Adam Gussow is an associate professor of English and Southern Studies. A member of the University of Mississippi faculty since 2002, his teaching and research interests include American and African American literature; blues, country, and other southern musics; the pastoral South; Freedom Summer; and the shaping role of race on southern culture. He has published three books: Mister Satan’s Apprentice: A Blues Memoir (Pantheon, 1998, reissued by Minnesota, 2009); Seems Like Murder Here: Southern Violence and the Blues Tradition (Chicago, 2002), winner of the Holman Award from the Society for the Study of Southern Literature; and Journeyman’s Road: Modern Blues Lives From Faulkner’s Mississippi to Post-9/11 New York (Tennessee, 2007). Gussow’s articles and reviews have appeared in American Literature, African American Review, Southern Cultures, boundary 2, and many other publications. His newest book, Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition, will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2017.
In addition to his academic credentials, Gussow is a professional blues harmonica player and teacher. As a member of the duo Satan and Adam for more than 25 years, he has played all the major blues, jazz, and folk festivals; toured internationally; recorded half a dozen CDs; and been featured on the cover of Living Blues magazine. He is the founder and creative director of Hill Country Harmonica, an annual event that brings several hundred blues harp players to north Mississippi for a long weekend of lectures, workshops, jam sessions, and concerts.
- Ph.D. English Literature, Princeton University (2000)
- M.A. English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University (1983)
- B.A. English and American Literature, Princeton University (1979, magna cum laude)
Teaching and Research Interests
- African-American literature
- Southern literature
- Blues literary and cultural studies
- Southern music in regional, national, and global contexts
- Slavery, segregation, racial violence, and racial reconciliation
Fall 2014: SST 598 Blues W 4:00-6:30 p.m.
- review of Yoknapatawpha Blues: Faulkner’s Fiction and Southern Roots Music, by Tim A. Ryan, The Southern Register (Fall 2015): 23-25.
- “’I Got a Big White Fella From Memphis Made a Deal With Me’: Black Men, White Boys, and the Anxieties of Blues Postmodernity in Walter Hill’s Crossroads,” Arkansas Review 46.2 (Summer/August 2015): 85-104.
- “Creating and Consuming ‘Hill Country Harmonica’: Promoting the Blues and Forging Beloved Community in the Contemporary South,” Creating and Consuming the U.S. South, ed. Martyn Bone, Brian Ward, and William Link (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2015), 139-157.
- “Heaven and Hell Parties: Ministers, Bluesmen, and Black Youth in the Mississippi Delta, 1920-1942,” Arkansas Review 41.3 (Winter/December 2010): 186-203.
- “Playing Chicken With the Train: Cowboy Troy’s Hick-Hop and the Transracial Country West,” Southern Cultures 16.4 (Winter 2010): 41-70. A longer version of the essay was published in a volume entitled Hidden In the Mix: African American Country Music Traditions, ed. Diane Pecknold (Duke University Press, 2013), 234-262.
- “Ain’t No Burnin’ Hell: Southern Religion and the Devil’s Music,” Arkansas Review 41.2 (August 2010): 83-98.
- review of Disturbing the Peace: Black Culture and the Police Power After Slavery, by Bryan Wagner, African American Review 43.4 (Winter 2009): 770-772.
- “Plaintive Reiterations and Meaningless Strains: Faulkner’s Blues Understandings,” in Faulkner’s Inheritance: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha, 2005, ed. Joseph R. Urgo and Ann J. Abadie (University Press of Mississippi, 2007): 53-81.
- “Where Is The Love? Racial Wounds, Racial Healing, and Blues Communities,” Southern Cultures 12.4 (Winter 2006): 33-54. Reprinted in Southern Cultures: The Fifteenth Anniversary Reader, 1993-2008 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008)