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Assistant Professor of U.S. Literatures

Michele Hardesty

Michele Hardesty
Assistant Professor of U.S. Literatures
Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies
Mail Code HU
Michele Hardesty
Dakin Student Life Center 205
Professor Hardesty will be on sabbatical leave for fall 2015 and on a leave of absence for spring 2016.
Michele Hardesty received her M.A. and Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and her B.A in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

In Professor Hardesty’s courses explore the multiple literary cultures of the United States, in both national and transnational frameworks. She teaches that any reckoning with the literary history of the United States must include not only the canonized genres of novel, short story, and poetry, but also oral forms like storytelling and slam poetry, and “popular” forms like science fiction and comics. Studying these different forms requires students to pay attention to their distinct contexts of emergence, modes of circulation, and measures of value. Understanding context also means understanding power, and Prof. Hardesty’s courses explore how texts and canons have both shaped and contested dominant formations of power along the lines of nation, gender, race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality.


Professor Hardesty’s research focuses on the crosscurrents of social movements and literary cultures during the Cold War era, with a focus on the cultural politics of international solidarity. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Writers Take Sides: Internationalism and U.S. Literatures, 1959-86. Her essay “Looking for the Good Fight: William T. Vollmann Comes of Age in Afghanistan” was published in the journal boundary 2 in 2009, and her essay “If All the Writers of the World Get Together: Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and a Writers’ International in Sandinista Nicaragua” appears in the edited volume Transnational Beat Generation (Palgrave, 2012), edited by Nancy Grace and Jenny Skerl. In addition, Hardesty’s work has appeared in Critical Quarterly and The Monthly Review, and in the historical comics encyclopedia Comics Through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas, edited by M. Keith Booker.


Hardesty is also working with Hampshire digital pedagogy librarian Alana Kumbier and Mount Holyoke archivist Leslie Fields on a project called “Zine Scenes,” supported by a Mellon-funded Five Colleges Digital Humanities project development grant. The goal of this project is to create an ongoing archival research initiative in which students, faculty, and library staff will examine queer and feminist zines from the 1990s within the countercultural contexts in which they were produced and circulated. This initiative will develop digital tools (games, mapping, timelines) to publish research findings on a dedicated website hosted by Five Colleges, Inc. A major part of this project is a Five College archival research seminar called “Beyond the Riot: Feminist and Queer Zine Histories,” hosted by Hampshire College, which we will teach in Fall 2016. For more information, see


Professor Hardesty has been a member of the Hampshire in Havana program since 2012, and was Faculty-in-Residence in Havana for the Spring 2015 semester. For more information on the program, see




Recent and Upcoming Courses