Assistant Professor
PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Areas of Interest & Expertise

  • Post-1900 American Literature
  • Poetry and Poetics
  • Sound Studies

Recent Upper Division & Graduate Courses Taught

  • ENGL 5680: Documentary Poetics
  • ENGL 4320: Listening to Contemporary Poetry
  • ENGL 4220: Modern American Poetry: The Long Poem
  • ENGL 3343: Reading Poetry
  • AMST 3743 / ENGL 3813: Harlem Renaissance


“Broadcasting ‘Howl.’” Modernism/modernity Print Plus, July 12, 2018.

"Sono-Montage: Langston Hughes and Tony Schwartz Listen to Postwar New York." American Literature 87.2 (June 2015): 275-302.

"Phonography, Race Records, and the Blues Poetry of Langston Hughes." A Companion to the Harlem Renaissance, ed. Cherene Sherrard-Johnson (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015), 301-316.

Recent Conference Presentations

“Broadcasting Multicultural Literature and ‘Third World’ Consciousness on KPFA-Berkeley.” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) Annual Meeting. Los Angeles, California, March 29–April 1, 2018.

“Phonotext and/as Paratext.” Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention. New York, New York, January 4–7, 2018.

"Pacifica Radio and the Broadcasting of the San Francisco Renaissance." Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900. Louisville, KY, February 2017.

"Langston Hughes, Folkways Records, and the Voice of Authentic Folk." MLA Annual Convention. Philadelphia, PA, January 2017.

"Susan Howe and the Poetics of Feminist Broadcasting on Pacifica Radio." American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, March 2016.

"Preserving Literary History: Archiving Milwaukee's Woodland Pattern." Panelist. The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN, April 2015.

"Sono-Montage: Langston Hughes and Tony Schwartz Listen to Postwar New York." Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention. Vancouver, Canada, January 2015.

"Poetry as MP3: PennSound and the New Digital Archive." MLA Annual Convention. Boston, MA, January 2013. 

Current Research and Projects

My research studies American poetry in relation to technologies of sound and cultures of listening in the twentieth century. I am currently working on a project about radio and American poetry in the post-World War II era.


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Address: 211A Morrill Hall
Phone: 405-744-8949
Message: 405-744-9474 

E-mail: william.decker@okstate.edu 

Areas of Interest & Expertise

  • American literature colonial to contemporary
  • Ethnicities and color lines
  • Literature of travel and migration
  • Autobiography, memory, epistolarity

Recent Upper Division & Graduate Courses Taught

  • ENGL 6220, Travel Writing, Writing Travel
  • ENGL 5480, American Expatriates: Henry James to James Baldwin
  • ENGL 4520, Remembering the Sixties
  • ENGL 4300, Exotic Destinations
  • ENGL 3200 (Cambridge, UK), Traveling and Telling: Mobility and the Art of Narrative

Selected Publications

"Autobiography, Education: Henry Adams and the Definition of a Genre." a/b: Auto/Biography Studies 33.1 (Winter 2018). 

"Longing in Long-Distance Letters: Nineteenth Century and Now," in Celeste-Marie Bernier, Judie Newman, Matthew Pethers ed., The Edinburgh Companion to Nineteenth Century American Letters and Letter-Writing Edinburgh University Press, 2016. 

Daisy Miller (Introductions, annotations, bibliography). Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 2013.

Kodak Elegy: A Cold War Childhood. Syracuse University Press, 2012.

"'Who Aint a Slave?' Moby-Dick and the Slave Narrative Tradition." Literature in the Early American Republic, 2009.

"Americans in Europe: Henry James to the Present," in Alfred Bendixen, ed. The Cambridge Companion to American Travel Writing Cambridge University Press, 2008.

“'Surely Cora Was Not Forgotten’: Remembering Africa in the Leatherstocking Tales,” in Jeffrey Walker, ed., Reading Cooper, Teaching Cooper AMS Press, 2007.

Henry Adams and the Need to Know, co-edited with Earl N. Harbert. Massachusetts Historical Society and University of Virginia Press, 2005.

Epistolary Practices: Letter Writing in America before Telecommunications University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

The Literary Vocation of Henry Adams University of North Carolina Press, 1990. 

Recent Conference Presentations and Invited Lectures

“Fugitive Geographies: The Slave Narrative and the Myth of American Space.”Universität Erfurt, June 7, 2017. 

"Autobiography, Education: Henry Adams and the Definition of a Genre." Modern Language Association Convention, Austin, Texas, January 9, 2016.

"Geography, Empathy: Octavia Butler and the Perils of Sharing." American Studies Association Meeting, Toronoto, Ontario, October 8, 2015. 

"Travel Writing, Travel Industry: A Brief History of Travel Writing." American Literature Association Conference, Washington D.C., May 25, 2014.

"Isabel Archer and the Economy of Travel." Canadian Association of American Studies, Toronto, Ontario, October 27, 2012.  

“Consuming Europe: Daisy Miller and the Package Tour.” Buying America: Literature and Consumption in the Nineteenth Century, Universität Paderborn, Paderborn, Germany, June 13, 2012.

“The Epistolary Diary: Henry Adams’s Letters from the South Seas.” Le journal intime: Enjeux et mutations d’un genre hybride, Colloquium, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, May 21, 2011.

Honors & Offices

  • OSU Regents Distinguished Research Award 2016
  • DAAD Visiting Professor, Universität Paderborn, Germany, May-July, 2012
  • Fulbright Lecturer, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, 2008-2009
  • Corresponding Fellow, Massachusetts Historical Society 2005
  • OSU Arts and Sciences Junior Faculty Research Award 1999
  • Modern Language Association Prize for Independent Scholars 1990 

Current Research & Projects

Books in progress: Writing Distance: Genres of Travel and Separation ; Geographies of Flight: Olaudah Equiano to Otavia Butler