Christopher Findeisen‘s research centers on American literature and critical theory. Using the academic novel as its point of entry, his current book project–under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press–considers what it means for our culture to imagine higher education as an institution of social equality in an increasingly unequal world. In contrast to critics who explain the rise of the academic novel through its correlation to the rise of America’s “professional managerial class,” he argues that what matters for literary history is the way academic fiction structures our beliefs about the social relations that create and sustain class. His central claim is that while the academic novel has always examined the relationship between social organizations and individual development, the narrative form takes on new significance in a world that understands the college diploma as a necessary technology of social democracy and, simultaneously, an essential marker of class difference. Early versions of this project appear in PMLA and American Literature.