Bill Brown is the Karla Scherer Distinguished Service Professor in American Culture. In the past, his research has focused on popular literary genres (e.g. science fiction, the Western), on recreational forms (baseball, kung fu), and on the ways that mass-cultural phenomena (from roller coasters to Kodak cameras) impress themselves on the literary imagination. Rather than assuming that historical contexts help to explain a particular literary text, he assumes that literature provides access to an otherwise unrecuperable history. In other words, he believes that the act of literary analysis (including formal analysis) can become an “historiographical operation” all its own.