New York, 1970-1971
  • Media, Alumni, and Community Relations

    • Public Lecture Series: Humanities Associates Lectures in American Literature and Culture, – 09/01/2009
  • Administative Appointment

    • Vice President, Henry James Society, 2010-2011

    Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • Editorial Board, Romanian Journal of American Studies, 2011 –
    • Managing Board, American Quarterly, 2009-2010
    • Editorial Board, Comparative American Studies, 2009-2010
    • Editorial Board Member, Comparative American Studies, 2009-2010
    • Editorial Board, Novel, 2009-2010
    • Editorial Board, The Henry James Review, 2009-2010

    Professional Memberships

    • American Studies Association, 2007-2008
    • Modern Language Association, 2006-2007
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