James E. Smethurst is Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the author of several publications, including The African American Roots of Modernism: Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance.
Smethurst received his B.A. in English from the University of Southern Maine, his M.A. in English from the City College of New York, and his Ph.D. in English from Harvard University. Prior to coming to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he taught at the University of North Florida.
His primary research areas are African American literature, culture, and intellectual history from the late 19th to the late 20th centuries, with a particular emphasis on black cultural and political radicalism. He is currently working on a history of the Black Arts Movement in the southern United States.