20th- and 21st-Century British and American Literature

Faculty List

Mark Conroy, Area Coordinator

When we study the 20th- and 21st-centuries, we encounter the most stunning literary and cultural innovations as well as the dramatic and often catastrophic historical transformations that accompanied them.  Imposing masterpieces by writers such as James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Jean Toomer, William Faulkner, D.H. Lawrence, George Bernard Shaw, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Eugene O’Neill, Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon, James Baldwin, Ana Castillo, Leslie Marmon Silko, Maxine Hong Kingston, Tim O’Brien, among others, become further complicated and enriched when we analyze them with an eye toward the histories of imperial, economic, racial, social, political, and military conflict that shaped them.   

Our department hosts a large group of scholars specializing in multiple areas of British, American, and Anglophone 20th- and 21st-century literature and culture.  Students can expect to receive firm grounding in some of the traditional fields and subfields—modernism, postmodernism, postcolonialism—and undertake courses of study that extend and challenge some of the most dearly held beliefs of those areas.  Our faculty routinely offer courses that plot modern and contemporary literature within global and transnational frameworks; we investigate the unique ways literary and cultural objects unfold the deeply entangled histories of race, gender, sexuality, migration, colonialism, and ecological violence, ways that often speak directly to the most pressing problems we currently face.  We also pride ourselves on a capacious and flexible understanding of modern and contemporary culture; to that end, this department's vision of this period is genuinely and uniquely interdisciplinary.  For us, the 20th- and 21st-centuries are incomplete without the rigorous study of a host of a forms, genres, and media, including comics, graphic narratives, film, activist writing, little magazines and print culture, performance, and new media.   

Key Courses

Undergraduate courses:
ENG 2202: British Literature, 1800-present
ENG 2291: American Literature, 1865-present
ENG 4543: Twentieth-Century British Fiction
ENG 4547: Twentieth-Century Poetry
ENG 4549: Modern Drama
ENG 4562: Studies in Literature and the Arts
ENG 4563: Contemporary Literature
ENG 4590.06H: The Modern Period
ENG 4590.07H: Literature in English after 1945

Graduate courses:
ENG 6766: 20th-Century Literature: 1900-1945
ENG 6767: 20th-Century Literature: 1945-Present
ENG 7860: Seminar in 20th-Century British/US Literature

Affiliated Student Groups

Modernist Studies Reading Group

Affiliated Projects & Centers

American Indian Studies Program
Asian American Studies Program
Center for Folklore Studies
Disability Studies Program
Diversity and Identity Studies Collective at OSU (DISCO)
Film Studies Program
Human Rights Program
Latino/a Studies Program
Literacy Studies@OSU
Melton Center for Jewish Studies
Popular Culture Studies Program
Project Narrative
Sexuality Studies Program

Columbus will be the site of the 2018 Modernist Studies Association Conference.
Organizers: Tommy Davis and Jesse Schotter.