skip to main content
Department of English
University of Mississippi

Adam Gussow

Adam Gussow is a professor of English and Southern Studies. A member of the University of Mississippi faculty since 2002, he teaches courses in American and African American literature, the blues tradition, southern autobiography, the literature and culture of running, and related areas. He has published a number of books, including Mister Satan’s Apprentice: A Blues Memoir (1998, reissued in 2009); Seems Like Murder Here: Southern Violence and the Blues Tradition (2002), winner of the Holman Award from the Society for the Study of Southern Literature; Journeyman’s Road: Modern Blues Lives From Faulkner’s Mississippi to Post-9/11 New York (2007); and Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition (2017), which won the Cawelti Award from the American Culture Association / Popular Culture Association and was voted “Best Blues Book of 2017” by the readership of Living Blues. His most recent book, Whose Blues? Facing Up to Race and the Future of the Music (2020), highlights the problematics of the contemporary blues scene and offers fresh interpretations of W. C. Handy, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston.

In addition to his academic credentials, Gussow is a professional harmonica player and teacher. As a member of the blues duo Satan and Adam for more than 30 years, he has been featured on the cover of Living Blues magazine and was recently profiled in the documentary Satan & Adam, which is screening on Netflix.


  • Ph.D., English Literature, Princeton University (2000)
  • M.A., English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University (1983)
  • B.A., English and American Literature, Princeton University (1979)

Teaching and Research Interests

  • African-American literature
  •  Southern literature
  •  Blues literary and cultural studies
  •  Southern music in regional, national, and global contexts
  •  Slavery, segregation, racial violence, and racial reconciliation
  • The literature and culture of running

Selected Publications

  • “Biel al Sur: Notes Towards a Genealogy of Blues Music’s Global Spread.” The Global South 14.1 (Winter 2020): 1-22.
  •  “Out There in That Sun: Cotton Sharecropping, Self-Making, and Mississippi Blues.” Valley Voices: A Literary Journal 20.2 (Fall 2020): 89-107.
  • “The Straw That Broke: Michael Brown, Darren Wilson, and Two True Tales Told by Obama’s DOJ.” 18 September 2020.
  •  Review of Worship Across the Racial Divide: Religious Music and the Multiracial Congregation, by Gerardo Marti, Reading Religion (26 June 2018, web).
  •  “Blues Expressiveness and the Blues Ethos.” Study the South (January 2018).
  • “I Will be Free, I Will be Me: Rethinking Blues Origins, ‘Bluesmen,’ and Blues Feelings in the Age of #blacklivesmatter.” Arkansas Review 48.2 (Summer/August 2017): 83-98.
  •  “Giving It All Away: Race, Locale, and the Transformation of Blues Harmonica Education in the Digital Age,” Journal of Popular Music Education 1.2 (July 2017): 215-232.
  •  Review of Creating Jazz Counterpoint: New Orleans, Barbershop Harmony, and the Blues, by Vic Hobson, Louisiana History 57.2 (Spring 2016): 234-236.
  •  “’I Got a Big White Fella From Memphis Made a Deal With Me’: Black Men, White Boys, and the Anxieties of Blues Postmodernity in Walter Hill’s Crossroads,” Arkansas Review 46.2 (Summer/August 2015): 85-104.
  •  Review of Yoknapatawpha Blues: Faulkner’s Fiction and Southern Roots Music, by Tim A. Ryan, The Southern Register (Fall 2015): 23-25.
  •  “Playing Chicken With the Train: Cowboy Troy’s Hick-Hop and the Transracial Country West,” Southern Cultures 16.4 (Winter 2010): 41-70. A longer version of the essay was published in a volume entitled Hidden In the Mix: African American Country Music Traditions, ed. Diane Pecknold (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013), 234-262.
  • Review of Disturbing the Peace: Black Culture and the Police Power After Slavery, by Bryan Wagner, African American Review 43.4 (Winter 2009): 770-772.


C213 Bondurant Hall