Oakes Faculty Fellows

The Oakes College faculty represents a wealth of expertise from the natural sciences to the humanities, and we are proud to have some of the top scholars in the world among our faculty. Our students major in nearly every discipline at UCSC—from economics and computer science, to theater arts and Latin American and Latino studies—and they are well supported by the depth and breadth of the Oakes College faculty and the extensive knowledge of our advising team.

TBA is Oakes's faculty chair!

The Chair of the Faculty is an Academic Senate member, other than the Provost, who is elected by the college Faculty to serve a two year term, and will serve as a member of the Executive Committee.


Susan Gillman
  • Pronouns she, her, her, hers, herself
  • Title
    • Distinguished Professor
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • Literature Department
  • Affiliations Literature Department, Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas, Academic Senate
  • Phone
    831-459-4199 (Office)
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Humanities Building 1, 640 Humanities 1
  • Mail Stop Humanities Academic Services
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Literature, African American / Black Studies, American Studies, Race, US History, Slavery, Ocean Studies, Language and Linguistics, Popular Culture, Atlantic World

Summary of Expertise

Race, Black Studies, transnational studies, multilingualism

Research Interests

Nineteenth-century American literature and culture; theories of culture, race, and sexuality; world literature and cultural studies; transnational and translational approaches to literature.

Biography, Education and Training

I am a scholar of race and slavery in the United States, the Americas, and beyond. From my usual base in the nineteenth century, I approach the study of national literatures and cultures from a “worlded” perspective developed by the cluster in World Literature and Cultural Studies at UCSC. My first book – focusing on Mark Twain’s lifelong interest in identity and imposture - explores his engagement with the changing systems of racial classification in the late nineteenth-century US. My second book considers the mode of “American race melodrama,” which I contextualize as part of the “culture of the occult,” a quasi-political meeting ground for both race radicals and conservatives. My current book, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2022, reaches into hemispheric and ocean studies with a project tracing the strange career of the term “American Mediterranean,” a combined scholarly metaphor and folk geographical concept, appearing and disappearing in multiple disciplines, genres, and languages, a point of departure for a comparative critical study of the Americas.

Selected Publications