Jani Scandura is Associate Professor of English at the University of Minnesota where she is also affiliated with the departments of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature and American Literature. From 1999-2010, she was co-director of the Space&Place Research Collective at the University of Minnesota and in 2015-16 was Visiting Professor in American Studies at the University of Graz. Her critical work explores the theories and articulation of modern temporal and spatial practices, materiality, memory, and emotion. She is the author of Down in the Dumps: Place, Modernity and American Depression (Duke UP 2008), co-editor with Michael Thurston of Modernism, Inc.: Body, Memory, Capital (NYU Press 2001), and has published articles on a wide-range of topics. She is currently finishing a book, “Proximity: Nearness and Similarity in the Age of Absolutes,” about World War II memory, visual and literary art, and relations of scale and adjacency, and has begun work on a nonfiction novel, “Cemetery of Elephants.” She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and her B.A. honors from the University of Pennsylvania. Before becoming an academic, she worked as a magazine editor and writer, publishing in GQ, Vogue, Mademoiselle, Self, and other venues.

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • Ph.D. : English, University of Michigan, 1997 -


  • cultural studies and critical theory, esp. theories of modernity, materiality, subjectivity
  • 20th century North American literatures, film, visual and mass culture
  • European, American and (recently) Japanese modernisms
  • theories of space and place; stuff--theories of matter, objects, things, refuse, trash
  • sound and acoustic culture, memory; history of science, medicine and its intersections with philosophy
  • writing in cultures impacted by US imperialisms (especially Cuba)