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Transatlantic and Early Atlantic Studies

At Purdue we define transatlantic literatue in its longest and broadest sense: faculty and students in the area are engaged in research and teaching that encompass colonial America beginning in the early 17th-century, 18th-century British and American literature, and long 19th-century literatures. We consider the British as well as the Black Atlantic; New England and New Spain; London and Surinam. Our methodologies and critical approaches help to define new approaches to the field, allowing for substantive responses to new texts as well as new approaches to familiar books. Our members publish and teach on the history of print culture, the construction of the public sphere, theatricality, aesthetics, cultural contact, colonial identities, transatlantic slavery and racism, empire, and revolution.

In addition, the transatlantic character of our curriculum gives students the opportunity to work on both British and American topics, although students may devote themselves to one national tradition or the other. Graduate classes combine the study of literature with work on history, culture, and theory, and are frequently cross-listed with courses in American Studies.

We also offer graduate students a wide array of methodological, pedagogical, and theoretical approaches to the study of literature and culture. Faculty strengths include literary genres (novel, autobiography, drama, poetry, children’s literature); critical frameworks (historicism, cultural studies, critical race theory, visual and media studies, print culture, history of the book) and theoretical approaches (poststructuralist, cognitive, ecocritical, Lacanian, feminist). 

Our remarkable faculty include Emily Allen, Kristina Bross, Dino Felluga, Geraldine Friedman, Robert Lamb, Christopher Lukasik, Derek Pacheco, Manushag N. Powell, and P. Ryan Schneider.

We stress interdisciplinary work. Faculty and students also have ties to interdisciplinary programs such as American Studies, Women's Studies, African American Studies, and Comparative Literature.  Indeed, students are encouraged to broaden their knowledge of the nineteenth century by taking courses in these areas or in other departments (particularly Languages and Cultures, History, Art History, and Philosophy).

One of our finest (and most enjoyable) features is that faculty and students in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literary studies at Purdue all participate in the English department’s Early Atlantic Reading Group (EARG), a graduate student-run organization sponsoring social and intellectual activities for those interested in all things transatlantic in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

Purdue’s library has a remarkable wealth of research materials for students interested in transatlantic studies in the long eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Databases available to our students include EEBO, ECCO, the OED and the Oxford DNB, the Orlando Project, Caribbean Newspapers 1718-1876, African American Newspapers: The Nineteenth Century, African American Periodicals, American Historical Newspapers, the AAS Historical Periodicals, American Fiction, British Literary Manuscripts Online, British Newspapers 1600-1950, British Periodicals, Defining Gender, 1450-1910, the Burney Collection, and Romanticism: Life, Literature, and Landscape.

Finally, students have at their disposal numerous nearby collections of rare materials, including the John M. Wing Foundation collection dedicated to the art of printing at the Newberry Library, Chicago, and the impressive nineteenth-century holdings of the University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champagne (the third largest academic library in the United States, after Harvard and Yale), particularly the William Allingham Papers, the Bentley, Richard and Son Papers, the Charles E. Mudie Collection, as well as their famous Dickens and Twain Collection. And Purdue English is home to Dino Felluga's dynamic and ever-grwoing BRANCH (Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth-Century History) collective.

This is a great location for innovative, forward-looking research into the most exciting period of the past we've ever known. Join our community: we can't wait to meet you!