Amy Hungerford named the Bird White Housum Professor of English

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Amy Hungerford

Amy Hungerford, newly named as the Bird White Housum Professor of English, is a literary scholar, teacher, and critic who specializes in 20th- and 21st-century American literature, especially the period since 1945.

Hungerford’s most recent monograph, “Making Literature Now,” is about the social networks that support and shape contemporary literature in both traditional and virtual media. A hybrid work of ethnography, polemic, and traditional literary criticism, the book examines how those networks shape writers’ creative choices and the choices we make about reading. Hungerford is also the author of two earlier books, “The Holocaust of Texts: Genocide, Literature, and Personification” and “Postmodern Belief: American Literature and Religion Since 1960.” She is the editor of the post-1945 volume of the ninth edition of the Norton Anthology of American Literature.

Hungerford’s undergraduate teaching is known worldwide through her popular, and free, online course, “The American Novel Since 1945.” In the graduate program, she teaches seminars on 20th- and 21st-century literature, criticism, and book history, and convenes a dissertation workshop for students studying late-19th- to 21st-century American, British, and world Anglophone literature. Since 2009, Hungerford has taught at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College in Vermont in the summertime; Bread Loaf offers a Master of Arts program in literature, mainly serving secondary school English teachers.

Hungerford earned her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from The Johns Hopkins University. She joined the Yale faculty in 1999 as assistant professor of English and American studies and was promoted to full professor in 2007. She served as acting master of Calhoun College, master of Morse College, and chair of the Council of Masters. Currently, she is Dean of the Humanities for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, responsible for overseeing all tenure, promotion, and ladder-faculty searches in 23 humanities departments and programs, as well as significant initiatives such as the renovation of 320 York St. (the Hall of Graduate Studies) as a central home for the humanities on campus.

The Yale professor is a founder of Post45, a professional association for scholars working in post-1945 literary and cultural studies, and served on the group’s board from 2006 to 2015. She co-founded and remains site editor of, an open-access journal publishing a curated stream of peer-reviewed and general interest work in the field. Hungerford has served in editorial roles at Modernism/modernity, Contemporary Literature, and the Yale Journal of Criticism, among other academic publications. Her reviewing and public media work includes essays on contemporary fiction in the Yale Review and occasional contributions to online forums and programs on National Public Radio.

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