Mark Mattes

Assistant Professor (Term)


I joined the English Department in 2014 after receiving my Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa. My research focuses on how the cultural politics of material texts shape literary forms. My book manuscript, An Archaeology of American Letters, explores the media history of early American letter writing. A second project, The Archival Apocrypha of Indigenous Writing, examines how eighteenth-century Native American writing systems and colonial archives together shaped later-day histories of the Ohio River Valley. My writings have appeared or are forthcoming in Early American Literature, Early American Studies, and the edited collection, Handwritten Newspapers as an Alternative Medium. My research has been supported by the Library Company of Philadelphia, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the American Antiquarian Society, the Newberry Library, and the U.S. Department of Education.

I regularly teach courses in the fields of American Literature to 1900, Ethnic American Literature, Book History, and Composition. Specific interests include Native American and African American Literature, Early American Studies, Early British Literature, Visual Culture, Transatlantic Literature, Women’s Literature, Media Studies, and Archive Theory. In addition to teaching, I recently organized a NEH-funded workshop, Print Culture in the Age of Shakespeare, in support of Kentucky’s First Folio! exhibition (2016). I am currently chairing The Futures of Handwriting (scheduled for 2019), a symposium sponsored by UofL and the Rare Book School’s Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography, in partnership with the Filson Historical Society.