About

As an intellectual historian, I analyze how modernism in American law and literature has shaped the quest for equal citizenship. Drawing on my Ph.D. in English and my J.D. with a focus on constitutional history, I interrogate how creative forms of legal dissent – ranging from judicial opinions to lyric poems – have sparked constitutional reimagination in the context of African American, working-class, and women’s experiences. My current book project, An Intellectual Reconstruction: American Legal Realism, Literary Realism, and the Formation of Citizenship, construes legal realism (a progenitor of critical race theory) and literary realism as a major post-Civil War movements connecting disciplinary critiques to equitist politics. I have additional interests in British literary modernism and postcolonial studies, having composed articles on Joseph Conrad’s and Virginia Woolf’s texts.

My literary and legal scholarship has been published in several anthologies and journals, including Critical Insights: Social Justice and American Literature; Critical Insights: Inequality; American Literary Realism; parallax; Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History; the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry; and the Chicago Journal of International Law. Recent articles include “Black Lives Matter and Legal Reconstructions of Elegiac Forms” and “Albion Tourgée’s New Realism: Disciplinary Dissent and the Quest for Racial Justice.”

I have also published widely on writing studies pedagogy through the lens of critical theory, drawing on extensive experiences teaching literature, law, and composition. My pedagogical scholarship has appeared in the Washburn Law JournalPerspectives: Teaching Legal Research & WritingThe Law Teacher, and the anthology Writing as a Way of Staying Human in a Time that Isn’t.

When not immersed in literature, law, history, and philosophy, I explore modernist-inflected alternative music, fashion, interior design, landscapes, gardens, and other aesthetic phenomena suiting my fancy.

Education

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. Ph.D. in English. Dissertation: A Fraught Inheritance: Legal Realism, Literary Realism, and the Forging of American Democracy. Committee: Professors Marlon Ross (director), Victoria Olwell, Sandhya Shukla, and Frederick Schauer (School of Law).

University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA. M.A. in English. Thesis with distinction: Lord Jim, the Imperial Romance, and the Romance of Imperialism. Committee: Professors Barry Abrams (director), Helen Oesterheld, and Victoria Silver.

University of Chicago Law School, Chicago, IL. J.D. with honors.

Stanford University, Stanford, CA. B.A. in English with distinction and Phi Beta Kappa honors.

Publications

Literature

“American Legal Realism and the Revitalization of Literary Realist History,” American Literary Realism, vol. 55, no. 3, Spr. 2023, pp. 248-60.

“Albion Tourgée’s New Realism: Disciplinary Dissent and the Quest for Racial Justice.”  Reimagining the Republic: Race, Citizenship, and Nation in the Literary Work of Albion Tourgée, edited by Sandra M. Gustafson and Robert S. Levine, Fordham University Press, 2023, pp. 151-64.

“Multilingualism and Racial (Re-)formation in the Contemporary U.S. Campus Novel,” parallax, vol. 28, no. 1, 2022 (published Spring 2023), pp. 74-90.

“Black Lives Matter and Legal Reconstructions of Elegiac Forms.” Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era, edited by Tiffany Austin, Emily Rutter, Sequoia Maner, and darlene anita scott, Routledge, 2020, pp. 120-37.

“Legal-Literary Imaginaries of History and Conscientious Contemporary Dissent.” Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History, vol. 46, no. 2, Spr. 2017 (published Fall 2018), pp. 287-92.

“Racial Classifications and Crossing the Color Line: Nella Larsen’s Novel Passing.Critical Insights: Inequality, edited by Kimberly Drake, Grey House/Salem Press, 2018, pp. 63-77.

“The Social Justice-Legal Justice Cleavage in Modern American Literature.” Critical Insights: Social Justice and American Literature, edited by Robert Hauhart and Jeff Birkenstein, Grey House Publishing/Salem Press, 2017, pp. 181-98.

“Poetic Justice: Slavery, Law, and the (Anti-)Elegiac Form in M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong!.” Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, vol. 2, no. 1, Mar. 2015, pp. 5-32.

Between the Acts: A Modernist Meditation on Language, Origin Narratives, and Art’s Efficacy on the Cusp of the Apocalypse.” English Academy Review, vol. 31, no. 2, Oct. 2014, pp. 108-24.

Heart of Darkness: Piercing the Silence.” ANGLICA: An International Journal of English Studies, vol. 23, no. 1, 2014, pp. 73-83.

“Postconfessional Poetry and the Concentric Circles of Ideas in Frank Bidart’s ‘Ellen West.’” Proteus: A Journal of Ideas, vol. 30, no. 1, Fall 2014, pp. 25-29.

Composition Studies, Pedagogy, and Law

“Graphic Justice, Humor, and the Democratization of Legal Discourse.” University of Richmond Law Review Online, vol. 57, no. 1, Fall 2022, pp. 1-37.

“The Seminar Essay as Academic Literary Criticism: Strategies for Entering the Scholarly Conversation.” Making the Grade: Reimagining the Graduate Seminar Essay in Literary Studies, edited by Kevin Morrison, Rowman & Littlefield, 2021, pp. 43-55.

“Applied Legal Storytelling: Toward a Stylistics of Embodiment.” Style and the Future of Composition Studies, edited by Paul Butler, Brian Ray, and Star Vanguri, Utah State University Press/University Press of Colorado, 2020, pp. 173-84.

“Vulnerability as a Pedagogical Practice.” Writing as a Way of Staying Human in a Time that Isn’t, edited by Nate Mickelson, Vernon Press, 2018, pp. 103-22.

“Wresting Pedagogical Victory from the Jaws of Student Defeat: Walker v. Harvard College as an Object Lesson.” Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research & Writing, vol. 25, no. 2, Spr. 2017, pp. 124-32.

“Infusing Ethics into the Legal Writing Curriculum – and Beyond.” The Law Teacher, vol. 19, no. 2, Spr. 2013, pp. 7-8.

“Opening Class with Panache, Professionalism, and a Pinch of Humor.” Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research & Writing, vol. 20, nos. 2/3, Win.-Spr. 2012, pp. 117-21.

“A Compendium of Legal Writing Sources.” Washburn Law Journal, vol. 50, no. 2, Win. 2011, pp. 395-432.

“Teaching a Master Class on Legislation to First-Year Legal Writing Students.” Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research & Writing, vol. 19, no. 3, Spr. 2011, pp. 195-96.

“Teaching Advocacy through a Real Simulation.” The Law Teacher, vol. 18, no. 1, Fall 2011, p. 11.

“The Interaction between Shariah and International Law in Arbitration.” Chicago Journal of International Law, vol. 6, no. 2, Win. 2006, pp. 791-802.

Blog Posts

    Projects

    Book project: An Intellectual Reconstruction: American Legal Realism, Literary Realism, and the Formation of Citizenship.

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    Organizer and Chair, “Section on Minority Groups Works-in-Progress/New Voices Session: Infrastructures of (In)justice.” Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., January 3-6, 2024.

    Presenter, “Black Lives Matter in the Judiciary and the Re-formation of Legal Narratives.” Judicial Rhetoric: A Symposium. University of Virginia School of Law, April 5, 2024.

    Presenter, “Reconstituting the Canon: The Rise of the Black Lives Matter Judicial Opinion.” Faculty Exchange Program. Tulane University School of Law, April 22, 2024.

    Memberships

    Modern Language Association

    American Studies Association

    C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists

    Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States

    Association for the Study of African American Life and History

    African American Intellectual History Society

    Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities

    American Society for Legal History

    Society of American Law Teachers

    Almas Khan

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