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Graduate Research Tracks

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The English Department has adopted Research Tracks in three areas where the department and the university have developed a particular concentration of interest, Print and Material Culture, Race and Ethnicity, and Transatlantic/Transnational Studies. The Tracks cut across sub-disciplinary groups, such as specific periods or national literatures, to identify methodological, thematic, and formal interests that are shared by a broad range of faculty across the department. The Tracks are intended to help students focus their research interests and align them with the strengths of the department and important currents in the humanities. As students progress towards the doctoral project, they may continue to work in these Tracks, but they may also develop projects that employ different methodologies or frameworks.

Print and Material Culture Studies
Image of Graduate Students Holding Rare Maps

​Graduate students pursuing the Print and Material Culture Track examine a host of subjects relating to materiality. This image from a 2016 seminar shows students studying a rare map in UD's Special Collections

​The track in Print and Material Culture examines cultures past and present through the physical objects and physical texts they produce. How do objects and texts, from newspapers and posters to photographs, maps and computer screens, shape our interactions with the physical world? How do these physical texts and objects prompt us to view identities and cultural histories in meaningful and often complex ways? Tied to the physical form of the codex but also to the materiality of all forms of textual production, this track encourages students to intervene in the ongoing and interdisciplinary conversation on the ways physical texts and objects compel us to engage, interpret, and understand our world. 

Transatlantic/Transnational Studies
Image of World Map Narrating Shipwreck Story

​Megan O'Donnell used the GIS skills she learned in Prof Ed Larkin's "Mapping Transatlantic Space and Time" seminar to chart the movements of imperial actors in the notorious 1825 shipwreck of the Kent East Indiaman.  Exploring such narratives allows us to better understand the operations of empire and globalization, as well as the international circulation of people, texts and ideas.

​Transnational/Transatlantic approaches to literature take up the notion that literature and culture circulate across national boundaries and evolve in response to events, texts, and ideas originating in other parts of the world. Whereas older models of literary history conceived of texts as the expression of a nation's unique aesthetic ideals, Transnationalism instead seeks to trace the way texts emerge from cross- or inter-cultural exchanges. Circulation, argument, and conversation are assumed to shape any work of literary or cultural expression, and these conversations may be traced along networks not bound by traditional concepts of national, linguistic, political, or social community. In the English Department at UD transnational approaches might take any number of forms. For example, one transnational project could examine the reception of American captivity narratives in India, another could examine the influence of international sailors' writing on the imagery of late Victorian poetry. Given the strength of UD's holdings in American and British literature, many of our courses adopt a "transatlantic" focus, examining literature emerging from the cultural exchanges of Britain, the United States, and other parts of the Atlantic world.

Race/Ethnicity Studies
Image of Students in "The Black Atlantic and the Archive" seminar

Mali Collins-White (center) and Brandi Locke (not pictured) worked with Prof. Laura Helton to design and convene ENGL667: The Black Atlantic and the Archive in Fall 2018

​The track in Race/Ethnicity examines the cultural politics central to our ever-shifting conceptions of racial and ethnic identity and its manifestation in literary, historical, visual, and musical texts. How does race/ethnicity get performed in discursive texts? In what ways are these texts sites of resistance or sites of power? How do conceptions of globalization, nation, class, gender, sexuality, and the body intersect with our ideas about race/ethnicity? How do the concepts of race and ethnicity function in the literary, historical, and popular imagination?

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Graduate Research Tracks
  • Department of English
  • 203 Memorial Hall
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • University of Delaware
  • Phone: 302-831-2361