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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

W.E.B. Du Bois Department

James E. Smethurst, Professor

310 New Africa House

Office Hours: Wednesdays 11:30-1:00 pm and by appointment


Brief Bio

James Smethurst received his B.A. in English from the University of Southern Maine, his M.A. in English from the City College of New York, and his Ph.D. in English from Harvard University. Prior to coming to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he taught at the University of North Florida.

His primary research areas are African American literature, culture, and intellectual history from the late 19th to the late 20th centuries, with a particular emphasis on black cultural and political radicalism. He is currently working on a history of the Black Arts Movement in the southern United States.

Curriculum Vitae



SOS—Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader

A major anthology of readings from the Black Arts Movement. Edited by John H. Bracey Jr., Sonia Sanchez, and James Smethurst (UMass Press, 2014)


The African American Roots of Modernism: Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance Renaissance
(Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2011)




Radicalism in the South since Reconstruction,

with Chris Green and Rachel Rubin, eds. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)



The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s

(Chapel Hill, Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2005)



Left of the Colore Line: Race, Radicalism and Twentieth-Century Literature of the United States

(Chapel Hill, Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2003)








The New Red Negro: The Literary Left and African American Poetry, 1930-1946

(New York, Oxford University Press, 1999)