Prof Jani Scandura

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Department of English .
Pillsbury Hall
310 Pillsbury Drive SE

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

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)
Courses Taught
  • Seminar in Special Subjects: STUFF: Materiality and Modernity
  • Topics in Cultural Theory: Motion and Memory
  • Modern Debris
  • American Modernisms and Modernities
  • The City: Modernity, Postmodernity, and After
  • Advanced Topics in Cultural Theory: Sound, Space, and Modernity
  • Topics in American Lit.: American Depressive Modernity
  • The City: Modernity, Postmodernity, and After
  • Modern and Contemporary Theory: Vampires, Monsters, and Freaks
  • First Year Seminar: Avant-garde modernisms
  • Honors Textual Analysis and Methods: SKIN
  • Modern Literary Criticism and Theory: Modern Matters
  • Senior Seminar: Modernisms and Modernities US Imperialisms and Colonialisms
  • Hollywood
  • Studies in Film: Hollywood
  • Senior Seminar: American Modernisms and Modernities
  • First Year Honors Seminar: North American Imperialisms
  • Advanced North American Imperialisms and Colonialisms
  • Multicultural American Literature
  • American Poetry from 1900: Poetry and Popular Culture
  • EngL 1621 - Introduction to Women Writers
  • Sad Effects: Scandura, Jani, Cultural Critique, 92 153-167, 2016.
  • ‘Despite the horror of the detail’: Ishiuchi Miyako’s ひろしま hiroshima: Scandura, Jani, Eds. Babette Tischleder and Sarah Wasserman, London: Palgrave, The Cultures of Obsolescence: History, Materiality and the Digital Age, 2015.
  • Sweat: A Memory of Waste: Scandura, Jani, M/C Journal, Vol 13. No. 4 , 2010.
  • Suitcase: Fragments on Memory and Motio. Scandura, Jani, Author, spring 2009.
  • “Refused Modernity.“: Scandura, Jani, Blackwell, Blackwell Companion to the Modern American Novel 1900-1950, forthcoming.
  • Down in the Dumps: Place, Modernity, and American Depression. Scandura, Jani, Duke University Press, Author, 2008. Link
  • “Cinematic Insomnia.“: Scandura, Jani, New Formations, 53 , 2004.
  • Modernism, Inc.: Body, Memory, Capital. Scandura, Jani, Michael Thurston., New York University Press, Co-Editor, 2001. Link
  • America and The Phantom Modern.“: Scandura, Jani, Michael Thurston, New York University Press, Introduction to: Modernism, Inc.: Body, Memory, Capital, 2001.
  • “Reno-vating Gender: Place, Production, and the Reno Divorce Factory.“: Scandura, Jani, New York University Press, Modernism, Inc.: Body, Memory, Capital, 2001.
  • Libretto for Alice. A ballet and recitative arranged for two pianos and a mezzo-soprano. Braxton Blake, composer. Freda Herseth, mezzo-soprano. Performed May 1996 in Darmstadt, Germany. April 1998 in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio.
  • “Deadly Professions: Dracula, Undertakers and the Embalmed Corpse.“: Scandura, Jani, Victorian Studies, 40.1 , 1997.
  • Dead Air: Affect and Acoustic Memory
  • Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Minnesota, Faculty Fellowship, 2008 - 2009