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    American University
    Apr 17, 2024  
American University Catalog 2020-2021 
American University Catalog 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]



Chair  David Pike (on sabbatical leave for academic year 2020-2021)
Acting Co-Chairs  Jeff Middents, Kate Wilson
Director of the Writing Studies Program  L. Wootton
Director of the Writing Center  N. Green
International Student Coordinator  A. Dadak

Full-Time Faculty

Professor  D. Keplinger, M. Noble, D. Pike, R. Sha, P. Starr
Associate Professor  K. Dargan, E. Dussere, L. Green-Simms, D. Kakoudaki, K. Leonard, J. Middents, D.C. Payne, D. Perkins-Valdez, A. Sherman, R. Snyder, D. Vázquez, L. Voris, L. Wong, M.S. Young
Assistant Professor  A. Berry, F. Brideoake, D. Friedman, S. Grant, P. Park, T. Ratekin, K. Smith
Hurst Senior Professorial Lecturer  C. Bair Van Dam, E. Comstock, C. Cox, L. Fettig, P.K. Joyner, G. Moomau, A. Thomas, K. Wilson, L. Wootton
Senior Professorial Lecturer  A. Bernstein, M. Cabot, A. Choutka, S. Marsh, J. McCarthy, H. McDonald, K. Oakes, M. Switalski, A. Tamashasky
Professorial Lecturer  M. Brown, B. Caravella, B. Djain, L. Ewing, P. Fileri, C. Garrett, A. Greenberg, E. Helfers, C. Horne, C. Jones, J. Murphy, M. Pennington, N. Shahiri, A. Sparks, S. Trembath, M. Twigg, R. Zimlich

Emeriti Faculty

Professor Emeritus/a  P. Han, F.L. Kelly, F.H. King, C.R. Larson, J. Loesberg, R. McCann, K.W. Moyer, K. Mussell, J.N. Radner, R. Rubenstein, M. Sklarew, H.S. Taylor, F.E. Zapatka
Associate Professor Emeritus/a  W.E. Stahr
Senior Professorial Lecturer Emeritus/a  L. Johnson

Department Overview

Concerned with the study of literature, writing, and film, the Department of Literature offers courses that embrace many approaches to the rich heritage of written, oral, and cinematic tradition, as well as courses that challenge students to write creatively and professionally. In addition to taking courses, students are encouraged to enroll in internships to sample careers that use the skills they are developing in the classroom; Washington, DC affords a wide range of job opportunities (many involving writing or editing) in settings such as arts organizations, radio and television, government offices, public interest organizations, museums, schools, and community groups.

The department’s faculty of scholars and writers staff three degree programs in literature: the Literature (BA) , Literature, Culture, and Technology (MA) , and the Creative Writing (MFA) . All three programs offer students the chance to study literature, film, criticism and creative writing; all are small and flexible programs that bring students and faculty into close contact in small classes and informal gatherings and colloquia. The Literature (BA)  program offers four specialized tracks of study: Literary Studies, Cinema Studies, Creative Writing, and Transcultural Studies. The Literature, Culture, and Technology (MA)  program develops the intellectual, emotional, technical, and social aptitudes required of the increasing digital professional world through the deep study of literature, culture, and ideas. Students graduate with a personalized portfolio and a command of tools and methods drawn from the fields of literary studies, media and cultural studies, writing studies, computer science, data science, and game design. The Creative Writing (MFA)  program includes work in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, translation, and literary journalism. It also offers students opportunities to give public readings, to meet with editors and publishers, and to produce a nationally known literary magazine.

In addition, the department offers minors in each of its fields: Creative Writing (Minor) , Literature (Minor) Cinema Studies (Minor)  and Transcultural Studies (Minor) .

Honors in Literature

The Honors in Literature  program offers students the opportunity to enhance their engagement with literary study. Honors in Literature students develop their theoretical, historical, and interdisciplinary expertise in preparation for advanced or graduate level work in their discipline.

The Visiting Writers Series

Each semester, the department sponsors public readings by prominent poets, fiction writers, and editors. These visitors also conduct workshops for graduate and undergraduate creative writing students. Visiting writers have included Mark Doty, Jacqueline Woodson, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Jan Wagner, Nnedi Okorafor, Ada Limón, Teju Cole, Richard Rodriguez, Yusef Komunyakaa, Marie Howe, Michael Cunningham, Marilyn Nelson, Li-Young Lee, and Amy Bloom. Distinguished Writers in Residence have included Jean Valentine, Marilyn Hacker, Jon Silkin, Pablo Medina, and Alice McDermott.


    Major Program (UG)Minor (UG)Master’s Program (GR)