Stephen Rachman

C610 Wells Hall
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

FacultyEnglishFilm StudiesJewish Studies

Associate Professor
Literary Studies; Digital Humanities; Race and Ethnic Studies


Stephen Rachman is Director of the American Studies Program and Co-Director of the Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition Laboratory at Michigan State University.

He is the editor of The Hasheesh Eater by Fitz-Hugh Ludlow (Rutgers University Press). He is a co-author of the award-winning Cholera, Chloroform, and the Science of Medicine: A Life of John Snow (Oxford University Press) and the co-editor of The American Face of Edgar Allan Poe (Johns Hopkins University Press). He has written numerous articles on Poe, literature and medicine, cities, popular culture, and an award-winning Web site on Sunday school books for the Library of Congress American Memory Project. He is a past president of the Poe Studies Association and currently completing a study of Poe entitled The Jingle Man: Edgar Allan Poe and the Problems of Culture.

In 2003, Rachman completed a tour of India through the U.S. Department of State Speaker’s Bureau, lecturing on American studies, globalization, and peace. He was the 2003–04 William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellow at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University. He worked at the humanities center as part of the medicine, health, and society group on a study of a remarkable series of nineteenth-century paintings by a highly regarded Cantonese export artist known as Lam Qua. The paintings depict the Chinese patients of a leading medical missionary—Reverend Dr. Peter Parker, an American Presbyterian minister and physician who opened a hospital in Canton in the 1830s.

He is a recipient of the 2007 AT&T Faculty Instructional Technology Award, First Place Blended Course. He is a research associate with the Melville Electronic Library Group developing an online version of Herman Melville’s Civil War Poetry Battle-Pieces. Most recently, with Natalie Phillips he is collaborating on several neuro-literary projects including an essay for a forthcoming collection Humanities and the Digital (MIT Press) edited by David Theo Goldberg and Patrick Svensson, entitled, “Reshaping Fields through Intersecting Technologies from Literary Neuroscience and Digital Humanities.”

In 2012-13, he began a project on Pearl S. Buck as a transnational Sino-Ameican figure exploring the her concepts of comparative democracy, feminism, and literature.


ENG211H: Honors Foundation in Literary Studies

ENG310C: Literature in English: 1789–1900

ENG334: Jewish American Literature

ENG443: American Literature 1865–1900

ENG483: Literature and Medicine

ENG817/992F: Nineteenth-Century American Literature

IAH207: Literature, Cultures, and Identities

IAH211C: Area Studies Americans

AMS881: American Studies in Theory Meth. Bib.

University News

Spring 2023 Graduate Shares Experiences Working Remotely for Company in Ireland
Published May 30, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
Ryan Chaben, a Spring 2023 Michigan State University graduate with a B.A. in English, recently shared her experiences as a Spartan with the College of Arts & Letters’ Excel Network and the…Read now »
College of Arts & Letters Outstanding Senior Achievement Award Goes to English Major
Published May 9, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
Julianna Bruno, who graduated from Michigan State University this past weekend with a B.A. in English, is this year’s recipient of the College of Arts & Letters Outstanding Senior Achievement…Read now »
When this Pandemic Ends, Culture Will Never Be the Same
Published April 20, 2020 in College of Arts & Letters
The mona lisa with a medical mask on
The novel coronavirus pandemic is one of the nation’s greatest challenges since World War II, a war that fractured a significant portion of the economy and forced society to…Read now »
Theatre Production Showcases Interdisciplinary Work
Published March 27, 2017 in College of Arts & Letters
MSU students who worked on 1984 at Williamston Theatre
Much work from College of Arts & Letters students, faculty, and alumni has gone into the Williamston Theatre’s current production – Michael Gene Sullivan’s adaptation…Read now »
Second Annual Global Digital Humanities Symposium Set for March 16-17
Published February 24, 2017 in College of Arts & Letters
white, teal and black graphic titled 'global digital humanities symposium'
MSU’s Digital Humanities Program is once again hosting a symposium on global digital humanities to continue the conversation that began last year. The second annual Global Digital Humanities…Read now »
MSU Receives $160,000 in HWW Global Midwest Grants
Published February 10, 2016 in College of Arts & Letters
buildfing surrounded ith trees with yellow and green leaves
Three project teams that include MSU College of Arts & Letters faculty and students were among the 10 teams receiving funding in the 2016 Humanities Without Walls (HWW) Global Midwest Grants. In…Read now »