Craig Werner


Chair of Afro-American Studies


 Craig Werner describes himself as the "utility infielder" of the ILS faculty, someone who's happier exploring new possibilities than delving deeper into one area. The topics of his capstone seminars and sections of ILS 275 reflect his breadth (or, as he sometimes fears, testify to the shortness of his attention span): "Vietnam: Music, Media and Mayhem," "Writing the Two Cultures: Richard Powers and Stephen Jay Gould," "Time" (which involved Augustine, Einstein and Faulkner), "The World in a Book" (Don Quixote, Moby Dick and Gravity's Rainbow), "Sex and Spirituality," and "Shakespeare and the Modern World," which paired six Shakespeare plays with modern thinkers on connected topics. As member of the Department of Afro-American Studies, he teaches courses on "Black Music and American Cultural History" and "Comparative American Literature." A member of the Nominating Committee of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he is the author of eight books, including Paradoxical Resolutions: American Fiction Since James Joyce; Up Around the Bend: An Oral History of Creedence Clearwater Revival; and A Change Is Gonna Come: Music, Race & the Soul of America. His current projects include Love and Happiness: Eros According to Dante, Shakespeare, Jane Austen and the Reverend Al Green, which he is writing with Rhonda Lee, a historian and Episcopalian priest based in Durham, North Carolina; and We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Music in the Experience of Vietnam Veterans, which he is writing in collaboration with Vietnam vet (and ILS team-teacher) Doug Bradley. A native of Colorado who has mixed loyalties to the Brewers and Rockies, he's married to the artist Leslee Nelson and has two daughters, Riah and Kaylee. In his spare time, he's working on a novel and writing poetry in French.