Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies Jay Watson, a native of Athens, Georgia, received his B.A. degree from the University of Georgia (1983) and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University (1985, 1989). He joined the English department in 1989 and was promoted to Professor of English in 2007. During the 2002-2003 academic year he served as Visiting Fulbright Professor of American Studies at the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland.
His publications include Forensic Fictions: The Lawyer Figure in Faulkner (U of Georgia P, 1993), Conversations with Larry Brown (UP of Mississippi, 2007), Faulkner and Whiteness (UP of Mississippi, 2011), and Reading for the Body: The Recalcitrant Materiality of Southern Fiction, 1893-1985 (U of Georgia P, 2012). His articles on southern literature and film, law and humanities, and psychoanalytic theory have appeared or will appear in American Quarterly, American Literature, Modern Fiction Studies, American Imago, Mississippi Quarterly, Southern Quarterly, and numerous other journals and essay collections, including American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary and The Cambridge Companion to American Fiction after 1945. He was a co-founder and, from 1995 to 2000, co-editor of Journal x: A Journal in Culture and Criticism.
From 2009 to 2012 he served as President of the William Faulkner Society, and he is currently Director of the annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha conference at the University of Mississippi and co-editor of the forthcoming conference volumes, Faulkner’s Geographies, Fifty Years After Faulkner, and Faulkner and the Black Literatures of the Americas.
He and his wife, Susan, have two children, Katherine and Judson.