Gregory E. Rutledge's Profile Image
(그레고리 유진 러틀레지)Associate Professor of English and Ethnic Studies

Select Publications and Projects


The Epic Trickster: From Sunjata to So(u)l

The Epic Trickster is a theorizing of the trans-Atlantic continuity and discontinuity of the traditional African epic. My study situates this form of art and social performance at the intersection of the American aesthetic, which at once implicates the synergy between the trickster and epic narratives. Hence, I explore the European/American epic aesthetics and nation; race theory, resistance, and trauma; American jurisprudence; class and sociology; and popular culture (sport and film).

Books in Progress

Do the Right Thing: The Reading-Script . Re-visioning of Spike Lee’s iconic 1989 film for critics, film scholars, screenwriters, directors, students, and fans.

Seoul to Soul (Working Title). Collaborative monograph—with Dr. Jong-Im Lee—on Afro-Korean Connectionssupported by U.S. Fulbright Award (2013-2014). Unlike typical Afro-Asian American scholarship, Dr. Lee and I are using Korean concepts and scholarship (traditional and modern) along with English-language equivalents to re-map the Human.

The Harambee Poetry Anthology. Collection of poetry, raps, essays, art, editorials, etc. from Harambee Afrikan Cultural Organization, a group of consciousness-seeking Afrikan men incarcerated in the Nebraska State Penitentiary. Including digital archive involving Harambee’s Flame newsletter, for years published and edited by Wopashitwe Mondo eyen we Langa, this project honors Mondo and Ed Poindexter (former “Omaha Two” Black Panthers and political prisoners), the insightful cultural explorations of the Harambee men, and my work as a volunteer with Harambee since 2006.

Whispers, of a Fire in the Forest. (Second novel)

Articles, Law Review Articles, Book Chapters, etc. (Domestic and International)—Refereed and Non-Refereed

“Speaking in Tongues: An Interview with Science Fiction Writer Nalo Hopkinson.” In Conversations with Nalo Hopkinson, edited by Isiah Lavender III. Reprint, from African American Review 33.4 (1999): 589-601. Refereed. Forthcoming from University Press of Mississippi in 2023.

“The African/American (Heroic) Epic: Lee’s Do the Right Thing as Critique, Caution, Comedy.” Chapter invited for The Epic World anthology (Routledge Worlds series), edited by Dr. Pamela Jo Lothspiech. Forthcoming in 2022 or 2023.

Star Trek: Voyager – ‘Tuvix’ and the Warped Humanities.” Brights Lights (Sept. 2022). Refereed.

“Mondo Takes His Fifth: A Former Omaha Black Panther and COINTELPRO’d Political Prisoner, Now an African ‘Bateleur.’” The Midwest Quarterly 63.1 (2021): 37-48. Refereed.

“Shteyngart’s Super Sad True(th): The Äppärät, a ‘Work[ing] of Art’ in an Internet Age of Digital Reproduction.” College Literature 47.2 (2020): 366-395. Refereed.

“Exploring an Archetypal Divide: Epics, Tricksters, Epic Tricksters.” Storytelling, Self, Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Storytelling Studies 13.1 (Spr. 2017): 1-32. Refereed.

“From Tragic Mulatta to Grotesque Racial Horror: Epic/Exceptionalism and Larsen’s Quicksand.” Journal of African American Studies 20.1 (Mar. 2016): 75-98. (DOI 10.1007/s12111-015-9320-2). Refereed.

“Jedi Knights and African Epic Performance: Is the Force a Form of Western-African Epic Mimicry?” Book chapter in A Galaxy Here and Now: Historical and Cultural Readings of Star Wars, edited by Peter W. Lee (McFarland & Company: Jefferson, NC, 2015). 106-137.

“The East (African Blood) within The Far East: T’ang Slavery, (Non)Fictional Kunlun Lore, and China’s New Canon.” [Published as “Race, Slavery, and the Re-evaluation of the T’ang Canon.”] CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 16.6 (Dec. 2014), a refereed journal, for its Special Issue on “Western Canons in a Changing East Asia.” Ed. Simon C. Estok.

“The ‘Wonder’ Behind the Great-Race-Blue(s) Debate: Wright’s Eco-Criticism, Ellison’s Blues, and the Dust Bowl.” ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews 24.4 (2012): 1-11. Refereed.

“What’s Loving Got to Do with It?: Embodied Dissents to ‘The Impassable’ in Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred.” Yonsei Law Journal 1.2 (Dec. 2010): 313-38. [Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of South Korea]. Refereed.

“The Epic Trickster – The Printed Epic, the Performed Epic, and the Problems of ‘Moderns’ and ‘Others.’” 인문학연구원 [Inmunkwahak: The Journal of the Humanities, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of South Korea] 91 (Mar. 2010): 155-82. (invited by editor)

“Nalo Hopkinson’s Urban Jungle and the Cosmology of Freedom: How Capitalism Underdeveloped the Black AmeriArts & Sciences and Left a Brown Girl in the Ring.” Foundation 81 (Spring 2001): 22-39. Refereed.

“Futurist Fiction & Fantasy: The Racial Establishment.” Callaloo 24.1 (2001): 236-52. Refereed.

“Science Fiction and the Black Power/Arts Movements: The Transpositional Cosmology of Samuel R. Delany Jr.” Extrapolation 41.2 (2000): 127-42. Refereed.

“Hell Hath No Fury Like a Pledge Scorned . . . and Injured: Hazing Litigation in U.S. Colleges and Universities.” Journal of College & University Law 25.2 (1998): 361-97. Refereed.

Courses (Regular Rotation)*

ENGL 940: Seminar in African/African-American Literature (Topics: Afro-Orientalism, Epic Performance and Novel)

ENGL 4/845B: Race, Law and Literature (Critical Race Theory)*

ETHN 400: Ethnic Studies Seminar (Exceptionalism)

ENGL 333: American Authors (The African-American Renaissance: Atlanta, Harlem, and Chicago)

ENGL 244: African American Literature from Mid-Antebellum to the Present (cross-listed as Ethnic Studies 244)*

ENGL 244E: Early African-American Literature (cross-listed as Ethnic Studies 244E)

ENGL 261: American Literature Since 1865*

ETHN 200: Introduction to African-American Studies (African-American writers of the Midwest)

ENGL 205: Twentieth-/Twenty-First-Century Literature*

ENGL 189H: Honors Seminar (Afro-Futurism, Fantasy, and REAL-Sense)

ETHN 100: Introduction to Ethnic Studies


Ph.D. (2005), University of Wisconsin—Madison
English Literature

M.A. (1999), University of Wisconsin—Madison
Afro-American Studies

J.D./M.A.M.C. (1992), University of Florida

Areas of Interest

African-American Literature, Afro-Korean Studies (Afro-Orientalism), Critical Race Theory, World Literature, Race/Racism, Traditional West/Central African Epic Performance, E3 Studies (Epic/Exceptionalism/Elite Studies), Storytelling and Folklore, Afro-Futurism, African Diaspora and Diaspora Studies, American/Cultural Studies, Law & Literature, American Literature

Currently, I am fascinated by the Afro-modernist mysteries imbedded in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989), the question of how longstanding surveillance has shaped African-American culture and storytelling, and the nature of Western-European customary law (and implications of its curricular erasure). And a personal crusade: how the intersection of tennis, modern performance-enhancing drugs policy, the professional class, and race(ism) courts and matches a new “double-consciousness”—not of the past “veil” and “color-line,” but contemporary nets and white lines. Not a “war on drugs” but a war of drugs.