Modern and Global Studies
The program in Modern and Global Studies is designed for students who seek an exciting interdisciplinary approach to the literature and culture of global modernity. The program offers a rigorous concentration on two broadly defined periods, the Modern (1789-1945) and the Contemporary (1945-the present), while it situates the study of literature in relation to adjacent fields such as religious studies, history, fine arts, politics, and psychology.
This concentration also allows students in the English major to extend their study into the widest contexts of international literary achievement. Modern and Global Studies courses examine the spread of Anglophone literary culture around the world, a phenomenon that has existed from the earliest stages of English literature and that has recently become one of the most striking features of our global cultural condition. Writing in South Asia, Anglophone Africa, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean, among locations, has acquired decisive importance for the future of English. Students in Modern and Global Studies encounter the provocation and accomplishment of such work, while also preparing to become globally literate citizens of this new millennium.
Through small-group seminars, courses in literature and non-literary fields and extra-curricular events, members of the program participate in an active and collective intellectual life.
Modern and Global Studies is a two-year program. Students usually apply in the spring semester of their second year, though students are accepted on a rolling basis in later years as long as they articulate a program of study that can be completed in a timely fashion. Transfer students who arrive at Virginia at the beginning of their third year and who wish to apply to Modern and Global Studies should see the program director in the Fall term to discuss their interests.
After being admitted, a student will declare a major in English, which is the departmental home for the interdisciplinary program. The requirements for the program differ sharply, however, from the requirements for a standard English degree.
Modern and Global Studies Requirements—
Take at least 30 credits of English courses. These must include:
Either ENGL 3001 or a pre-1700 literature class.
One course in literature published between 1700-1900.
Two ENGL 4561 seminars.
Up to four courses outside the department, determined in consultation with the program director, that relate to a particular area of interest concerned with the study of modern and global literature and culture. GDS 3030/ENGL 3030: Global Cultural Studies may be counted as one of the four interdisciplinary courses; students interested in global issues are especially urged to take it. All electives from other disciplines will normally have to be at the 3000- or 4000-level but some 2000- level courses can also count (usually ones in other language departments, when the literature is offered in translation).
Students are strongly encouraged to write a thesis in the independent study (ENGL 4993) or, if they are qualified, to enter the Distinguished Majors Program (ENGL 4998 and 4999).
Modern Literature and Culture Seminars: Each semester an MGS seminar (ENGL 4561) is offered. Students should plan to take one in their third year or in the fall of their fourth year. Enrollment in the seminar is guaranteed to members of Modern and Global Studies. Much of the strength of the program derives from the collegiality and intellectual community fostered in these small-group contexts. In addition to offering intensive study of the period and the nature of interdisciplinary work, the seminars provide occasions for students to come to know and to learn from one another. Recent seminar topics include "The Global City," "The Queer Novel," “Literature and Human Rights,” “Poetry in a Global Age," The Dystopian Novel," and "Postcolonial Modernities."
Interdisciplinary Work: In addition to English courses, students in the program take up to twelve further hours of courses outside the department. These courses, chosen in consultation with the program director, reflect a student’s particular interests. Occasionally, students will take twelve hours in a single department; more often, though, they will pursue “branching courses” in various fields, with the aim of achieving related multiple perspectives on global modernity. In recent years students have designed programs of study on topics such as "The City in Modern Life," "Gender and Modernity," "Post-Colonial Literature," "Crises of Faith in the Twentieth Century," “Authoritarianism,” “Cultures of Capitalism,” and "Existentialism and the Modern Novel."
Thesis: Students in the program are encouraged to consolidate their interests by writing a 25-page thesis in an independent study during their final semester. Alternatively, if they are qualified, they may write a thesis in the separate Distinguished Majors Program which requires a 50-page essay written over the course of the fourth year and has its own admission requirements. For more information, please see the Distinguished Majors Program page.
Final Events: Each year in the late spring semester, members of the program gather for an evening of conviviality and scholarly discussion. Students (individually or collectively) may present their work, a reading, an essay, a performance, or some comparable activity. Food and conversation is inevitably a part of these proceedings.
HOW TO APPLY
Applications are accepted during Fall and Spring semesters. Although students may apply at any time during their academic career, it is recommended that they join by the third year.
An application should include:
- Application Form
An unofficial copy of your current transcript from the Registrar's home page
An endorsement completed by any faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences should be sent electronically to the director of the program (Jahan Ramazani: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Your current address, phone number, and e-mail address
A brief statement (1-2 pp) of what you hope to accomplish as a student in the Modern and Global Studies program
Special care should be given to the personal statement. You should briefly outline your academic goals and indicate why you believe that those goals would be best met in the context of the Modern and Global Studies Program. Give your proposed concentration a name and list several courses from other departments that would be appropriate to it. You may also mention 3000 level courses you have already taken that emphasize your intellectual interests.
Please return the completed application to Jahan Ramazani, Director of Modern and Global Studies: mailbox in Bryan 229 or submit via email: email@example.com
If are considering the program and have questions, you should email Jahan Ramazani. He will inform you of anything you need to think about as you consider your application.
Applications are due by April 1, 2022, at 5 p.m. in Jahan Ramazani's mailbox in the English Department or by email.