Ernest Julius Mitchell

Lecturer on History & Literature

Ph.D., Harvard University (2019)
M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School (2009)
A.B., Princeton University (2006)

Ernest Julius Mitchell is a lecturer in the Committee on Degrees in History & Literature, and a member of the undergraduate tutorial board in Comparative Literature. A scholar of the Black Renaissance, he studies modernist writing using methods drawn from Religion, Black Studies, and Critical Theory.

His first book (under contract with Yale University Press) reassesses the life and works of the leftist Jamaican writer Claude McKay through a focus on his kaleidoscopic religious views. His second book project, based on his recently completed dissertation, reexamines the fictional and ethnographic works of Zora Neale Hurston through the lens of her novel Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939).

Beyond his projects in literary history, he also writes on aesthetics at the juncture of black diaspora thought and continental philosophy.

Research Interests

The Black Renaissance; 20th century aesthetics; Literary Nonfiction; Religion and Literature; Phenomenology; Critical Theory


Current Projects:

Claude McKay: A Writer’s Religious Quest (forthcoming, Yale UP)

Zora’s Moses: Religion, Race, and Ethnographic Fictions (in progress)

“Hortense Spillers and the ‘Hieroglyphics of the Flesh’”

“Toni Morrison As Critic: Notes on her Non-Fiction”


Recent Publications:

“Tenderness in Early Richard Wright,” The Cambridge Companion to Richard Wright
Glenda R. Carpio, editor (New York: Cambridge UP, 2019)

Zora’s Politics: A Brief Introduction,” Journal of Transnational American Studies 5.1
Alfred Hornung and Nina Morgan, editors (September 2013)