American Literary Studies

Since the 1940's, our English Department has been nationally distinguished for its contributions to American literary scholarship—a distinction that increased in the 1970's, when the Department became the center of the Chicano/a and Native American renaissance. American literary studies in the UNM Department of English Language and Literature focuses on nineteenth and twentieth century American literatures, with special areas of strength that include:

  • Nineteenth-Century Literary and Cultural History
  • Modernism and Postmodernism
  • Chicana/o, Native American, and Southwestern Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Poetry, Poetics, and Avant-Garde Writing
  • African American Literature

Like the greater southwest, American literary studies in English is a place where literary and cultural traditions meet: the nineteenth-century American renaissance and Mexican, Native, and African American literary histories; southwestern regionalism and modernity; postmodernism and contemporary Chicano/a and Native American literatures; fiction and poetry; poetics and film.

Our PhD program in American literatures and cultures emphasizes multidisciplinary approaches to the nineteenth century (especially prose) and the twentieth century (especially poetry), coupled with a well-defined sense of the recent and evolving intersections among practices of criticism, history, and theory. Faculty research involves projects of archival recovery and canonicity; comparative studies of identity; regional, U.S., hemispheric and trans-Atlantic literary histories and print cultures; and poetry, poetics, and visual culture.

Members of the American literature faculty edit and contribute to American Literary Scholarship and edit American Literary Realism, which is the leading journal in its field and regularly provides a fellowship to a PhD student pursuing American literary studies. Other funding for ALS students, besides teaching assistantships, include the George Arms Endowment fund, which is regularly used to support ALS graduate students, and the Center for Regional Studies Hector Torres Fellowship, a $10,000-$15,000 annual award that supports graduate research and scholarship in the English Department directly related to the late Dr. Hector Torres' fields, as well as the mission of the Center for Regional Studies. These areas include Chicano/a literary and cultural studies; theory (i.e. Marxism; post-structuralism; deconstruction; psychoanalysis; and globalization); film studies; and scholarship related to the mission of the CRS (including history; archival research; literature; and other interdisciplinary fields related to New Mexico, the US-Mexico borderlands, and the greater southwest).

Our PhD students have presented their research at regional and national conferences, published scholarship in peer-reviewed venues, garnered competitive dissertation fellowships, and landed tenure-track positions at places as diverse as Tennessee Tech University, Oklahoma State University, Marymount University, and UNM-Valencia.

American Literary Studies Faculty

Director: Melina Vizcaíno-Alemán, Associate Professor

Jesse Alemán, Professor

Finnie Coleman, Associate Professor

Jesús Costantino, Associate Professor

Bernadine Hernández, Associate Professor

Sarah Hernandez, Assistant Professor

Scarlett Higgins, Associate Professor

Matthew Hofer, Professor

Kathryn Wichelns, Associate Professor

Department of English Language and Literature
Humanities Building, Second Floor
MSC03 2170
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Phone: (505) 277-6347
Fax: (505) 277-0021