Chair's Office

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  • Meredith L. McGill
  • Chair of the English Department
  • Professor of English
  • Unit: Chair's Office
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  • Office: Murray Hall | 105
  • Office Hours:

    Mondays 12:00-1:00 pm (in person)
    and Zoom, by appointment

  • Primary Areas of Specialization: Nineteenth-Century American Literature; Poetry and Poetics; History of the Book
  • Field of Interest: Book and Media History, Early American, Nineteenth-Century American, Poetry & Poetics, Theory
  • About:

    Meredith L McGill's research and teaching focuses on American literature, book and media history, and poetry and poetics. She is the author of American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1837-1853 (2003; repr. 2007) a study of nineteenth-century American resistance to tight control over intellectual property. She has edited two collections of essays: Taking Liberties with the Author (2013), which explores the persistence of the author as a shaping force in literary criticism, and The Traffic in Poems: Nineteenth-Century Poetry and Transatlantic Exchange (2008), in which a variety of scholars model ways of understanding nineteenth-century poetry within a transatlantic frame.

    She co-directs the Black Bibliography Project with Jacqueline Goldsby (Yale University).  In 2022, the BBP was awarded a significant grant from the Mellon Foundation to support the "implementation phase" of the project.  You can read more about this project and the field of Black Bibliography itself in a special issue of the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America (Summer 2022); the introduction she co-wrote with Jacqueline Goldsby is open access.

  • Book(s):
  • Undergraduate Courses Taught:
    • Data and Culture
    • Walt Whitman
    • Edgar Allan Poe
    • What is a Book?
    • Nineteenth-Century American Poetry
    • The Poetry of Slavery
    • Introduction to American Literature
    • Principles of Literary Study: Poetry
    • Blogging:  Prehistory, Theory, Practice
    • Literary History as Media History
    • Transcendentalism and Reform
    • American Women Writers to 1900
    • Topics in Literary Theory: Authorship
  • Graduate Courses Taught:
  • Awards:
    • Mellon Foundation award, with Jacqueline Goldsby (Yale) to support the Black Bibliography Project's Implementation Phase, 2022-25
    • Mellon Foundation award, with Jacqueline Goldsby (Yale), to support the Black Bibliography Project, 2019-2021
    • Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2019
    • Beinecke Distinguished Fellow in the Humanities, Beinecke Library, Yale University 2019-20
    • Class of 1932 Fellow, Council of the Humanities, Department of English, and the Center for Digital Humanities, Princeton University, Spring 2016
    • Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society 2003-4
    • NEH/ Newberry Library Fellowship, 1995-6
    • Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, 1995
  • Membership Affiliations:
    • Trustee, English Institute, 2015-2022
    • President, C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, 2018-2020
    • Executive Committee, Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature, Modern Language Association, 2011-16; Chair 2016
    • General Editor, ACLS e-book series, Selected Essays from the English Institute, 2010-13
  • Other Dept University Postions:

    Digital Humanities Steering Committee; Public Humanities Steering Committee

  • Other Publications:
    •  “Books on the Loose,” in Alexandra Gillespie and Deirdre Lynch, eds. The Unfinished Book (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), 79-93.

    •  “Transatlantic Address:  Washington Allston and the Limits of Romanticism,” Studies in Romanticism 59:4 (Winter 2020), 475-492.

    • “Format,” Early American Studies special issue on “Keywords in Early American Literature and Material Texts,” ed. by Marcy Dinius and Sonia Hazard (Fall, 2018), 671-7.

    • “What is a Ballad?  Reading for Genre, Format, and Medium,” Nineteenth-Century Literature, 70:2 (September 2016), 156-175.

    •  “American Poetry:  What, Me Worry?” (A response to Stephen Burt).  American Literary History28:2 (Summer 2016), 288-94.

    •  “Literary History, Book History, and Media Studies” in Hester Blum, ed. Turns of Event:  American Literary Studies in Motion (Philadelphia:  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), 23-39.

    •  “Echocriticism: Repetition and the Order of Texts,” American Literature 88:1 (March 2016), 1-29.

    •  “The Poetry of Slavery,” in Ezra Tawil, ed. Cambridge Companion to Slavery in American Literature  (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 115-136.

    • “The Perils of Authorship, Literary Property and Nineteenth-Century American Fiction,”  with Lara Langer Cohen, Oxford History of the Novel in EnglishVol 5: The American Novel to 1870, J. Gerald Kennedy and Leland S. Person, eds. (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2014), 195-212.

    • “Market,”  in Keywords: A Vocabulary of American Cultural Studies, Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler, eds.  (New York:  New York University Press, 2007), 149-52

  • Education: PhD Johns Hopkins University; MA (Cantab) Emmanuel College; BA Williams College
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  • Adrianne Peterpaul
  • Senior Department Administrator
  • Unit: Chair's Office
  • Phone Number: (848) 932-7690
  • Office: Murray Hall | 103
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  • Maria Knapp
  • Administrative Coordinator
  • Unit: Chair's Office
  • At Rutgers Since: 2016
  • Phone Number: (848) 932-7424
  • Office: Murray Hall | 101
  • Office Hours:

    8AM - 4:30PM

    In Office:Monday, Wednesday, Thursday
    Remote: Tuesday, Friday

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  • Maurice Wallace
  • Associate Chair of the English Department
  • Professor of English
  • Unit: Chair's Office
  • Office: Murray Hall, Room 052, College Ave Campus
  • Office Hours:

    M 11:30-1P

  • Primary Areas of Specialization: African American literature and literary theory, 19th century American literature and culture, US Slavery and its afterlife, visual culture, sound studies, race and religion
  • Field of Interest: African-American & Diaspora, Gender & Sexuality, Nineteenth-Century American, Sound Studies, Theory
  • About:

    Maurice Wallace is associate professor of English at Rutgers. His fields of expertise include African American literature and cultural studies, nineteenth-century American literature, the history and representation of American slavery, and gender studies. He is the author of Constructing the Black Masculine: Identity and Ideality in African American Men’s Literature and Culture, 1775-1995, a book on the history of black manhood in African American letters and culture, and is co-editor with Shawn Michelle Smith of a volume of scholarly articles on early photography and African American identity entitled Pictures and Progress: Early Photography and the Making of African-American Identity. Professor Wallace has served on the editorial boards for American Literature and Yale Journal of Criticism and is a contributing editor to James Baldwin Review. His current research and writing agendas include a monograph on the religious life and leanings of Frederick Douglass, and a critical exploration into the sound of Martin Luther King Jr.’s voice. Professor Wallace also teaches in areas of visual culture and sound studies.


    Photo by Sarah Cramer Shields

  • Book(s):
  • Undergraduate Courses Taught:

    Major American Writers: Toni Morrison

    Photography and Literature

    Martin Luther King, Jr.: Power, Love, Justice

  • Graduate Courses Taught:

    ‘Black Is… Black Ain’t…’: Currents in African American Literary and Cultural Theory

    Slavery and the Problem of Aesthetics

  • Awards:

    John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary Studies Fellowship, Duke University

    William Sanders Scarborough Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Study of African American Literature and Culture, Modern Language Association

  • Other Publications:

    “The Dream Keepers: William Bullard and New Negro Portraiture in Worcester Massachusetts, 1897-1917” introduction to Rediscovering an American Community of Color: The Photographs of William Bullard, ed. Jannette Greenwood and Nancy Kathryn Burns, (Worcester, 2019) forthcoming.

    “Race, Writing and Eschatological Hope: The Religious Roots of African American Literature, 1800-1830,” African American Literature in Transition, 1800-1830, ed. Jasmine Cobb (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2019), forthcoming

    “’Precious Lord’: Black Mother-Loss and the Roots of Modern Gospel,” Religions. 10:4. ed. Carol E. Henderson (MDPI, 2019), pp. 1-13.

    “The Pack-House Portraits,” introduction to Photos Day and Night, ed. Sara Stack (New York: Red Hook Editions, 2019), pp, 65-73.

  • Education: 1995 Ph.D., English Literature Duke University 1989 A.B., English Literature and African & African American Studies Cum laude. Washington University in St. Louis 
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  • Lynn Festa
  • Associate Chair of the English Department
  • Professor of English
  • Unit: Chair's Office
  • At Rutgers Since: 2008
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  • Office: Murray Hall, Room 203C, College Ave Campus
  • Office Hours:

    Monday 5:15-6:45 and by appointment

  • Primary Areas of Specialization: British and French literature; thing theory; animal studies; histories of empire; postcolonial theory
  • Field of Interest: Restoration & Eighteenth Century
  • About:

    Lynn Festa specializes in eighteenth-century literature and culture, with an emphasis on the role played by literature and literary form in the elaboration of categories of human difference in Britain, France and their colonies.

    Her first book, Sentimental Figures of Empire in Eighteenth-Century Britain and France (Johns Hopkins, 2006), examined how the culture of sensibility welded the affective response to other people to broader structures of classification in order to both include and exclude individuals from the class of humanity. Her second book, Fiction Without Humanity: Person, Animal, Thing in Early Enlightenment Literature and Culture (Penn, 2019), drew on riddles, fables, novels, scientific instruments, and trompe l’oeil painting to analyze the shifting terms in which human difference from animals, things, and machines was expressed. Fiction Without Humanity won the 51st annual James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association and the Oscar Kenshur Prize for the best interdisciplinary book in eighteenth-century studies from the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Indiana University, and has been reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement and Public Books as well as in academic journals. With Daniel Carey, she co-edited The Postcolonial Enlightenment: Eighteenth-Century Colonialism and Postcolonial Theory.   Festa is the author of more than 25 articles and book chapters on a wide array of topics, including slavery, human rights, it-narratives, cosmetics, and a 1796 tax on dogs. Her article, “Personal Effects: Wigs and Possessive Individualism in the Long Eighteenth Century,” was awarded the James L. Clifford Prize for best article by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

    Festa teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on eighteenth-century British and French literature; the history of the novel; narrative theory; colonialism, empire and the history of slavery; travel narrative; the Enlightenment understanding of human difference; animal studies; thing theory; the history of sensibility; eighteenth-century women writers, and Jane Austen. With David Brewer, she co-taught a Summer Seminar in the History of the Book on “Books in the Larger World of Objects” at the American Antiquarian Society in 2014. She received the Joseph R. Levenson Memorial Teaching Prize and the Roslyn Abramson Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching at Harvard and a Graduate Teaching Prize at the University of Wisconsin. She has served as Director, Associate Director, and Director of Admissions for the Rutgers English Graduate Program.

     Festa has been the recipient of numerous national fellowships, including a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship at Harvard, an ACLS Charles A Ryskamp Research Fellowship, the M.H. Abrams Fellowship at the National Humanities Center, the NEH Fellowship at the Huntington Library, and a National Mellon Fellowship. She has given more than 120 talks nationally and internationally, including the North American Scholar Plenary lecture at the Jane Austen Society of North Ameria.

  • Book(s):
  • Undergraduate Courses Taught:

    "In my teaching, I try to give students a sense of what makes the eighteenth century exciting and relevant to our historical moment, but I also want them to see how deeply alien it was. This was a period whose technologies, belief systems, and social structures were completely unlike those that construct the modern world. Part of why I love teaching eighteenth century texts is because of that electric contact with a way of thinking that is so emphatically not our own."

  • Other Publications:
  • Other Information of Interest:
  • Education: PhD, University of PennsylvaniaMA, University of PennsylvaniaBA, Yale University