Cheryl Lester

Associate Professor
Primary office:
785-864-2503
3068 Wescoe Hall


Areas of Research
U.S. literature, especially 20th-century African-American and Jewish-American, with special focus on modernity, migration and immigration, race and ethnicity; William Faulkner, cultural studies and American Studies.

Selected Publications

Edited Collections and Translations:

Social Work Practice With a Difference: ALiterary Approach, co-editor with Alice Lieberman, multi-authored volume(McGrawHill,2003).

The Literary Absolute: The Theory of Literature in German Romanticism, by Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy,co-editor and translator with Philip Barnard (Intersections: Philosophy and Critical Theory SUNY series, eds. Rodolphe Gasché and Mark C. Taylor. (Albany:State University of New York Press, 1988).

Selected Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

"'Same as a Nigger on an Excursion': Memphis, Black Migration, and White Flight in Sanctuary," Special Issue of The Faulkner Journal on Faulkner and the Metropolis. Peter Lurie, ed., 26.1 (Spring 2012): 37-56.

"'The Past Is Never Dead': Teaching As I Lay Dying for Our Time," in Patrick O'Donnell and Linda Zwinger, eds., Approaches to Teaching As I Lay Dying. Approaches to Teaching World Literature Series. (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2011): 33-47.

"From Place to Place in The Sound and the Fury: The Syntax of Interrogation," Modern Fiction Studies 34.2 (1988): 141-156. Reprint. In John N. Duvall, ed., Faulkner and His Critics (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins UP, 2010): 358-374.

"Changing the Subject of Place in Faulkner," in Richard Moreland, ed., A Companion to William Faulkner. Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture #47. (Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell, 2007). 202-219.

Awards& Honors
Kansas Campus Contact Excellence in Community-Based Teaching and Scholarship Award (2011)

Faculty Profile

Informed by the experience of growing up in Detroit during the 1950s and turbulent 1960s, I teach and research early 20th-century U.S. literature and culture in the context of modernization, the mass immigration and urbanization of Eastern European Jews, and the mass migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North. My publications are focused on demonstrating how William Faulkner's prose writings treat modernization, mobility, and rural-to-urban migration as challenges to racial discrimination in the segregated South. In recent years, and in connection with the Boomer Futures think tank at KU, I have introduced new courses on cultural constructions of aging and the life course in literature and other media.


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