American Literary Studies

The UGA graduate program in English offers a full range of courses in American literary studies, including standard courses in literary periods, genres, and major authors, as well as topics courses; our approaches and methods are similarly diverse.  We routinely offer author seminars on major writers (William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes), literary movements (e.g. "The New York School Poets," "Mid?Century Moderns"), and approaches to American literature and popular culture (e.g. “Constructions of Race in the American Novel”). Seminar topics change frequently according to faculty research interests. In recent years our seminar offerings have included "The Harlem Renaissance," "American Confessional Poetry," "The African American Aesthetic," "The Southern Renaissance and After," "Museums, Modernism, Memory," and "Encyclopedic Form: The Cantos and the Arcades Project."

The American literature faculty are a large and diverse group whose research and teaching interests constitute one of the department's core strengths. We are particularly strong in American modernism, Southern literature, and multicultural and African American literature. Three of the department's chaired professors teach in American literature.

In addition to faculty strengths, graduate students specializing in American literature have access to a rich array of department and university resources. Our primary research facility is the Main Library, which houses the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Holdings in the Hargrett include the Manuscript Collection; theGeorgiana Collection, documenting the history of Georgia; the Southeastern Native American Documents Collection, an assortment of some 2000 documents and images from the years 1730-1842; The DeRenne Georgia Library, containing printed materials relating to the early history of Georgia; a number of Civil War diaries and related papers; and an extensive broadside collection. The library's electronic resources include Literature Online, Women Writers Online, American Periodicals Series Online, American Poetry 1600-1900, Early American Fiction 1789-1875, Early American Imprints 1639-1819, Project Muse, and JSTOR, all accessible through GALILEO, the libraries' database collection.

Two English department lecture series bring in a regular rotation of scholars in the field of American literature. The Eidson Lecture series, sponsored by J.O. Eidson Professor James Nagel, and the Lanier Speakers Series, sponsored by Helen S. Lanier Professor Jed Rasula, have in recent years featured prominent Americanists Donald Pizer, Michael Awkward, Marjorie Perloff, Louis Menand, and Robert O'Meally, among many others. The UGA History Department sponsors a regular colloquium series, The Georgia Workshop in Early American History and Culture. Other colloquium series and reading groups are also available to students or faculty who wish to organize them.

A number of ongoing faculty research projects provide students with opportunities to earn money while developing their own research, editorial and technical skills. Graduate students most recently have worked onThe Writings of Henry David Thoreau ; the Hemingway Letters Project; the Digital Library of Georgia and its related Multicultural Archives; the annual review of literature, American Literary Scholarship ; the Civil Rights Digital Library Initiative; and various lecture series. In addition, UGA Graduate School research assistantshipsprovide funding for graduate students to offer research help to American literature faculty who are writing books and articles. The varied demands of these assistantships bring valuable expertise to our students.

At the same time, faculty encourage students to pursue their own research projects, and a combination of funding sources from the department, university, and Graduate School makes it possible for students to attend national and international conferences and to travel to archives to conduct research for their theses and dissertations. A generous endowment from the Hugh Kenner Professorship Fund, established in 2006, enables graduate student travel: our first recipient visited the Jack Kerouac Archives at the New York Public Library's Berg Collection; other sources have funded graduate student travel in the South to interview former Civil Rights activists. Our students have recently presented papers at national and international conferences onHenry James (Venice, Italy); Ernest Hemingway (Ronda, Spain); Richard Aldington (Les Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer, France); Charles Brockden Brown (New York); Robert Penn Warren (Bowling Green, KY); Toni Morrison(Cincinatti); and New Directions in American Indian Research (Chapel Hill). They regularly present their work at the national meetings of the American Literature Association ( Boston and San Francisco ); the College Language AssociationTwentieth-Century Literature and Culture (Louisville); and the annual MLA convention.

Because of strong faculty encouragement and institutional support, our graduate students have been successful in publishing their work in prominent places. Their dissertations have been published by Ohio State University Press, Louisiana State University Press, Routledge, and the University of Georgia Press , among others. They have also published essays in important journals and edited collections.

Finally, the department offers many opportunities for advanced graduate students to teach undergraduate courses in American literature. Working alone or as teaching assistants for professors, qualified graduate students may teach one of the sophomore American literature surveys and occasionally upper?division courses. The Robert E. Park Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship is awarded each year to our most qualified Ph.D.s, providing graduates the opportunity to develop a full range of undergraduate courses.