Adrienne Brown

Adrienne Brown
Assistant Professor
  • Department of English
  • Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture
  • Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality
Walker 404
(773) 702-0192

I specialize in American and African-American cultural production in the 20th century. I am currently exploring the influence of architecture and urban planning on literary form alongside the ways that narrative intervenes in our historical and experiential understandings of space. My work also considers a range of objects beyond the literary, considering the ways TV shows hear, journalists see, and class may be felt, and analyzing race's sonic and spatial dimensions. I am working on a book recovering the skyscraper's central role in structuring American social and aesthetic perception in the early twentieth century. Attending to both the skyscraper's fraught presence in canonical texts as well as the structure's remarkable presence at Modernism's generic borders, this project explores how an array of writers approached the skyscraper as a radical instrument of perception that was transforming modernity's modes of seeing.

Hugh Ferriss, 1916 Zoning Law Sketches


2016-17 courses: Spring 2017, Scenes of Chicago Housing (undergraduate); Reading the Suburbs (graduate).

Graduate: Modernism and Gender in Black and White; Uneasy Intimacies: Interracial Modernism

Undergraduate: Media Aesthetics; Representing Poverty; Black in the City

Selected Publications

  • Co-editor with Kim Lane Scheppele and Valerie Smith, Race and Real Estate (Fall 2015). This is an interdisciplinary collection of essays rethinking narratives of property and citizenship.
  • "Between the Mythic and the Monstrous: The Early Skyscraper's Weird Frontiers." Journal of Modern Literature (Fall 2011)
  • "Constrained Frequencies: The Wire and the Limits of Listening." Criticism (Summer and Fall 2010)
  • " 'My Hole is Warm and Full of Light': The Sub-urban Real Estate of Invisible Man." In Race and Real Estate (in preparation)


Ph.D., Princeton University, 2011. Teaching at Chicago since 2011.