Literary and Cultural Studies


The graduate faculty teaches and promotes students’ broad literary and cultural knowledge along with expert use of critical methods and research skills. Students are eligible for full tuition fellowship plus a teaching assistantship.  MA students have the opportunity for full funding for two years and PhD students for four years; and in recent years we have been able to provide students with enhanced student lectureships in the fifth year. There are additional research funding and grant opportunities through the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center and the University Research Council.

The three primary areas of UC English faculty research and teaching are American Literature and Culture, British Modernities, and Early Modern Literature and Culture.  Faculty are also linked by a variety of interests that tend to overlap periods and fields.  UC English is particularly strong in the following areas: Visual Culture, Media & Film Studies, Critical Theory, Narrative Studies, Gender & Sexuality, Drama & Performance Studies, Race & Ethnicity, Poetry & Poetics, and Women’s Literary Studies.   See Teaching and Research Clusters and Faculty Profiles.

Facilities and Activities Available to Graduate Students

The Charles Phelps Taft Research Center for the Humanities provides graduate students in literature unique opportunities for interdisciplinary study, exchange and collaboration with both students and faculty through its Urban Studies, Visual Culture, and Human Rights Working Groups. The Taft Research Fund also provides our graduate students with opportunities for both conference travel funds and summer research support. The George Elliston Poetry Fund supports one of the nation’s finest collections of twentieth-century poetry.

The Elliston Poetry Room, in Langsam Library, represents a rich research opportunity for scholars of poetry, and its digital archive of lectures by acclaimed visiting poets will be of interest to anyone engaged in digital humanities scholarship. Literary and Cultural Studies students with research interests in contemporary fiction and poetry also benefit from the Creative Writing program’s dynamic series of lectures and readings, including the Emerging Writers series, since these events allow students access to visiting writers. The rare books collections at the Blegen Library include Petrarch and Shakespeare collections, first editions of Charles Dickens, correspondence by D.H. Lawrence, and the letters of Ambrose Bierce. The Helen Weinberger Endowment, devoted to drama and performance studies, supports interdisciplinary initiatives in dramatic theater.

Faculty and graduate students collaborate on The Cincinnati Review, which is in its ninth year of publication and ranked in the top twenty of literary journals nationally. The department is home as well to a new academic journal, The John Updike Review, now entering its third year of publication. Graduate students take the lead in organizing and running an Annual Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference. Recent themes for the graduate conference include “Being Undisciplined,” “Works in Progress,” and “Composing Spaces.” Lecture series, foundations, and private endowments have brought a wealth of outstanding scholars-speakers to our program, including, among many others, Stephen Greenblatt, Lawrence Buehl, N. Katherine Hales, David Halperin, Jack Halberstam, Alan Liu, Charles Bernstein, Jane Smiley, and Paul Theroux.