Craig Werner

Position title: Professor Emeritus


Ph.D., in English, University of Illinois, 1979
M.A., in American Literature, University of Illinois, 1975
B.A., summa cum laude, Colorado College, 1973

Short Biography
Craig Werner teaches literature, music and cultural history. A member of the Nominating Committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he has written liner notes for re-releases of classic soul albums and contributed to numerous radio and television documentaries on topics ranging from the Harlem Renaissance to Motown. He has won numerous teaching awards including the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching; the English Graduate Student Association’s Teaching Excellence Award; Best Summer School Course from the National Association of Summer School Sessions as part of the teaching team for “Sites and Sounds of the Freedom Struggle.”

African American music, cultural history and literature; multicultural literature; multicultural responses to Joyce, Faulkner, Whitman, and Shakespeare.


  • Higher Ground: Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and the Rise & Fall of American Soul
  • A Change Is Gonna Come Music, Race & the Soul of America (revised edition)
  • Up Around the Bend: An Oral History of Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Playing the Changes: From Afro-Modernism to the Jazz Impulse
  • Gold-bugs and the Power of Blackness: Re-reading Poe
  • Black Women Novelists: An Annotated Bibliography
  • Adrienne Rich: The Poet and Her Critics
  • James Joyce’s Dubliners: A Pluralistic World
  • Paradoxical Resolutions: James Joyce and Contemporary American Fiction


  • “The Usonian Journals: Adrienne Rich’s Political Vision,” Virginia Quarterly Review (April 2006)
  • “Critical Issues in African American Music,” forthcoming in The Columbia Guide to African American History, ed. John Bracey, Cornell University Press, 2006
  • “The Black Seventies,” liner notes to Can You Dig It? The Seventies Soul Box, Rhino Records, 2002.
  • Thornton, M. C. (expected- 2007). “Race and Multiraciality: Multiracial Challenges to Monoracialism.” In P. Spickard and R. Daniels, eds., Uncompleted Independence: The Creation and Revision of Racial Thinking. Notre Dame University Press. (Forthcoming)

Courses Taught

  • Afro-American Studies 155: Multicultural Literature
  • Afro-American Studies 156: Black Music and American Cultural History
  • Afro-American Studies 525: Major Authors James Baldwin Richard Wright Zora Neale Hurston
  • Afro-American Studies 672: Selected Topics in Afro-American Literature: Topic: “Contemporary Multicultural Literature” Topic: “Faulkner and Multicultural Fiction” Topic: “Ulysses and the Multicultural Novel” Topic: “Whitman and Multicultural Poetry”
  • Afro-American Studies 675: Selected Topics in Afro-American Culture: Topic: “Hip-Hop Culture” Topic: “The Gospel Vision in African American Culture” Topic: “Soul Music and the Civil Rights Movement” Topic: “Yusef Komunyakaa and Contemporary African American Poetry” Topic: “James Baldwin and Billie Holiday”
  • ILS 254: Science and Literature
  • ILS 275 and 400: Shakespeare and the Modern World The Vietnam Era Writing the Two Cultures: Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Powers The Book as World: Don Quixote, Moby-Dick and Gravitys Rainbow