About the group
Leeds was the first university in Britain to endow a chair devoted specifically to American Literature. Ever since that first appointment, in 1961, it has maintained a firm research base in the field. The Brotherton Library has good general holdings of primary and secondary works, and in Special Collections there may be found autographed letters by several major figures, from Henry James and Ezra Pound to those post-war American writers who contributed to the London Magazine. The School's current Americanist research areas are nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, aspects of gender and ethnic studies, visual culture, and transatlantic cultural relations. For full research details, see the biographical notes on the members of staff who specialise in this area.
At undergraduate level the School offers a core module, American Words, American Worlds 1900-Present, plus a selection of more specialist options. Students who wish to specialise in American Studies start with a broad-based course, Writing America, and proceed to further options. For a full list of available option modules, see the Modules section.
Master of Arts
At taught postgraduate level, we offer the one-year MA in American Literature and Culture. The wide range of MA modules taught at Leeds embraces African-American Culture in the Twentieth Century, American Photo-Texts, and Genders in America; other innovative courses usually available include one on American poetry and Writing about Death in 19th Century America. The foundation module, Themes and Perspectives in Contemporary America, has a changing focus, reflecting current developments in the U.S.
Applications for PhD and MPhil and MA by research degrees are welcome in any of the above areas, and more. Also, it is worth pointing out that it is possible to arrange appropriate co-supervisions within the School and beyond - with Americanist specialists in such departments as History, Communications, or Politics or under the aegis of such interdisciplinary bodies as the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies.
The American area, in association with colleagues in History, organises a regular American Research Seminar series and research students run their own American Reading Group. Previous distinguished speakers to the seminar have included Prof. James Dunkerley (London); Prof. Linda Kerber (2005-06 Harmsworth Professor at Oxford); Dr Paul Giles (Oxford). Staff and postgraduates play a full part nationally and internationally in the development of American Studies, both through such organisations as the British Association for American Studies (BAAS) and the European Association for American Studies (EAAS), and by speaking at and organising conferences. For example Leeds hosted the BAAS. Annual Conference in 1996, and an international symposium devoted to Nelson Algren in 2000. For furher information on research events and conferences, please see the School's Calendar of Events.If you are interested in any aspect of American studies at Leeds, you are welcome to contact Professor Bridget Bennett by mail or email.