Ira Dworkin

Ira Dworkin

Ira Dworkin specializes in African American and African Diaspora literature, American literature and culture, race and ethnicity studies, and transnational literatures. Dworkin’s current research is focused on two autobiographies that Nicholas Said published in 1867 and 1873 and considers the place of Africa, including Islamic religious traditions, in early African American narrative by examining oral accounts within African American communities, northern literary venues like the Atlantic Monthly, and publishing in the Reconstruction-era South (where Said sold a book-length autobiography).

Dworkin plans on using his Arts & Humanities Fellowship to conduct research in several US archives and in Nigeria for “Imperfectly Known”: Nicholas Said and the Routes of African American Narrative. This work in progress examines the literary career of Nicholas Said, who was born in Africa, enslaved in Europe, and came to the United States, where he volunteered for the Massachusetts 55th Regiment during the Civil War.

Dworkin’s research will culminate in a journal article, book monograph, teaching initiatives, and community outreach. 

In 2003, Dworkin earned his doctorate in English, with a certificate in American studies from the City University of New York.  He was a 2005-06 Fulbright scholar at the University of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and received the Yasuo Sakakibara Prize from the American Studies Association in 2011.

He joined the Texas A&M University faculty in 2014.

Dworkin has published six articles in peer-reviewed journals and has edited a 2014 edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave; served as guest editor, with Ferial Ghazoul, for a 2011 special issue of Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics titled The Other Americas and, with Ebony Coletu, for a 2015 special issue of Comparative American Studies titled On Demand and Relevance: Transnational American Studies in the Middle East and North Africa; and edited and annotated the 2007 book Daughter of the Revolution: The Major Nonfiction Works of Pauline E. Hopkins.

His latest book, Congo Love Song: African American Culture and the Crisis of the Colonial State, is scheduled for release in June 2017.