Jonathan Flatley

Jonathan Flatley

Jonathan Flatley


English Department 

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Modern and contemporary literature and culture; modern and contemporary art; African American literature; Russian/Soviet art/film/literature; queer theory; aesthetic theory; affect theory; Marxism and Marxist theory; Andy Warhol. I teach undergraduate classes on modern literature, art and culture, and in African American studies, cultural studies and environmental humanities.   At the graduate level, I teach a range of classes in aesthetic theory, queer theory, modern and contemporary literature and media.  


I write about the relationship between politics and aesthetics. I am especially interested in the ways that art and literature can represent and produce political feelings. I am currently working on two books. *Black Leninism: How Revolutionary Counter-Moods Are Made* is about Black group formation, those moments when Black people come together as a group for whom collective action seems urgent, obvious, and vital, and when victory over the forces of white supremacy seems possible. A second book, *Reading for Mood* outlines a critical method that is attentive to form without disavowing aesthetic experience, and that sees the affective component of aesthetic experience as fundamentally historical and social.


  • 1996: Ph.D. Duke University, Graduate Program In Literature
  • 1989: B.A. Amherst College

Awards and grants

  • 2019: Wayne State University Distinguished Faculty Fellowship
    2019: Wayne State University Board of Governors Faculty Recognition Award
    2018: Humanities Center (WSU) Summer Research Fellowship2017: Marilyn Williamson Endowed Distinguished Faculty Fellowship, Wayne State University Humanities Center
    2017: Tamiment Library (NYU) Cold War Center Travel Grant
    2014: Wayne State Research Enhancement Proposal Grant (REP) for “Black Leninism”
    2011: Wayne State Humanities Center Summer Research Fellowship
    2010: Wayne State University Board of Governors Faculty Recognition Award
    2010: Career Development Chair Award, Wayne State University
    2005: University Research Grant, Wayne State University
    2004: Wayne State Humanities Center Summer Research Fellowship
    2001: Fulbright Fellowship, Moscow, Russia
    1990-95: Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities

Selected publications


Like Andy Warhol  (University of Chicago Press, 2017).

Affective Mapping: Melancholia and the Politics of Modernism  (Harvard University Press, 2008)



“’Beaten, But Unbeatable’: Langston Hughes’s Black Leninism,” Comintern Aesthetics, ed. Amelia Glaser and Steven Lee, University of Toronto Press, Spring 2019

“What is a Revolutionary Setting?” Cluster on Setting on the Modernism / Modernity Print Plus platform, ed. Hannah Freed-Thall and Dora Zhang, Winter 2017

“Lenin’s Affect Theory,” Siniy Divan, Moscow, Winter 2017

“Reading for Mood,” Representations 140 (Fall 2017), a special issue on “Fallacies”

“Refreshments of Revolutionary Mood,” Literary/Liberal Entanglements: Toward a Literary History for the Twenty-First Century, ed. Corinne Harol and Mark Simpson, University of Toronto Press, Fall 2017


“Liking Andy Warhol: An Interview With Jonathan Flatley,” by Felix Bernstein, Los Angeles Review of Books, July 20, 2018.

“’A Thousand Years’ of Zoe Leonard,” Public Books, June 15, 2018.

“(Radio On!)” Avidly, A Los Angeles Review of Books Channel, January 24 2017.


“1968 Decentered.” Co-editor, with Robert Bird. South Atlantic Quarterly Spring 2020.

“Andy Warhol.” Co-editor, with Anthony E. Grudin. Special issue. Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts, 56.3. (Summer 2014)

“Disco.” Co-editor, with Charles Kronengold. Special issue. Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts, 50.1 (Winter, 2008).

Pop Out: Queer Warhol. Co- Editor with Jennifer Doyle and José Muñoz. Duke University Press, 1996.


Currently teaching

  • W 2021 Reading Marx's Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (graduate seminar)

    F 2021 "The Present" (graduate seminar)

          ENG 5450: Modern American Literature: Art, Literature and Politics








Courses taught

ENG 5090 /RUS 3010 Freedom Dreams in Russian and African American Literature (F 20)

ENG 2420 Literature and Science: Representing Trees (F20 F 19)

ENG 5020 / AH 5780 The Idea of the Avant-garde (W 20)

ENG 8001 "Propaganda and Agitation" (W 20)

ENG 3090 "Introduction to Cultural Studies" (W18, W19)

ENG 7032 "Queer Modernisms"  

ENG 7004 "Aesthetics and Politics" 

ENG/AFS 2390 Introduction to African American Literature ("Black Lives Matter").