British and Irish Literary Studies
Irish, British, and World Literature; Genre (fiction, drama); Critical Race Studies
Sarah L. Townsend (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley; B.A. University of Michigan) is a scholar of modern and contemporary Irish fiction and drama with a secondary emphasis in 20th and 21st-century British and Anglophone literature. Her research explores the relationship between globalization and literary form, focusing on topics including genre evolution, world literary circulation, immigration and emigration, and critical race studies. Her published and forthcoming scholarship appears in New Literary History, Journal of Modern Literature, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, and edited collections from Palgrave and Cambridge, Cork, and Edinburgh University Presses. She is currently completing a monograph on modern Irish drama’s radical transformation of the Bildungsroman.
Townsend has been named a 2019-20 Faculty Research Fellow at Wellesley College’s Newhouse Center for the Humanities, where she will work on a new book project titled What’s New About the New Irish? Immigration, Whiteness, and Racial Mobility in Ireland and the United States, 1892-2020. Drawing on extensive archival research in Ireland and North America, the book examines the hidden history of transnational white supremacy that undergirds contemporary Irish multiculturalism. Previously she held a Visiting Fellowship at the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at Notre Dame and has received funding from UNM’s Research Allocations Committee and Feminist Research Institute. She has delivered invited lectures at the Galway International Arts Festival, the Irish Literary and Historical Society of San Francisco, the Irish Studies Center at Villanova University, and to local organizations. She will be a keynote speaker at the 2020 American Conference for Irish Studies.
She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Irish and British literature and culture, contemporary world literature, critical theory, graduate professionalization, and special topics like the Postcolonial Bildungsroman and World Literature and Hunger. She also supervises Ph.D. and M.A. students and currently serves as President of the American Conference for Irish Studies-West. She is co-founder of the UNM Irish Studies Program and co-directs its summer study abroad and alumni travel programs.