Literature

The literature emphasis trains students to think and write critically through rigorous instruction and engagement with issues of public concern, preparing them for careers in law, project management, publishing and education. The literature emphasis offers courses in British and U.S. literature, as well as global literatures in English. It focuses on a range of historical periods, individual authors, movements, themes and genres, and it stresses a range of theoretical methods and disciplinary approaches. Many of our courses center on diverse and underrepresented literatures in English. Faculty members in the department teach in a variety of fields, including the literature of U.S. writers of color, film, world literature, medieval, modern and early modern British literature.

English class reads and studies inside Frandsen Humanities

Interested in exploring literature more? Consider declaring it as your major or minor, or obtain higher education with a graduate degree.

Major in literature

Minor in literature

Master's in literature

Ph.D. in literature

Opportunities for students

The Department of English offers a variety of exciting research and educational opportunities. Students can take advantage of our study abroad program, they can conduct archival research under the direction of their professors and they can write an honors thesis as part of their undergraduate work. There are also a number of undergraduate research awards available. There are a number of minors housed in the Department of English, including the medieval and renaissance studies minor, as well as the cinema and media studies minor. The Writing Center currently provides a range of academic services to students, while the digital English studies lab will open in the spring of 2020. The Department of English also gets support from the Department of Gender, Race, and Identity and the Latino Research Center.

Faculty in literature

Nasia Anam

Nasia Anam

I study representations of migration between Europe, South Asia, North Africa and the United States in the colonial, postcolonial and contemporary eras. My current book project, Other Cities: Muslims, Migration, and Space in the Global Novel, centers on the figure of the urban Muslim migrant from the postwar to the post-9/11 eras in Global Anglophone and Francophone fiction. I received my Ph.D. in comparative literature at UCLA and have since taught at Princeton University, Williams College and California Institute of the Arts. You can find my writing in ASAP/Journal, Interventions, Post45 Contemporaries, Verge: Studies in Global Asias and The Los Angeles Review of Books.

Michael Branch

Michael Branch

My interests range from early and 19th century American literature to western American literature, environmental literature and the literature of humor. I teach courses in American literature, creative nonfiction and film studies. I am the co-founder of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment and series co-editor of the University of Virginia Press book series Under the Sign of Nature: Explorations in Ecocriticism. I have published nine books and more than 250 articles, essays, reviews and reprints, and have given more than 400 invited lectures and readings. He is currently at work on a book about jackalopes.

Seth Cosimini

Seth Cosimini

I am a teaching assistant professor of American literature with specializations in 19th century American literature and black studies. I love teaching and researching topics that wouldn’t seem to go together in order to understand surprising connections across time and space: hip hop to Emily Dickinson, transcendentalism to black feminist thought. I currently teach and study changing understandings of race and racism in American philosophy and popular culture. My earlier work focused on contemporary poetry and afrofuturist hip hop, and I frequently wrote on these topics both within the University and outside of it, working for both music and poetry magazines.

Pardis Dabashi

Pardis Dabashi

I work on the relationship between the novel and film in the early 20th century. I’m particularly interested in the ways that popular narrative cinema — Hollywood and its institutional precursors — helped shape the novel as a genre as it was transitioning from realism into modernism. I focus on 19th century Continental European and 20th century American literature, as well as cinema from around the world. In addition, I’m interested in problems of methodology, critical argument and theories of the archive. My work has appeared in PMLA, Modernism/modernity, Modern Fiction Studies, Arizona Quarterly, Public Books, Politics/Letters and elsewhere.

Guadalupe Escobar

Guadalupe Escobar

I am an assistant professor of English and of Gender, Race, and Identity. I was previously a postdoctoral fellow at New York University. My interdisciplinary research is situated at the nexus of hemispheric American studies and human rights. My recent article “Toward a Willful Rereading of The Revolt of the Cockroach People,” which appeared in Aztlán in spring 2019, looks at the queer encoding of Chicana feminisms during the Chicano movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. I am currently at work on a full-length study of the Latinx and Latin American genre testimonio (life narratives that document and denounce human rights violations).

David Fenimore

David Fenimore

I began my career teaching courses in western American literature and nature writing, but soon got swept up in teaching core writing and general surveys in British and American literature back when survey courses were a thing. To recover from this soul-numbing experience I taught courses in blues and folk music lyrics and at long last developed a storytelling course, to be offered for the last time ever in Spring 2020, that weirdly hybridizes world folklore, anthropology, memoir and performance studies.

Katherine Fusco

Katherine Fusco

I teach courses in American literature and film from the 1850s-1950s. I am especially interested in the way different artistic forms – ranging from the modernist novel, to women's magazines, to film noir – communicate social values and reflect their moment of production. Currently, I am writing a book about celebrity in the 1920s and 1930s and the way stardom taught Americans with whom and how to identify.

Justin Gifford

Justin Gifford

I am an associate professor of U.S. literature with a specialization in African American literature and cultural studies. My work focuses on the intersection of black radical traditions and popular culture. My books include Pimping Fictions: African American Crime Literature and the Untold Story of Black Pulp Fiction and Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim. My most recent work, Revolution or Death is both a biography of black power leader Eldridge Cleaver and a cultural history of the Black Panther Party. I am currently volunteering at Northern Nevada Correctional Center, where I teach U.S. literature.

Jen Hill

I am an Associate Professor of English with research interests in British literature of the long 19th century, science, visual culture, gender and sexuality, race and empire. I hold Ph.D., M.A., and MFA degrees from Cornell University. My present project, The Barometric Real, links 19th century innovations in data visualization to the era’s literary forms. I am the author of White Horizon: The Arctic in the Nineteenth-Century British Imagination (SUNY 2008), and I have received fellowships from the European Science Federation, the American Council of Learned Societies and the Rice University Humanities Research Center.

James Mardock

James Mardock

I teach early modern English literature, including Shakespearean and non-Shakespearean drama. I am an actor, a director and the resident dramaturg for Reno Little Theater, as well as the coordinating editor of the Internet Shakespeare Editions and the editor of the ISE Henry V. I have published articles on Shakespeare, Spenser, Jonson and John Taylor the “water-poet,” and a monograph on Jonson's London. I am now at work on various critical editions of early modern drama and a book on Calvinism and metatheater in early modern drama.

Daniel Morse

Daniel Ryan Morse

I study the novel and how it interacts with other media: primarily radio, podcasts and film. As a musician, I’m interested in how listening and seeing intersect and diverge, so I’m currently working on a book about audiobooks that tries to break down the barriers often faced by people with disabilities as they read with their ears. My earlier research focused on novelists who were also radio broadcasters, thinking through how their work in multiple media forms impacted their writing and its presentation to the public. I love teaching courses on Irish writers, globalization, contemporary British literature and modernism.

Eric Rasmussen

Eric Rasmussen

I am a University Foundation Professor of English specializing in Shakespeare, Early Modern Drama and editorial theory. I co-edited The Complete Works of William Shakespeare for the Royal Shakespeare Company with Sir Jonathan Bate and I am General Editor of the New Variorum Shakespeare series. I have served on the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Association of America and I recently produced a summer season of Shakespeare's plays in original Elizabethan pronunciation in concert with the Prague Shakespeare Company in the Czech Republic.

Micah Stack

I have an M.A. in literature and an MFA in creative writing (fiction), so I teach literature from a hybrid perspective that is both interpretive and craft-oriented; in my view, we should analyze how a work of art is made — how it works — before we attempt to explain its meaning. Additionally, I wrote my master’s thesis on the film adaptations of Bret Easton Ellis’s novels, and I remain interested in the philosophical and aesthetic questions raised by film adaptations of literature, a subject I also love teaching. I’m writing a novel loosely based on the life of rapper Lil’ Wayne.