department of english

114 Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881

Main Office: 401.874.5931 - Graduate Office: 401.874.4663

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David Faflik

  • Associate Professor
  • Critical/Cultural Theories in 19th Century American Literature and Culture; Urban Studies; American Studies
  • Phone: 401.874.4670, Office: 308F Swan Hall
  • Email:


A citizen of the nineteenth-century past, David Faflik occupies the twenty-first-century present with the mindset of the early Americanist that he is. He remains wide awake to the changes that transformed the United States during the decades before the U.S. Civil War. And in his teaching, as well as his research, he seeks to demonstrate how the literature and culture of a modernizing antebellum nation retain a special, pressing relevance for a (post) postmodern people today.

David Faflik’s first book, Boarding Out: Inhabiting the American Urban Literary Imagination, 1840-1860 (Northwestern University Press, 2012) identifies the antebellum boardinghouse as the signature city shelter around which a host of modern preoccupations occurred. Chief among these were the radically disruptive conceptions of time and space that the period discourse of boardinghouse letters helped underwrite. It is Faflik’s claim that the communal urban domestic arrangement of boarding not only shaped the subject matter of contemporary writing; it impacted the very forms and functions of literary production and reception in the period.

Faflik retains this focus on urban modernity in his nearly completed second book project. Here he once more considers the class-encoded perceptions, and misperceptions, of the nineteenth-century U.S. metropolis. Yet he does so reflexively, and from a number of different perspectives – literary, material, sociopolitical, and visual – that together suggest the complex (and sometimes compromised) interpretive positions made possible by the “reader” of the nineteenth-century city.

Modern modes of reading and writing in fact reside at the center of Faflik’s work. His published articles and reviews, appearing in such journals as American LiteratureAmerican SpeechNew England Quarterly, and boundary 2, reflect his abiding attempts to see and understand the nineteenth century as contemporaries saw it. Faflik extends these revitalizing efforts to his teaching, too, as demonstrated in such course offerings as “Reading the Antebellum City,” “The American Short Story,” “Melville and Historical Method,” and “Sense and Sentimentalism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature.”

An enthusiast of global American Studies, finally, Faflik practices interdisciplinary study when- and wherever he can.


Critical/Cultural theorist in Nineteenth-century American Literature and Culture; urban studies; American Studies


  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • M.A., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • B.A., University of Texas, Austin

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