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Indiana University Bloomington

New Initiatives in 20th-Century Literature and Culture

Over the past few years, twentieth-century studies have become integral to our program in the Department of English. A growing roster of scholars and a range of new research opportunities have made the Department a distinctive place to study the literature and culture of the past century. We currently support a large faculty of both junior and senior scholars whose cutting-edge research covers British and American literature of the past century (fiction, drama, and poetry) as well related areas of critical theory and cultural studies, race theory, postcolonial theory, feminism, material culture, and science fiction and fantasy. New scholarship initiatives along with an array of exciting course offerings provide scholars with an extensive network of collegial support. The Modernist Exchange is a campus-wide study group that links scholars from English, History, Philosophy, and Music to explore recent trends in modernist criticism and theory. Frequent informal reading groups within the Department also join students and faculty in debate; recent topics have included modernism and technology, posthumanism and the literature of science, African American fiction, the work of Deleuze and Guattari, and the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty. Scholars in the Department also benefit from the Lilly Library’s extensive collection of twentieth-century manuscripts. Twentieth-century students have the opportunity to work with a wide range of unknown and underexplored materials, such as first editions from Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press, Ian Fleming’s personal library and an international collection of detective and fantasy fiction.

The Department of English has numerous ties to other groundbreaking programs in the humanities and sciences at Indiana University. Many of our faculty comprise the ranks of the University’s American Studies Program and Cultural Studies Program, and many work closely with the Departments of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Gender Studies, History, and Foreign Languages. Our degree requirements encourage and support interdisciplinary connections for graduate students as well, and recent graduate students in English have branched out into the Schools of Drama, Informatics, Mathematics, and Law. They have found support for dissertations on diverse topics such as race and eugenics, modernism and the culture of amusement, avant-garde feminist performance, and the material history of pulp fiction. Most graduate students work closely with professors as well as fellow students, finding numerous opportunities for sharing their research and writing. In the past few years, our twentieth-century students have found significant tenure-track positions and research fellowships at Stanford University, Duke University, Drake University, Michigan State University, The University of Louisville, Boston University, and Princeton University.

This website contains information about our twentieth-century offerings. It has links to faculty biographies and project descriptions, recent dissertation abstracts, and a list of courses at the graduate level. It also contains links to other departments at Indiana University that specialize in twentieth-century studies, many of which offer courses that can be taken for English credit.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.