Sara Marcus

Assistant Professor, English
Affiliated Faculty, Gender Studies Program; Associate Editor, Journal of Popular Music Studies

Assistant Professor, English
268 Decio Faculty Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
+1 574-631-3497


Areas of study

  • African and African American
  • American
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Science, Media, and Technology


Ph.D., Princeton University
MFA, Columbia University
B.A., Oberlin College

Research and teaching interests

American literature and culture, African American literature and culture, sound studies, popular music, performance studies, gender and sexuality studies, creative nonfiction


Sara Marcus is Assistant Professor of English and is also affiliated with the Gender Studies Program and the Initiative on Race and Resilience. Marcus specializes in American and African American literature, popular music, sound, and performance from the 19th century through the present. She is an Associate Editor at the Journal of Popular Music Studies. Her current book project, Political Disappointment: A Partial History (forthcoming from Harvard University Press), argues that the defining American texts of the twentieth century are records of disappointment. Bringing together an interdisciplinary archive that runs from Reconstruction’s aftermath through the AIDS crisis, this book tells a new cultural history of the century, centering around an archive of disappointment that throws into sharp relief the role of nonfulfillment as a central element of the twentieth century—and indeed of America itself. Marcus’s first book, Girls to the Front (Harper Perennial, 2010), a critical and cultural history of the 1990s punk-feminist movement Riot Grrrl, was a National Award for Arts Writing finalist. Her essays and criticism on art, music, literature, and politics have appeared in numerous publications including Artforum, Bookforum, Dissent, the New Republic, and the Los Angeles Times.

Representative publications