Email Address
List Hall 219A

Doran Larson teaches courses in prison writing, witness literatures, the history of the novel, and other subjects. He taught a creative writing course inside Attica state prison from 2006 to 2016. He has also organized two college programs inside New York State prisons. Larson’s essays on prison issues have been published in College Literature, Radical Teacher, English Language Notes, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Atlantic Monthly (online), and The Washington Post, among other venues. He is the editor of two volumes: The Beautiful Prison, a special issue of the legal-studies journal, Studies in Law, Politics, and Society; and Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America. His book, Witness in the Era of Mass Incarceration, appeared in 2017; his current book project will appear with NYU Press. He has also published criticism on Herman Melville, Theodore Dreiser, Henry James, popular film, as well as two novels, a novella, over a dozen short stories.

Recent Courses Taught

  • Booked: Global Prison Writing
  • Written on the Wall: Twentieth-Century American Prison Writing
  • Literatures of Witness: Slave, Holocaust, Prison, and Genocide Narrative
  • Truth and Justice, the American Way
  • The Hollywood Novel: Literature, Adaptation, Screenwriting, Production
  • Advanced Creative Writing
  • Intermediate Fiction Writing
  • Introduction to Creative Writing: Fiction and Poetry
  • Study of the Novel
  • Contemporary American Fiction
  • American Literature of the 1930s


  • National Endowment of the Humanities Grant for American Prison Writing Archive project, 2017
  • Sunshine Lady Foundation Grant for four pilot years of The Mohawk Consortium College-in-Prison Program, 2014
  • Sunshine Lady Foundation Grant for The Attica-Genesee Teaching Project, 2011
  • Samuel and Helen Lang Excellence in Teaching Award, Hamilton College, 2011
  • Hamilton College Class of 1963 Faculty Fellowship, 2011
  • Pushcart Prize Nomination for “Mexicans,” a short story, 2010
  • NEH Summer Institute stipend: Legal Studies and the Liberal Arts, 2009
  • Pushcart Prize Nomination for “Cha Cha,” a short story, 2008
  • Christian A. Johnson Teaching Enhancement Fellowship, Hamilton College, 2002
  • Hamilton College Class of 1966 Faculty Development Grant, 2001
  • “Morphine,” reprinted in Best American Short Stories, 1998
  • Finalist, Ohio State University, Sandstone Prize in Short Fiction (story collection), 1998
  • University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Faculty Research Grant (Fiction Writing), 1997
  • University of Wisconsin (UW) Undergraduate Teaching Improvement Council (UTIC) Grant: Interdisciplinarity in Writing Courses, 1995
  • UW-UTIC Grant: Collaborative Teaching, 1994
  • Finalist, Fiction Collective Two, Novel Contest, 1994
  • Wisconsin State Arts Board Grant in Fiction Writing, 1994
  • UW-UTIC Grant: Faculty Writing Across the Curriculum Workshops, 1993
  • Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant in Fiction Writing, 1991
  • Yaddo Corporation Fellowship, 1991
  • MacDowell Foundation Fellowship, 1990
  • SUNY/Buffalo Excellence in Teaching Award, 1990

Selected Publications

  • Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America, Michigan State UP, Feb.1, 2014.
  • “The Beautiful Prison,” special issue of Studies in Law, Politics, and Society; work by scholars and inmates imagining the prison as a socially constructive institution, May-June, 2014.
  • "Politics by Other Means: Legal Poetics, Prison Narrative,” English Language Notes, 48.2, winter/fall, 2011.
  • “Abolition From Within: Enabling the Citizen Convict,” Radical Teacher, #91, summer, 2011.
  • “Toward a Prison Poetics,” College Literature, 37.3 summer, 2010:143-166.
  • “Taylor-Made Girls: Eroticizing Scientific Management in Sister Carrie,” Columbia Journal of American Studies, vol.5, no.1, 2002.
  • “Machine as Messiah: Cyborgs, Morphs and the American Body Politic,” Cinema Journal, 36/4 (summer 1997), 57-75. Reprinted in Liquid Metal: The Science Fiction Film Reader. London: Wallflower, 2004.
  • Marginalia. New York: Permanent Press, 1997. (novel)
  • The Big Deal. New York: Bantam, 1985. (novel)
  • “Why Scandinavian Prisons are Superior,” The (online) Atlantic Monthly, Sept. 24, 2013.
  • “Witness,” introduction to three essays by men in Attica Writing Workshop (AWW), Stone Canoe, #4, February 2010.
  • “Writing Behind the Wall,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 2, 2010.
  • “The State v. The People,” introduction to two essays by men in AWW, the minnesota review, December 2009.
  • “Voices Through the Wall,” introduction to an essay by a man in AWW, Stone Canoe, #3, February 2009.
  • “The Prison Industrial Literary Complex,” introduction to three essays and a short story by men in AWW, the minnesota review, no. 70, summer 2008.
  • “Creative Writing in the Culture of the American Prison.” Salmagundi, No. 162/63, spring/summer, 2009.  (Published under the name Maxwell Cotto.)

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., SUNY Buffalo
M.A., SUNY Buffalo
B.A., UC Santa Cruz

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