His research areas include post-1945 American poetry, 20th-century American literature, transatlanticism, critical theory, and aesthetics. Aesthetics has been a particularly illustrative field for Shafer when delineating the materialisms and politics of mostly French, 20th and 21st-century theorists, and when locating possible intersections between a so-called feminist, queer, or black aesthetic in American literature. One question often raised is how a modernist work can attest to a repressive economy and yet arrive at something like what Jacques Rancière calls the politics of aesthetics?

Recent papers have explored the way painter Stanley Whitney withdraws from the radical black aesthetic, which remains writ across his work, while 'freeing space' across his oeuvre; how Claudia Rankine uses black and white metaphorically in her images; how Derrida eventually dispels surplus-value in (art)work; or how the architectures of Barbara Guest's unpublished plays stage her politics.

Past Affiliations
MA, Dartmouth College
PhD, University of Warwick, English and Comparative Literary Studies