David Mark Diamond writes and teaches about eighteenth-century British literature and the early Black Atlantic, with particular emphasis on the role that religion plays in the formation (or re-formation) of imperial global imaginaries. He has published articles in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, and ELH: English Literary History. Diamond’s current research explores literary responses to secularization, or the process by which Euro-Christian belief came unbound from singular doctrinal orthodoxy and this newly liberalized religion was grafted more and more fully onto the ambition of racialized planetary domination. In his first book manuscript, “In Good Faith,” Diamond argues that the surprising persistence and complexity of two-dimensional characterization in novels from the Restoration to the Romantic era index secularism’s disciplinary valence. Flesh and spirit in need of domestication—errant beliefs and forms of life—manifest through, for example, the instability of allegorical personification or the physiognomic language of Gothic faces. In simultaneity with spiritual excess or insufficiency, corporeal differences of sex and race are made to appear, and the intensifying, biopoliticized violence of empire made to appear justified. Diamond’s next book project maps the first serious inroads of postsecularism in the work of Black antislavery intellectuals. As they imagine systems of belief and literary reference somehow aslant of secularist prescripts, writers like Ignatius Sancho, Ottobah Cugoano, and James Wedderburn establish the literal and conceptual grammar of postsecular critique: counterfactual, conditional, optative.
Diamond earned his A.B. in English / Government & Legal Studies from Bowdoin College and his A.M. and Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago. Before joining the faculty at UGA, he taught at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Haverford College. He lives in Athens with his spouse, Andi, and their son, Gabriel.