America and American Cities
There is a small cadre in the department dedicated (at least in part) to American studies. While most of the research conducted by the members of this group is literary, we are also broadly interested in making complex mediations between American cities and spaces, media, ideas of nationhood, forms of rhetoric and published texts.
David Kelly's principal areas of research include the American Renaissance (esp. Melville and, later, Twain) and American Modernism (esp. William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald). Melissa Hardie's work on American culture stretches from analysing the Starr report, to a rhetorical study of WTC memorabilia and the fictions of Ayn Rand.
Published work on the American urban environment is represented by works such as 'Oedipus at Los Angeles: Hitch and the Tragic Muse' by David Kelly, in Senses of Cinema January-February 2003; and Melissa Hardie's 'Loose Slots: Figuring the Strip in Showgirls', Xtext 1(1), 24-35 (1996).
There are excellent collections of American literature and pop-cultural materials at Fisher Library, including (for instance) facsimile manuscript editions of all Faulkner's major texts; complete works of Emerson and Thoreau; and excellent special collections of American science fiction.
Given the increasing 'centrality' (or do we mean 'immanence') of American culture world-wide, there is consistently a great deal of graduate research in this field in the Department, and we expect this group to grow into an even more active and productive cluster.