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Dr. Keat Murray


  • B.S. English Education: Shippensburg University
  • M.A. English: Millersville University
  • Ph.D. Early American and Antebellum Literature: Lehigh University


Originally from eastern Pennsylvania, Dr. Keat Murray is glad to have made the trans-PA move to the Pittsburgh area. He specializes in early American and 19th-century American literature. His life in literary studies and higher education has been inspired by his fine teachers, his unconquerable wonder about the always-present past, and the fact that his mother named him after the British poet John Keats. Outside of academia, he is committed to his family, veganism, blues music, and understanding our natural environment. Otherwise he advocates strongly for Jeff Beck, the Kinks, and the Grateful Dead!

Research Interests and Publications

Professor Murray’s dissertation investigates intersections between social class discourse, Native American studies, writings by John Heckewelder, and novels by James Fenimore Cooper. His doctoral research led him to numerous archives in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where he pored over 18th- and 19th-century manuscripts involving Moravian missions, the American Revolution, and Native American populations in the Delaware and Ohio valleys. Into his literature classroom, he brings his enthusiasm for archival texts, Native America, and reading early American writings for their rich diversity and boundless possibilities.   

Some of his scholarship has been published in Journal of the Early Republic, James Fenimore Cooper: His Country and His Art, Journal of American & Comparative Cultures, The Midwest Quarterly, Common-place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life, several encyclopedias, and other publications.  Additionally, he is very active in literature conferences in his field, and he currently serves as the Executive Secretary and Treasurer of the James Fenimore Cooper Society. 

Professor Murray’s current scholarly projects focus primarily on the writings of James Fenimore Cooper. He is editing a forthcoming scholarly edition of Cooper’s political satire The Monikins (1835) for the AMS Press. As part of this large project, he is composing a historical introduction for the volume as well as the paratextual material. His newest project in the works is an article entitled “‘Singularly Situated’ in Antarctica:  Replicating Transatlantic Spaces in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Monikins.

Undergraduate Research and Applied Teaching Methods

Dr. Murray involves students as researchers in digital archives projects, building on his previous collaborative work with the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College, and historical societies in Lancaster County.

Most recently at California University, Professor Murray worked with several students to complete an archival database of Iroquois personal names, transcribed from the extensive work of Charles A. Cooke, a Mohawk ethnographer.

The Cal U contingency worked with the American Philosophical Society and the University of Pennsylvania to convert Cooke’s 1,320-page linguistic ethnography into a searchable database sanctioned by the Six Nations. The database will be used by the Six Nations to revitalize traditional Iroquois names, and given the prospects for expanding this important database, Professor Murray is exploring new materials and new avenues to accomplish that goal.

Some of the students who worked on the Cooke database presented their research at national and regional conferences. Professor Murray is also exploring opportunities to get students involved in digital archiving projects with historical societies in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Academic Department(s)

  • Department of English

Academic Program(s)

  • B.A. English
  • Secondary Education Certification

Contact Information



Azorsky Hall 212


“Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right”

~Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, “Scarlet Begonias”

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