Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

You are here: Home People Areas of Specialization Contemporary Literature

Contemporary Literature

Our faculty in contemporary literature and culture are an appropriately diverse group. Areas of expertise include American literature and culture since 1945; African American literature and rhetoric; twentieth and twenty-first century world literatures in English; Latino/a literature; Asian American literature; American Jewish literature; the history of the avant-garde; poetics; the rhetorical discourses and practices of biotechnology; literature and other arts; post-postmodernism as the logic of “just-in-time” capitalism; queer theory; feminist studies; and disability studies.

Faculty in contemporary literature and culture teach graduate seminars in such subjects as African American literature, experimental poetry, contemporary fiction, science fiction, cultural studies, post-colonial literature, various ethnic literatures, and scientific and medical issues viewed from literary and rhetorical perspectives. We help students understand not only the means of cultural production but also the cultural production of meaning. While we profess no common methodology or object of study, we believe that contemporary studies offers something not available in other periods, the challenge of grasping the contemporaneity of the contemporary, together with the long-term transformations wrought by modernity over the course of the past few centuries.

Recent Grad Courses

  • African American Novel: Sexuality in Black Women’s Novels
  • African American Paraliterature
  • After the New American Poetries
  • American Culture 1945-1975
  • Black Cosmopolitanism
  • Contemporary African American Literature
  • Contemporary African American Playwrights
  • Contemporary Fiction
  • Contemporary Literary Theory
  • Critical Whiteness Studies
  • Disability Studies
  • Experiments in the Fictional Slave Narrative
  • Gothic to Goth
  • Gender in African-American Literature and Theory
  • Latino/a Culture and Literature
  • Modern/Postmodern (and Beyond?)
  • On the PostColony: Readings from Africa and the Caribbean
  • Rhetoric of bell hooks and Cornel West
  • Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Satire and New Black Aesthetics in Contemporary African American Novels
  • Science Fiction and Cybercultures
  • What Was Cultural Studies?
  • Writing Nonfiction (Various Themes: Essayism, Defacement)

People specializing in this area

Emeritus Faculty

Stephen R Grecco

Modern and contemporary dramatic literature

Kit Hume

Authors I have worked in include Acker, Brautigan, Burroughs, Coover, Gaiman, Kennedy, Powers, Pynchon, Reed, Rushdie, Vizenor, Vonnegut, and Wideman.

Linda Furgerson Selzer, Ph.D.

Narrative experimentation,race, and ethnicity. Literature and the digital age.

Susan Merrill Squier, Ph.D.

My most recent publication is Epigenetic Landscapes: Drawings as Metaphor, from Duke University Press (2017).I also do research on comics and medicine. My co-edited collection with Irmela Marei Krüger-Fürhoff, PathoGraphics: Narrative, Aesthetics, Contention, Community, is forthcoming from Penn State University Press. I co-edit a series at Penn State Press called Graphic Medicine, and my co-authored volume, Graphic Medicine Manifesto, was published by Penn State University Press in 2015. In 2015, with J. Ryan Marks, I edited the "Graphic Medicine" special issue of the journal Configurations, of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, on "Graphic Medicine."