He specialises in American Studies, in particular post-World War II art, film and literature, African-American history and culture, experimental and vernacular musics, the counterculture of the 1960s, the literature of immigration and the cultures of intolerance. He has also taught Yiddish at the University of Amsterdam and has written and lectured widely on Judaism and Jewish culture. His most recent work is the New York Times best-seller "Harlem: The Four Hundred Year History, From Dutch Village to Capital of Black America" (Grove/Atlantic 2011). He has also published articles and reviews for the New York Times, the Village Voice, the Nation, the Boston Review, the Guardian and the Associated Press, and he is currently a food columnist and book critic for the Holland Times. He is currently completing a manuscript for Norton on espionage in Hollywood during the Cold War.