Julia Stern

Julia Stern
Professor of English & American Studies
Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence

University Hall Room 208
Telephone: (847) 491-3530
Fax: (847) 467-1545


Julia Stern (Ph.D. English & Comparative Literature, Columbia University, 1991) teaches eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American and African American literature, Faulkner, women's writing, gothic and sentimental fiction, narrative and psychoanalytic theory, and critical race studies. Professor Stern's first book, The Plight of Feeling: Sympathy and Dissent in the Early American Novel (University of Chicago Press, 1997) explores the politics of affect in post-revolutionary American fiction, and was a finalist for the MLA's Best First Book Award.

She has published articles on Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allan Poe, and various nineteenth-century American women writers, including Stowe, Jacobs, Wilson, and Stoddard (see below for complete list of publications). Her second book on Mary Chesnut's revised Civil War journals, Mary Chesnut's Civil War Epic, was published in 2010 by the University of Chicago Press. She has recently begun work on a book tentatively titled "Through Bette Davis Eyes: Reading Race at Warner Brothers, 1934-1962," a study of racial representations in Davis' oeuvre from "Of Human Bondage" through "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane," and will edit a volume of selections  from "C. Vann Woodward's Mary Chesnut's Civil War" for Yale university press. Stern has won a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the Newberry Library in 1994-5 (declined), and fellowships at the Alice Berline Kaplan Center for the Humanities in 1995 and 2007-2008; she was elected to the editorial board of Early American Literature in 2004.

Across two decades as a faculty member at Northwestern, Professor Stern has been recognized for her teaching, receiving the Associated Student Government's Mortar Board Award (1992-1993), the Panhellenic Association Teaching Recognition Award (1999), the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award (2001), has been named to the Associated Student Government Faculty Honor Roll 2011, 2013, and 2014, and has been chosen as Outstanding Weinberg College Freshman Adviser in 2012.  In 2008, she was named Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence.

Publications by Julia Stern


Plight of Feeling The Plight of Feeling: Sympathy and Dissent
in the Early American Novel


Mary Chesnut Mary Chesnut's Civil War Epic


"I Am Cruel Hungry: Dramas of Twisted Appetite and Rejected Identification in The Morgesons," Knowledge of the Gap: American Culture, Canons, and the Case of Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard ed. Rob Smith and Ellen Weinaur (Birmingham: University of Alabama Press, 2003): 107-127.

Co-edited with Professor Christopher Castiglia, Special Edition of Early American Literature 37.1 (Spring: 2002) on the topic of "Early American Interiority."

"Introductory Essay: Early American Interiors," co-written with Christopher Castiglia, Early American Literature 37.1 (Spring, 2002): 1-7.

"The Politics of Tears: Representations of Death in the Early American Novel, 1789-1799," Mortal Remains: Explaining Death in Early America, ed. Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003): 108-119.

"The State of 'Women' in Ormond; or, Patricide in the New Nation," Revising Charles Brockden Brown, ed. Philip Barnard, Mark Kamruth, and Stephen Shapiro (Nashville: University of Tennessee Press), forthcoming 2004.

"Live Burial and Its Discontents: Mourning Becomes Melancholia in Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," in Symbolic Loss: The Ambiguity of Mourning and Memory at Century's End, ed. Peter Homans (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2000): 62-82.

"To Relish and To Spew: Disgust As Cultural Critique in The Journal of Sarah Kemble Knight," in LEGACY: A Journal of American Women Writers 14.1 (Spring 1997): 1-12.

"Spanish Masquerade and the Drama of Racial Identity in Uncle Tom's Cabin," in Passing and The Fictions of Identity, ed. Elaine Ginsberg (Durham: Duke University Press, 1996): 103-130.

"Excavating Genre in Our Nig," American Literature 67.3 (September, 1995): 439-466.

"Double Talk: The Rhetoric of the Whisper in Poe's 'William Wilson,'" ESQ 40.3 (1994): 185-218.

"Working Through The Frame: Charlotte Temple and The Poetics of Maternal Melancholia," Arizona Quarterly 49.4 (Winter, 1993): 1-32..

"To Represent Afflicted Time: Mourning As Historiography," American Literary History 5.2 (Summer, 1993): 378-388.

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Upcoming Event

English Department Lecture: Todd Carmody
January 29, 201512:30 PM - 2:00 PM

September 11, 2014