Dr. Steven W. Thomas

Steven ThomasContact

Parker Hall 308
(718) 420-4523
Blogs: Theory Teacher's Blog, Film and Media, and Atlantic Literature

Office Hours

Tuesday and Thursday 1:00-2:00pm
Wednesday 10:00-11:00am
(Or By Appointment)


  • B.A. Brown University
  • M.A. University of Maryland
  • Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University

Current Courses (Spring 2015)

  • EN291 (ILC) Special Topics: African Cinema --- 8:00-9:30am--- T/R---
  • EN227 American Literature from its Origins to 1865 ---2:40-4:10pm--- T/R---
  • EN400 Senior Reflective Tutorial---11:20-12:50pm---M/W---

Academic, Teaching, and Personal Interests

Currently the director of Wagner's Film and Media Minor, my research interests include early American literature, the rhetoric and discourses of British imperialism during the 17th and 18th centuries, globalization in the 21st century, cultural theory and film studies, and the literary and cultural relationship between America and Ethiopia. My conference presentation on the "The Circum-Atlantic Surrogation of Ethiopia in the London Public Sphere" won an award from the Society of Early Americanists in 2015. In the past, I have taught a range of courses including Early American literature, Post-Colonial Literature, Race and Ethnicity in American Literature, Advanced Topics in Cultural Theory, Introduction to Film Studies, and African Cinema. My all-time favorite class was titled "Pirates, Puritans and the Revolutionary Atlantic World" for which I have won an award for "innovative course design" from the American Society of Eighteenth Century Studies. On a more personal level, I have worked with Oromo immigrants from Ethiopia to produce an on-line literary and arts webzine called Ogina: Oromo Arts in Diaspora. I also work with organizations in Ethiopia, such as Sandscribe Communications, with whom Wagner College has partnered to organize several classes about film and media that connect students in New York to students in Addis Ababa and facilitate the international exchange of ideas. Last fall, I invited an Oromo environmental activists, Roba Bulga, to visit Wagner's campus as the Wagnerian student newspaper reported. In my spare time, I enjoy detective novels and film noir, am somewhat devoted to running and swimming, and have done a few triathlons.

Selected Presentations and Publications

"Lesson's from History for Ethiopia's Nascent Cinema: a Comparative Study of African Film Industries." Report to the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Addis Ababa, 2014. Co-authored with Tesfaye Mekonnen, Sandscribe Communications.

“Taxing Tobacco and the Metonymies of Virtue: the Poetics of Thomson, Browne, Byrd, and Cooke.” Global Economies, Cultural Currencies of the Eighteenth Century, ed. Michael Rotenberg-Schwartz. New York: AMS Press, Inc., 2012. 73-96.

"Ethiopia in Harlem Renaissance Drama," presented to the Addis Ababa University Theater Department. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 18, 2010.

"The New James Bond and Globalization Theory, Inside and Out." CineAction 78 (2009): 32-9.

“Doctoring Ideology: James Grainger’s The Sugar Cane and the Bodies of Empire.” Early American Studies 4:1 (2006): 78-111.

Awards, Honors, and Service

Director of Film and Media Minor
Essay Award (Society of Early Americanists, 2015)
Innovative Course Design Award (American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, 2014)
Diversity Action Council Award (Wagner College, 2014)
Committee for Learning Assessment
First Year Program Review Committee
English Department Website Manager
Interim Faculty Adviser to My Sistah's Keeper