Contact Information
Voice: 657-278-3315
Dept: 657-278-3163

David  Kelman

Associate Professor / Department Vice Chair


My research is comparative and interdisciplinary, since I investigate the relation between literature and other disciplines in the Americas.  I have an ongoing project that I call “Literature and the Limits of Politics,” which focuses on conspiracy theories, stories about wandering corpses, and the relation between fiction and the political lie.  From this project I have published one book (Counterfeit Politics: Secret Plots and Conspiracy Narratives in the Americas) and I am working on two manuscripts (The Political Corpus: or the Political Legacies of the Corpse and Fiction in the Age of Nixon).  I also have another project that theorizes the discipline of comparative literature, especially the notion of relation implicit in this discipline.  This project, tentatively titled Comparative Literature in the Age of the Great Telematic Network, argues that comparative literature is always a theory of distant (and sometimes secret) relations. 


2007, Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Emory University

2004, M.A., Spanish, Middlebury College

2000, M.A., Comparative Literature, University of Georgia

1995, B.A., Political Science, Emory University

Research Areas

20th-century Latin American literature, 20th-century American literature, political narratives and conspiracy theories (the Kennedy Assassination and other political assassinations, Dirty Wars, Watergate, the Perón years), trauma and testimony, literary theory, theories of Walter Benjamin, theory and history of comparative literature.

Courses Regularly Taught

19th- and 20th-century Latin American literature, 20th-century American literature, 20th-century European novel, detective and crime fiction, science fiction, film and literature, trauma and testimony, literary theory, comparative literature.


Counterfeit Politics: Secret Plots and Conspiracy Narratives in the Americas. Bucknell Series in Latin American Literature and Theory.  Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2012.

Walter Benjamin in Latin America, co-edited with Carl Good.  Special Issue ofDiscourse:  Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture 32.1 (Winter 2010).

“Spectral Comparisons:  Cortázar and Derrida.”  The Marrano Specter: Derrida and Hispanism.  Ed. Erin Graff-Zivin.  New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2018.

"Comparative Literature in the Age of the Great Telematic Network.”  Special issue on “Literature: Secret: World.”  CR: The New Centennial Review 14.3 (Winter 2014): 111-138.

 “To the Side of the Day: Comparison without Comparison in Pynchon (and…).”  Special issue on “Blindness.”  Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 46.3 (September 2013):  125-139.   

 “Introduction: Walter Benjamin in Latin America.”  Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture 32.1 (Winter 2010): 3-15.

 “The Form of the Conspiracy: Ricardo Piglia’s Reading of Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49.”  Pynchon Notes 56-57 (Spring-Fall 2009): 57-73.

 “The Afterlife of Storytelling: Julio Cortázar’s Reading of Walter Benjamin and Edgar Allan Poe.”  Comparative Literature 60.3 (Summer 2008): 244-260.

 “The Theme of the Traitor: Disinheritance in Ricardo Piglia’s Artificial Respiration.”CR: The New Centennial Review 7.3 (Winter 2007): 239-262.

 “The Inactuality of Aura: Figural Relations in Walter Benjamin’s ‘On Some Motifs in Baudelaire.’”  Actualities of Aura: Twelve Studies of Walter Benjamin.  Eds. Dag Petersson and Erik Steinskog.  Svanesund, Sweden: NSU Press, 2005.

 “Diversiloquium, or, Vico’s Concept of Allegory in the New Science.” New Vico Studies 20 (2002): 1-12.

Office Hours

Tuesdays 1:30PM-3PM

Thursdays 2PM-3:30PM

Current Course Schedule

CPLT 325-01 TuTh 11:30AM / UH335

ENGL 492-01 Th 4PM / H511