Alumni Profile: Eric Porter

Since completing my Ph.D. in American Culture in 1997, my professional path has taken me on a big circle around the western United States: a visiting appointment at the University of Nevada, Reno; a University of California President's postdoctoral fellowship at Berkeley; an assistant professorship at the University of New Mexico; and for the past four years, a position in American Studies at UC Santa Cruz, where I was tenured in 2003. I continue to work in jazz studies — the subject of my UMich dissertation — and I'm happy to report that my book, What Is This Thing Called Jazz? (UC Press, 2002) won an American Book Award in 2003. I've also been working more generally in black intellectual history and political cultures, with forthcoming essays on Walter White and CLR James. I'm currently working on a book on W.E.B Du Bois's writings from the 1940s and early 1950s. I was prepared for all of this work by my interactions with the generous and dynamic community of graduate students and faculty in American Culture during the 1990s.

I've been married since 1997 to Catherine Ramírez, who also teaches in American Studies at UC Santa Cruz. Our happy, lively, and opinionated 2 year-old daughter, Carmen Yamila Ramírez y Porter, helps us to put all scholarly and professional matters in perspective.