American University Department of Literature

American University Department of Literature This page is dedicated to engaging the community within and outside of the Department of Literature at American University.

The literature BA program offers students the chance to choose one of four exciting tracks, or focuses of study. In the Literary Studies track, students come to understand why literature matters: how it defines culture, the human, and our values, and how it facilitates empathy. The Cinema Studies track allows students to study literature alongside cinema and to discern the ways that cinema as a language and art shapes our society. In our new Transcultural Studies track, students focus on various cultural texts (such as literature, theater, film, television, and social media) in a global and multicultural context. Lastly, the Creative Writing track gives students the opportunity to hone their craft and improve their poetry or prose in close-knit workshops. In each of the tracks, students work with dedicated, award-winning faculty who pay close attention to the needs of each individual. Literature majors garner excellent writing and communication skills. They know how to learn, to analyze and comprehend other viewpoints, and to argue for ideas. Literature majors have a range of employment and internship opportunities. Ninety percent of our majors hold internships. In terms of careers, they work in publishing, public radio, law, education, advocacy, and politics. MFA Blog: http://au.blogs.american.edu/category/creative-writing/ AU LIT Salon: https://www.facebook.com/theaulitsalon/

Register today for the AU Antiracism Center’s discussion about Antiracism and Decoloniality in the Humanities, moderated...
07/10/2020

Register today for the AU Antiracism Center’s discussion about Antiracism and Decoloniality in the Humanities, moderated by Prof. Lily Wong and ft. Prof. Sarah Trembath!
#Repost
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We are proud to announce our first of many conversations on antiracism across various disciplines! Join us on July 22nd for ‘Antiracism & Decoloniality Imperatives in the Humanities.’ Want to learn more about how different scholars in the arts, literature, history, and other humanities disciplines practice antiracism and decoloniality? Then join us for this panel featuring some of AU’s brightest and fiercest voices. What do antiracist and decolonial imperatives in the humanities mean? How do these imperatives intersect with other critical frameworks? How should we continue to build such a program across the arts, literature, history, and critical social sciences at AU? Learn the answers to these questions and more! (Link to register in bio) #au #auantiracismcenter #americanuniversity #dc #dothework #bethechange #beantiracist #antiracisteducation #auantiracismwork

What is one of Prof. Edward Helfer’s summer projects? Designing a board game! He came up with the idea a few years ago a...
07/09/2020

What is one of Prof. Edward Helfer’s summer projects? Designing a board game! He came up with the idea a few years ago and more recently collaborated with other professors and students to design and build the game. Shoutout to undergrad research assistant Daniel Lorell for much of the design work! 💫
Read more about the project below. #AULitatHome

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“‘Breakdowns and Breakthroughs” is a die-based tabletop game designed to reflect the ups and downs of constructing a research paper, a process many new to the university see as rigid and intimidating, the opposite of playful.

Conceived and tested in the first-year writing classroom, the game asks 2-5 “students” to collect and evaluate sources as they traverse a board populated with writing and research strategies commonly taught by rhetoric and composition specialists. Meanwhile, the “professor” oversees gameplay, at turns challenging and supporting student progress.

We present “Breakdowns and Breakthroughs” as education-themed rather than educational, but with the right framing and follow-up discussion, the game can deepen information literacy and metacognitive awareness among students.” @edhelfers

❗ Have you been binge-watching a new tv show? Do you have the same song on repeat? ❗Join us this Wednesday at 5PM ET for...
07/06/2020

❗ Have you been binge-watching a new tv show? Do you have the same song on repeat? ❗

Join us this Wednesday at 5PM ET for a discussion moderated by Prof. Arielle Berstein about "guilty pleasures" and summer binges, featuring Professors Lily Wong, Sarah Marsh, Sarah Trembath, and Melissa Scholes Young.

We can't wait to see you there and hear what you've been enjoying this summer!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Our next event is All Our Faves: Summer Binges! Find out what some of the Lit professors are binging and share your own favorite films, movies, books, and music from the last few months. July 8 @ 5 PM ET— see you there #AULitatHome

📖 Check out what Morgan Bluma (Literature, 2021) and her dog, Coco are currently reading below #AULitatHome 👉Swipe throu...
07/02/2020

📖 Check out what Morgan Bluma (Literature, 2021) and her dog, Coco are currently reading below #AULitatHome 👉Swipe through to see how Coco is tackling summer #readingtime.
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“I'm re-reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates this summer to better educate myself and listen to others about the realities of being Black in the United States. I personally feel that this is a book that every person should read. My dog, Coco, is clearly helping me.” @mxrgs_b

Another stack of books, another round of #readinggoals! This time, Prof. Sarah Marsh’s shares a little bit about what sh...
07/01/2020

Another stack of books, another round of #readinggoals! This time, Prof. Sarah Marsh’s shares a little bit about what she’s reading this summer. Check it out below! #AULitatHome
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“These books hold a very small part of the transatlantic history of racial slavery—and political resistance to it—that preceded the founding of the United States of America, and helped to constitute the early slave-holding republic.”

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Our next event is All Our Faves: Summer Binges! Find out what some of the Lit professors are bingin...
06/29/2020

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Our next event is All Our Faves: Summer Binges! Find out what some of the Lit professors are binging and share your own favorite films, movies, books, and music from the last few months. July 8 @ 5 PM ET— see you there #AULitatHome

Prof. Dustin Friedman shares some of his #summerreading goals.👇 Are any of these books on your summer reading lists? #AU...
06/24/2020

Prof. Dustin Friedman shares some of his #summerreading goals.👇 Are any of these books on your summer reading lists? #AULitatHome

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“Ronald Firbank, Five Novels: Five short novels by a queer author writing in the style of Oscar Wilde in the early 20th century: he wrote all of these campy, fairy-tale stories on the back of hotel postcards.

Karl Marx, Capital, Volume One: Although I have read individual chapters, this is my first time going through earthshaking classic cover-to-cover. I’ll be watching David Harvey’s free online lectures while I’m reading along: http://davidharvey.org/reading-capital/.

Priyamvada Gopal, Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent: A nonfiction history of how Britain’s colonized and enslaved people actively fought for their own liberation and influenced ideas of freedom and emancipation back in England.

Eli Meyerhoff, Beyond Education: Radical Studying for Another World: According to the publisher, this book take “inspiration from Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, and Indigenous resurgence projects” to “chart a new course for movements within, against, the beyond the university as we know,” and proposes alternative forms of learning that the kind we’re used to.”

For recent grad Marissa Zupancic, #AULitatHome means reading! 📚 @literaryencounters 👉 Swipe through & see what Marissa’s...
06/23/2020

For recent grad Marissa Zupancic, #AULitatHome means reading! 📚
@literaryencounters

👉 Swipe through & see what Marissa’s reading—including excerpts from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s book “Stamped from the Beginning.”

🎶 Looking for something to listen to this summer? 🎶Prof. Erik Dussere recommends Michael Franti & Spearhead's Stay Human...
06/22/2020

🎶 Looking for something to listen to this summer? 🎶

Prof. Erik Dussere recommends Michael Franti & Spearhead's Stay Human, from 2001. #AULitatHome

🍿 Tonight's Netflix Watch Party is about to begin! Check your email for the Netflix Party link. DM us or email litgrad@a...
06/19/2020

🍿 Tonight's Netflix Watch Party is about to begin! Check your email for the Netflix Party link.

DM us or email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Brahidaliz Martinez (MFA Creative Writing, Fall 2019) recommends everyone check out She-Ra and the Princess of Power & d...
06/18/2020

Brahidaliz Martinez (MFA Creative Writing, Fall 2019) recommends everyone check out She-Ra and the Princess of Power & discusses the importance of LGBTQ+ representation.👇 #AULitatHome
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“This is going to sound childish, but the children’s series She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (the reboot of She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985)) is one of my favorite shows of all time. Noelle Stevenson, the series’s showrunner, is one of my writing influences. Reading her graphic novel Nimona in 2016 drove me to start applying to MFA programs. I’m always impressed with her ideas and imagination. She created an empowering and well written animated series. I can’t recommend it enough no matter how old you are.

I grew up in a homophobic and transphobic community. When I discovered books, TV shows, and films featuring lesbian characters, they usually ended inconclusive or in tragedy. The thought of having LGBTQ representation in children’s media is still considered pornographic or unnecessary. Noelle Stevenson fought hard to have that representation in her show, and I won’t take that accomplishment for granted.

About me: My name is Brahidaliz Martinez and I’m a Fall 2019 MFA graduate. You can find me on Twitter @brahidaliz.”

For today’s #AULitatHome Prof. Shannon Zellars-Strohl shares some of the books she’s reading right now (and her favorite...
06/17/2020

For today’s #AULitatHome Prof. Shannon Zellars-Strohl shares some of the books she’s reading right now (and her favorite mug, too!). Are any of these books on your summer reading list?

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Spoiler of Men by Richard Marsh: I'm reviewing some passages in this novel for an article I am revising on personhood and free will in Victorian adventure novels

Household Horror: I'm diving into this new collection of essays on things in horror films

The Five: I'm finally starting this newish work on the victims of Jack the Ripper--hoping to write a short public humanities piece about it.

Pre-Raphaelites: I actually just always have this coffee table book out for the occasional flip when I need to give my eyes a screen break

🎥Tomorrow at 9 PM ET. We're looking forward to seeing you there!
06/17/2020

🎥Tomorrow at 9 PM ET. We're looking forward to seeing you there!

Students, alums, and faculty: Missing the Lit Dept?

Be sure to join us this Thursday, June 18th at 9 PM ET for a Netflix watch party of Da 5 Bloods, hosted by Prof. Paul Fileri!

We can't wait to see you all there! 😀

🎉 In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing updates from our AU Lit community in our #AULitatHome series!                   ...
06/16/2020

🎉 In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing updates from our AU Lit community in our #AULitatHome series!

To kick things off, check out this incredible artwork from MFA alum Mihayla Conner! #pride🌈

Students, alums, and faculty: Missing the Lit Dept? Be sure to join us this Thursday, June 18th at 9 PM ET for a Netflix...
06/15/2020

Students, alums, and faculty: Missing the Lit Dept?

Be sure to join us this Thursday, June 18th at 9 PM ET for a Netflix watch party of Da 5 Bloods, hosted by Prof. Paul Fileri!

We can't wait to see you all there! 😀

Missing the Lit Dept? Please join us for these online events! Our first event, a Netflix Party, is June 18th at 9pm. Mor...
06/09/2020

Missing the Lit Dept? Please join us for these online events!

Our first event, a Netflix Party, is June 18th at 9pm. More details and links to come!

Please check out this list of black-owned independent bookstores that you can order online from. Compiled by AU Lit alum...
05/29/2020
A Map of Independently Owned Bookstores that Serve Communities of Color

Please check out this list of black-owned independent bookstores that you can order online from. Compiled by AU Lit alum Kimberly Marie Schultz.

Search AALBC.com’s database of independently owned Bookstores that serve communities of color. Search by store name or state. Map courtesy of AALBC.com

American University Department of Literature
05/27/2020

American University Department of Literature

📣 Calling on all members of the AU Lit community (students, professors, and alums):

Since we didn't get to say proper goodbyes this semester, we want to make sure to keep in touch digitally this summer. Send a description and photos of what you're reading/watching/creating/listening to [email protected].

We'll be posting everyone's updates to Instagram so be sure to follow @au_literature.

We can't wait to hear from you! 😄

--Your friends in the Lit department

📣 Calling on all members of the AU Lit community (students, professors, and alums): Since we didn't get to say proper go...
05/27/2020

📣 Calling on all members of the AU Lit community (students, professors, and alums):

Since we didn't get to say proper goodbyes this semester, we want to make sure to keep in touch digitally this summer. Send a description and photos of what you're reading/watching/creating/listening to [email protected].

We'll be posting everyone's updates to Instagram so be sure to follow @au_literature.

We can't wait to hear from you! 😄

--Your friends in the Lit department

Please enjoy Prof. Patty Park's wonderful new essay in The New Yorker! You can read "Taking My Place at My Father’s Groc...
05/18/2020
Taking My Place at My Father’s Grocery Store

Please enjoy Prof. Patty Park's wonderful new essay in The New Yorker!

You can read "Taking My Place at My Father’s Grocery Store" here: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/personal-history/taking-my-place-at-my-fathers-grocery-store?utm_source=twitter&mbid=social_twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_brand=tny&utm_social-type=owned

During the coronavirus pandemic, our neighborhood is depending on us—I think I can say this without exaggeration—to stay alive.

Please congratulate Bailey Blumenstock (alum '20 & adjunct professor) for being named a featured poet by Cathexis Northw...
05/04/2020
ELEPHANT, 1916; SMITHSONIAN DISPLAYS DAGGER FROM THE STARS; IMMORTAL JELLYFISH, 1998

Please congratulate Bailey Blumenstock (alum '20 & adjunct professor) for being named a featured poet by Cathexis Northwest Press for the month of May!

Be sure to check out all three poems and Bailey's interview with CNP here: https://www.cathexisnorthwestpress.com/post/elephant-1916-smithsonian-displays-dagger-from-the-stars-immortal-jellyfish-1998

By: Bailey Blumenstock ELEPHANT, 1916 One great tooth was infected, hollow as a gun barrel. Before the parade, they gave her bourbon to drink and capped the tusk with brass, draped a thin velvet cape over the crumpled skin of her back, strung beads from one beaten ear to the other. When the man moun...

Registration for Fall 2020 has started! Want to see more information about our courses? Go to https://tinyurl.com/fall20...
04/13/2020

Registration for Fall 2020 has started!

Want to see more information about our courses? Go to https://tinyurl.com/fall2020LIT to see all of the Fall 2020 Literature course flyers.

American University School of Communication
02/07/2020

American University School of Communication

Famous for her skillful storytelling, author Carmen Maria Machado will join us on Feb. 12 to discuss her books, “Her Body and Other Parties” and “In the Dream House”. You won’t want to miss this AU alumna discuss gender, sexuality, and her famous unconventional approach to fairytale storytelling that won this author many prestigious awards. Register here: http://ow.ly/Bu0F50yeFxr

Please congratulate Prof. Dustin Friedman, whose book "Before Queer Theory: Victorian Aestheticism and the Self" was rev...
01/22/2020
Theorizing Queer Before Queer Theory - Los Angeles Review of Books

Please congratulate Prof. Dustin Friedman, whose book "Before Queer Theory: Victorian Aestheticism and the Self" was reviewed in the Los Angeles Review of Books!

Marion Thain on Dustin Friedman’s new study of queerness in the Victorian era, before queer theory or, really, any clear account of queer identity.

Please come out to our 'What To Do With A Lit Degree?' event on Tuesday, February 4th from 5:30-7:00pm in the Battelle-T...
01/21/2020

Please come out to our 'What To Do With A Lit Degree?' event on Tuesday, February 4th from 5:30-7:00pm in the Battelle-Tompkins Atrium!

Come hear where different AU Literature alums are working, and how their Lit degrees got them to where they are today!

PIZZA WILL BE SERVED!

A huge congratulations to Prof. Rachel Louise Snyder, whose book "No Visible Bruises" was nominated for the National Boo...
01/15/2020
Announcing the finalists for the 2019 NBCC Awards – National Book Critics Circle

A huge congratulations to Prof. Rachel Louise Snyder, whose book "No Visible Bruises" was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction!

Posted on January 11, 2020January 14, 2020 by Carolyn KelloggAnnouncing the finalists for the 2019 NBCC Awards The board of the National Book Critics Circle announces the finalists for its 2019 awards in six categories: Autobiography, Biography, Criticism, Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry. The winners...

Another exciting achievement: Prof. Jeffrey Middent's video essay Memorias de C/Leo: On Auteurism and Roma was cited on ...
01/14/2020
Special Dossier on Roma: Memories of C/Leo – On Auteurism and Roma

Another exciting achievement: Prof. Jeffrey Middent's video essay Memorias de C/Leo: On Auteurism and Roma was cited on the British Film Institute's list of "The Best Video Essays of 2019." Check it out now!

by Jeffrey Middents* The press surrounding the release of Roma has emphasized its autobiographical qualities, elements that Alfonso Cuarón himself has confirmed in interviews throughout the product…

Check out Prof. Sandra Beasley's poem "Say the Word" on Poem-A-Day!
01/14/2020
"Say the Word" by Sandra Beasley

Check out Prof. Sandra Beasley's poem "Say the Word" on Poem-A-Day!

To be apart, I’m told. To be asunder. To be a privative, negative, reversing force. To be reached only by oaths and curses. To have black sheep sacrificed in my name because I’m a god, yes, as we are all gods on occasion. To be bodied as I am bodied. To be rich of earth, which is to be chronical...

Congratulations to Prof. Rachel Louise Snyder, whose book, "No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violen...
01/14/2020
The 10 Best Books of 2019

Congratulations to Prof. Rachel Louise Snyder, whose book, "No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us" was chosen by the editors of the New York Times Book Review as one of the 10 Best Books of 2019!

The editors of The Times Book Review choose the best fiction and nonfiction titles this year.

Check out Prof. Teddy Helfers' new fiction piece, Slow Melt, on The Rupture NOW!https://www.therupturemag.com/rupture/sl...
12/17/2019
Slow Melt — The Rupture

Check out Prof. Teddy Helfers' new fiction piece, Slow Melt, on The Rupture NOW!

https://www.therupturemag.com/rupture/slow-melt

Edward Helfers The Glacier never rests. The work is too vast, the pressure too intense. Imagine the weight of one million bodies bearing down on your back. Now multiply that figure one hundred-fold. The ensuing sum is only a fraction of the sheer force under which The Glacier advances—dutifully, i...

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This Monday, join the Social Documentary graduate cohort at American University in welcoming "This Little Land of Mines" followed by a Q&A with the director, Erin McGoff. You can find more info on the event here:
Hi Friends, Please join us this coming Friday, May 3rd, at the University of Maryland for the 2019 Comparative Literature Symposium. As a former AU MFA graduate and current UMD PhD Comp. Lit. student, I am proud to be one of the organizers and share this exciting event with you. Among other awesome speakers and sessions, AU Prof. Leena Jayaswal will be one of the keynote speakers and present her work in progress related to photography, film, and time. All of our other guests are professors or graduate students who will investigate time through literature, film, media, and art. Check out the flier for more details!
Sharing a newly-published poem, written more than 50 years ago:
French author seeks agent in the USA
Amazon 2018
Let is snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! It won't stop Festivus. Roads are warm and completely clear here in Rockville. Tons of street parking around my house. See you soon!