Thomas J. Ferraro

Thomas J. Ferraro

Professor of English

External address: 
323 Allen Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90015, Durham, NC 27708-0015
(919) 684-3718
Office Hours: 
M, 2:15-3:45;  and Th, 3:00-4:30; and by appointment


Professor Ferraro is an aficionado of the great American stuff--Emily Dickinson, Edward Hopper, the Marx Brothers, and Nina Simone--who writes on literature, film, and the performing arts. He is the author of Feeling Italian: The Art of Ethnicity in America (NYU, 2005; winner of a 2006 American Book Award), Ethnic Passages: Literary Immigrants in 20th-Century America (U Chicago, 1993), the editor of Catholic Lives, Contemporary America (Duke, 1997), and a contributor to The Columbia History of the American Novel, Scribner's Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History, and The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature.  Contrary by temperament, at least as a scholar-critic, he is currently at work on a Marian Catholic pedagogy of the great American novel: a revisionist account of the interplay among violative self-making, transgressive sexuality and redemptive sacrifice, in an effort to recapture both the aesthetic wonder and social danger of the canonical warhorses (from Hawthorne's A Scarlet Letter and Melville's Billy Budd to Chopin, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, and Hurston) .  Of course his arguments don't always turn out as projected--witness the recent accounting of Willa Cather's The Professor's House, in which the resurgent discourse of sin gives Ferraro, like the title character, his comeuppance.


  • Ph.D., Yale University 1988
  • M.A., Yale University 1983
  • B.A., Amherst College 1979

Ferraro, TJ. "Cultural Studies Between Heaven and Earth." A Catholic Studies Reader. Ed. JT Fisher and MM McGuinness. Fordham University Press, 2011. 35 ms. pages-35 ms. pages.

Ferraro, TJ. "Boys to Men (Salvific Masculinity in /Angels with Dirty Faces/)." Catholics in the Movies. Ed. C McDannell. Oxford University Press, 2008. 59-82.

Ferraro, TJ. "Cultural Studies Between Heaven and Earth: Beyond the Puritan Pedagogy of /The Scarlet Letter/." American Catholic Studies. Ed. JT Fisher and M McGuinness. Fordham University Press, 2008.

Ferraro, TJ. "Italian-American Literature." Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. Ed. J Parini. Oxford UP, February 2004. 275-284.

Ferraro, TJ. "Urbane Villager." Frank Sinatra: History, Identity, and Italian American Culture. Ed. S Pugliese. Palgrave MacMillan, 2004.

Ferraro, T. "Giancarlo and the Border Patrol." (In)Visible Cities: From the Postmodern Metropolis to the Cities of the Future. Ed. PD Acierno, J Ockman, and R Sargent. Monacelli Press, 2003. (Essay)

Ferraro, TJ. "Italian Americans." Scribner’s Encyclopedia of US Intellectual and Cultural History. Ed. MK Cayton and PW Williams. 2001. 363-73.

Ferraro, TJ. "Catholic Ethnicity and the Modern American Arts." The Italian American Heritage. Ed. PD Acierno. Garland, 1999. 331-352.

Ferraro, TJ. "Catholic Ethnicity and the Modern American Arts." The Italian American Heritage: A Companion to the Arts. Ed. PD Acierno. Garland, 1998. 331-352.

Ferraro, TJ. "The Souls of Catholic Folk: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Cather." American and European National Identities: Faces in the Mirror. Ed. S Fender. Keele UP, UK, 1996. 73-87.


Ferraro, TJ. "Review of A New Literary History of America." American Literature (December 2012). (Review)

Ferraro, TJ. "Between Women; or, On Our Knees to Don Corleone." Ed. C Messenger and JR Gruba. VIA 19 (2009): 1-20.

Ferraro, TJ. "Contribution to MLA Roundtable in honor of AL at Seventy-Five." American Literature 77 (September 2005): 634-36.

Budd, LJ, Moon, M, Nelson, DD, Newfield, C, and Ferraro, TJ. "Roundtable: 'American Literature' at seventy-five - Discussion." AMERICAN LITERATURE 77.3 (September 2005): 621-636.

Ferraro, TJ. "Of ’Lascivious Mysticism’ and Other Hibernian Matters." U.S. Catholic Historian 23 (2005): 1-17.

Ferraro, TJ. "Lorenzo’s Chrism." SAQ 103 (2004): 235-63.

Ferraro, TJ. "At long last love; Or, literary history in the key of difference." American Literary History 15.1 (December 1, 2003): 78-86. (Review) Full Text

Ferraro, TJ. "The temple of culture: Assimilation and anti-Semitism in literary Anglo-America." AMERICAN LITERATURE 74.1 (March 2002): 155-155. Full Text