Rebecca L. Walkowitz
Professor of English


Postcolonial, Theory, Twentieth Century & Contemporary

Twentieth- and twenty-first-century literatures in English, especially the British novel, modernist fiction and prose, the contemporary Anglophone novel, and the novel in translation. Additional fields include world literature, multilingualism and literacy, the theory of the novel, translation studies, cosmopolitanism, and the history of reading.

Professor Walkowitz writes and teaches courses about modernism, twentieth-century British fiction, the contemporary anglophone novel, translation, world literature, and transnational approaches to literary history. Her current research focuses on the concept of the anglophone and the representation of world languages in contemporary writing. She was President of the Modernist Studies Association in 2014-2015, served as a faculty member at the Institute for World Literature in June 2016, and was Visiting Hurst Professor at Washington University in St. Louis in March 2017.  Recent and upcoming keynote lectures include the Wolfgang Iser Lecture at the University of Konstanz in July 2017; a keynote lecture at “The Idea of Prose Style” conference in Sydney, Australia in December 2017; the inaugural lecture of the Centre for Modernist Cultures Annual Lecture Series at the University of Birmingham (U.K.) in March 2018; the keynote lecture at a symposium at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto and a keynote lecture at the 90th annual meeting of the English Literary Society of Japan (ELSJ) in Tokyo in May 2018; and the George Steiner Lecture in Comparative Literature at Queen Mary, the University of London in March 2019.

She is the author of Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature (2015) and Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation (2006), both published by Columbia University Press. Born Translated received Honorable Mention for the first annual Matei Calinescu Prize from the MLA and has been reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement, World Literature Today, and Public Books, and in many academic journals. Parts of the book have been translated or are forthcoming in Danish, Polish, and Hungarian, and a translation of the full book is forthcoming in Japanese in 2019.

In Born Translated, Walkowitz considers how the idea of world literature, as a network of multilingual editions and audiences, has changed the aesthetic strategies and formal properties of contemporary writing. Born Translated recasts literary history as a series of convergences and divergences and builds a much-needed framework for reading translation’s effects on fictional works. Walkowitz is also editor or coeditor of several other books, including Bad Modernisms (2006, with Douglas Mao), Immigrant Fictions (2007), and The Turn to Ethics (2000, with Marjorie Garber and Beatrice Hanssen). Cosmopolitan Style was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2008 Perkins Prize from the International Society for the Study of Narrative.

Walkowitz has recently published A New Vocabulary for Global Modernism, a volume of essays she co-edited with Eric Hayot for the Modernist Latitudes series at Columbia University Press. A New Vocabulary presents essays by leading scholars in the fields of world literature and modernist studies. These essays show how the intellectual paradigms we’ve long associated with modernism are transformed, and how new paradigms emerge, when modernism’s archive extends beyond the European center.

She is coeditor and cofounder, with Matthew Hart and David James, of Literature Now, a book series published by Columbia University Press.  She has served as an editor of the journal Contemporary Literature (2008-2012), as Program Chair of the Modernist Studies Association (2008-2011), as Publications Chair of the American Comparative Literature Association (2009-2012), as a member of the Executive Board of the Society for Novel Studies (2014-2018), and as Chair of the MLA Divisions on Prose Fiction and Twentieth-Century English Literature (2013 and 2007). At Rutgers, she directs the Modernism & Globalization Research Group.  She is also organizer and founder, with Sarah Cole of Columbia University, of the NYNJ Modernism Seminar.

Walkowitz teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on the twentieth-century British and world Anglophone novel; the post-1945 British novel from Lamming to Sebald; Joyce’s Ulysses and its legacies; contemporary fiction and translation; and the history and future of reading.  Since 2000, Walkowitz has supervised 19 Ph.D. dissertations. Recent placements include tenure-track jobs at the Borough of Manhattan Community College at CUNY, Duke University, the University of Toronto, UC-Berkeley, and Wellesley College.

Walkowitz is the recipient of several major national and university fellowships, including a British Marshall Scholarship, a Javits Fellowship, an ACLS Fellowship, the Hurford Family Fellowship at the National Humanities Center, and the Walter Jackson Bate Fellowship in World Literature at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.  She received three teaching prizes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Walkowitz received her AB in American history and literature from Harvard-Radcliffe in 1992, an MPhil in English literature and critical theory from the University of Sussex in 1995, and an MA and PhD in English and American literature from Harvard in 1997 and 2000. As an undergraduate at Harvard, she served as the 118th President of The Harvard Crimson, the nation's oldest continuously published daily college newspaper.

Office / Office Hours

Murray Hall, Room 042, College Ave Campus


Courses Taught

  • Critical and Uncritical Reading: Introduction to Literary Theory
  • Vernacular Fictions: Joyce and After
  • Violence and Creativity: Introduction to the Contemporary British Novel
  • What is Sophistication?
  • Ulysses and Vernacular Fiction
  • Modernism, Translation, and the New World Literature
  • The Post-War British Novel from Lamming to Sebald
  • The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature

Awards and Affiliations

  • Honorable Mention, Matei Calinscu Prize for most distinguished book in twentieth- or twenty-first-century literature and thought, awarded by the Modern Language Associated to Born Translated, 2016.
  • Honorable Mention, George and Barbara Perkins Prize for most significant book in narrative studies, awarded by the Narrative Society to Cosmopolitan Style, 2008
  • Elected to Advisory Board, American Comparative Literature Association, 2008
  • Elected as Program Chair, Modernist Studies Association, 2008
  • Vilas Associate Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006
  • Phillip R. Certain Distinguished Faculty Award for most distinguished faculty member to receive tenure in the College of Letters & Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006
  • American Comparative Literature Association
  • Modernist Studies Association
  • Society for Novel Studies
  • Modern Language Association
  • Graduate Advisory Board, The Harvard Crimson


PhD, Harvard University
M. Phil., University of Sussex
AB, Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges

Other Information of Interest