The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu
Section Menu

James Smethurst

Professor and Graduate Program Director

(413) 545-2751

310 New Africa House

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.


book cover of Amiri Baraka


Brick City Vanguard: Amiri Baraka, Black Music, Black Modernity (African American Intellectual History), 
by James Smethurst (University of Massachusetts Press, 2020)

picture of book cover for SOS: Calling All Black People

SOS—Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader
Edited by John H. Bracey Jr., Sonia Sanchez, and James Smethurst. A major anthology of readings from the Black Arts Movement. 
(University of Massachusetts Press, 2014)

picture of book cover

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

picture of book cover

Radicalism in the South since Reconstruction,
with Chris Green and Rachel Rubin, eds. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

picture of book cover

The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s
(Chapel Hill, Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2005)

picture of book cover

Left of the Color Line: Race, Radicalism and Twentieth-Century Literature of the United States
(Chapel Hill, Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2003)