Literary and Cultural Studies

in the Department of English

Laura White works with an undergraduate researcher

Literature teaches us to engage with the past and with others. Whether we are looking at sonnets by Shakespeare, Science Fiction short stories, or novels by Chinua Achebe, Virginia Woolf, or Rigoberto Gonzalez, we are moving across imaginative boundaries: into the past or into the literary culture of a different society. The study of literature makes us aware of our own distinctiveness, as well as the uniqueness of these other places and times.

The study of literature at UNL is varied and cosmopolitan. A UNL literary student might work one semester on Milton or Renaissance London; another on the poetry of contemporary Africa; and then move back to the United States, to read Native American writing or the Harlem Renaissance.

Literary study is a bridge into different imaginative realms; it encourages us to read closely and to read deeply, to lose ourselves in a created world, but then to come back to our current realities with fresh eyes.

Undergraduate Literary and Cultural Studies

Undergraduate students with interests in literature have a variety of opportunities to develop their interests in:

  • British Literature
  • American Literature
  • Ethnic Literatures (including African American, Irish, Chicana(o) American, Asian, Native American, and Jewish American)
  • World Literatures (including Canadian, African, Caribbean, and European)
  • Film History, Theory, and Criticism
  • Literary History
  • Literary Criticism and Theory
  • Literary Genres (such as poetry, drama, fiction, life-writing, and environmental literature)

Literature students may also pursue a Literary and Cultural Studies concentration.

UNL students who graduate with an English major in literature pursue a variety of career and professional work, including

  • Graduate and professional school (including law, graduate study in English, and graduate school in education)
  • Advertising
  • Publishing and editing
  • Teaching

Graduate Literary and Cultural Studies

The Department of English offers formal M.A. and Ph.D. specializations Literary and Cultural Studies. Graduate students who wish to pursue Literary and Cultural Studies have opportunities to work closely with faculty and design individualized programs of study. Graduate Faculty members in Literary and Cultural Studies work on varied scholarly projects, share a commitment to the analysis of literature within larger cultural, social and political contexts, and utilize a wide range of critical methodologies, such as textual recovery, archival work, digital scholarship, and theoretical analyses.

Graduate Specialization