Areas of Specialization
- American Literature After 1900
- New York University, Ph.D, Comparative Literature 2000 The point of departure for Kevin Bell's work is the study of philosophical aesthetics, as shaped by particular moments in a conceptual (dis)continuum traversing German Idealism, Afro-diasporic radical traditions in art, critique and political thought, and post-Debordian analysis of everyday consumption and creativity. His research crosses a number of disciplinary zones, particularly trans-Atlantic literary modernisms; Black American music, literature and film; deconstructive aesthetic and cultural theory; and experimental traditions in filmmaking. He is the author of Ashes Taken for Fire: Aesthetic Modernism and the Critique of Identity (University of Minnesota Press, 2007). He is working now on an interpretive study entitled Drift Velocities: the Aesthetic Curve of Radical Black Film and Literature.
- African American Literature and Language
- In addition to his offerings on trans-Atlantic modernisms, Bell specializes in Black American literature and film of the 20th and 21st centuries, concentrating on the centrality of black writing and music to the development of modernist and subsequent experimental or radically revisionary aesthetic traditions. Such writers as Charles Chesnutt, Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen, J. W. Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and Chester Himes;have figured prominently in his teaching of black literature, as have more recent or contemporary writers including Amiri Baraka, Ishmael Reed, Wanda Coleman, John E. Wideman, Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison and Darius James, among many others. His prior courses on film and new media production have featured works by such experimentalists as Melvin Van Peebles, Bill Gunn, Larry Clark, Kathleen Collins, Haile Gerima, Charles Burnett, Anthony Cokes, Wendell Harris, Christopher Harris and Kevin Everson among others. Discussions of works by such artists draw extensively from the zones of modern European philosophy and critical theory, as well as from radical intellectual traditions in Afro-diasporic historic, political and aesthetic investigation. These latter extend from 19th century U.S. writings from such thinkers as David Walker, Alexander Crummell, Martin Delany and Frederick Douglass to works from such mid-late 20th century global theorists of social revolution and transformative aesthetic production as Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral, Ayi Kwei Armah, Ngugi Wa' Thiongo, Walter Rodney, Cedric Robinson, Sylvia Wynter and Edouard Glissant.
- Theory and Cultural Studies