George Boulukos, Professor of English and Affiliate Faculty in Africana Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is the author of The Grateful Slave: The Emergence of Race in Eighteenth-Century British and American Culture (Cambridge UP, 2008) and the editor of the never-before-published memoir by an eighteenth-century stableboy, Memoirs on the Life and Travels of Thomas Hammond 1775-1782 (University of Virginia Press, 2017). His current project, A Vindication of the Rights of Monsters challenges received histories of human rights, arguing that the Enlightenment discourse of “the rights of man” held that slaves forfeited their rights if they did not rise up against slavery, but also enjoined that rebel slaves must be killed.
Professor Boulukos’ primary research interests are in eighteenth-century British and American literature, transatlantic culture, race, slave narrative, sentimentality, autobiography, and the history of the novel. His most recent book is an edition of previously undiscovered Memoirs on the Life and Travels of Thomas Hammond (University of Virginia Press, 2017), the riotous, revealing and lavishly illustrated autobiography of the one-time English stable boy who traveled throughout Europe supporting himself by performing horse riding tricks. Boulukos’ monograph, The Grateful Slave: The Emergence of Race in Eighteenth-Century British and American Culture, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2008 and issued in paperback in 2012. His current project, A Vindication of the Rights of Monsters: Conceiving Rights in the Anglophone Eighteenth Century challenges the view that the age of revolution saw the origin of modern human rights, with close attention to the figure of the rebel slave—who had the right to rebel but who society was obliged to kill—and works to disarticulate the scholarly consensus that sentiment, abolition and rights represent intertwined aspects of rising bourgeois culture. He has another ongoing project and teaching interest in the cultural history of love, focused on the eighteenth century as a key turning point, which examines the extent to which such a fundamental emotion can be reconfigured by changing historical and cultural circumstances. He has strong research and teaching interests in authors including Jane Austen, Olaudah Equiano, Daniel Defoe, Ursula K. le Guin, and Los Bros Hernandez. He regularly teaches courses on identity in comics & graphic novels.
His uncollected chapters and articles include "The Stableboy Discovered: Editing the Memoirs of Thomas Hammond," Eighteenth-Century Fiction, 2017; “Capitalism and Slavery, Once Again With Feeling,” and "Social Liberty and Social Death: Conceiving of Slavery beyond the Black Atlantic," invited chapters in edited collections, both 2013; “The Secret History of the Rise of the Novel: The Novel and the Middle Class in English Studies,“ ECTI, 2011; Olaudah Equiano and the Eighteenth-Century Debate on Africa,” Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2007; “The Politics of Silence: Mansfield Park and the Amelioration of Slavery,” in Novel: a Forum on Fiction (Summer 2006); and "Maria Edgeworth's 'Grateful Negro' and Pro-Slavery Sentimentalism," in Eighteenth-Century Life (1999). Articles in ELH, Eighteenth-Century Life, and Eighteen-Century Novel were reworked as chapters in The Grateful Slave. Boulukos contributed the entry on Olaudah Equiano to the Dictionary of African Biography (Oxford UP, 2011), and an essay on “Defoe and Slavery” to Defoe in Context (Cambridge UP, 2023).
Boulukos presents often at the ASECS conference, and occasionally at other conferences including MLA. He is currently on the Editorial Advisory Board for the journal Eighteenth-Century Studies, and has recently held a position as co-director of the ASECS race and Empire caucus. Before arriving at SIUC, he received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin and subsequently held a Mellon Postdoc at Oberlin College.
Eighteenth-Century British Literature