Samuel Cohen

University of Missouri
Columbia
About the Speaker

Samuel Cohen is an award-winning teacher and scholar of American literature at the University of Missouri, where he teaches twentieth- and twenty-first-century American literature and culture. He is author of After the End of History: American Fiction in the 1990s and co-editor of The Legacy of David Foster Wallace and The Clash Takes on the World: Transnational Perspectives on the Only Band That Matters. He is Series Editor of The New American Canon: The Iowa Series in Contemporary Literature and Culture and author of the textbooks 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology and Literature: The Human Experience.

The Missouri Crisis

The Missouri Crisis is the name that has been given to the turmoil the U.S. was thrown into by Missouri's application for statehood. The tensions that emerged in that crisis existed not only in Missouri but across the nation, and their suppression and reemergence in the Civil War mark a pattern that continues today. Missouri history–from the Crisis early in the 19th century to the crisis in Ferguson early in the 21st century–is marked by these tensions, and those marks are visible in the literature of Missouri. Examining a range of works by Missouri writers, this talk will explore not only the history and literary history of the state but also the future of Missouri as a place to live in and write about.