Profile: James Goodman

Professor and Interim Undergraduate Director

Department of History, Graduate Program in American Studies, MFA in Creative Writing

Research Interests: Modern United States history; race relations and politics; history as literature; literature as history.

James Goodman is a professor of history head of non-fiction writing in the MFA program in creative writing.  His passion, as a writer, as a teacher, and as the U.S. editor of Rethinking History, has been to take literary form seriously—all writing as creative writing--in the reading and writing of history and every other form of non-fiction.  His issues of Rethinking History feature the work of historians, scholars in other fields, creative writers inside and outside academe, and graphic artists struggling to find the forms—the literary structures, the perspective(s), the images, the voices, the words, the pace--that do their subjects the most justice.  He has received fellowships and awards from NYU, Princeton, Rutgers, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and his first book, Stories of Scottsboro, a narrative history of the Scottsboro Case written from many different points of view, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.   His second book, Blackout, was about the blackout and blackout looting in NYC in the summer of 1977, and he is currently completing the manuscript for his third, a book about the long and twisted life of a famous and infamous bible story, Genesis 22, the working title of which is, “I Wrote the Story of Abraham and Isaac.”

  • Courses Taught

    Graduate Courses

    Reading and Writing Narrative History
    The Poetics of History
    U.S. History in Fiction and Fact
    Writing American History

    Undergraduate Courses

    The History and Literature of Fact
    U.S. History in Fiction and Fact
    Contemporary U.S. History
    U.S. History in the Courtroom
    Race and Politics Since Reconstruction
    Reading and Writing About War

  • Education

    Princeton University, Ph.D., 1990
    New York University, M.A., 1983
    Columbia University, School of the Arts, Workshops in Poetry and Non-Fiction, 1980-81

  • Publications

    But Where Is the Lamb?: Imagining the Story of Abraham and Isaac (Schocken Books, 2013).
    "Fictional History," Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice 9 (June/September 2005): 237-253.
    Blackout (North Point Press, 2003, North Point Press, 2005).
    "Telling the Stories of Narrative History," Chronicle of Higher Education 44 (14 Aug. 1998): B4-5.
    "For the Love of Stories," Reviews in American History 26 (Mar. 1998): 255-274.
    Stories of Scottsboro (Pantheon, 1994, Vintage, 1995).

  • Awards

    Hosford Scholar of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Newark  2011-2012
    Society of American Historians, elected 2009
    U.S. Editor, Rethinking History, 2007-
    Rutgers University Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research, May 2005
    Shelby Cullom Davis Center Fellowship, Princeton University, 2000-2001.
    John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1997-1998.

  • Expertise

    The Writing of History
    History as Literature
    Literature as History
    Race Relations and Politics in U.S. History
    Modern U.S. History
    Popular Historiography

  • 973-353-3886
  • 307 Conklin Hall
    175 University Ave.
    Newark, NJ 07102

  • By appointment