Joseph M. Conte is Professor of English at the University at Buffalo, where he teaches twentieth- and twenty-first century literature. His research interests include transnational politics and the global novel, literature after 9/11, postmodern fiction and theory, the literature of migration, multimodality in literature, film adaptation of the novel, literature and science, modern poetry and poetics.

His latest book, Transnational Politics in the Post-9/11 Novel, published by Routledge in November 2019, is available in both hardback (9780367236069) and eBook (9780429280733) formats. Transnational Politics in the Post-9/11 Novel suggests that literature after September 11, 2001 reflects the shift from bilateral nation-state politics to the multilateralism of transnational politics. While much of the criticism regarding novels of 9/11 tends to approach these works through theories of personal and collective trauma, this book argues for the evolution of a post-9/11 novel that pursues a transversal approach to global conflicts that are unlikely to be resolved without diverse peoples willing to set aside sectarian interests. These novels embrace not only American writers such as Don DeLillo, Dave Eggers, Ken Kalfus, Thomas Pynchon, and Amy Waldman but also the countervailing perspectives of global novelists such as J. M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk, Mohsin Hamid, and Laila Halaby. These are not novels about terror(ism), nor do they seek comfort in the respectful cloak of national mourning. Rather, they are instances of the novel in terror, which recognizes that everything having been changed after 9/11, only the formally inventive presentation will suffice to acknowledge the event’s unpresentability and its shock to the political order.

Earlier books include Design & Debris: A Chaotics of Postmodern American Fiction, which received the Agee Prize in American Literary Scholarship from the University of Alabama Press in 2002. Unending Design: The Forms of Postmodern Poetry was published by Cornell University Press in 1991 and released as an eBook in 2016. Book chapters, journal articles, and review essays on a wide range of contemporary literature and criticism appear in The Encyclopedia of American Fiction, 1980-2020 (Wiley, 2020), Trump Fiction (Lexington Books, 2019), American Literature in Transition: 1990-2000 (Cambridge UP, 2017), Passage (Aarhus UP, Denmark), Twenty-First Century Literature (Seoul National University, South Korea), Modern Fiction Studies, Essays on Italian American Literature and Culture (Calandra Institute, 2012), Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, The Cambridge Companion to Don DeLillo (Cambridge UP, 2008), The Holodeck in the Garden: Science and Technology in Contemporary American Fiction (Dalkey Archive Press, 2004), the Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Poets Since World War II (editor and contributor, Gale Research Press), Sagetrieb, and The Review of Contemporary Fiction, among others.

Conte has been a SUNY Senior Fellow at the New York—St. Petersburg Institute of Linguistics, Cognition and Culture in St. Petersburg, Russia and Visiting Professor in Comparative Literature at Capital Normal University in Beijing, China. He has been awarded a University at Buffalo Humanities Institute Faculty Research Fellowship, a Lilly Foundation Teaching Fellowship, and a Whiting Foundation Fellowship in the Humanities. He received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Stanford University in 1988.
Ph.D. American Literature, Stanford University, 1988
B.A. Classics, Cornell University, 1982
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
My research interests include twentieth- and twenty-first century literature with an emphasis on post-9/11 fiction, the global novel, literature of migration, film adaptation of the novel, postmodern literature and theory, literature and science, and modern poetry and poetics.