Dr Rodney Taveira

Lecturer in American Studies


Phone: +61 2 9114 2617

Expertise: American literature, American and European film (silent era to present), US television, comedy in the US, US popular culture, queer and sexuality studies

Rodney Taveira joined the United States Studies Centre in 2011. He was awarded his PhD in English from the University of Sydney in 2010. He was previously Lecturer in English at the University of New South Wales.

Rodney has published on contemporary American fiction, book reviews, and television, and the interrelation of cinema, photography, painting, and literature. He is currently working on a book titled, Novel Vision: The Graphic Impulse of Contemporary American Fiction, which argues that postwar American fiction authors a history of visual culture. The layered frameworks of film theory and history, queer theory, and transnationalism structure the counter-intuitive intervention of using the image to read novels, and novels to historicise the image. By examining the work of Rachel Kushner, Don DeLillo, James Ellroy, Tao Lin, and Thomas Pynchon, Rodney remediates the practices of reading by articulating the visual history of the contemporary American novel.

A second research project, supported by a US Studies Centre Early Career Research Support grant, involves full access to James Ellroy’s unpublished projects, draft works, and research materials, and a series of interviews with Ellroy. A comprehensive analysis of Ellroy’s writing career, American Romance: The Writing Life of James Ellroy examines American literary production, American masculinity since World War II, and the place of race, violence, and sex in American culture.

Rodney currently teaches USSC1011 America: Prophecy, Power, Politics, and USSC2601 American Foundations, and the new American Studies unit, AMST2606 Stand Up USA: American Comedy and Humour.


A Patriarchy of Pain: Nam Le, Don DeLillo, and the Hierarchical Cosmopolitanism of Contemporary Fiction,” New Scholar 4.1 (2016).

“James Ellroy’s Antiheroic History,” in Antihero. Eds. Fiona Peters & Rebecca Gordon Stewart. Bristol, UK: Intellect (2015)

“Interview with James Ellroy.” Comparative American Studies 10.2 (2012): 362-75.

California and Irony in Mad Men,” Cultural Studies Review 18.2 (2012).

“Pynchon’s Graphic Impulse” in Against the Grain: Reading Pynchon’s Counternarratives. Ed. Sascha Pöhlman. Amsterdam: Rodopi (2010).

Don DeLillo, 9/11 and the Remains of Fresh Kills,” M/C Journal 13.4 (2010)

James Ellroy’s Cinematic Crime Writing: From Stephanie to My Dark Places,” Scan 5.1 (2008)

Conference, Symposium, and Seminar Papers

“‘Blood libel’: Violence, Resistance, and the Modern State in James Ellroy’s America,” Modernist Studies Association conference, Boston, USA. (2015)

“The Biopolitics of Policing: James Ellroy’s Postwar America,” Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association conference, Monash University. (2015)

“An appeal to images is a demand for love”: Image and Word as Lover’s Discourse in Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers,” Camera-Stylo: Intersections in Literature and Cinema conference, University of Sydney. (2015)

“A Patriarchy of Pain: Nam Le, Don DeLillo, and the Hierarchical Cosmopolitanism of Contemporary Fiction,” Sydney American Cultures workshop, University of Sydney. (2015)

“I’m a world citizen with a New York set of balls”: Pain and time in Nam Le’s ‘Meeting Elise’ and Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis,” “Transnational Modernisms,” Australian Modernist Studies Network conference, University of Sydney. (2014)

“Strategic Heterosexuality in The Big Nowhere and James Ellroy,” Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Annual conference, University of Wollongong. (2014)

“A Genealogical Yearning?” “Gravity’s Rainbow at 40” conference, University of New South Wales. (2013)

Respondent. On Mad Men. Gender and Modernity Research group conference, University of Sydney. (2010)

“The Flash-Pair: Don DeLillo’s Underworld,” New Zealand Geographical Society, Christchurch, New Zealand. (2010)

“In the Face of David Foster Wallace,” “Footnotes: New Directions in David Foster Wallace Studies,” City University of New York, USA. (2009)

“Thomas Pynchon in Venice: A Novel Approach to Painting,” Art History and Film Studies seminar series, University of Sydney. (2008)

“James Ellroy’s Cinema of Behaviour,” Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association conference, University of Sydney. (2008)

“‘Shadow Factories’: Allegorical Technologies of Entertainment in Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day,” “Against the Grain: International Pynchon conference,” Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany. (2008)

“James Ellroy’s Killer Vision,” “The Literary Art of Murder” conference, University of Newcastle, United Kingdom. (2008)

“The Man Camera and Its Vicissitudes,” “Screenscapes: Past Present Future” conference, University of Sydney. (2007)

“Detecting Totality in Poe, The Da Vinci Code, and The Crying of Lot 49,” International Pynchon Conference, University of Granada, Spain. (2006)

“Thomas Pynchon's Neo-Realist Film,” “Maps are Made of Things: A Gilles Deleuze Symposium,” Australian National University. (2005)

Organiser:The State and US Culture Industries” conference. (25­–26 June, 2015) 

Media, Public talks

Andy Warhol, Pittsburgher,” Andy Warhol | Ai Wei Wei, National Gallery Victoria (13 February 2016) 

“Jon Stewart’s Legacy,” The World, ABC News TV (9 August, 2015)

To Kill A Mockingbird sequel released in Australia,” SBS TV (15 July 20115) 

Racism and Hollywood,” Sydney Film Festival (6 June 2015)

Investigating True Detective,” Australian Centre for the Moving Image (21 May 2015), 

"The lessons of American television," The Perrett Report, SKY Business TV, (3 November, 2014)

The American Dream and The Wire,” The List, ABC Radio National (31 October, 2014)

Joan Rivers was many things – which will we remember her as?The Conversation (5 September 2014) 

Why Mad Men’s treatment of black Americans is a problem,” The Conversation (26 May 2014) 

Inside the Mad Men: Don Draper and American masculinity,” The Conversation (11 April 2014) 

True Detective lassos the Yellow King in Hollywood South,” The Conversation (25 March 2014) 

The Monuments Men, Hannah Arendt,” Final Cut, ABC Radio National (13 March 2014) 

American Classic: The Grapes of Wrath,” Books and Arts Daily, ABC Radio National (26 April 2013)