Matthew P. Scully, Ph.D.

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Doctor of Philosophy in English, Tufts University, May 2018

  • Dissertation: “Against Form: Figural Excess and the Negative Democratic Impulse in American Literature”

Master of Arts in English, Boston College, May 2013

Bachelor of Arts with Honors in English, with Distinction, McGill University, February 2011

  • Minor in Musical Applications of Technology

Professional Appointments

2022–present: Maître Assistant in American Literature, English Department, University of Lausanne

2016-2021: Affiliated Faculty, Marlboro Institute of Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, Honors Program, Emerson College

2015-2021: Affiliated Faculty, Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing, Emerson College

Teaching & Research Interests

Twentieth- and Twenty-first-century Multiethnic American Fiction, Poetry, Visual Art, and Film; American Studies; Black Studies; Asian American Studies; Literary Theory; Intersections of Politics and Aesthetics; Radical Democracy; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Decolonization and Revolution; Modernism and Postmodernism; Marxism and Psychoanalysis; Queer Theory



Democratic Anarchy: Aesthetics and Political Resistance in U.S. Literature, Fordham University Press (forthcoming, July 2024)

Peer-Reviewed Articles:

Tautological Revisions: Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys and the Construction of Black Life,” SPELL: Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature 42 (2023): 83-101.

Melville’s Obsessional Form: Disjunction and Refusal in ‘Benito Cereno,’European Journal of American Studies 18.3 (7 Sept. 2023).

Horrible Beauty: Robin Coste Lewis’s Black Aesthetic Practice,” Postmodern Culture 32.2 (Jan. 2022).

“Democratic Aesthetics: Scenes of Political Violence and Anxiety in Nari Ward and Ocean Vuong,” American Literature 93.4 (Dec. 2021): 685-712.

“Resistance and Revolution: Fanon, Himes, and ‘a literature of combat,’” African American Review 54.3 (Fall 2021): 199-217.

“Anarchival Dislocations: Modes of Reading (in) Black Studies,” Diacritics: A Review of Contemporary Criticism 48.1 (2020): 4-28.

“Plasticity at the Violet Hour: Tiresias, The Waste Land, and Poetic Form,” JML: Journal of Modern Literature 41.3 (Spring 2018): 166-182.

Book Chapters:

“Wayward Possibilities: Errant Black Women and the Intimacies of Freedom,” invited chapter, Post-Politics and the Aesthetic Imagination (in process)

Other Publications:

Seductions of Metaphor: On Ocean Vuong’s Time Is a Mother,” Southern Humanities Review (28 July 2023).

The Triple Antagonist of the Police, Policing, and Policy,” CounterPunch (31 July 2020).

Disordering Modernism: On T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land,” A Closer Look at JML 41.3, Indiana University Press Blog (August 2018).


(with Nell Wasserstrom and Carolyn Shread) Jacques Rancière, Y a-t-il un art communiste? (unpublished in French), Une conference de Jacques Rancière, Grand Palais, Exposition: Rouge: Art et utopie au pays des Soviets, Paris, FR, 10 April 2019 (English: “Does Communist Art Exist?” Critical Inquiry 48.3 [Spring 2022]: 459-474).

Book Reviews:

Review of Sergio Benvenuto’s Conversations with Lacan: Seven Lectures for Understanding Lacan, American Imago, 77.4 (Winter 2020): 772-785.

Review of Audrey Wasser’s The Work of Difference: Modernism, Romanticism, and the Production of Literary Form, SubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism, 48.1 (2019): 113-117.

“The Power of the People,” Review of Scott Henkel’s Direct Democracy: Collective Power, the Swarm, and the Literatures of the Americas, sx salon: a small axe literary platform 29 (October 2018).

Review of Philip Lorenz’s Tears of Sovereignty: Perspectives of Power in Renaissance Drama, MLN (Modern Language Notes) 129.5 (December 2014): 1238-1240.

“Musical Literature: Bridging the Gap between High and Low Art,” Review of T. Austin Graham’s The Great American Songbooks: Musical Texts, Modernism, & the Value of Popular Culture, Twentieth-Century Literature 59.3 (Fall 2013): 504-512.

Awards and Fellowships

2021: Ninth Annual First Book Institute, Center for American Literary Studies, Pennsylvania State University, June 7-11.

2021: Professional Development Grant for Part-Time Faculty, Modern Language Association

2020: Affiliated Faculty Professional Development Grant, Emerson College

2018: Affiliated Faculty Professional Development Grant, Emerson College

2017: Dissertation Fellowship, Tufts University, Department of English

2016: Deans’ Fellowship in the Humanities and Arts, Tufts University

2014-2016: Teaching Assistantship, Tufts University

2013-2014: Full Departmental Scholarship, Tufts University, Department of English

2012-2013: Teaching Fellowship, Boston College

2011-2012: M.A. Scholarship, Boston College

Guest Lectures and Invited Talks

2022: “Between Two Emancipations: The Politics of Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman,” English Department Lecture Series, University of Lausanne, March 10.

2020: “Jacques Rancière: Art and Emancipation,” ENGL775: Live Contemporary Theorists, Graduate Course, taught by Frances Restuccia, Boston College, English Department, November 4.

Selected Conference Presentations

2022: “Retelling a Story to Live: Figures of Emplotment in Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys,” Swiss Association for North American Studies (SANAS), Fribourg, Switzerland, scheduled for November.

2021: “Combat Literature: Fanon and Himes,” American Studies Association (ASA), Virtual Meeting, October.

2021: “Tautology and Structure: Reading as Rereading,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Virtual Meeting, April.

2021: “Tautological Enumerations and Anagrammatical Blackness,” Modern Language Association (MLA), Virtual Meeting, January.

2021: “Democratic Equality: Nari Ward, Ocean Vuong, and the Politics of Aesthetics,” Modern Language Association (MLA), Virtual Meeting, January.

2019: “Democratic Anarchy: The Politics of Equality and the Asymmetries of Being,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Washington, D.C., March.

2018: “Refractions of the Subject: Identity Politics and Voting,” American Studies Association (ASA), Atlanta, GA, November.

2017: “Walter Benjamin and the Destruction of Democracy,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Utrecht, Netherlands, July.

2017: “William Gaddis, Failure, and the Crisis of Representation,” American Literature Association (ALA), Boston, MA, May.

2017: “A Safe Harbor between the Self and Other: Community in Toni Morrison’s Sula,” The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, April.

2015: “Walter Benjamin: Toward an Experience of the Exception,” Modernist Studies Association (MSA), Boston, MA, November.

2015: “Plasticity at the Violet Hour: The Waste Land and the Problem of Form,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), University of Washington, Seattle, WA, March.

2014: “Chester Himes, Frantz Fanon, and the Force of Blues Irony: Toward a New Humanism,” Northeast Popular Culture Association, Providence, RI, October.

2014: “Wallace Stevens’ Infinite Finitude: Negativity as Aesthetic Experience,” Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA), Harrisburg, PA, April.

2014: “Henry James’ ‘impotent spectator’: Messianism in ‘The Jolly Corner,’” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), New York University, New York, NY, March.

2013: “A Radical Finitude: Recognition and Temporal Experience in T. S. Eliot’s ‘Marina,’” T. S. Eliot Society, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, September.

2013: “Refigured Time and Space in Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, April.

2013: “‘Maps and mazes’: The Road and (Post-)Modern Time,” Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA), Boston, MA, March.

2012: “‘It’s a Joke’: The Recognitions and the Value of Art in Post-WWII America,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Brown University, Providence, RI, March.

2012: “‘What is its virtue and power’: Guido Cavalcanti’s Place in T. S. Eliot’s Thought and Poetry,” T. S. Eliot Society, Florence, Italy, February.

Conference Panels Chaired and Organized

2021: Panel Chair and Organizer, “Reading in Theory,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Virtual Meeting, April.

2019: Panel Chair and Organizer, “Politics and Ontology,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Washington, D.C., March.

2017: Panel Chair and Organizer, “Democracy and Liberalism in U.S. Literature and Politics,” American Literature Association (ALA), Boston, MA, May.

2017: Panel Chair, “Immigration and Identity,” American Literature Association (ALA), Boston, MA, May.

2014: Panel Chair and Organizer, “Modernism and the (Im)Possible ‘Time of the Now,’” Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA), Susquehanna University, Harrisburg, PA, April.

2014: Panel Chair and Organizer, “New York City: Written, Erased, Rewritten,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), New York University, New York, NY, March.

Teaching and Work Experience

2019: Visiting Lecturer, Experimental College, Tufts University (Spring)

2018-2021: Adjunct Faculty, Writing Center, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

2014-2018: Graduate Writing Consultant, Academic Resource Center, Tufts University

2014-2017: Graduate Instructor, First-Year Writing Program, Tufts University

2012-2013: Teaching Fellow, First-Year Writing Seminar, Boston College

2012-2013: Writing Tutor, Learning Resources for Student Athletes, Boston College

2012: Writing Fellow, Options Through Education (OTE) Program, Office of AHANA Student Programs, Boston College

2011-2013: Writing/ELL Writing and Conversation Tutor, Connors Family Learning Center, Boston College

2011: Professional Writing Tutor, Manchester Community College

Courses Taught

University of Lausanne

  • Lecturer: Introduction to Literary Analysis
  • Lecturer: Explication de textes: American Lyric Poetry
  • Co-Lecturer: Anglo-American Literary Survey

Emerson College

  • Affiliated Faculty, LI120: Introduction to Literary Studies
  • Affiliated Faculty, LI201: Literary Foundations
  • Affiliated Faculty, LI202: U.S./American Literatures
  • Affiliated Faculty, LI204: Resistance and Revolution
  • Affiliated Faculty, LI204: Democracy and American Literature
  • Co-Instructor, LI210: American Women Writers, with Shannon Derby
  • Affiliated Faculty, LI304: Genres of Contemporary American Literature (Online)
  • Affiliated Faculty, LI323: The American Short Story
  • Affiliated Faculty, IN126: Literature of Extreme Situations
  • Affiliated Faculty, IN374: Reading Race and Sexuality
  • Co-Instructor, HS101 and HS102: Perspectives on Literature and Culture of the Americas, with Thomas McNeely
  • Co-Instructor, HS103: Honors Writing Symposium, with Thomas McNeely

Tufts University

  • Graduate Instructor, ENGL0001: Expository Writing
  • Graduate Instructor, ENGL0002: Differences
  • Teaching Assistant, ENG63 American Literature 1900-1950, with Ronna Johnson
  • Teaching Assistant, ENG81 Postmodernism and Film, with Lee Edelman
  • Visiting Lecturer, EXP0001: Resistance and Revolution: The Historical Movements that Led to #BlackLivesMatter #MeToo #NoDAPL, Experimental College

Boston College

  • Teaching Fellow, ENGL100: First-Year Writing Seminar

Administrative and Professional Services

Part-Time Contingent Faculty Members Delegate, Delegate Assembly, Modern Language Association, Jan 2021 – Jan 2024

Founder and Organizer of Graduate Theory Reading Group, Tufts University, Medford, MA, Fall 2016 – Fall 2017

Director, Mobile Communities, Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference, Tufts University, Medford, MA, Spring 2016 – Fall 2016

Roundtable Working Group Chair, Mobile Communities, Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference, Tufts University, Medford, MA, Spring 2016 – Fall 2016

Professional Development Chair, Tufts English Graduate Organization (TEGO), Tufts University, Medford, MA, Fall 2015 – Spring 2016

Roundtable Working Group Co-chair, Radical Kinship, Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference, Tufts University, Medford, MA, Spring 2015 – Fall 2015.

Roundtable Working Group Member, Eco-Imaginaries, Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference, Tufts University, Medford, MA, Spring 2014 – Fall 2014.