Kenneth Morrison Roemer (born June 6, 1945, in East Rockaway, Long Island), a Piper Professor of 2011, Distinguished Scholar Professor, and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, received his B.A. from Harvard and his Ph. D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author or editor of four books on utopian literature, including The Obsolete Necessity (1976), which was nominated for a Pulitzer by the Editor of the NY Times /Arno Press Utopian Collection, and three books on American Indian literatures, including the co-edited Cambridge Companion to Native American Literature (2005). His collection of personal essays about Japan, Michibata de Dietta Nippon (2002) (A Sidewalker’s Japan), was a finalist for the Koizumi Yakumo Cultural Prize. He oversaw the development of the digital archive of tables of contents of American literature anthologies Covers, Titles, and Tables: The Formations of American Literary Canons (www.uta.edu/english/roemer/ctt).
This website Covers, Titles, and Tables: Anthologies and The Formations of American Literary Canons began as an idea in one of Dr. Kenneth Roemer's graduate courses on Early American Literature in 1998. In an effort to teach his students that American Literature "Canon Wars" had been fought for almost 200 years and to give them some idea of how publishers, editors, academic institutions, and teachers define American literature, and specifically define how this body of literature has been and is still disseminated to generations of students, Dr. Roemer put together a course packet of tables of contents of American literature anthologies.
The packet originally included 36 volumes and quickly grew to more than one hundred pages. Upon realizing the potential of this sort of collection, a digital archive made much more sense and would save many trees. Together with Dr. Matthew Levy, Dr. Roemer created the first digital version of Covers, Titles, and Tables: Anthologies and the Formations of American Literary Canons.
The next stages focused on adding volumes, especially the second volumes of two volume anthologies. With the assistance of graduate student Robert Flach, the website was redesigned to add in drop down boxes that made access to the volumes and pages easier. This version of the site contained over 100 volumes and more than 1,000 pages. The site had received more than 10,000 hits between November 2006 and July 2009. Additionally, the site has gained favorable attention with scholar Martha Brogan. She included a discussion of the site in her book A Kaleidoscope of Digital American Literature.
Beginning in the summer of 2009, in collaboration with Bethany Shaffer and Lorie Jacobs, and the Digital Library Services staff at the University of Texas, Arlington,the project initiated the scanning of important anthologies not originally on the database but listed in Joseph Csicsila's Canons by Consensus: Critical Trends and American Literature Anthologies.
The project is currently housed in the UT Arlington ResearchCommons
He is the author of the books:
- Utopian Audiences: How Readers Locate Nowhere. Amherst: U. of Massachusetts Press, 2003.
- review by Tom Moylan, Science-Fiction Studies 31.2 (2004): 421-28
- The Obsolete Necessity: America in Utopian Writings, 1888-1900. Kent: Kent State University Press, 1976
- Review, American Journal of Sociology, Jan., 1977, vol. 82, no. 4, p. 898-901
- Build Your Own Utopia (1981)
He wrote the personal narrative Michibata de Deatta Nippon (A Sidewalker's Japan)., Translated from the English by Hiro Ichikawa. Tokyo: Sairyusha, 2002.
He was additionally editor and major contributor of
- Cambridge Companion to Native American Literature. New York: Cambridge UP, 2005.
- America as Utopia,. New York: Burt Franklin, 1981
- Approaches to Teaching Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain,. New York: Modern Language Assn., 1988.
- Native American Writers of the United States . Volume 175 of Dictionary of Literary Biography (Detroit: Bruccoli Clark Layman-Gale Research, 1997
- "Paradise Transformed: Varieties of Nineteenth-Century Utopias." Ed. Gregory Claeys. The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge, UP. 2010. 79-106.
He also wrote the peer-reviewed papers
- "Contemporary American Indian Literature: The Centrality of Canons on the Margins," American Literary History 6 (1994).
- "Sex Roles, Utopia and Change: The Family in Late Nineteenth-Century Utopian Literature." American Studies 13.2 (1972): 33-47.
- "1984 in 1894: Harben's Land of the Changing Sun." Mississippi Quarterly 26 (1972–73): 29-42.
- "The Heavenly City of the Late 19th-Century Utopians." Journal of the American Studies Assn. of Texas 4 (1974): 5-17.
- "Utopia and Methodology: Uses of Fiction in American Studies." Social Science Journal (formerly Rocky Mountain Social Science Journal) 12 (1975): 21-28.
- "Survey Courses, Indian Literature, and The Way to Rainy Mountain ." College English 37 (1976): 619-24.
- "Bear and Elk: The Nature(s) of Contemporary Indian Poetry." Journal of Ethnic Studies 5.2 (1977): 69-79.
- "Eyewitness to Utopia: Illustrations in Utopian Literature." Prospects: An Annual of American Culture Studies 4 (1979): 355-64 + 16 unnumbered pages of annotated illustrations.
- "Using Utopia to Teach the 80s: A Case for Guided Design." World Future Society Bulletin 14.4 (1980): 1-5.
- "H. G. Wells and the 'Momentary Voices' of a Modern Utopia." Extrapolation 23 (1982): 117-37.
- "Japanese Ways to Rainy Mountain: An Approach to Teaching English Composition in Japan." Memoirs of the Faculty of Law and Literature (Shimane University, Japan) 6 (1983): 75 (337) - 101 (363).
- "Inventive Modeling: Rainy Mountain 's Way to Composition." College English 46 (1984): 767-82.
- Technology, Culture, and Utopia: Gillette's Unity Regained." Technology and Culture 26 (1985): 560-70, cover. Bellamy. Ed. Daphne Patai. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1988. 126-46.
- "Bellamy at 100: How Readers Were Created to Create Utopia." Bulletin of the Center for American Studies of the University of Tokyo 11 (1988): 83-88.
- "The Literary Domestication of Utopia: There's No Looking Backward Without Uncle Tom and Uncle True." American Transcendentalist Quarterly NS 3 (1989): 101-22.
- "Reconstructing the American Canon: Decline, Rebirth, Signifying Sound and Fury: Part 1." Rising Generation (Tokyo) 1 November 1989: 12-17.
- "Reconstructing the American Canon: Decline, Rebirth, Signifying Sound and Fury: Part 2." Rising Generation (Tokyo) 1 December 1989: 20-24.
- "The Heuristic Powers of Indian Literatures: What Native Authorship Does to Mainstream Texts." Studies in American Indian Literatures, Ser. 2, 3: 2 (1991): 8-21.
- "The Talking Porcupine Liberates Utopia: Le Guin's "Omelas" as Pretext to the Dance." Utopian Studies 2: 1 & 2 (1991): 6-18. [The featured article, published together with five responses.]
- "Dissensus Achieved, Apologies Offered, and a Hinge Proclaimed: A Response to the Responses." Utopian Studies 2: 1 & 2 (1991): 59-62.
- "Returning the Gift of Identity: A Gathering Celebrating Rainy Mountain 's Legacy." Paintbrush 21: 41 & 42 (1994): 27-41.
- "The Nightway Questions American Literature." American Literature 66 (1994): 817-29.
- "Native American Women and Violence: Fiction, Critical Perspectives, Narrative Transformations." Journal of Contemporary Thought 5 (1995): 97-117.
- "Utopian Literature. Empowering Students, and Gender Awareness." Science-Fiction Studies 23 (1996): 393-405.
- "A Retro-Prospective on Audience, Oral Literatures, and Ignorance." Studies in American Indian Literatures 9 (Fall 1997): 17-24.
- "Silko's Arroyos as Mainstream: Processes and Implications of Canonical Identity." Modern Fiction Studies 45.1 (1999): 10-37. (Lead article in special issue). Updated and condensed version in Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony: A Case Book. Ed. Allan Chavkin. New York: Oxford UP, 2002. 223-39.
- " 'A Touching Man' Brings Aacqu Close." Studies in American Indian Literatures, Ser. 2, 16.4 (2004): 68-79.
- “The Multi-Missionary Eleanor Roosevelt of American Indian Literatures.” Studies in American Indian Literatures, Ser. 2, 17.2 (2005): 101-05.
He has been the managing editor of American Literary Realism, and visiting Professor at International Christian Univ. in Mitaka, Japan and at Shimane (National) University, Matsue, Japan. Since 2002 he has been President of the Society for Utopian Studies; he was also vice-President of the Society for the Study of American Indian Literature.