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Dr. Thomas P. Bonfiglio
Dr. Thomas P. Bonfiglio
Professor of Literature and Linguistics
William Judson Gaines Chair in Modern Foreign Languages
Program Coordinator, Linguistics

Thomas Paul Bonfiglio publishes in the fields of linguistics, literary, studies, and culture studies. His books include the following:

      Race and the Rise of Standard American (2002) examines the effect of race-consciousness upon the pronunciation and standardization of American English in the twentieth century.

      Mother Tongues and Nations: The Invention of the Native Speaker (2010) examines the ideology behind the kinship metaphors of “mother tongue” and “native speaker” by historicizing their linguistic development. It shows how the early nation states constructed the ideology of ethnolinguistic nationalism, a composite of national language, identity, geography, and race.

      Why is English Literature? Language and Letters for the Twenty-First Century (2013) illuminates the ideological forces that gradually caused “English” to become synonymous with literary studies in the United States and other literary traditions to be seen merely as “languages.”

      The Psychopathology of American Capitalism (2017) synthesizes psychoanalytic and Marxist techniques in order to account for the suppression of leftist politics in America, the protectionist discourses of anomalous American capitalism, and the rise of neoliberalism. 

      He has also published a book on the German romantic author Achim von Arnim (1987).

      His current book project with Routledge is: Linguistics and Psychoanalysis: A New Perspective on Language Processing and Evolution.

He regularly teaches courses in linguistics, literary studies, and psychoanalysis and has also taught courses in English, French, German, and Italian.

Distinguished Educator Award, 1989

William Judson Gaines Professor of Comparative Literature and Linguistics, 2005-2012
Professional Experience
Guest Professor in Sociolinguistics at the University of Verona, Italy (2012)

Inventing the Native Speaker.” Critical Multilingualism Studies 1/2 (2012).

"Toward a Genealogy of Aryan Morality: Nietzsche and Jacolliot." New Nietzsche Studies 6/3-4 & 7/1-2 (2005), 170-184.

“Winckelmann and the Aesthetics of Eros.” The Germanic Review, Spring 1998, 132-144.

Private Reason(s) and Public Spheres: Sexuality and Enlightenment in Kant.” The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, 38/2 1997, 171-190.

“Reading the Homoerotic in Winckelmann’s Beschreibung eines Torso im Belvedere zu Rom.” Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, Summer 1997.

Ironie und Modernität bei Arnim.”  In Andermatt, Michael (ed.), Achim von Arnim: Grenzgänge. Berlin: Bouvier, 1994, 33-56.

The Patrilineal Discourse of Enlightenment: Reading Foucault Reading Kant.” Bulletin de la Société de Philosophie de langue Française, 6/1-2 1994, 104-115.

“Androphilic Enlightenment: Reading Kant’s Answer to the Question.” Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, Summer 1993, 590-593.

A Tropical view of Irony and Satire in Arnim.” Colloquia Germanica 18/3 1985, 221-228.

“Metaphor, Systematic Leveling, and the Primary Process.” Proteus 2/2 1985, 33-36.


"Language, Racism, and Ethnicity." In Hellinger, Marlis and Anne Pauwels (eds.), Handbook of Language and Communication: Diversity and Change. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2007, 619-650.

"Dreams of Interpretation: Psychoanalysis and the Literature of Vienna." In Grabovszki, Ernst and James Hardin (eds.), Literature in Vienna at the Turn of the Centuries. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2002, 89-115.

Ph.D., Indiana University
M.A., University of Wisconsin
M.A., University of Toronto
B.S., University of Rochester
Contact Information
202 Carole Weinstein International Center
(804) 289-8102
(804) 287-6446 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Language and race
American dialectology
Historical linguistics
Linguistic relativism
Comparative literature