Category Archives: State of the Field

State of the Field: Critical Queer/Race Studies

By: LeiLani Dowell


  1. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies

“GLQ publishes scholarship, criticism, and commentary in areas as diverse as law, science studies, religion, political science, and literary studies. Its aim is to offer queer perspectives on all issues touching on sex and sexuality.

2. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society

“Recognized as the leading international journal in women’s and gender studies, Signs is at the forefront of new directions in feminist scholarship. Challenging the boundaries of knowledge concerning women’s and men’s lives in diverse regions of the globe, Signs publishes scholarship that raises new questions and develops innovative approaches to our understanding of the past and present. What makes feminist scholarship published in Signs distinctive is not necessarily the subject of investigation or particular methods of inquiry but the effort to cultivate alternative research practices that further feminist, queer, and antiracist goals of social transformation.”

3. Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters

“Texas A&M University sponsors Callaloo, and the Johns Hopkins University Press publishes the journal four times each year. The central purposes of Callaloo are:

  • “to provide a publication outlet, in English or English translations, for new, emerging, and established creative writers who produce texts in different languages in the African Diaspora; and
  • “to serve as a forum for literary and cultural critics who write about the literature and culture of the African Diaspora”


  1. “Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low,” C. Riley Snorton, 2014.

“Since the early 2000s, the phenomenon of the ‘down low’—black men who have sex with men as well as women and do not identify as gay, queer, or bisexual—has exploded in media and popular culture. C. Riley Snorton traces the emergence and circulation of the down low, demonstrating how these portrayals reinforce troubling perceptions of black sexuality generally.”

  1. “Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings,” Juana María Rodríguez, 2014.

“Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures and Other Latina Longings proposes a theory of sexual politics that works in the interstices between radical queer desires and the urgency of transforming public policy, between utopian longings and everyday failures. Considering the ways in which bodily movement is assigned cultural meaning, Juana María Rodríguez takes the stereotypes of the hyperbolically gestural queer Latina femme body as a starting point from which to discuss how gestures and forms of embodiment inform sexual pleasures and practices in the social realm.”

  1. “Wandering: Philosophical Performances of Racial and Sexual Freedom,” Sarah Jane Cervenak, 2014.

“Combining black feminist theory, philosophy, and performance studies, Sarah Jane Cervenak ruminates on the significance of physical and mental roaming for black freedom. She is particularly interested in the power of wandering or daydreaming for those whose mobility has been under severe constraint, from the slave era to the present. Since the Enlightenment, wandering has been considered dangerous and even criminal when associated with people of color. Cervenak engages artist-philosophers who focus on wayward movement and daydreaming, or mental travel, that transcend state-imposed limitations on physical, geographic movement. From Sojourner Truth’s spiritual and physical roaming to the rambling protagonist of Gayl Jones’s novel Mosquito, Cervenak highlights modes of wandering that subvert Enlightenment-based protocols of rationality, composure, and upstanding comportment. Turning to the artists Pope.L (William Pope.L), Adrian Piper, and Carrie Mae Weems, Cervenak argues that their work produces an otherworldly movement, an errant kinesis that exceeds locomotive constraints, resisting the straightening-out processes of post-Enlightenment, white-supremacist, capitalist, sexist, and heteronormative modernity. Their roaming animates another terrain, one where free, black movement is not necessarily connected to that which can be seen, touched, known, and materially valued.”


  1. American Studies Association annual meeting (this year: “The Fun and the Fury: New Dialectics of Pleasure and Pain In the Post-American Century, November 6-9, 2014: Westin Bonaventure, Los Angeles, CA”)
  1. Black Queer Sexualities Studies Collective annual conference (this year: “Legacies of Black Feminisms: A Black Queer Sexuality Studies Graduate Student Conference” at Princeton University, October 11, 2014)
  1. Modern Language Association annual convention (this year’s Presidential Theme: “Negotiating Sites of Memory,” Vancouver, 8–11 January 2015)


  1. Sexual Cultures NYU Press series:

“Since its inception in 1998, the Sexual Cultures series has sought to expand the potential of queer theory by unfixing the subjects of LGBTQ studies. Taking our cue from women of color feminisms and queer of color critique, the series seeks projects that offer alternative mappings of queer life in which questions of race, class, gender, temporality, religion, and region are as central as sexuality. Such multi-focused and open-ended explorations are even more vital today, when the mainstreaming of lesbian and gay lives and cultures risks foreclosing other possible ways of being in, and relating to, the world.”

  1. Perverse Modernities:

“Perverse Modernities transgresses modern divisions of knowledge that have historically separated the consideration of sexuality, and its concern with desire, gender, bodies, and performance, on the one hand, from the consideration of race, colonialism, and political economy, on the other, in order to explore how the mutual implication of race, colonialism, and sexuality has been rendered perverse and unintelligible within the logics of modernity. Books in the series have elaborated such perversities in the challenge to modern assumptions about historical narrative and the nation-state, the epistemology of the human sciences, the continuities of the citizen-subject and civil society, the distinction between health and morbidity, and the rational organization of that society into separate spheres. Perverse modernities, in this sense, have included queer of color and queer anticolonial subcultures, racialized sexualized laborers migrating from the global south to the metropolis, nonwestern desires and bodies and their incommensurability with the gendered, national or communal meanings attributed to them, and analyses of the refusals of normative domestic “healthy” life narratives by subjects who inhabit and perform sexual risk, different embodiments, and alternative conceptions of life and death. The project also highlights intellectual “perversities,” from disciplinary infidelities and epistemological promiscuity, to theoretical irreverence and heterotopic imaginings”

  1. Series Q:

“Series Q was launched in 1993 by editors Michèle Aina Barale, Jonathan Goldberg, Michael Moon, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. It brought a theoretical and interdisciplinary lens to gay and lesbian studies, approaching questions of sexuality from a queer angle. Intersections of sexuality with cultural studies, gender theory, social theory and literary theory characterize many of the books in the series in their embrace of questions of gender, culture, race and nationality, sexuality, and processes of representation.”


  1. QUEER SPECULATIONS: Thirteenth Annual Lecture Series in LGBT Studies at the University of Maryland. This year: JUANA MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ Friday, April 17, 2015

“Juana María Rodríguez is Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is also affiliated faculty with the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance studies; the Berkeley Center for New Media; the Center for Race and Gender; and the Center for the Study of Sexual Cultures. Professor Rodríguez is the author of two books, Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces (NYU 2003) and Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures and Other Latina Longings (NYU 2014) and has published numerous articles related to her research interests in sexuality studies, queer activism in a transnational American context, critical race theory, technology and media arts, and Latin@ and Caribbean studies. She is currently working on a third book project that considers the intersection of age, sexuality, race and visual culture.”

  1. Sonoma State University Queer Lecture Series

Presentations in 2014 include

  • Julio Salgado — I Exist: My Undocumented and Queer Narrative Through Art
  • Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler — Black, Trans and Indie
  • Raquel Gutiérrez — Radical Narcissism
  • Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarashina — F*cking Sh*t Up For Freedom: QTPOC Performance Beyond Survival
  • Ryan Lee Cartwright — Peculiar Places: A Queer/Crip History of Rural Nonconformity
  • Michael Nava — From Mental Illness to Marriage Equality: the LGBT Rights Movement
  • Jai Arun Ravine — Mixed Race, Mixed Gender, Mixed Genre: Dis-fluency and Illegibility in
  • Identity and Art-making
  • Toby Beauchamp — X-Ray Specs: Transgender Politics and Surveillance at the Airport
  • Maisha Johnson — Art and Creativity in LGBTQ Justice Work
  • Kate Bornstein — Sex, Bullies, and You: How America’s bully culture is messing with your sex life
  • Marcia Ochoa — Queen for a Day: Transformistas, beauty queens and the performance of femininity in Venezuela
  1. Queer Futures series at Columbia University

“Queer Futures is a new series that invites Queer Studies scholars to discuss the future of queerness relating to the body, gender, femininity, masculinity and American society.”


  1. Bully Bloggers:

Bloggers include LISA DUGGAN, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU; J. JACK HALBERSTAM, Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity and Gender Studies at USC; JOSÉ ESTEBAN MUNOZ, Associate Professor and  Chair of Performance Studies at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University; and TAVIA NYONG’O, Associate Professor of Performance Studies at NYU.

  1. Feminist Wire:

“The mission of The Feminist Wire is to provide socio-political and cultural critique of anti-feminist, racist, and imperialist politics pervasive in all forms and spaces of private and public lives of individuals globally. Of particular critical interest to us are social and political phenomena that block, negate, or limit the satisfaction of goods or ends that humans, especially the most vulnerable, minimally require for living free of structural violence. The Feminist Wire seeks to valorize and sustain pro-feminist representations and create alternative frameworks to build a just and equitable society.”

  1. Black Girl Dangerous:

“Black Girl Dangerous is the brainchild of writer Mia McKenzie. What started out as a scream of anguish has evolved into a multi-faceted forum for expression. Black Girl Dangerous seeks to, in as many ways possible, amplify the voices, experiences and expressions of queer and trans* people of color. Black Girl Dangerous is a place where we can make our voices heard on the issues that interest us and affect us, where we can showcase our literary and artistic talents, where we can cry it out, and where we can explore and express our “dangerous” sides: our biggest, boldest, craziest, weirdest, wildest selves.”


  1. C. Riley Snorton: @CRileySnorton
  2. Kandice Chuh: @KCatGC
  3. Herman Bennett: @HermanBennett1


  1. CLAGS: Center for LGBTQ Studies: @CLAGSNY
  2. SchomburgCenter: @SchomburgCenter
  3. Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality: the Locus of Interdisciplinary Feminist Scholarship at Columbia University: @IRWGS


  1. ENGL 80400. Kandice Chuh. “Queer(ing) Critique”. CUNY Grad Center, Spring 2015

“This course is organized around two questions: 1) what is queer critique?, and 2) what does it mean to queer critique?  To address them, we’ll read some of the hallmark texts in queer theory especially as it relates to cultural studies (including but not limited to work by Eve Sedgwick, Michel Foucault, Rod Ferguson, Lauren Berlant, José Esteban Muñoz, Siobhan Somerville, Jacqui Alexander, Jack Halberstam, and Judith Butler), and some of the work that has arguably queered the critical paradigms dominant in certain discourses and fields (including but not limited to work by David Eng, Gayatri Gopinath, Licia Fiol-Matta, Robert Reid-Pharr, Lisa Duggan, Madhavi Menon, and William Cohen).  Our aim will be not only to pay sustained attention to queer critique as an analytic approach and intellectual tradition, but also to consider the extent to which critique itself may be fashioned as queer — i.e., as non-normative, politically engaged, involved with matters of desire and attachment, erotics and embodied knowledge.  In the course of our discussions, we’ll attempt to apprehend some of the key terms and concepts organizing contemporary queer critique — e.g., affect, materiality, homonormativity, and temporality among others.”

  1. ENGL 76200. Meena Alexander. “Body, Affect, Landscape: Postcolonial Reckonings”. CUNY Grad Center, Spring 2015.

“How do issues of affect and embodiment play into postcolonial concerns with marked bodies, haunted landscapes, anxious histories? We will consider migration and displacement, bodies that are racially and sexually marked, public space and with it the shifting nature of cultural memory. Our exploration of affect and its intensities as crystallized in language, will include Ismat Chughtai’s short story `Lihaaf’ (`The Quilt’, 1942) about a high born woman and her maid —   a pair of lesbian lovers  — which drew the attention of the British colonial government. Chughtai was hauled into Lahore court under the Obscenity Laws. We will read fiction by writers such as Ananda Devi, M Ondaatje, U C Ali Farrah, A R Gurnah, poems by K Das, A.K.Ramanujan, and the New York poet A Notley. Questions of passage across the Indian Ocean, a liminal existence and with it the need to refashion the self emerge in autobiographical writings by M.K.Gandhi, A Ghosh and M Alexander. We will consider the phenomenological insights of Merleau-Ponty and work by theorists such as Appadurai, Bhabha , Berlant, Deleuze and Guattari, Debord, Gunew, Massumi, Merleau-Ponty, Sedgwick, Spivack, Stewart and Virno. In addition a short segment of the course will consider the concept of rasa from classical Indian aesthetics and its implications for contemporary affect theory.”

  1. ENGL 75000. Duncan Faherty. “Unsettled States: Rethinking Canonicity and Geography in Early U.S. Literature 1789-1859”.  CUNY Grad Center, Spring 2015.

“Previous configurations of early U.S. cultural production often framed the first decades of the Republic as characterized by issues of expansion, increased enfranchisement, consolidation, and progressive development. This course seeks to confront these residual figurations by thinking about how fracture, partisanship, ambiguity, and unsettlement might more generatively shape our engagement with this period. Moving beyond the contours of a mythic exceptionalist geography, we will explore emergent critical interest in the hemispheric, transnational, Atlantic, Black Atlantic, circum-Atlantic, and Oceanic dimensions of early U.S. cultural production; in so doing, we will attend to how varyingly literary geographies obscure or illuminate divergent bodies and canons. We will also consider how these spatial paradigms work in tandem with temporal ones by immersing ourselves in the ‘new critical interest in questions of history, temporality, and periodicity’ which, as Dana Luciano notes, has troubled ‘the when of our field,’ by complicating ‘the reflexive habits of periodization that organize fields [and, perhaps, canons] according to distinct and self-evident centuries.’ In particular we will consider how the Haitian Revolution and the Louisiana Purchase unsettled and reoriented cultural and political life in the United States, by taking up the challenge of trying to map how these events often appear, in Michael Drexler and Ed White’s accounting, through the use of a kind of ‘distorted articulation.’ We will also seek to read ‘cartographically,’ following what Andy Doolen has registered as the way texts ‘were embedded in the process of territorialization, explicitly addressing issues of possession and ownership’ so as to legitimize a range of state and non-state sanctioned actions and behaviors. As such, we will grapple with the shifting structures of feeling that define notions of democracy, empire, citizenship, and nation in the early Republic; moreover, we will investigate how the ‘feelings of structure’ serve to manage, manipulate, contain, and exclude particular bodies and possibilities from those emerging and contingent definitions. Finally, part of our consideration of questions about canonicity will take the form of archival research, as well as an exploration of the challenges and rewards of ‘recovery’ work.”

State of the Field

By: Lucas Corcoran


Renaissance Quarterly. University of Chicago Press.

Early Modern Cultural Studies. University of Pennsylvania Press.

The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Duke University Press.

Shakespeare Quarterly. John Hopkins Press.


Green, Roland. Five Words: Critical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

In his book, Professor Greene seeks to trace the intellectual history of the long 16th century through the changing usages of five words: blood, invention, language, world, resistance. Herein, Professor green sets out a term ‘critical semantics’ in order to describe this method.

Palfrey, Simon. Poor Tom: Living King Lear. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.

Palfrey hopes to see King Lear anew. To do this, he examines Edgar’s portrayal of ‘Poor Tom of Bedlam.’

Turner, James. Philology: the Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2014.

Professor Turner’s account of philology includes periods of history before and after what scholars usually define as the early modern era. His is a useful narrative, for it establishes the firm hold that philology had on early modern literary study and education.

Annual Conferences:

Renaissance Society of America

Shakespeare Association of America

Society for the Study of Early Modern Women

University Press Series:

The I Tatti Renaissance Library. Harvard UP.

Renaissance Dramatists. Edinburgh University Press.

Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture. Cambridge University Press.

Speaker Series:

Society for the Study of Women in the Renaissance. The Graduate Center, CUNY.

University Seminar in Shakespeare. Columbia University.

Renaissance Studies. The Graduate Center, CUNY.


Medieval and Renaissance Studies Columbia:

The Folger:

The British Library: http:

Scholarly Tweets:

John Gallagher:

Mario Digangi:

Carrie Hintz:

Institutional Tweets:

The Folger Library:

The Newberry Library:

The Huntington Library:




State of the Field: Postcolonialism

By: Chelsea Wall


The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry.

This journal seeks to provide a “forum for publishing research covering the full spectrum of postcolonial critical readings and approaches, whether these center on established or lesser known postcolonial writers or draw upon fields such as Modernism, Medievalism, Shakespeare, and Victorian Studies that have hitherto not been considered central to postcolonial literary studies, yet have generated some of the best insights on postcolonialism.”

Race and Class: a Journal on Racism, Empire, and Globalisation.

“Race & Class is a refereed, ISI-ranked publication, the foremost English language journal on racism and imperialism in the world today. For three decades it has established a reputation for the breadth of its analysis, its global outlook and its multidisciplinary approach.” Topics covered include but are not limited to: globalisation, popular culture, postcolonialism, legacies of empire, culture and identity, militarism and empire, religion and race, and xeno-racism.

The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies.

“The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies publishes interdisciplinary and cross-cultural articles, interviews, and creative writings on the literatures, the histories, the politics, and the arts whose focus, locales, or subjects involve Britain and other European countries and their former colonies, the now decolonized, independent nations in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, and also Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand.”

Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies.

This journal actually has it’s editorial office in the department of English at NYU and it’s website is pretty amazing to navigate via iPad. Subjects of interest include: the histories of imperialism and colonialism, the role of culture (academic, literary, and popular) in the operation of imperialism and the formation of resistance movements, liberation struggles, past and ongoing, the role of religion and culture in new nationalisms, the contemporary politics of identity, races and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, the economies of neocolonialism, diaspora and migrancy, etc.


Globalectics: Theory and the Politics of Knowing by Ngugi wa Thiong’o (2012). “wa Thiong’o confronts the politics of language in African writing; the problem of linguistic imperialism and literature’s ability to resist it; the difficult balance between orality, or ‘orature,’ and writing, or ‘literature’; the tension between national and world literature; and the role of the literary curriculum in both reaffirming and undermining the dominance of the Western canon.”

The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South by Vijay Prashad (2014). “Prashad analyzes the failures of neoliberalism, as well as the rise of the BRICS countries, the World Social Forum, issue-based movements like Via Campesina, the Latin American revolutionary revival—in short, efforts to create alternatives to the neoliberal project advanced militarily by the US and its allies and economically by the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, and other instruments of the powerful. Just as The Darker Nations asserted that the Third World was a project, not a place, The Poorer Nations sees the Global South as a term that properly refers not to geographical space but to a concatenation of protests against neoliberalism.”

Postcolonialism and the Specter of Capital by Vivek Chibber (2013). “Postcolonial theory has become enormously influential as a framework for understanding the Global South. It is also a school of thought popular because of its rejection of the supposedly universalizing categories of the Enlightenment. In this devastating critique, mounted on behalf of the radical Enlightenment tradition, Vivek Chibber offers the most comprehensive response yet to postcolonial theory. Focusing on the hugely popular Subaltern Studies project, Chibber shows that its foundational arguments are based on a series of analytical and historical misapprehensions. He demonstrates that it is possible to affirm a universalizing theory without succumbing to Eurocentrism or reductionism.”



The British Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies Conference. “The British Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies Conference, inaugurated in 1992, is the oldest and longest-running annual meeting of its kind in the United States. It encompasses colonial and postcolonial histories, literatures, creative and performing arts, politics, economics, and all other aspects of the countries formerly colonized by Britain and other European powers. There is no restriction to any particular political/cultural ideology or to specific critical practices. The Colonial, Postcolonial, and Decolonized eras all are of interest. We welcome and seek to encourage a variety of approaches and viewpoints, and the generation of wide-ranging, productive debates. Interdisciplinary and cross-cultural, the conference offers scholars and researchers, teachers and students, the opportunity to disseminate and discuss their knowledge and understanding of the dynamic, important field of postcolonial studies.”

Postcolonial Studies Association Conference. “We aim to help foster relevant work on, across and between such areas as anthropology, area studies, cultural studies, developmental studies, economics, gender studies, geography, history, international relations, linguistics, literary studies, political studies, sociology, and others. Though based in the UK, the PSA’s scope and membership are international, and the Association actively welcomes scholars dealing with non-Anglophone areas and subjects – particularly those that are not represented by existing research centres and groups.”

Cultural Studies Association Annual Conference. While this conference is not geared toward postcolonialism explicitly, their website notes that they “welcome proposals from a range of disciplinary and topical positions, including literature, history, sociology, geography, politics, anthropology, communication(s), popular culture, cultural theory, queer studies, critical race studies, feminist studies, post-colonial studies, legal studies, science studies, media and film studies, material cultural studies, platform studies, visual art and performance studies.” Furthermore, this year’s theme is “Another University is Possible: Praxis, Activism, and the Promise of Critical Pedagogy.” They go on to note that “it expresses a commitment to the intellectual and political project of a radically different university. Moving beyond policy and pundit-driven discussions of the state and the future of higher education, we seek proposals that highlight socially-engaged scholarship and activism, and projects that explore the transformative possibilities embedded in the present. What forms and formations of research, pedagogy, praxis, and activism have emerged from the struggles being waged in, around, through, and in spite of institutions of higher education? What roles can culture, theory, imagination, and technology play in these struggles? Taking up cultural studies’ historical commitment to the interrogation of the relations among knowledge, power, and social transformation, the 2015 Cultural Studies Association conference seeks to provide an insurgent intellectual space for imagining, enacting, and mapping new forms of knowledge production and scholarly communication and community,” all of which I thought was particularly relevant to our last discussion in class.



Postcolonial Literary Studies Series by Edinburgh University Press “examines how Postcolonial Studies reconfigures the major existing periods and areas of literature. The books relate key literary and cultural texts both to their historical and geographical contexts, and to contemporary issues of neo-colonialism and global inequality. Each volume not only provides a comprehensive survey of the existing field of scholarship and debate, but is also an original critical intervention in its own right.” Titles include Modernist Literature and Postcolonial Studies, Romantic Literatures and Postcolonial Studies, Postwar British Literatures and Postcolonial Studies, etc.

Postcolonialism Across the Disciplines Series by Liverpool University Press “showcases alternative directions for postcolonial studies by opening up new dialogues between disciplines and by widening its traditional subject matter. It attempts to counteract the dominance in colonial and postcolonial studies of one particular discipline, literary studies, making the case for a combination of disciplinary knowledges as the basis for contemporary postcolonial critique.” Some titles I was particularly drawn to in this series include: Rhetorics of Belonging, Sacred Modernity, and Involuntary Associations

Oxford Studies in Postcolonial Literature by Oxford University Press.



The Graduate Center actually just had a speaker series in collaboration with the World of Matter project last month. The events were titled “Radical Materialism: Making the World Matter” and “A Critical Discussion of World of Matter.” There are several more events (“Rare Earth,” “The Infiltrators,” and “Malign Velocities”) in the upcoming weeks.

There is a seminar series held at Emory University that is titled “Interdisciplinary Workshop in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies” but I am unsure if this is still active.

The Postcolonial Studies Project at NYU hosts a variety of events, speakers, and colloquia throughout the year.

(I am unsure whether these are close to what you’re looking for, but I was having some trouble dredging these up.)



Lal Salaam: A Blog by Vinay Lal. Reflections on the culture of politics and the politics of culture.

Amardeep Singh’s blog:

Roopika Risam’s blog:



@ThePostcolonial is a publication for academics, journalists, artists, and activists focused on the Global South.

@JCLJournal is the twitter page for The Journal of Commonwealth Literature.

@WorldOfMatter is the twitter page for the World of Matter (obviously) which is an international project focusing on patterns of resource exploitation.

@RSCPostcolonial is the twitter page for the Stockton Postcolonial Studies Project.



@electrostani – Amardeep Singh, literature professor at Lehigh

@zeithistoriker – Quinn Slobodiam, a Postcolonial historian of Germany/professor of history at Wellesley

@ProfJohnMcLeod – John McLeod, professor at University of Leeds

@adelinekoh – directer of the Digital Humanities Center and literature professor at Stockton

State of the Field for American Studies/19th C American Lit

By: Michael Druffel

I want to learn more about American Studies and 19th century American literature. I’m particularly interested in history as it relates to literature. I like learning about the political, social, and economic forces that shape our nation’s writing.

I hope this project will teach me more about the dominant kinds of criticism in American Studies right now.


  • J19: The Journal of Nineteenth Century Americanists

J19 is a new journal that is published twice a year by the University of Pennsylvania Press. It started in Spring 2013. Its bio on Project Muse indicates that it publishes research and analysis on the long 19th century (1783-1914). The articles I’ve read in J19 have a wide range of subjects. Sometimes articles try to link 19th century literature to hot button issues today (eg: the Occupy Wall St movement). Often the articles focus on the way literature navigates religion, race, and gender in the long 19th. [After reading a little of ALH’s bio, I realize I haven’t seen any reviews in J19]

  • American Literary History

ALH is published by the Oxford University Press four times a year. My understanding is that this is one of the premier journals of American literature. While it is not listed as exclusively about the 19th century, it often seems to have a number of articles each issue dealing with 19th century topics. The website bio states that ALH combines essays, reviews, and unpublished poems, letters, diaries, &c. Certainly, it appears reviews make up a large portion of the pages. ALH also seems to try to touch on current issues when possible: for e.g.: when 12 Years a Slave came out, ALH had several thoughtful articles dealing with the movie, the book, and more.

  • American Quarterly

Published by the John Hopkins University Press, American Quarterly seems to be one of the (if not the) marquee journals about American Studies. It comes out four times a year and features reviews and articles. The journal bio boasts that it has been published since 1949 and is the official publication of the American Studies Association. It features articles on politics, literature, cultural studies, and critical university studies. AQ also publishes the ASA president’s address. These addresses are often thoughtful speeches that tend to deal with current issues: debt, organizing, &c. The presidents’ speeches tend to set the focus for the ASA that year. While I do not know the politics of the other journals, I know AQ, representing the ASA, supports the Palestinian BDS movement.


  • Re-framing the Transnational Turn in American Studies, Winifred Fluck, Donald E. Pease, and John Carlos Rowed, eds. Dartmouth College Press, 2011.

I know this books is three years old, not two as the cut off suggested, however, I wanted to include it because I read some of Pease’s work for my class with Eric Lott called “Formations of US Cultural Studies.” Since I know Pease is a big name in the discipline currently (I understand he’s particularly well regarded as a critic of the discipline itself) I wanted to include his relatively recent book in my list.

The three books I’ve chosen to highlight in this post all feature the “transnational turn” in American Studies. Therefore, some of the comments could apply to any of the titles I’ve chosen. I’ll try not to be repetitive while giving an understanding of how I see the field right now. (To be methodologically transparent, I got all three titles of books from the reviews in the above-mentioned journals. I figure if these are some of the best journals, they’ll have insight on the most influential books.)

The review of Re-framing the Transnational Turn I read in ALH suggests that book discusses a turn in the discipline coinciding with the end of the “American Century.” As Pease has repeatedly pointed out, American Studies in the past have often helped further the aim of American Exceptionalism. Looking at this book, it seems that American Studies are (is?) now interested in correcting that deeply flawed view of Exceptionalism by balancing that view with a dose of transnationalism.

This could be riffing too far off the topic, but I detect in the books I’ve chosen and the ASA articles I’ve read a note of meta-criticism about the field itself. I think that this meta-criticism is part of the same zeitgeist that drives our often-stimulating discussions in our own class: how can we make up for the academic shortcomings of the past? I think right now the field of AS is deeply (and rightly) interested in that problem.

  • The Imaginary and Its Worlds: American Studies After the Transnational Turn. Laura Bieger, Ramón Saldívar, and Johannes Voelz, eds. Dartmouth College Press, 2013. 

This text seems awfully similar to the above text based on the review I’ve read. To avoid repetition let me touch on a few different points than those above. Yes, this book is rightly critical of past goals of AS; yes it is published by Dartmouth College Press, which suggests that DCP is interested in self-critical, exciting books about AS; yes it tries to remedy past shortcomings of AS with a transnational turn.

Where I’d like add new information is here: the review suggests that both of these books don’t look to new technology to as a way to grapple with the failings of past AS works to deal with a large section of American thought (namely the thought of non-straight, non-white, non-All-American, non-males). Interestingly, the review suggests that the absence of tech discussion could come from the fact that it takes academic books so long to publish, which is certainly good to know moving on as person who hopes to publish.

The fact that “new technologies” is mentioned in the review, I think, shows that they (the tech) are important, but are not yet integrated into the field of American Studies. I think this is useful to know about the field as I move further into it.

  • Trans-Americanity: Subaltern Modernities, Global Coloniality, and the Cultures of Greater Mexico. José David Saldívar. Duke University Press, 2012.

Not to beat a dead horse, but this book examines the transnational in relation to America. This seems the way AS is going from all the sources I’ve found, and, frankly, that sounds exciting and great.

This book picks up transnational ideas and applies them to Mexico. According to the review, the book suggests that only transnational methodologies can help understand how cultural, political, &c practices form in greater Mexico. While not part of this particular project, the review I read points out that Saldivar makes use of Amy Kaplan’s essays in his book, Trans-Americanity. Kaplan’s writing has appeared frequently in Professor Lott’s class and so I feel that she is also an important name to keep in mind.

Annual Conferences

  • American Studies Association Annual Meeting. This year’s is:

The Fun and the Fury: New Dialectics of Pleasure and Pain In the Post-American Century, November 6-9, 2014: Westin Bonaventure, Los Angeles, CA. The topic is, I believe, decided on by each year’s president, and informs the ASA’s goals that year, and to a large part, I imagine but do not know for sure (so please consider this more of a speculation awaiting confirmation), dictates the kind of work published in AQ. The conference seems a place to hear papers given by top scholars, present awards, make friends, and share ideas. It seems to be hugely influential on the work done in AS each year.

  • Hannah Arendt Fall Conference

This may be kind of a stretch, but I’d like to include it because I think it shows the range of the topics AS covers and the forums available to discuss them. I know about this conference because CUNY GC’s own Joan Richardson, who teaches my American Aesthetics course, was a speaker here. The topic of this year’s conference was “The Unmaking of Americans: Are American Values Still Worth Fighting For?”

Like just about everything else I’ve included in this list on the state of the field, the conference offers an introspective, critical glance at the way America has been studied and presented. While the questions posed in the conference may not seem to be as decidedly opposed to American Exceptionalsim as perhaps some of the other entries here are, the conference still shows that breaking down Exceptionalism is a hot button issue that is being thoughtfully debated by reasonable people, outside of the English department as well. It also shows that not all are onboard with rejecting America’s long-held exceptional status. While things seem to be trending that way, it feels like there may still be some holdouts.

  • International Melville Conference

This is not strictly AS, but I have a strong interest in 19th century American Literature. In fact, I really want to explore the intersection between 19th century American letters and AS. Melville is one of my favorite writers: my undergrad thesis was written about Moby-Dick. Thus, I think this is a conference that holds particular interest for me. This year it is in Japan and the topic is “Melville in a Global Context.” It’s not only AS that is trending towards the global. That is the trend in 19th century lit as well, and Melville seems an easy writer to examine w/ a global perspective.

University Press Series

  • America in the World Series. Sven Beckert and Jeremy Suri, series eds. Princeton University Press.

Going off what was written above, I’m just going to let the online description speak for itself with some underlining by me:

“American history is no longer the history of the nation-state alone. Instead of segregating the history of North America from the rest of the world, some of the newest and most exciting writing integrates America in the world. This movement toward transnational perspectives is taking shape across time periods, methodological preferences, and fields of analysis. American historians will continue to examine the “exceptional” elements of the nation’s history, and they will continue to produce local studies. Within the next decade, however, even the most locally centered and “exceptionalist” scholarship will be much more informed by attention to networks, identities, and processes that transcend the nation-state.

This series will bring together the work of a new generation of scholars writing the history of “global America.” There is a palpable sense of excitement about such a new perspective. Indeed, the most forward-looking scholars have already begun to broaden the geographical and conceptual range of analysis for many diverse themes in American history–including such classic topics as the American Revolution, slavery, abolitionism, Reconstruction, labor activism, the destruction of Native American societies, Progressivism, the Civil Rights Movement, and Cold War politics.”

I’d like to hazard a guess: Princeton is a little conservative, since Dartmouth College Press’s Don Pease has already torn up the idea of exceptionalism elsewhere. Princeton seems to still have some tiny place for it. However, if I’m right, even a slightly conservative press is turning to transnational work.

  • Re-Mapping the Transnational: A Dartmouth Series in American Studies. Don Pease, series ed. Dartmouth College University Press.

Don Pease. who criticizes American exceptionalism, also edits this series. This tells me that Dartmouth is interested in producing transnational works that speak to a Post-Cold War world. I’m not sure I have much to say that won’t sound broken-record-ish.

  • New Americanists Series. Donald Pease, series ed. Duke University Press.

I chose this series because Elizabeth Dillon (who is at CUNY) had her book published here. We read part of the book in Eric Lott’s Formations of US Cultural Studies class. Therefore, I know the book is being used and well regarded in the academy. I’m not even going to touch on DP except to say this: he edits this series as well, and I have now realized he is a major player in the formation of AS today. Other than that, I can note the transnational focus this series takes and note that Dillon’s book is well written and thoughtful.

Speaker Series

  • Eric Schocket Lecture Series, Hampshire College

To be methodologically transparent, I used a google search to find speakers I’d be interested in hearing. I found this series, which focuses, according to its bio, on class and culture, two subjects I’m interested in w/r/t AS. The names I recognized as speaking as part of this series were Michael Denning, and our own Eric Lott.

  • Sternberg Family Lecture in Public Scholarship, City College of New York

Perhaps this one is cheating, as it seems to be a yearly lecture and not strictly AS. However, I’d like to include because I think it shows the range of AS right now, and reinforces a point I made earlier that AS is incorporating some critical university studies. So far there has only been one speaker, Andrew Delbanco, whose biography of Melville I admire very much. Delbanco’s talk was titled “Do American Colleges Have a Future.” In it he discussed issues of access to college, ethics, opportunity, &c. Perhaps as I research in AS it is good to keep an eye on turning that research explicitly back on the discipline asking: “how does this new work I’ve found or done help us become better teachers/make the discipline better?” It seems to be the way AS is trending.

  • CUNY Graduate Center’s Critical Theory Today Lecture Series

Again, this might be cheating. However, I’ve read Slavoj Zizek & Fredric Jameson in my US Cultural Studies class and so I feel somewhat secure in saying that this series could help me understand the field. Plus I wanted to include a series that I could attend, and since this one is here at the GC, that seems no problem.

  • Huntington Library Lecture Series

Feeling that perhaps some of the other lecture series I put forth were weak or strayed too far from my topic, I’d like to add this one as well, which features lectures on topics that fit right into the AS wheelhouse including: the Roger’s Distinguished Fellow’s Lecture in Nineteenth-Century American History; the Ritchie Distinguished Fellow’s Lecture in Early American History; the Los Angeles Times Distinguished Fellow’s Lecture in American Studies. The Huntington Library, which is in Pasadena, hosts these fellows to do research and gives pretty sizeable awards. Seeing what kind of research these scholars are doing could give me an insight into what kind of work gets funded today.


  • NYPL’s Blog

The NYPL blog is easily found on a google search and offers browsing by subject. It’s cool because each post seems to center on a topic (e.g.: Moby-Dick’s birthday, which was yesterday in Britain). That post then offers what NYPL has in the collection, highlighting unique material. This could be a great way to get a dip into the massive collections at the good old Schwartzman building.

  • Verso, the Blog of the Huntington Library

Riffing off the above blog, I thought it to include the Huntington’s blog. Aside from being home to a beautiful series of gardens and art museum, the Huntington has a great library full of rare books, not unlike our own NYPL. The blog combines art history, history, literature, and botany to give interesting takes on what’s going on at the Huntington.

  • ASA Blog

I feel like I’ve said enough about the ASA as one of the main players in American Studies.

Scholar’s Twitter Accounts

  • I’d like to single out David Reynolds’s twitter, @reysn1
  • Finally, I’d like to shine a spotlight on Michael Berube, @MichaelBerube1, who is an interesting, reflexive critic of American Studies. Berube also has a blog where he discusses politics, cultural studies, and disabilities.

Institutional Twitter Accounts

  • @CUNYenglish seems like it could actually be really helpful. It has links to events happening around the campus.
  • @MLAnews seems like another professional development account. It offers links to MLA references and potential job stuff.
  • @NortonCriticals is the twitter account for the Norton Critical Editions. I know that established scholars use it as a way to publicize their work when editing a Norton. It also seems good to keep a finger on the pulse of what Norton thinks is good.

Graduate Course Descriptions

  • Here’s a graduate course description from Yale, Engl 846, American Literature: Regions, Hemispheres, Oceans:

“How does the choice of scale affect our understanding of American literature: its histories, its webs of relations, the varieties of genres that make up its landscape? Through three interlocking prisms regional, hemispheric, and oceanic we explore multiple permutations of immediate and extended environments; the size of events; causal connections and input networks; and the changing patterns of labor, food distribution, linguistic practice, religion, and war. Fiction and poetry by Olaudah Equiano, Herman Melville, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Bowles, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Dave Eggers, Monique Truong, Junot D az, Amitav Ghosh; and theoretical writings by Sheldon Pollock, Arjun Appadurai, Franco Moretti, Pascale Casanova, and Walter Mignolo.”

This course is not a period course as the authors pulled span many decades. It addresses the issue of scale, which seems interesting. One thing I note is that global perspectives are not mentioned, even though some of the language hints that way e.g.: scale, oceans, hemispheric, &c

  • Here’s another graduate course description from the University of Michigan. I picked it because it seems different and exciting and is one more way to take the future of American Studies and my own classroom. The course is Native American Literature, and I couldn’t find a course number:

“In addition to traditional “oral literature,” Native Americans have been producing written literature in English since the late eighteenth century. The purpose of this seminar is to survey that heritage and, in so doing, examine the contours of Native American cultural and political history. We will also engage the most important discourses in today’s Native American studies, including settler colonialism, tribal nationalism, global indigenism, and cosmopolitanism. Authors will include William Apess, Zitkala Sa, D’Arcy McNickle, N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, and more. No previous knowledge of Native American studies is required.”

  • Finally, I’d like to offer CUNY’s own Joan Richardson, whose course ENGL 80200, has this course description:

“As the great Indian monk and teacher Vivekananda points out in Practical Vedanta: Lectures on Jnana Yoga—a text William James knew and valued—most of our differences as human beings “are merely differences of language.” (James brought Vivekananda to Harvard to lecture in 1896, introducing him as “an honor to humanity.”) Pragmatism is above all a method for making adjustments for these differences, for measuring our words, we could say. Charles Sanders Peirce, the framer of American pragmatism, learned how to make ideas clear by adapting the methods of adjusting for parallax, of accounting for the aberrations of starlight and irregularities in earth’s orbit, to how we use words. He established the field of semiotics, a truly native American sign-language, as it were. His aspiration continued the Romantics’ project to devise a use of language that might repair the consequences of the Fall. Peirce and James had taken deeply to heart and mind Emerson’ s brilliant summation of where we find ourselves in relation to language, a condition painfully exacerbated by the Darwinian information: “It is very unhappy, but too late to be helped, the discovery we have made, that we exist. That discovery is called the Fall of Man. Ever afterwards, we suspect our instruments.” This observation is at the core of Emerson’s most unsettling essay, “Experience,” an offering that performs the revelation of experience—which shares its root with peril and experiment—as risk, adventure, as projective attitude and activity appropriate to inhabiting a universe of chance. William James repeatedly reminds us that we each have a stake in what the future is to be:

the idea of a world growing not integrally but piecemeal by the contributions of its several parts…offer[ing]…the chance of taking part in such a world. Its safety…is unwarranted. It is a real adventure, with real danger, yet it may win through. It is a social scheme of co-operative work genuinely to be done.

The “co-operative work,” of course, depends on finding a method of not misreading one another’s signals as we shape language to imagine a future, knowing, as Wallace Stevens beautifully put it, that “the imperfect is our paradise.”

William James’s Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (1907) will be at the center of our discussion throughout the term; we will read its eight lectures very slowly and deliberately. Around them will radiate other texts: some of those from which they grew and some of those growing from them—“…our knowledge grows in spots [James’s emphasis]. The spots may be large or small, but the knowledge never grows all over: some old knowledge always remains what it was.” Primary in this radiant circle will be excerpts from Jonathan Edwards, Emerson, C. S. Peirce, Wallace Stevens—the usual suspects, in other words. Secondary readings will include some of my own work and great surprises!

A term paper/project will be required. – See more at:”

State of the Field: British Romanticism 1780-1850

By: Kate Eickmeyer


Essays in Romanticism (formerly Prism[s]; ICR affiliated). Liverpool UP, 2 issues per year.

European Romantic Review (Journal of NASSR). Routledge, 6 issues per year.

Romanticism. Edinburgh UP, 3 issues per year.

Studies in Romanticism. Boston UP, 4 issues per year.

Wordsworth Circle (Journal of the Wordsworth-Coleridge Association). Boston UP, 4 issues per year.

The Byron Journal (Jounal of the Byron Society). Liverpool UP. 2 issues per year.

Keats-Shelly Journal (Journal of the Keats-Shelly Association of America). 1 issue per year.

Romantic Circles Praxis Series (e-journal only). Frequency varies.

Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net (e-journal only). Frequency varies.

A few books published 2013-2014:

Haines, Simon. Redemption in Poetry and Philosophy: Wordsworth, Kant, and the Making of the Post-Christian Imagination. Baylor UP, 2013.

Sandy, Mark. Romanticism, Memory, and Mourning. Ashgate, 2013

Yoshikawa, Saeko. William Wordsworth and the Invention of Tourism, 1820-1900. Ashgate, 2014.

Yousef, Nancy. Romantic Intimacy. Stanford UP, 2013.

Annual conferences:

International Conference on Romanticism (ICR). Annual. Fall 2015 conference in Vienna, Austria (no CFP announced yet). (Formerly the American Conference on Romanticism)

North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR). Annual. Aug 13-16, 2015 conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba on “Romanticism and Rights.” CFP Deadline January 17, 2015.

British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS). Annual. July 15-19, 2015 in Cardiff, Wales. CFP Deadline January 31, 2015.

Wordsworth Summer Conference. Annual. August 3-13, 2015 at Rydal Hall, Cumbria. No CPF announced yet, but last year was in April.

International Byron Conference (The Byron Society). Annual, in June. No 2015 info or CFP posted yet.

Not annual, but:

Every other year (2011, 2013, 2015, etc.): Keats-Shelley Association of America 1-day Symposium. No info on 2015 yet.

Every other year (2015): Romantic Studies Association of Australasia (RSAA) conference. July 23-25, 2015, U of Melbourne. CFP Deadline March 1, 2015.

Book series:

Cambridge Studies in Romanticism

Yale Studies in English

Princeton’s Literature in History

Routledge Studies in Romanticism

Examples of past and present lecture series related to romanticism:

Boise State University’s Spring 2014 “The Idea of Nature” series:

Stony Brook University’s Spring 2014 “Global Romanticisms” Dean’s lecture series:

NYU’s Scholars Lecture Series 2014/2015:

Scholarly blogs:

Romantic Circles: (whole website; also has a separate, infrequently updated blog on romanticism and pedagogy:

Blythe Spirits:

BARS Blog:

The Wordsworth Trust Blog:

Romanticist Research Group of NYU (NYURRG):

(Currently Inactive) The Hoarding:

Not a blog, but interesting: UPenn’s “Unbinding Prometheus” project, with a MOOC starting Nov 21st and a conference in late spring:

Institutional Twitter accounts:

NYURRG: @RomanticismNYC

UPENN Unbinding Prometheus: @PrometheusPenn

BARS: @BARS_official

John Clare 2014 (Oxford Brookes): @JohnClare2014

Twitter accounts managed by individual scholars:

Romantic Imagination @romanticimag (Jon J. Dent)

Jim Kelley@onejimkelley (lecturer at U of Exeter)

18th Century Common@18common (Andrew Burkett of Union and Jessica Richard of Wake Forest)

Noel Jackson@noeljackson (rather bizarre Twitter page of MIT romantic lit professor)



State of the Field: Poetics, Digital Humanities, Critical Theory

By: Erin Glass

I’m interested in how writers (poets & fictionists, comparatively) in 20th & 21st century America define their role, practice and product and how these definitions are influenced by technologies of dissemination.  To say it another way, I’m curious about comparing poetics, as a set of aesthetic, instrumental techniques, with the forms of publication (the novel, the chapbook, the blog, etc).  How, for example, does ownership or lack of ownership of the “means of publication” manifest itself in the writer’s aesthetic?  Thus I can describe my interests as falling somewhat into three areas: 1) the social history of 20th & 21st American literature, 2) print culture & digital humanities and 3) poetics.  Finally, I should note that critical theory, especially with regard to aesthetics and technology, is central to my thinking.

This exercise revealed to me that — outside of DH studies — I am woefully ignorant of hot off the press scholarship.  My original list had about 20 journals and books each, but I’ve narrowed them down here. I should note, that I am most excited about the discovery of AMODERN, a very recent, open access, peer reviewed scholarly journal which brings together topics of aesthetics, technology and scholarly communications.

3-5 Journals

Before highlighting journals of particular interest, I’d like to mention my discovery of This Year’s Work in English Studies and This Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Studies.  Both provide a “narrative bibliography of published work, recording significant debates and issues” with respect to their topics and may be useful for grasping the trends in the discipline in any given year.

  • Digital Humanities Quarterly: Topics in DH.
  • Diacritics: “Founded in 1971, diacritics offers a forum for rethinking the aims and methods of the humanities. The journal features a reflexive approach to literary theory and criticism, “Continental” philosophy, and political thought. The past, present, and future relationships between intellectual creation, language, conceptual knowledge, and artistic invention are the main concerns of diacritics.”
  • Configurations: Configurations explores the relations of literature and the arts to the sciences and technology. Founded in 1993, the journal continues to set the stage for transdisciplinary research concerning the interplay between science, technology, and the arts. Configurations is the official publication of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA).”
  • AMODERN:Amodern is a peer-reviewed, open-access scholarly journal devoted to the study of media, culture, and poetics. Its purpose is to provide a forum for interdisciplinary conversations about the role of media and technology in contemporary cultural practices…The journal is distinguished by its focus on poetics as a scholarly practice, with particular emphasis on the unruly ways that people deploy media and technology behind, beneath, and despite their instrumental functions. Against the grain of determinism, we hope to attract work that bears witness to media as complex assemblages of institutions, subjects, bodies, objects, and discourses.

3 Books published in the last two years

  • From Codex to Hypertext: Reading at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century (2012): The start of the twenty-first century has brought with it a rich variety of ways in which readers can connect with one another, access texts, and make sense of what they are reading. At the same time, new technologies have also opened up exciting possibilities for scholars of reading and reception in offering them unprecedented amounts of data on reading practices, book buying patterns, and book collecting habits.
  • What is: Nine Epistemological Essays  (Johanna Drucker): From Elizabeth Guffey: “In What Is?, Drucker traces the invisible thread that links letters to writing to books to the digital age. In so doing, she makes sense of emerging technology and the way it has insinuated itself into the culture of book making, writing, and reading. Drucker’s grand arguments are based on modest means. In this case she is starting with the humble letter. But, by probing the philosophy of language as well as the rhetoric of art, she builds toward a broader picture. In the end, her investigation concludes with nothing less than a new understanding of digital materialism.”
  • How We Think DIGITAL MEDIA AND CONTEMPORARY TECHNOGENESIS (N Katherine Hayles): “How do we think?” N. Katherine Hayles poses this question at the beginning of this bracing exploration of the idea that we think through, with, and alongside media. As the age of print passes and new technologies appear every day, this proposition has become far more complicated, particularly for the traditionally print-based disciplines in the humanities and qualitative social sciences. With a rift growing between digital scholarship and its print-based counterpart, Hayles argues for contemporary technogenesis—the belief that humans and technics are coevolving—and advocates for what she calls comparative media studies, a new approach to locating digital work within print traditions and vice versa.
  • Without Masters: Reading and Other Forces (Sarah Wood): “Without Mastery engages the pleasures and rigours of reading, invoking Shakespeare’s Weird Sisters, Plato’s Lady Necessity, Freud, Derrida, Cixous, animals, angels, ghosts and children to explore our desire for mastery – especially the omnipotence of thoughts. Masterful thinking has brought the planet into environmental crisis. The acquiescence of reading, Wood shows, allows us to make contact with the unthinkable.”

3-5 annual conferences

3 university press series

3 speaker series

  • I’m stumped!

3 scholarly blogs

3-5 twitter accounts maintained by scholars in the field

  • Kathleen Fitzpatrick (@kfitz): Director of Scholarly Communication at MLA, author of Planned Obsolescence and the Anxiety of Obsolescence
  • Bethany Nowviski (@nowviskie): Director, Digital Research & Scholarship, UVa Library
  • Dennis Tennen (@dennistenen): Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities and New Media Studies at Columbia University, Department of English and Comparative Literature.

3-5 twitter accounts maintained by institutions related to the field

  • UCB DH (@DHBerkeley)
  • DH Summer Institute (@DHInstitute): “…provides an ideal environment for discussing and learning about new computing technologies and how they are influencing teaching, research, dissemination, creation, and preservation in different disciplines, via a community-based approach.”
  • The Maker Lab (@UVicMakerLab): “Physical computing, fabrication, media history + counterfactuals at the University of Victoria.”
  • @scholarslab
  • @nypl_labs

State of the Field

By: Austin Bailey

My interests/sub-fields are American pragmatism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and 19th century American literature. While there are many journals that publish articles on and in all three of these subjects, there are a couple that are particularly prominent for merging all three of these categories:

1) The Pluralist. Here is a partial description of the journal’s aims:

“The journal upholds the Socratic dictum of self-knowledge and the love of wisdom as the purpose of philosophy. It seeks to express philosophical insights and concerns humanely and with an eye to literary as well as philosophical excellence, but technical papers are welcome. The Pluralist is a forum for discussion of diverse philosophical standpoints and pluralism’s merits. The Pluralist considers high-quality submissions on any philosophical topic written from any philosophical perspective. Articles that defend some type of pluralism, apply a pluralistic perspective to contemporary issues, or take a critical stance against pluralism are encouraged.”

The Pluralist mostly publishes articles on William James, John Dewey, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Sander Peirce, as well as contemporary cultural studies.

2) ESQ: Journal of the American Renaissance. Here is a description:

“ESQ is devoted to the study of nineteenth-century American literature. We invite submission of original articles, welcome work grounded in a wide range of theoretical and critical perspectives, and encourage inquiries proposing submissions and projects. A special feature is the publication of essays reviewing groups of related books on figures and topics in the field, thereby providing a forum for viewing recent scholarship in broad perspectives.”

ESQ is the “big kahuna” as far as I can see. They publish a lot of prominent scholars and the work featured is always super interesting.

3) Philosophy and Literature. Here is a description:

“For more than thirty years, Philosophy and Literature has explored the dialogue between literary and philosophical studies. The journal offers fresh, stimulating ideas in the aesthetics of literature, theory of criticism, philosophical interpretation of literature, and literary treatment of philosophy. Philosophy and Literature challenges the cant and pretensions of academic priesthoods through its assortment of lively, wide-ranging essays, notes, and reviews that are written in clear, jargon-free prose.”

Looking at their most recent edition, they have topics ranging from Freud and Philology to Richard Rorty and Jonathan Franzen. But they publish a lot of articles related to pragmatism and William James, as well as Emerson.

4) Journal of Speculative Philosophy. Here is a description:

“The Journal of Speculative Philosophy publishes systematic and interpretive essays about basic philosophical questions. Scholars examine the constructive interaction between Continental and American philosophy, as well as novel developments in the ideas and theories of past philosophers that have relevance for contemporary thinkers. The journal also features discussions of art, religion, and literature that are not strictly or narrowly philosophical. Book reviews are included in each issue.”

Three Recent Books

Pragmatism and American Experience by Joan Richardson (who teaches at the Grad Center)

Emerson’s Transatlantic Romanticism by David Greenham.

Capitalism Takes Command: The Social Transformation of Nineteenth Century America Ed. by Michael Zakim and Gary J. Kornblith.


The American Literature Association has a big annual conference that includes panels, presentations, and calls for papers on a wide range of subjects within American Literature.

Conference site

The Thoreau Society’s Annual Gathering. The Thoreau society holds conference presentations and panels every July in Concord, MA.


The American Studies Association.

There’s also the ACLA.

University Press Series

Oxford University Press keeps coming up again and again for works in my sub-field. For examine, James M. Albrecht’s Reconstructing Individualism: A Pragmatic Tradition from Emerson to Ellison, which was published in 2012 under Fordham University Press, which I believe is operating as a subsidiary.

Here is a fascinating wiki page where authors share their experiences with these academic presses:

Cambridge, of course, does a great Companion series to major authors, but I think they mostly only select scholars with a lot of publications and prestigious positions. At least that’s what I’ve seen in their Companion series. Cambridge also has a series in American Literature and Culture.

Speaker Series

Various events at the Grad Center, especially American Studies Events.

Here is the website for the events series through NYU’s English department

New York Historical Society

The Times Center

92nd Street Y.

Scholarly Blogs

Here is a blog maintained by Brenda Winneaple called “The American Scholar.” She seems to be writing mostly about nineteenth century American Literature.

“The American Scholar”–which I am just now hearing of–seems to be an e-zine on American Literature and culture, both historical and contemporary.

Christopher Newfield is a nineteenth century Americanist and blogs about education:

This is an awesome blog by an Emersonist and Transcendentalism scholar who is into Digital pedagogies:

Scholars’ Twitter Pages

David S. Reynolds

Russel Sbriglia

Eric Lott

Institutions’ Twitter Pages

English PhD Program:

Project Muse:

CUNY adjunct project:







State of the Field: American Postwar Poetry and Poetics/Queer and Feminist Theory

By: Iris Cushing



This journal publishes a lot of scholarly articles about the 20th-century American poetry tradition I am interesting in, including the New American Poetry. There are essays on Charles Olson, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Louis Zukofsky, etc.

Feminist Review

This journal appears to include scholarship about  feminist literary discourse and is really diverse in terms of time period, genre, language and theory.

Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy

I find this journal’s stated mission of “promoting diversity within feminist philosophy and philosophy in general” really interesting; it seems like it would be a great resource for looking into the relationship between feminist theory and writing and mysticism studies.

Contemporary Literature

MELUS Journal


Among Friends: Engendering the Social Sites of Poetry, ed. Anne Dewey and Libbie Rifkin

University of Iowa Press, 2013

This was a text that I read and drew upon extensively when putting together my applications for doctoral programs last fall. Many of the essays in it really helped me figure out what I wanted to study and why: for example, Lytle Shaw’s essay on the literary “hippie” culture in 1960s Bolinas, California showed me that Sixties counterculture was something that could be considered critically alongside the literature being produced during that time. The book is based somewhat on various epistemologies of poetic friendship, which I found delightful. As a poet in my own time and place, friendship and affinity are the “currency” that makes my community function. Having a thoughtful articulation of how that has happened in other poets’ places and times was (and is) tremendously useful to me.

Rednecks, Queers and Country Music by Nadine Hubbs

University of California Press, 2014

Critical analyses of “pop” texts (such as the language of Country Western songs) is something I want to get into over the course of my doctoral studies. I am super curious about how music scholar Nadine Hubbs applies queer theory to American country music traditions and culture.

Virgin Microbe: Essays on Dada by David Hopkins and Michael White

Northwestern Press: Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies Series, 2014

The relationship between “the avant-garde and mass culture” that this book addresses is something that seems very relevant to my area of inquiry. I am also curious about the bearing metaphysics has on modernity, which this book also takes up.


Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference

This conference seems to be a space in which I might learn a lot about the intersections of popular culture (music, performance, literature) and traditions associated with the peoples of the American Southwest (especially in my main areas of interest: American mysticism and queer/feminist theory). I used to live in Arizona and have written and thought extensively about the American Southwest; I love the idea of presenting a paper at this conference on some aspect of mystic practice and queer identity (as it emerges, say, in Anges Martin or Georgia O’Keefe’s writings, both of whom were queer and lived in the Southwest).

From this conference’s “About” page: The mission of the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) is to promote an innovative and nontraditional academic movement in Humanities and Social Sciences celebrating America’s cultural heritages. To provide an outlet for scholars, writers, and others interested in popular/American culture, to share ideas in a professional atmosphere, and to increase awareness and improve public perceptions of America’s cultural traditions and diverse populations.

Conference of the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto

This conference seems to combine theory and philosophy scholarship with literary scholarship. Although I am obviously not in Comp Lit, I would definitely like to make some kind of contact with Asian literature as it relates to Asian spiritual traditions over the course of my career.

Association of Writers and Writing Programs Annual Conference:


University of Iowa Press Contemporary North American Poetry Series

I find almost every title in this series incredibly exciting. The scholarly books on the likes of Lorine Neidecker, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley and Frank O’Hara are all things that I not only should read, I very much want to read. Many of the series’ authors (such as Elizabeth Willis, who wrote the book on Neidecker, or Rachel Blau du Plessis, who wrote the book on “the end of patriarchal poetry”) are also poets. The book that I consider my main impetus and inspiration for applying to doctoral programs, Maggie Nelson’s Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions, was published by this series (it was also her dissertation for our very program).

Modern and Contemporary Poetics Series, University of Alabama Press

This series, edited by poet-scholars Charles Bernstein and Hank Lazer, focuses on Postmodern American poetry and includes many titles that I know will be useful to me in the course of my studies (I’m reading one of them right now, Miriam Nichols’ Radical Affections: Essays on the Poetics of Outside, for Ammiel Alcalay’s class). Before checking out their website, I did not know that one of my all-time favorite poets, Harryette Mullen, had published a book of critical prose, and now I am really excited to read it.

Gender and Culture Series, Columbia University Press

This press was founded in 1983, the year of my birth, by feminist scholar-theorists Nancy K. Miller and Carolyn Heilbrun. One of the titles in the series, The Scandal of Susan Sontag, is something that I have read and been informed by in my creative work; the book also helped me formulate where I see myself in relation to feminism, queer studies, and the life of the public intellectual.

Other Press Series: Duke University, The Feminist Press


Penn Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania:

The Penn Humanities Forum is an interdisciplinary organization for humanities scholarship that focuses on a different topic each year. I find the lectures and events offered through this forum really exciting and relevant to my interests for two reasons: first, its engagement with the visual and performing arts. The PHF collaborates with museums, galleries and performing arts organizations ( in addition to bringing in academic scholars) for its event series. Second, I find many of the topics that have been explored since the PHF’s inception in 1999 incredibly exciting and resonant with the scholarly work I’d like to do (such as Style, Change, Virtuality, Violence, Word and Image). (The list of topics by year can be seen here:

Critical Encounters Series at Princeton University:

This interdisciplinary speaker series incorporates poets, historical reenactment theatre, film studies, and feminist theory, among many other diverse and fascinating areas of discourse. I am especially thrilled by the event that focused on Chang and Eng Bunker (the original “Siamese Twins”) and on the film Lovelace (about the relationship between feminism and porn). This seems like a rich and boundary-pushing series.

Lecture Series at the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas, Austin:

This series brings in speakers whose work I find fascinating and important to my area of inquiry. I see that Rebecca Solnit is speaking there on November 7th; Solnit’s writings about the American West, the ethics of representation, political activism and feminist discourse have been a huge source of inspiration to me for years. Like the other series above, this one is interdisciplinary, bringing in film critics, poets, and artists. I also see that the Lecture Series is related to other events held at the Ransom Center (film screenings, readings and discussions).


University of California at Berkeley’s English Department Blog:

This blog of Cal’s English department has a number of interesting sections (such as one on literary archives and one of theatre criticism, both of which I am interested in engaging over the course of my studies). It also is searchable by keyword, has an event listing page, and a section of “Grad Notes” which lists accomplishments and news for graduates of the program. This last section was especially useful to me in looking for conferences and journals that other scholars have made contact with.

Ron Silliman’s Blog on Contemporary Poetry and Poetics:

This is a wonderful resource for all things having to do with contemporary American poetry, as well as critical writing about the Language Poets and New American Poetry.

Arcade (a Humanities Salon) at Stanford University:


Judith Butler: @JudithButler_

Margaret Galvan: @magdor

Kaplan Harris: @narrative

Julia Bloch: @julivox

Ron Silliman: @ronsilliman







State of the Field: Eighteenth-Century British Literature

By: Sophia Natasha Sunseri

3-5 journals:

3 books published in past two years:

  • Cruelty and Laughter: Forgotten Comic Literature and the Unsentimental Eighteenth Century by Simon Dickie (paperback –  2014)
  • Atlantic Worlds in the Long Eighteenth Century: Seduction and Sentiment Edited by Toni Bowers and Tita Chica (2012)
  • How Eighteenth-Century Women Fended-off Sexual Violence by Writing and Talking: A Study of Four British Novels by Delarivier Manley, Jane Barker, Eliza Haywood, and Samuel Richardson by Jan Stahl (2014)

3-5 annual conferences:

3 university press series:

  • Cornell University Press Series (
  • The Lewis Warpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History (
  • Eighteenth-Century Studies (
  • Eighteenth-Century Studies from Bucknell (

3 speaker series:

3 scholarly blogs:

3-5 twitter accounts maintained by scholars in the field:

3-5 twitter accounts maintained by institutions in the field:

3 graduate course descriptions:

State of the (Romantic) Field

By: Catherine Sara Engh


Studies in Romanticism

The Wordsworth Circle

European Romantic Review

Modern Language Quarterly

Essays in Romanticism

Books Published in the Last Two Years

Saeko Yoshikawa, William Wordsworth and the Invention of Tourism, 1820-1900–Review:

Monika Class, Coleridge and Kantian Ideas in England, 1796-1817–Review:

Jane Stabler, The Artistry of Exile: Romantic and Victorian Writers in Italy–Review:

Ian Haywood, Romanticism and Caricature–

Nancy Yousef, Romantic Intimacy–

Annual Conferences

NASSR 2014: Romantic Organizations–

22nd Annual Meeting of the British Women Writers Conference–

Coleridge Summer Conference–

International Conference on Romanticism–

University Press Series

Oxford University Press, Women Writers in English 1350-1850–

Cornell Univesity Press, Reading Women Writing–

Cambridge University Press, Studies in Romanticism–

Speaker Series

NYRFS Dinner with Jeff Cowton, MBE, Curator of the Wordsworth Trust

When: Monday November 3, 2014 6-8 pm // Where: O’Casey’s, on 41st Street between Fifth and Madison

Kevin Gilmartin: Being Critical or Being Nothing: Hazlitt against Legitimacy

When: Friday November 14, 2014 5-7 pm // Where: Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus, 155 W 60th St, New York, NY, United States

Evan Jones: Hegel, Patmore and the Turn of Rhythm

When: Friday November 7, 2014 4-6 pm // Where: The Graduate Center, CUNY, 5th Avenue, New York, NY, United States English Department

Scholarly Blogs

Blithe Sprits–

Romantic Circles–

Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net–

Twitter Accounts Maintained by Scholars in the Field

Jim Kelly, Lecturer in Romanticism–

Tim Milnes, Romanticism–

Jon Dent, Romantic Imagination–

 Twitter Accounts Maintained by Institutions Related to the Field

British Association for Romantic Studies–

Romantic Circles–

The British Society for 18th Century Studies–