Research Activities

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English literature faculty are passionate about the study of literature, language, aesthetics, print and electronic media, film, music, drama and performance, and the critical, historical, and cultural literatures that inform these fields. Our faculty's passions and curiosity range from ancient to contemporary: from the enduring myth of Babylon to anticolonial theory; from medieval reading practices to the cognitive science of how we read.

English Literature faculty frequently publish with top academic presses such as Cambridge, Columbia, Oxford, Princeton, and Stanford.

English faculty are regularly honored for their research excellence. Josephine Lee was honored with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Asian American Studies. Lee is co-lead on a five-year, $1.75 million grant from the US Department of Education to increase services for Asian American students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMTC) campus, awarded in 2016. Andrew Scheil was a principal investigator on a three-year Mellon Foundation Grant to establish a “Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World” at the University of Minnesota, 2013-2016. Nabil Matar was the principal investigator of “Shared Cultural Spaces: Islam and the West in the Arts and Sciences,” a 2011 conference supported by the National Endowment of the Humanities. In the last five years, both John Watkins and Peter Campion won Guggenheim Fellowships. In the past three years, Watkins and Andrew Elfenbein both were awarded American Council of Learned Societies Fellowships.

Major academic associations

Siobhan Craig
Chair of the executive committee of the Modern Language Association’s Film Division (January 2015—present)

Michael Hancher
President of the Dictionary Society of North America (2009–11, former president 2011–13)

Josephine Lee
President of the Association for Asian American Studies (2010-2012)

Dan Philippon
President of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (2009, former president 2010)

Major editorial positions

Paula Rabinowitz
Editor-in-chief of The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature

Nabil Matar
Executive co-editor with Giancarlo Casale of The Journal of Early Modern History

Katherine Scheil
Book review editor for the journal Theatre Survey (four-year term, completed)

Other professional appointments

Many other Department of English professors are members of the editorial or advising boards of respected journals and series, including:

  • American Imago: Psychoanalysis and the Human Sciences
  • American Literature
  • American Studies: Eurasian Perspectives
  • Ariel: A Review of International English Literature
  • Dictionaries
  • ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment
  • Medieval Encounters
  • Mediterranean Studies
  • Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity
  • Pedagogy
  • PMLA
  • postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies
  • Social Epistemology
  • Studies in English Literature