Joseph Darda

he/him

darda@msu.edu
517-884-4418

C606 Wells Hall
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

FacultyEnglish

Associate Professor
Literary Studies; Race and Ethnic Studies

Curriculum Vitae

Biography

Joseph Darda is a cultural historian and an associate professor of English at Michigan State University. He writes and teaches about post-1945 American literature, culture, and politics.

He is the author of three books on the reconfiguration of race in the age of civil rights: The Strange Career of Racial Liberalism (Stanford University Press, 2022), How White Men Won the Culture Wars: A History of Veteran America (University of California Press, 2021), and Empire of Defense: Race and the Cultural Politics of Permanent War (University of Chicago Press, 2019). CHOICE named How White Men Won the Culture Wars an Outstanding Academic Title for 2022, and the New Republic called it “original and persuasive” and “a wide-ranging and provocative tour through the post-Vietnam cultural and political scene.” His next book, Taking Talents: How Sports Make Race in America, investigates how the sports industry has incubated ideas about race, gender, and human value since civil rights. Taking Talents is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2025.

Darda has published articles in American Literary HistoryAmerican LiteratureAmerican Quarterly, and Critical Inquiry, among other journals, and contributed essays to the Los Angeles Review of Books. With the historian Amira Rose Davis, he coedited a 2023 special issue of American Quarterly titled “The Body Issue: Sports and the Politics of Embodiment.” He has since joined the journal’s Board of Managing Editors.

He has held year-long fellowships at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute and the University of California, Irvine.

At MSU, Darda coordinates the Literary Studies Now speaker series, which brings leading literary scholars to campus to address the state of the discipline and share how they’re practicing it now.

He lives in East Lansing with his partner, Samantha Gailey, a scholar of environmental health equity, and Ernest Hemingway, a dog.

He also runs a lot.

Publications

Taking Talents: How Sports Make Race in America. Forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2025.

The Strange Career of Racial Liberalism. Post•45. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2022.

How White Men Won the Culture Wars: A History of Veteran America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2021.

Empire of Defense: Race and the Cultural Politics of Permanent War. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019.

Editor with Amira Rose Davis. “The Body Issue: Sports and the Politics of Embodiment.” Special issue, American Quarterly 75, no. 3 (2023).

Courses

ENG 818: Studies in Genre and Media
“The Public Humanities”

ENG 323: Readings in Nonfiction/JRN 492: Journalism Special Topics
“Joan Didion and the New Journalism”

ENG 320A: Methodologies of Literary History: Genre
“The Campus Novel”

ENG 320D: Methodologies of Literary History: History and Theory of Creative Writing
“Literary Institutions”

ENG 210: Introduction to Literary Studies
“The Literary Prize”

IAH 207: Literatures, Cultures, Identities
“The Sporting Public”