Textual Studies Program

PhD Degree Option in Textual Studies (English and Comparative Literature)

A doctoral candidate obtains degree-option certification in Textual Studies by completing the program’s four core courses (20 credit hours):

  • English 501 / Comp Lit 551 (Textual Theory and Practice): an introduction to the intellectual foundations of textual studies; historical background in disciplines of philology and textual criticism; theories of textuality from formalism and New Criticism to poststructuralism and medium-specific analysis; current and emerging concerns in the history of the book, media studies, globally comparative philologies, and the digital humanities.
  • English 502 / Comp Lit 552 (Manuscript Studies): an examination of the theoretical and methodological issues attending the study of written texts including literacy, circulation, production, and reception in premodern and modern manuscript cultures; training in paleography, codicology, manuscript genetics, and archival research methods.
  • English 503 / Comp Lit 553 (Print Culture and Publication): an examination of the theoretical and methodological issues attending the study of printed texts; training in bibliography and the history of the book from Gutenberg’s hand press to the machine and periodical presses of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; contemporary book art.
  • English 504 / Comp Lit 554 (Digital Texts and Contexts): an examination of digital textuality from the rise and fall of “hypertext” to contemporary convergence and transmediation in hybrid visual-verbal genres: computer games, digital video, and e-poetry. Coverage of practical issues surrounding digital scholarship and the digital humanities.

Ten additional seminar credits must be obtained in approved courses offered by participating units. Before advancing to dissertation work, the student will demonstrate his or her general knowledge of the field of Textual Studies by completing an examination or writing a critical essay on an assigned topic. A student’s Ph.D. supervisory committee should include at least one member of the Textual Studies Participating Faculty.

Application to the Textual Studies Program requires a statement of interest (750-1000 words) outlining your research and plans for developing your work through the program, a CV, and one letter of recommendation. Applications are accepted in email on a rolling basis; prospective students are encouraged to contact the directors for more information.