British and Irish Literary Studies

A portion of a mural at the James Joyce Cultural Centre in Dublan, Ireland
Photo: Carolyn Woodward

Nestled between desert and mountain at over 5000 feet, UNM stands on the traditional homelands of the Pueblo of Sandia and in the US-Mexico borderlands where we can see the world and its shifting borders. This unique situation shapes the regional, global, and critical lenses that our faculty brings to the study of British and Irish literature. From whiteness and multiculturalism in Irish literature, critical race studies and the feminist Middle Ages, disability and Milton, global Europe and Britain, to queering the trans-Atlantic, BILS is poised to be a leading force in the field and will train you to embrace the future while reading the past.  

Whether you are an undergraduate student looking to broaden your literary horizons, an M.A. student seeking a well-rounded training in the field, or a Ph.D. student preparing to conduct in-depth research in the field, the British and Irish Literary Studies (BILS) faculty are well poised to guide and challenge you in pursuing your academic goals. We are scholar-teachers of Medieval, Renaissance/Early Modern, 18th- and 19th-Century, Modern, and Postmodern literature and culture. Within these periods we focus on English, Irish, and British canons; comparative literature, both Continental/European and Transoceanic; and colonial and post-colonial writings. Bridging these periods and regions are our shared investments in identity, especially gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and class; in language and form; and in cultural and literary theory. In our teaching and research, for example, many of us 

… employ feminist, queer, and critical race studies.

… explore genre, such as the novel, drama, poetry, and epic.

are interdisciplinary, including collaborations with faculty in History, Political Science, and Languages, Cultures, and Literatures.

… are transhistorical, including studies of translation, appropriation, and adaptation.

UNM also boasts excellent programs and resources that will enhance your study of British and Irish Literature, including  

the Medieval Studies Program and the Institute for Medieval Studies, which supports student organizations and sponsors lectures and events, including the annual Medieval Studies Symposium 
the Irish Studies program, which organizes the annual Mary Power Lecture in Irish Studies and administers the full-ride Joseph C. Gallagher Scholarship for Study in Ireland and Europe 
the Rhetoric and Writing program, which trains new graduate Teaching Assistants, and the Center for Teaching and Learning, which offers ongoing workshops and pedagogical support 
Graduate Support at CTL, which offers a range of services including writing support, dissertation coaching, and job market preparation 
the programs in Creative Writing and American Literary Studies, which will complement your coursework and research in BILS

 For more information about us, click on the links below or swing by our office hours! We love what we do and would welcome the opportunity to tell you more about BILS and literary studies at UNM. 

Meet our award-winning British and Irish Literary Studies Faculty:

Director of BILS, Anita Obermeier: “‘Shaken, not stirred:’ One part ‘Uppity Medieval Women across the Globe,’ two parts Arthuriana, one part Chaucer, topped off with a good splash of Middle English language, and served with slices of feminist, gender, disability, and queer approaches.” 

Jonathan Davis-Secord: “Come ask new questions of old texts with me. We will combine current critical lenses with traditional methods to find new life in early medieval literature. Trans saints, queer kings, and racial awareness—Old English has it all!” 

Marissa Greenberg: “Interested in revolutionary bodies in the writings of John Milton? Or teaching social justice through Shakespeare and Renaissance literature? Or podcasting early modern studies? Me too.”  

Aeron Haynie: "Are you interested in how to teach literature, how to get undergraduates excited about British and Irish literary texts? Come to UNM where you can take a literary pedagogy course and learn to translate your passion for literature into cool assignments."  

M. R. Hofer: “The British postsecondary curriculum makes it almost impossible to study the most accomplished experimental poetry and prose of the past 100+ years in England — but you are welcome to come to UNM and study it with me. At the moment, my particular interests include transatlantic modernism, the British Poetry Revival, Cambridge School poetics, and New Wave science fiction.” 

Carmen Nocentelli: “Trying to make sense of our world? Imagining other possible futures? Then early modern cultural studies is for you. Learn how we got here—and how we might possibly escape.” 

Nahir I. Otaño Gracia: “As a people pleaser pissing people off, I can’t wait to teach you about Medieval Romance and Race, North / South Connections in the Global North Atlantic, Old Irish literature, and all the fun bits that come from studying medieval literature while pissing people off.”  

Sarah L. Townsend: “Ireland is less uniformly white – with a far more interesting racial and diasporic history – than you may imagine. Come learn about the many shades of Irishness.”   

Belinda Deneen Wallace: “Interested in Postcolonial Studies? Join me as we queer the Caribbean; explore future directions of Afrofuturism; and teach to transgress with ‘bad’ intersectional feminists.”

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