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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Harvey Teres

Teres portrait


Dean's Professor of the Public Humanities


Jewish Studies Minor / Modern Jewish Studies

415 Hall of Languages


Harvey Teres was born in the Bronx and raised in Los Angeles. He received his B.A. in English from Cornell University in 1972, spent six years as a labor organizer in the factories of Chicago, and returned to school to earn his M.A. and Ph. D. in English from the University of Chicago. His scholarship has always focused on the public role of literature and criticism. His first book, Renewing The Left: Politics, Imagination, and the New York Intellectuals (Oxford University Press; 1996), explored the relationship between the political left in the U.S. and efforts to encourage literary and cultural change from the 1930s through the 1970s. He continues his interest in the public presence of literature with his forthcoming The Word On the Street: The Academy and the Common Reader (University of Michigan Press) and American Beauty: Dialogues on Aesthetics With Ordinary People (in process). The Word On the Street is a call for the revitalization of literary and cultural studies through publicly engaged scholarship—i.e. research projects based upon a sustained and reciprocal relationship with members of non-academic communities. His book offers several examples of what such research might contribute. American Beauty , another example of publicly engaged scholarship, is a work of oral history in which some twenty local citizens speak about their encounters with beauty. Harvey has written dozens of articles and reviews on 20 th -century American literature and culture, including Jewish American writers. He is Director of the Judaic Studies Program, and the first Faculty Representative to the Syracuse University Board of Trustees.


Areas of Supervision

Professor Teres has supervised M.A. theses and dissertations across a wide range of texts and topics under the rubric of twentieth-century American literature and culture, with special emphasis on literary leftism and on the public and political presence of literature and popular culture. I have supervised dissertations on the poetry of William Bronk, on Grove Press, on Appalachian literature, and on community and social justice in New Deal literature.