The undergraduate major in English literature
The English literature program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in a wide-ranging study of literature written in English. Our students may experience not only complete coverage of the major periods and genres of English, American and Anglophone literature, but also the variety of critical approaches and concerns that characterize the field today, such as nation, gender, race and sexuality. In addition to researching literary traditions and analyzing works of imagination, such as poetry, drama and fiction, literary studies also focuses on popular culture, oral traditions, folklore, film studies and digital media. Literary studies as a discipline is uniquely positioned to be a force for interdisciplinarity in the humanities, having strong links with research centers and programs on campus, including Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS), Women’s Studies, African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Chicano/a Studies, Humanities, Justice Studies and the Honors College. Students who major in English literature are enthusiastic about engaging with other historical periods and cultures through the imaginative writings produced in those eras and locales. They want to examine their own time and place more deeply by studying creative responses to them. They want to think critically and creatively about their own place in the world. They want to express their perceptions about these matters clearly and persuasively in writing. They want to read, write and think about literature and culture in a more intelligent and disciplined way. While our students may initially be attracted to English literature because they are following their passion, they also find that this area of study trains them in skills necessary in the job market: writing ability, critical thinking, research and problem solving. It also prepares them for advanced study in graduate or professional schools. The study of English literature ultimately prepares students for a life of self-reflection, critical engagement with the world at large and meaningful employment.
Graduate programs in English literature
Our department offers both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in literature. These degrees provide students the opportunity to do advanced work in literary study—British, American and Anglophone—with a distinguished faculty. They also prepare students for a variety of academic careers, from high school to university teaching.
The graduate English literature faculty at ASU consists of some of the top scholars in their fields, award-winning teachers and writers at the cutting edge of the discipline. Faculty members at the Tempe campus work closely with graduate students in the classroom, on their theses and dissertations, and on the other requirements leading to their degrees.
The ASU English department also offers opportunities for advanced work in such interdisciplinary areas as cultural studies (including visual cultures), performance studies, colonial and postcolonial studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Literary studies as a discipline is uniquely positioned to be a force for interdisciplinarity in the humanities, having strong links with research centers and programs on campus, including Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS), Women’s Studies, African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Chicano/a Studies and Justice Studies.
The English department is in a period of phenomenal faculty growth, and is committed to seeking out the best senior scholars as well as the most promising newcomers to the field, and our graduate students are among the primary beneficiaries. They are encouraged to achieve both a wide-ranging coverage in the subcategories of literature in English and in critical approaches, and a depth of expertise in their fields of specialization. ASU’s graduate faculty model also allows graduate student the opportunity to work closely with numerous distinguished scholars from outside the English department.
Graduate students in the literature programs are trained to become leading researchers in their fields, and are encouraged in the skills necessary to professionalization: conference presentations, publication, job-seeking skills, etc. Beginning immediately, they can apply for positions as teaching assistants, and thus gain valuable professional experience in a wide variety of classroom situations. This training pays off: our students are successful in finding academic jobs at all levels.
Adams' interests include book history, history of reading, early modern English drama, and premodern critical race and gender studies.
Adamson is President's Professor of environmental humanities and Director of the Environmental Humanities Initiative (EHI) at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU.
Nicole Anderson is Professor and Director of The Institute for Humanities Research (IHR) at Arizona State University, USA.
Baldini's research interests are concentrated on British and European 19th century literature and culture.
Barksdale-Shaw's work explores narratives of justice by combining several disciplines including law, literature and medicine.
Bate is an international leader in green thinking and applied humanities, with scholarly expertise in sustainability as well as in Shakespeare, life-writing, Romanticism, contemporary poetry, theatre, and visual culture.
Bebout has authored two books: "Mythohistorical Interventions: The Chicano Movement and Its Legacies" and "Whiteness on the Border: Mapping the US Racial Imagination in Brown and White."
Bjork specializes in Old English language and literature as well as Old Norse, modern Swedish, and modern medical writing. He was educated at Pomona College and UCLA.
Broglio's research focuses on how philosophy and aesthetics can help us rethink the relationship between humans and the environment.
Brown is a public historian and a scholar of African American literature and culture.
Clarke's primary field is 20th century American fiction.
Cohen is the dean of humanities in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He is widely published in the fields of medieval studies, monster theory, and the environmental humanities.
Ellis' research interests are in Native American oral traditions, North American verbal and performative lore, and world folklore.
Espinosa is the associate director of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and specializes in Shakespeare and early modern literature.
Fox's current work focuses on the histories of positive emotions and well-being, as well as the role of fictional and cultural narratives in shaping emotion.
Galarrita’s research focuses on early modern English drama and travel writing, premodern critical race studies, language and science fiction.
Goodman's research and teaching ranges across several fields, including U.S. literature and culture, human rights, dissident literatures, and Jewish studies.
Hawkes’ academic specialty is the poetry of John Milton. However, his publications span a variety of fields ranging from Darwinism, zombies and torture to, Chomsky, magic, and McCarthyism.
Holbo studies American literature from the age of sentiment to the modernist era.
Hope's work lives at the intersection of language and literature: using techniques from linguistics to explore literary texts, and literary texts as evidence for the linguistic history of English.
A dedicated teacher, Horan has published nine books and more than thirty essays on Latin American and U.S. literature at the intersections of letters and biography, gender, digital humanities and literary translation.
Irish studies the literature and culture of 16th-century England, with a particular focus on the history of emotion.
Lester's specialization is African American literary and cultural studies.
Lockard founded the Prison English project (now the Prison Education Program) and continues to teach a weekly poetry workshop at Florence State Prison.
Devoney Looser is an internationally recognized scholar of British women’s writings, the history of the novel, and Jane Austen. The author or editor of nine books, she is a Guggenheim Fellow and an NEH Public Scholar.
Maring explores the way that early English poems draw upon oral, literary, and ritual forms of signification for their meaning.
Newhauser has a doctorate in English, with an emphasis on Medieval studies. His areas of research interest include the moral tradition in intellectual history and sensory studies (sensology).
Quintero teaches literature for the Department of English and is the editor of RED INK.
Ryner's teaching interests include Shakespeare and Renaissance drama; British literature to 1700; drama as a genre; literary theory and cultural studies.
Sadowski-Smith works in border and migration studies. She has published "The New Immigrant Whiteness: Race, Neoliberalism, and Post-Soviet Migration to the United States," "Border Fictions," and "Globalization on the Line."
Sayet is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of English and member of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
Ayanna Thompson is a Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University, and the Director of the Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies (ACMRS).
New approaches to American literature at A New American University
Just as Arizona State University believes in inclusion and the expansion of the academic enterprise, so our American literature program looks beyond the box of traditional academic study. We offer a vibrant array of options and unique opportunities. We are geographically situated to take advantage of our expertise in Indigenous American, Inter-American, Southwestern, and Border Studies. We are grounded in the intersection of literature, culture, and history, from a thriving program in abolitionist studies, comparative ethnic literatures, indigenous literature, and transnational U.S. literatures, to expertise in 19th century domesticity, 20th century automotive and economic culture, and 21st century immigration studies. We have the additional benefit of several distinguished writers who also teach and research American literature. The American literature program at Arizona State offers a stimulating experience that develops the next generation of scholars in the most innovative branch of English studies.
The 19th century British studies area has internationally known faculty who research and teach a range of topics in the period. Some strong thematic threads of our work include gender and society, natural history, science and literature, imperialism, and studies in urban and rural landscapes. Faculty maintain a very active publication portfolio providing innovations to literature and cultural studies of the period.
Graduate Students working in this area
Our graduate students currently serve as bloggers for the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism. We participate in a bi-monthly colloquim. Additionally, our program offers teaching assistantships and opportunities to intern at the library archives.