Literary Theory

The English department offers a strong and diverse tradition of engaging various practices of literary and cultural theory, including narrative theory, feminism and queer theory, psychoanalysis, marxism and various modes of historicism and cultural engagement, deconstruction, postcolonial, transnational, and globalization theory, and legal theory. Individual faculty profiles describe specific interests in these regards.

Our Faculty

Faculty Bookshelf

Editor,Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming
The MIT Press,2016
Author,Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing
Harvard University Press,2016
Author,Weapons of Democracy: Propaganda, Progressivism, and American Public Opinion
Johns Hopkins University Press,2015
,Emily Dickinson: A User's Guide
Wiley Blackwell ,2013
Co-Editor,The Oxford Handbook of Propaganda Studies
Oxford Handbooks,2013
Co-Advisor ,Emily Dickinson Archive
Harvard University Press ,2012
Co-Editor, with Samuel Cohen,The Legacy of David Foster Wallace
University of Iowa Press,2012
,Atlantic Worlds in the Long Eighteenth Century: Seduction and Sentiment
Palgrave Macmillan,2012
,Romantic Sobriety: Sensation, Revolution, Commodification, History
The Johns Hopkins University Press,2011
,The Grammar of Polarity: Pragmatics, Sensitivity, and the Logic of Scales
Cambridge University Press,2011
,Dark Borders: Film Noir and American Citizenship
Duke University Press,2011
Journal Editor,The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation
Penn Press,2011
,Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City
Yale University Press,2011
,Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections
Council on Library and Information Resources,2010
Author,Pop Apocalypse: A Possible Satire
Harper Perennial ,2009
,Embodied: Victorian Literature and the Senses
University of Minnesota Press,2008
,Cannibal Democracy: Race and Representation in the Literature of the Americas
University of Minnesota Press,2008
Co-Editor,Emily Dickinson's Correspondences: A Born-Digital Textual Inquiry
The University of Virginia Rotunda Press,2008
Co-Editor, with Mary Loeffelholz,A Companion to Emily Dickinson
Wiley-Blackwell,2008
,Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination
MIT Press,2007
,Body Shots: Early Cinema's Incarnations
University of California Press,2007
Editor,Reading Renaissance Ethics
Routledge,2007
Editor,The Iron Heel, by Jack London
Penguin,2006
Editor,The Cambridge Companion to Willa Cather
Cambridge University Press,2005
Co-Editor, with Ryan Johnson,Filth: Dirt, Disgust, and Modern Life
University of Minnesota Press,2005
,Designing Women: The Dressing Room in Eighteenth-Century English Literature and Culture
,2005
Co-Editor,Tiep Can Duong Dai Van Hoa My: Contemporary Approaches to American Culture
Hanoi National University ,2000
,Fantastic Modernity: Dialectical Readings in Romanticism and Theory
Johns Hopkins University Press,2000
,Willa Cather: Queering America
Columbia University Press,1999
Co-editor, with Ellen Louise Hart,Open Me Carefully: Emily Dickinson's Intimate Letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson
Paris Press,1998
,The Story of All Things: Writing the Self in English Renaissance Narrative Poetry
Duke University Press,1998
Editor,Aemilia Lanyer: Gender, Genre, and the Canon
University of Kentucky Press,1998
Editor,O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
Oxford University Press,1997
Editor,Northland Stories, by Jack London
Penguin,1996
,Male Call: Becoming Jack London
Duke University Press,1996
,Sex Scandal: The Private Parts of Victorian Fiction
Duke University Press,1996
,"Doers of the Word": African-American Women Speakers & Writers in the North (1830-1880)
Oxford University Press,1995
,The Romance of Failure
Oxford University Press,1989
Christina Walter, OPTICAL IMPERSONALITY (2105)
Author,Optical Impersonality: Science, Images, and Literary Modernism
Johns Hopkins University Press,2014

Upcoming Events

Sat Nov 18

7:30 PM
Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights

Tue Nov 28

1:00 PM

Fri Dec 1

3:00 PM
Tawes Hall, Room 2123

Tue Dec 5

Fri Dec 8

3:00 PM
Tawes Hall, Room 3136

Fri Jan 26

3:00 PM

Fri Feb 2

3:00 PM

Fri Feb 9

Fri Feb 16

3:00 PM

Fri Feb 23

Fri Mar 2

3:00 PM

Fri Mar 9

Fri Mar 30

3:00 PM

Wed Apr 4

1:00 PM

Fri Apr 6

Fri Apr 13

3:00 PM

Fri Apr 27

3:00 PM

Fri May 4

3:00 PM

News

November 8, 2017
Praise for her second poetry volume -Crumb Sized- in the -Chicago Review of Books.-
October 31, 2017
English Major Sarah Schurman is the recipient of the 2017 Dean's Senior Scholar Award. The award committee cites her distinguished academic performance, leadership qualities, and commitment to community. 
October 30, 2017
Christopher Suarez presented "Jimi Hendrix and His Muse: "Manic Depression," "Little Wing," & "Voodoo Chile"' at the ALSCW Conference on October 26-29 at Dallas University, in Dallas, Texas.
October 26, 2017
With Julie Enszer (Maryland MFA; Maryland WMST PhD), Martha Nell Smith has coedited Everywoman Her Own Theology: On the Poetry of Alicia Ostriker (forthcoming U of Michigan Press Fall 2018).
October 25, 2017
Audrey Farley's essay "Psychoanalysis Via Comics: Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother?" will be published in ImageText: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies. Her essay "Physiology Gone Wild: Oliver Sacks' Clinical Tales and Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower" will be published in Journal of Science Fiction. She also has a book review forthcoming in Public Books and a chapter in the upcoming volume, Illness and Disability in Asian America (Eds. Jennifer Ho and Jim Lee). 
October 25, 2017
Brian Richardson published “The Paradoxical Paradigm of Unnatural Narrative Theory,” in Emerging Vectors in Narratology, eds. Per Krogh Hansen, John Pier, and Wolf Schmid. His interview with Minrui Li was published in Foreign Literature Studies. His essay, “Silence, Progression, and Narrative Collapse in Conrad’s Plots,” was the runner up for the J. H. Stape award for the year’s best essay in Conradiana. He delivered a paper on “The Material Book and the Scene of Reading in To the Lighthouse” at the International Virginia Woolf Conference in Reading (UK) in July. He also evaluated the work of doctoral students and an international doctoral program in comparative literature based at the University of Lisbon.
October 25, 2017
Cameron Mozafari and Michael Israel presented a paper, "More than a Feeling: Frame Metonymy and Cultural Scripts in Persuasive Communication," at the 14th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, held in Tartu, Estonia.  The talk uses classical rhetorical concepts, corpus methods, and Cognitive Grammar to model how rhetors coordinate evaluations and beliefs with their audiences to make them recognize cultural knowledge about what makes people emotional. Cameron was also nominated for and accepted the position of Junior Scholar on the International Cognitive Linguistics Association governing board.
October 25, 2017
 Chuck Caramello recently published the monograph, Research Ethics Education for Graduate International Collaborations in the Council of Graduate Schools "best practices" monograph series. Chuck is currently John H. Daniels Fellow at the National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg, VA, where he is editing a volume of two 18C treatises on military equitation and working on a collection of essays on cavalry and the Great War.
October 25, 2017
Daune O'Brien presented at the Feminisms and Rhetoric's Conference in Dayton, OH on October 7, 2017. The title of the talk was "Dorothea Dix’s Legislative Memorial: Visual Rhetoric and Advocacy for the Mentally Ill"
October 25, 2017
Faculty, students, and alumni gavepapers at the October Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference at the University of Dayton. 

Prospective Students

Alongside the many occasional events and lectures concerning "theory" featured in the English Department, and highlighted on the home page of its website and its calendar, advanced students are also especially recommended to consider the special theory colloquia, often featuring distinguished guests, offered each semester by rotating faculty members