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Alexander Young

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Honors Faculty Fellow
Faculty, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 1520

Alex Trimble Young is a scholar of transnational settler colonialism and the literature and culture of the United States. He joined the faculty at Barrett Honors College as an Honors faculty fellow in 2017. Previously, he served a Copeland Visiting Fellow at Amherst College, where he participated in the annual Copeland Colloquium, “The Social Life of Guns.” During the 2015-2016 academic year, he held a Dornsife Preceptor Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship at the University of Southern California.

His research focuses on how U.S. culture has been shaped by the ongoing history of settler colonialism and Indigenous resistance. He is at work on his first book, "The Frontiers of Dissent: The Settler Colonial Imaginary in United States Literature after 1945," currently under contract with University of Nebraska Press. Frontiers of Dissent examines how settler colonial understandings of liberation and sovereignty have inflected the articulation of dissent in U.S. literature after World War II.

He has published widely on topics including comparative colonialism; the literature of the American West; critical theory; and contemporary film and television. In 2012 he organized, with colleague Erik Altenbernd, a symposium at the Huntington Library entitled “The Significance of The Frontier in an Age of Transnational History” that brought together more than 200 humanities scholars from around the world to discuss how the concept of the frontier functions in contemporary scholarly discussions of settler history and culture. 

His research has garnered multiple national awards, including the American Studies Association’s Comparative Ethnic Studies Prize in 2013, and the Western Literature Association’s J. Golden Taylor Prize in 2010.

His classroom experience began as a high school English teacher at the American School of Tangier in Morocco. At USC, he taught introductory humanities and writing courses in the honors and general education programs, as well an upper-division literature and history travel seminar in which he traveled with students to frontier history and Indigenous community sites in California and Victoria, Australia. 

  • Ph.D. English, University of Southern California 2015
  • B.A. English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University 2004

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

“Introduction: United States Gun Culture and the Performance of Racial Sovereignty.” Co. Au. Lindsay

Livingston. Lateral:The Journal of the Cultural Studies Association 9.1 (Spring 2020)


“The Necropolitics of Liberty: Sovereignty, Fantasy, and United States Gun Culture.” Lateral:The Journal

           of the Cultural Studies Association 9.1 (Spring 2020)


“Keyword: Settler.” “On The Occasion of the 50th Anniversary,” Special Issue of Western

            American Literature 53.1 (Spring 2018): 75-80.


“If I am Native to Anything: Western American Literature and Settler Colonial Studies.” Co. Au. Lorenzo

            Veracini. Western American Literature 52.1 (Spring 2017): 1-23.


“Introduction: On Joan Didion.” Co. Au. Daniel Worden. a/b: Auto/Biography Studies 31.3 (Autumn

           2016): 581-585.


“The Settler Unchained: Constituent Power and Settler Violence.” Social Text 33.3 (Autumn 2015): 1-18.

• The conference paper drawn from this article was awarded the American Studies Association’s Comparative Ethnic Studies Prize in 2013.


“Introduction: The Significance of the Frontier in an Age of Transnational History.” Co. Au. Erik

           Altenbernd. Settler Colonial Studies 4.2 (2014): 127-150.

“Settler Sovereignty and the Rhizomatic West, or the Significance of the Frontier in Postwestern

            Studies.” Western American Literature 48.1-2 (2013): 115-140.

“A Terrible Beauty: Settler Sovereignty and the State of Exception in Home Box Office’s Deadwood.

            Co. Au. Erik Altenbernd. Settler Colonial Studies 3:1 (2013): 27-48.


Edited Special Issues and Special Features


“United States Gun Culture and the Performance of Racial Sovereignty.” Co. Ed. Lindsay Livingston.

Special feature of Lateral: the Journal of the Cultural Studies Association 9.1 (Spring 2020).


“Settler Colonial Studies and Western American Culture.” Co. Ed. Lorenzo Veracini. Special issue of

            Western American Literature 52.1 (Spring 2017).


“Style as Character: Joan Didion’s Genres.” Co. Ed. Daniel Worden. Special feature of a/b:

           Auto/Biography Studies 31.3 (Autumn 2016): 581-617.


“The Significance of the Frontier in an Age of Transnational History.” Co. Ed. Erik Altenbernd.

               Special feature of Settler Colonial Studies. 4.2 (2014): 127-191.


Chapters in Edited Collections


 “‘The Queen of the Mad Frontier’: Settler Colonialism and Jack Spicer’s Queer Politics,” in Left in The

            West. Ed. Gioia Woods. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2018: 254-276.


“A Terrible Beauty: Deadwood, Settler Colonial Violence, and the Post 9/11 State of Exception.”

Co. Au. Erik Altenbernd. in The Last Western: Deadwood and the End of American Empire. Ed. Jennifer Greiman and Paul Stasi. New York: Bloomsbury Group, 2012 (Abridged version of Settler Colonial Studies article): 82-103.


Response Essay


“A Response to ‘On Colonial Unknowing’.” Theory and Event 20.4 (2017): 1035-1041.


Review Essay


“Indigenous Mobility and Settler State Transfer: The Exiles in Historical Context.” Co. Au. Ho’esta

Mo’e’hahne. Special issue of Transfers: International Journal of Mobility Studies 5.2 (2015): 146-150.




The Other Americans, Laila Lalami, High Country News (December 2020).


The Beneficiary, Bruce Robbins. Postcolonial Studies (Winter 2019).


The End of the Myth: from the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America, Greg Grandin. High

Country News (September 2019).


Morta Las Vegas: CSI and the Problem of the West, Nathaniel Lewis and Stephen Tatum. Western

Historical Quarterly 49.2 (April 2018): 231-232.

Captivating Westerns: The Middle East in the American West, Susan Kollin. Montana: The Magazine

            of Western History 66.1 (Spring 2016): 75-76.



Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 272The Human Event
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 171The Human Event
HON 394Special Topics
HON 499Individualized Instruction
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 171The Human Event
HON 499Individualized Instruction
Summer 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 394Special Topics
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 272The Human Event
HON 394Special Topics
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 171The Human Event
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 272The Human Event
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 171The Human Event