Jordan Alexander Stein

picture of Jordan Alexander Stein

Professor, FCLC Honors Program Director

B.A. University of California, Santa Cruz; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

Research and Teaching Interests: Colonial and early US literature; the eighteenth century (US, British, French, Caribbean); African American literature; literary theory; book history; queer studies; Herman Melville


  • Professor Stein’s research investigates how aspects of social identities (including race, sexuality, gender, and religion) inflect the material practices associated with literary production (including reading, printing, editing, and archiving). These interests shape his prize-winning co-edited collection, Early African American Print Culture (Penn, 2012), and his recent monograph, When Novels Were Books (Harvard, 2020).

     He is currently researching the history of printing and reading in the eighteenth-century Caribbean. Working under the title Haiti and Other Problems in the History of the Book, this research has two aims: first, to create a historical overview of the first decades of print in this region (1764–1817); and, second, to abstract from this history a revisionist theoretical model aimed at directing the scholarly field of book history away from its nationalist orientation and toward a great transnational, postcolonial framework.

     In addition to book history and eighteenth-century studies, Stein regularly teaches a range of courses on literary theory, from Marxism and psychoanalysis to poststructuralism to queer theory to Black Studies. His scholarly publications in this area include Avidly Reads Theory (NYU, 2019) and Fantasies of Nina Simone (Duke, 2024). Other creative non-fiction writing has appeared in Avidly, The Awl, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Psyche on Campus, The Rambling, Salon, Saveur, and Slate.

    A member of Fordham’s Comparative Literature faculty, Stein is at work on a book-length study of the interwar publication of Herman Melville’s novels in French translations during the twentieth century. This research has been supported with grants from the NEH and the American Philosophical Society. Stein has previously published about Melville’s letters in ELH and LARB and co-authored research with Adam Fales (U Chicago) on the posthumous editing undertaken by Herman’s wife Elizabeth, in Leviathan, in A New Companion to Herman Melville, and on the C19 podcast. He is an affiliate of the Melville Society of America, a former trustee of its Murray Endowment Fund, and an editorial board member of its journal, Leviathan.

     In 2021, Stein’s teaching was honored with the Key Contributor Teaching and Mentoring Award from Fordham United Student Government.