Arts students have wide options in composing their studies, and many elective credits to build expertise and be world ready upon graduation.
In this field at Chicago, as at many institutions, faculty and students often work across national cultures and disciplinary divides, using a variety of critical paradigms. This is true for the very strong groups in film and media studies, modernist and contemporary poetry and poetics, cultural studies, twentieth-century theory (particularly Frankfurt School aesthetics and feminist and gender theory), and fiction and popular culture listed under the Americanist heading. Many of these faculty members direct projects and offer courses on Continental and British materials in addition to their work in American. Working primarily in modern British literature, Lisa Ruddick focuses on modernist fiction, psychoanalytic theory, and poetry and poetics. Loren Kruger is a transnational comparatist specializing in drama, performance studies, and Marxist theories of modernism, with a particular strength in South Africa and Africa but broad knowledge of German, French, British, and American twentieth-century theater. Leela Gandhi works on fin de siècle and early twentieth-century transnational radicalism and teaches courses on postcolonial theory and Indo-Anglian literature. W. J. T. Mitchell also works on twentieth-century literary, aesthetic and political theory, and art and media theory. Lawrence Rothfield offers courses on twentieth-century and contemporary cultural and public policy. John Wilkinson works on late Modernist and contemporary British poetry, with a focus on heterodox lyric poetry from early Auden to Prynne. The Department frequently collaborates with colleagues in History, Anthropology, Political Science, South Asian, East Asian, Comparative Literature, and the Center for Latin American Studies, for both curricular offerings and the direction of oral examinations and dissertations in colonial and postcolonial literature and theory and transnational and global literatures and cultures. Resources are particularly strong for students interested in South Asian, East Asian, African, and Latin American or Caribbean cultures as these form parts of British and Anglophone literary cultures.