Adam Fales

Adam Fales
Cohort Year: 2018
Research Interests: Nineteenth-Century US Fiction, Black Studies, Legal Studies, Histories of Gender and Sexuality, Disciplinary History


In my dissertation-in-progress, I study the interrelated histories of the family, property law, and the novel in the US long nineteenth century, especially as those three forms can teach us about the histories of race, gender, and sexuality in the period. In each chapter, I look to a different kind of property (for example, the family house) and the way that its inheritance is depicted in literature and law respectively. Literature, law, and family are each a type of fiction, something that only becomes real when we treat it as such, and I’m interested in how literary studies in particular can illuminate their workings in society. Theoretically, I draw on work in queer theory, Black studies, and Marxist feminism alongside literary and legal history.

In addition to my academic research, I write “publicly” for places including Los Angeles Review of Books, Avidly, Full Stop, and Public Books. There, I’m especially interested in thinking about objects—from the TV show I Think You Should Leave to the music of Bonnie Tyler—that we might consider “ridiculous” for a variety of reasons, whether because these objects are too strange, too sincere, or too queer. I am also an editor of Chicago Review, one of the nation’s longest-running literary magazines, which is run entirely by graduate students.


Academic Publications

Selected Other Publications


Recent Courses

Spring 2022: Course Assistant, Fundamentals of Literary Criticism (Sianne Ngai)

Fall 2021: Course Assistant, Girlhood (Heather Keenleyside)

Winter 2021: Course Assistant, The Declaration of Independence (Eric Slauter)