Thomas Augst teaches courses in American literature and culture. His writing focuses on literary history of the nineteenth-century, interpreting diverse forms of literacy and media in relation to questions about the nature of ethical practice, the organization of knowledge, and the cultural politics of modern liberalism. He is the author of The Clerk’s Tale: Young Men and Moral Life in 19th Century America (Chicago, 2003), co-editor of Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States (UMass, 2007), and co-editor of Cultural Agencies and American Libraries (2001). He earned his doctorate from Harvard University, and has received research fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities.
Areas of Research/Interest
American literature and culture; material and cultural history of literacy; literary practices of everyday life; ethics and civic life in American liberalism.
Editorial board, American Studies
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship; Finalist, Prize for a First Book of the Modern Language Association; Honorable Mention, Ralph Gabriel Dissertation Prize of the American Studies Association; Helen Choate Bell Dissertation Prize in American Literature, Harvard University; Charlotte Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship; Jacob K. Javits Fellowship.
The Clerk's Tale: Young Men and Moral Life in Nineteenth-Century America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2003.
Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States (co-editor). Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007.
Libraries as Agencies of Culture (co-editor). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002.
“Temperance, Mass Culture, and the Romance of Experience,” American Literary History 19:2 (Spring, 2007).
“Faith in Reading: Public Libraries, Liberalism, and Civil Religion,” Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States.
“Finding Barnum on the Internet,” Common-place 5:6 (October, 2005).
"The Commerce of Thought: Professional Authority and Business Ethics in Nineteenth-Century America," Prospects: An Annual of American Cultural Studies 27 (2002).
“The Costs of Character,” ISSUE 6 (Fall, 2001).
"Frederick Douglass, Between Speech and Print," Professing Rhetoric: Selected Papers from the 2000 Rhetoric Society of America Conference, Antczak, Coggins, and Klinger, eds. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002. [+]
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