I’m Associate Professor in NYU’s Department of English, where I’ve taught undergraduate and graduate courses in American literature and culture since 2001. From 2012 to 2022 I was Global Network Associate Professor of Literature at NYU Abu Dhabi, where I also served as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Development and Director of the Core Curriculum (2015-2022).

My academic work focuses on two broad areas: American and Atlantic World literature through 1900 and New York City writing and culture from the Dutch colonial period to the present, with particular focus on music and art in the late 20th-century Downtown Scene. In the former area, I’m completing a book about seduction fiction in the early US, focusing primarily on the backstory for the 1797 novel The Coquette. In the latter area, I plan to write about New York in the age of Warhol (1962-87, more or less). Both projects were slowed by admin work and the pandemic, but both are still in motion.

My training, scholarship, and teaching are interdisciplinary: I received my Ph.D. from Boston University in American Studies and describe myself as a cultural historian of writing and the arts. As a result, my literary history courses tend to double as cultural history courses. In them I direct a significant amount of attention to issues of method and discipline, including questions about the status of literary and cultural texts and interpretation as categories of historical evidence. I’m especially interested in the application of microhistorical methods and narrative history to literary historical inquiry. I like to think about people and stories and what each wants from the other.

This site exists primarily to archive information about my teaching, research, and professional writing. For several years I blogged regularly about New York literature, culture, and history at A History of New York (a.k.a. PWHNY) and about miscellaneous topics at The Great Whatsit, though both of those sites are on hiatus. I’m nominally on the editorial board of common-place, an online quarterly magazine about early American culture. Follow @_waterman on Twitter; Patell and Waterman are tweeting again at @pwhny. There’s a Tumblr too, kind of quiet. I joined Mastodon when things started to get crazy at Twitter: @_waterman@zirk.us. But I think I like Bluesky more:¬†@waterman.bsky.social. I’m proud to say I’ve never used¬†Facebook. I do use Instagram but I had it before FB bought it. My favorite defunct social media are letters and mixtapes.

Contact information:

Bryan Waterman
Department of English
244 Greene St. room 611
New York, NY 10012


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