Mission

Modern Thought and Literature (MTL) is an interdisciplinary graduate program advancing the study of critical issues in the modern world. Since 1971, MTL students have stood at the cutting edge of several interdisciplinary fields and have helped reshape the ways in which disciplinary scholarship is understood and practiced. MTL graduates are leaders in the fields of American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Film Studies, Social and Cultural Studies, and Women’s Studies, as well as in the disciplines of English, Cultural Anthropology, and Comparative Literature.

The Program trains students to understand the histories and methods of disciplines and to test their assumptions. We consider how disciplines shape knowledge and, most importantly, how interdisciplinary methods reshape their objects of study. MTL students produce innovative analyses of diverse texts, forms, and practices, including those of literature, history, philosophy, anthropology, law, and science; film, visual arts, popular culture, and performance; and material culture and technology.

Each student constructs a unique and rigorous program of study suited to his or her research. Students have focused on such areas as gender and sexuality; race and ethnicity; science, technology, and medicine; media and performance; legal studies; and critical and social theory. Our faculty is drawn from a range of fields in the humanities and social sciences, as well as from education, law, and medicine. As serious interdisciplinary study is impossible without a firm understanding of the disciplines under consideration, each student is expected to master the methods of literary and cultural studies and to gain a firm foundation in a second disciplinary formation.