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English Language and Literature

Field Description

The Ph.D. Program. The doctoral program in English Language and Literature offers two degree options for the prospective applicant: the Ph.D. and the Joint M.F.A./Ph.D. The department enrolls about 12 new students each year in the Ph.D. including one or two of those students admitted into the joint program. Our small size allows us to offer a generous financial support package, details of which are outlined on our department website. At the same time, we have a large and diverse graduate faculty with competence in a wide range of literary, theoretical, and cultural fields. Students choose a Special Committee of three faculty members, from whom they receive a great deal of individual attention. Working with this committee, students design their own courses of study within the very broad framework laid down by the department. The program is extremely flexible in regard to such matters as course selection, the design of examinations, and the election of minor subjects of concentration outside the department. English Ph.D. students pursuing interdisciplinary research may include on their Special Committees faculty members from related fields such as Comparative Literature, Romance Studies, German Studies, History, Classics, Women's Studies, Linguistics, Theatre and Performing Arts, Government, Philosophy, and Film and Video Studies.

The Ph.D. candidate is normally expected to complete six or seven one-semester courses for credit in the first year of residence and a total of six or seven more in the second and third years. The program of any doctoral candidate's formal and informal study, whatever his or her particular interests, should be comprehensive enough to ensure familiarity with the authors and works that have been the most influential in determining the course of English, American, and related literatures; the theory and criticism of literature; the relations between literature and other disciplines; and concerns and tools of literary and cultural history such as textual criticism, study of genre, source, and influence, as well as wider issues of cultural production and historical and social contexts that bear on literature.

M.F.A./Ph.D. Joint Degree Program. Each year one or two students may be admitted to both the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing and the doctoral program in English Language and Literature. This joint program offers a fuller integration of literature courses and writing workshops. In their first four semesters in residence, joint candidates are expected to complete four Writing Workshop courses and four or five Ph.D. seminars for credit, all of which apply to the Ph.D. course requirement of twelve courses, six for a letter grade. At the end of their fourth semester, candidates submit an M.F.A. thesis, and receive the M.F.A. degree. They then proceed to complete the remaining course requirements for the Ph.D. and write a final dissertation. Cornell offers only the scholarly Ph.D., not the Ph.D. with creative dissertation.

The M.F.A. Program. The Creative Writing program in the department of English Language and Literature offers an M.F.A. degree only, with concentrations in either poetry or fiction. Each year the department enrolls only eight students, four in each concentration. Our small size allows us to offer a generous financial support package, details of which are outlined on our department website. At the same time, we have a large and diverse graduate faculty with competence in a wide range of literary, theoretical, and cultural fields. Students choose a Special Committee of two faculty members who provide a great deal of individual attention and encourage students to design their own courses of study within the very broad framework laid down by the department.

Students participate in a graduate writing workshop each semester and take 6 additional one-semester courses for credit, at least four of them in English or American literature, Comparative Literature, literature in the modern or classical languages, or cultural studies (typically two per semester during the first year and one per semester during the second year). First year students receive practical training by working as Editorial Assistants for Epoch, a periodical or prose and poetry published by the Creative Writing staff of the department. The most significant requirement of the M.F.A. degree is the completion of a book-length manuscript: a collection of poems, short stories, or a novel.

The Special Committee. Every student selects a Special Committee who will be responsible for providing the student with a great deal of individual attention. The University system of Special Committees allows students to design their own courses of study within a broad framework laid down by the department, and it encourages a close working relationship between professors and students, promoting freedom and flexibility in the pursuit of the graduate degree. The student's Special Committee guides and supervises all academic work and assesses progress at a series of meetings with the student.

Teaching. Teaching is considered an integral part of training for the profession. The Field requires a carefully supervised teaching experience of at least one year for every doctoral and masters candidate as part of the training for the degree. The Department of English, in conjunction with the John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines, offers excellent training for beginning teachers and varied and interesting teaching within the university-wide First-Year Writing Program. Graduate students are assigned to writing courses under such general rubrics as "Portraits of the Self," "American Literature and Culture," "The Mystery in the Story," "Shakespeare," and "Cultural Studies," among others. Serving as a Teaching Assistant for a lecture course taught by a member of the Department of English faculty is another way graduate students participate in the teaching of undergraduates.

Contact Information

Website: http://english.cornell.edu/graduate
Email: english_grad@cornell.edu
Phone: 607 255-7989

250 Goldwin Smith Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

Creative Writing

  • creative writing

English Language and Literature

  • African American literature
  • American literature after 1865
  • American literature to 1865
  • American studies
  • colonial and postcolonial literatures
  • cultural studies
  • dramatic literature
  • English poetry
  • lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies
  • literary criticism and theory
  • Old and Middle English
  • prose fiction
  • the English Renaissance to 1660
  • the nineteenth century
  • the Restoration and the eighteenth century
  • the twentieth century
  • women's literature

Faculty

Concentrations: English Language and Literature: colonial and postcolonial literatures; cultural studies; literary criticism and theory; the twentieth century; women's literature Research Interests: postcolonial literature; human rights; literary theory; narrative studies
Kevin D. Attell - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: American literature after 1865; colonial and postcolonial literatures; literary criticism and theory; the twentieth century Research Interests: 20th-century American and British literature; literacy and critical theory; history and theory of the novel; postcolonial studies; film studies
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: English poetry; literary criticism and theory; the Restoration and the eighteenth century Research Interests: literary criticism and theory; eighteenth-century English literature; satire; English and American poetry; rhetoric and writing
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: African American literature; colonial and postcolonial literatures; cultural studies; literary criticism and theory; women's literature Research Interests: African Diaspora literature and theory; Caribbean literatures; Black women's writing (internationally); black left studies; black feminist theory; African literature and culture; Afro-Brazilian literature
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: African American literature; cultural studies; literary criticism and theory; the twentieth century Research Interests: 20th-century American literature; transatlantic modernism; African American literature; visual studies; film; libraries, archives and information
Mary Pat Brady - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: African American literature; American literature after 1865; colonial and postcolonial literatures; cultural studies; lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; women's literature Research Interests: U.S. Latino and Latina literatures and cultures; cultural studies; American literature after 1865; critical geography; multi-ethnic literature, theories of race and sexuality
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: cultural studies; literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the Restoration and the eighteenth century; women's literature Research Interests: restoration and eighteenth-century literature
Cathy Caruth - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: African American literature; literary criticism and theory; Creative Writing: creative writing Research Interests: British and German romanticism; literary theory; literature and theory of drama; psychoanalysis
Cynthia Chase - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the nineteenth century Research Interests: Romanticism, theory, psychoanalysis; romantic and modern poetry; women's literature; eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novel
Eric T Cheyfitz - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: African American literature; American literature after 1865; American literature to 1865; colonial and postcolonial literatures; cultural studies; literary criticism and theory Research Interests: American literatures; federal Indian law; Native American literatures
Elisha Cohn - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: colonial and postcolonial literatures; the nineteenth century; women's literature Research Interests: 19th century British literature and culture; history and theory of the novel; lyric poetry
Barbara Correll - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: cultural studies; lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; literary criticism and theory; the English Renaissance to 1660 Research Interests: Renaissance literary and cultural texts; gender and sexuality studies; post-structuralist theory; film and adaptation; Shakespeare; Donne; Marlowe
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: African American literature; American literature after 1865; cultural studies; lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; literary criticism and theory; the twentieth century; women's literature Research Interests: 20th- and 21st-century African American literature; cultural movements and visual cultures; race, gender and sexuality studies; American modernism
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: English poetry; literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the nineteenth century Research Interests: literary theory and criticism; English poetry since 1600; 19th and 20th century French literature
Ella Diaz - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: American literature after 1865; American studies; colonial and postcolonial literatures; cultural studies; prose fiction; the twentieth century; women's literature Research Interests: US Latina/o and Chicana/o literature: and visual studies; feminist studies; US Latina/o dispora
Grant A. Farred - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: African American literature; colonial and postcolonial literatures; cultural studies; literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the twentieth century Research Interests: Africana studies; cultural studies; postcolonial theory; race theory; African-American literature; Diasporic literature and theory; literature and philosophy
Debra Fried - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: American literature after 1865; American literature to 1865; English poetry; lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; literary criticism and theory; women's literature Research Interests: 19th- and 20th-century American poetry; history of the lyric; linguistic approaches to poetry; poetic genre and form; prosody; classic American film and film theory
Alice Fulton - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Creative Writing: creative writing; English Language and Literature: English poetry; literary criticism and theory; women's literature Research Interests: contemporary poetry and fiction; poetry and poetics; narrative writing; critical writing; feminist critical theory
J. Ellen Gainor - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: dramatic literature; the nineteenth century; the twentieth century; women's literature Research Interests: British and American Drama; feminist theatre criticism; women playwrights; dramaturgy
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: English poetry; Old and Middle English Research Interests: Medieval English poetry (esp. Layamon, Chaucer, Langland, Gower); medieval drama; medieval history writing; history of the book; literature and the prospect of cultural history
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: American literature after 1865; American literature to 1865; English poetry Research Interests: American poetry; modern and contemporary poetry; aesthetics and evaluation
Amanda Goldstein - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: English poetry; literary criticism and theory; the nineteenth century; the Restoration and the eighteenth century Research Interests: history and philosophy of biology and aesthestics; poetry; poetics and critical theory; materialist philosophy; literature and enviornment
Ellis Hanson - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: cultural studies; dramatic literature; lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the nineteenth century; women's literature Research Interests: Victorian literature; decadence and aestheticism; gender and sexuality studies; and film
Thomas Dana Hill - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: Old and Middle English Research Interests: Old English; Middle English; Old Norse-Icelandic; Old French. Medieval Latin, particularly Biblical exegesis, English and American Folklore
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: African American literature; American literature after 1865; American literature to 1865; American studies Research Interests: American modernism; African American literature; race in American culture; Walt Whitman
Ishion Hutchinson - (Ithaca) - (Divisional Member)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: African American literature; colonial and postcolonial literatures; dramatic literature; English poetry; the twentieth century; Creative Writing: creative writing Research Interests: poetry in translation; American and British poetry; creative writing and creative reading; the long poem and the Epic
Mary Jacobus - (Ithaca) - (Graduate School Professor)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: literary criticism and theory
Jane A. Juffer - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: cultural studies; literary criticism and theory; women's literature Research Interests: cultural studies; Latino/a studies; ethnography; feminist, gender and sexuality studies
Rayna M Kalas - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: dramatic literature; English poetry; literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the English Renaissance to 1660 Research Interests: 16th- and 17th-century poetry and prose; poetics and technology; visual studies; the labor and craft of writing in the early modern period
John R. Lennon - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Creative Writing: creative writing Research Interests: creative writing (fiction): contemporary literature; crime and science fiction novels
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: colonial and postcolonial literatures; cultural studies; English poetry; literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the nineteenth century Research Interests: victorian literature and culture; narrative theory; formalism; literary and cultural theory; world literature;the relations between art and politics
Gregory Michael Londe - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: American studies; colonial and postcolonial literatures; cultural studies; English poetry; literary criticism and theory; the twentieth century Research Interests: 19th, 20th, and 21st century Anglophone literature Modernism Institutional histories of literary culture Economics and literature Comparative and transnational poetics Irish studies
Philip A. Lorenz - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: dramatic literature; literary criticism and theory; the English Renaissance to 1660 Research Interests: Renaissance Drama, political theology, sovereignty, poetics and theory, literature and philosophy
Joanie Mackowski - (Ithaca) - (Divisional Member)
Concentrations: Creative Writing: creative writing Research Interests: poetry and poetics; creative writing pedagogy; American writers; use and value of literature
Jenny C. Mann - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: cultural studies; dramatic literature; English poetry; literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the English Renaissance to 1660; women's literature Research Interests: 16th- and 17th-century British literature and culture; history of rhetoric; history of science; gender studies
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: American literature after 1865; American literature to 1865; lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; literary criticism and theory; women's literature Research Interests: American literature after 1865; women's literature; feminist literary criticism and theory; lesbian/queer theory
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: colonial and postcolonial literatures; literary criticism and theory; the twentieth century Research Interests: postcolonial questions; the politics of disciplinary histories; cultural comparison; modernisms (English, French, Caribbean, Greek, Egyptian); Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean literature and theory; multilingualism
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: colonial and postcolonial literatures; cultural studies; lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the twentieth century Research Interests: critical theory; 20th-century literature; colonial and postcolonial studies; the novel; modernism/postmodernism; film; South Asian literature and culture
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: American literature after 1865; English poetry; the twentieth century Research Interests: modern and contemporary poetry; comparative/interdisciplinary approaches; modernism/postmodernism; critical theory; sociohistorical and linguistic criticism; romanticism
Robert Ray Morgan - (Ithaca) - (Divisional Member)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: American literature after 1865; American literature to 1865; English poetry; the twentieth century; Creative Writing: creative writing Research Interests: creative writing; American literature; English poetry; the twentieth century
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: cultural studies; dramatic literature; lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; literary criticism and theory; the English Renaissance to 1660; the twentieth century Research Interests: international film and new media; visual studies; performance; theory and aesthetics; psychoanalysis; Renaissance studies
Mukoma Wa Ngugi - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: colonial and postcolonial literatures; cultural studies; literary criticism and theory Research Interests:
David Orr - (Ithaca) - (Minor Member)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: English poetry; literary criticism and theory; the twentieth century Research Interests: contemporary poetry; modern poetry; criticism, rhetoric and aesthetics
Ernesto Quinonez - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: Creative Writing: creative writing Research Interests: creative writing; fiction
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: dramatic literature; lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; literary criticism and theory; Old and Middle English; women's literature Research Interests: Middle English literature, allegory, medieval literary theory and rhetoric, contemporary critical theory, feminist and queer studies
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: African American literature; American studies; cultural studies; literary criticism and theory; women's literature Research Interests: american literature; gender studies; southern studies
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the Restoration and the eighteenth century Research Interests: 18th-century English and French literature and philosophy; aesthetic theory; print culture; poststructuralist theory
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: American literature after 1865; dramatic literature; lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; literary criticism and theory; the twentieth century Research Interests: 20th- and 21st-century literature; theater and culture; performance history and theory; American modernism; queer studies
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: American literature after 1865; American literature to 1865; cultural studies; the nineteenth century; women's literature Research Interests: American literature and culture; 18th- and 19th-century American fiction; feminist criticism, American studies
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: cultural studies; lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the nineteenth century Research Interests: literature of the Victorian period; recent American literature; fiction and poetry of the 19th century
Daniel R Schwarz - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: cultural studies; English poetry; literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the nineteenth century; the twentieth century Research Interests: the British novel from Defoe with a special focus on Joyce, Conrad, Lawrence, Hardy, Forster, and Woolf; cultural criticism, especially the modernist tradition, including the relation between literature and the visual arts; 20th-century poetry, especially Wallace Stevens; Holocaust studies; literary theory; the changing nature of literary studies and the profession; Victorian poetry and Victorian studies; theory of the novel; American history and culture, with a special focus on New York City; media studies
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the nineteenth century; the Restoration and the eighteenth century Research Interests: 18th- and 19th-century British fiction; historical fiction and literary form; narratology and the theory of narrative
Concentrations: Creative Writing: creative writing Research Interests: creative writing, 19th-century American literature, African American literature
Stephanie Vaughn - (Ithaca) - (Divisional Member)
Concentrations: Creative Writing: creative writing; English Language and Literature: prose fiction Research Interests: creative writing
Amy Villarejo - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; literary criticism and theory; the twentieth century; women's literature Research Interests: film history and theory; cultural studies; popular culture and media; gender and sexuality
Concentrations: Creative Writing: creative writing Research Interests: creative writing
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: American literature after 1865; American literature to 1865; American studies; colonial and postcolonial literatures; cultural studies; lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; literary criticism and theory; prose fiction; the twentieth century; women's literature Research Interests: ameican indian and indigenous literature; indigenous critical theory; indigenous cultural studies
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: African American literature; American literature after 1865; cultural studies; the twentieth century Research Interests: Asian American, African American, and ethnic literatures; cultural studies
Dagmawi Woubshet - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: African American literature; colonial and postcolonial literatures; cultural studies; lesbian, bisexual, and gay literary studies; the twentieth century Research Interests: African American literature; Ethiopian Poesis; queer studies; AIDS and narratives of loss; 1980s; contemporary African and African-American visual culture
Samantha Zacher - (Ithaca)
Concentrations: English Language and Literature: Old and Middle English Research Interests: Old and Middle English literature; manuscript studies; rhetoric; studies in orality and literacy; history of the English language