Professor’s Book Among Most Outstanding Academic Titles of 2019

Woman with short gray hair and black rimmed glasses

A book co-edited by Department of English Professor Ellen McCallum is among the select few chosen as a “2019 Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice magazine, a monthly publication that offers hundreds of book reviews to help librarians curate and deliver better sources.

Each year, Choice magazine puts together a list of Outstanding Academic Titles of books published that year. The 2019 list includes 31 books, out of approximately 6,000 eligible reviewed titles, and McCallum’s After Queer Studies: Literature, Theory and Sexuality in the 21st Century is one of them.

McCallum’s book, co-edited with Tyler Bradway, Assistant Professor of English at State University of New York College, Cortland, maps the literary influences that facilitate queer theory’s academic emergence, charts the trajectories that continue evolution as a critical practice, explores the interdisciplinary origins of queer studies, and argues for the prominent role that literary studies has played in establishing the concepts, methods, and questions of contemporary queer theory.

Our book’s importance is in how it shapes the way we understand literary studies’ impact on queer theory.

ELLEN MCCALLUM, DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH PROFESSOR

This collection initiates new discussion on the significant changes that queer studies has introduced in the concepts, methods, and modes of literary interpretation and cultural practices. It is part of a new series of edited collections that Cambridge University Press launched focusing on key intellectual figures or trends and their influence in contemporary debates in the humanities.

“Our book’s importance is in how it shapes the way we understand literary studies’ impact on queer theory,” McCallum said. “It was a great opportunity to reflect on and contribute to this larger conversation about the growing importance of queer studies over these past three decades and what it has made possible both for literary studies specifically and for humanities and interdisciplinary research more broadly.”

There are chapters on canonical writers whose work has been instrumental to the rise of queer studies, for example: James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Oscar Wilde, and William Shakespeare.

“We were fortunate to have contributions from an array of fantastic scholars, many of whom are leaders in the field of queer studies, and all of whom are experts in their area,” McCallum said. “It was a privilege to be able to work with them, and my co-editor Tyler Bradway and I are thrilled with the high caliber of the published collection.” 

graphic showing 'After Queer Studies' as the winner of outstanding academic title in 2019
“After Queer Studies: Literature, Theory, and Sexuality in the 21st Century”


McCallum looked at where this book emerged from, which was her having co-edited The Cambridge History of Gay and Lesbian Literature, a landmark volume in one of Cambridge’s signature series dating back to 1902.

“That collection, which ranges from Sappho and ancient Greek traditions through contemporary Chinese literature, taking a global and multi-genre perspective, provided me with the basis to focus more in-depth on how queer studies has shaped this field,” McCallum said.

Her teaching also significantly supported the work and research that went into the book.

McCallum’s research and teaching focus on feminist and queer theory, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, aesthetics, American Literature, and film studies. She teaches core courses ranging from the fundamentals of literary and critical theory to film and media theory. In addition, she offers courses in feminist and queer film, women’s experimental writing in the tradition of Dickinson and Stein, and LGBTQ studies. 

McCallum received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Modern Studies Program, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program housed in the Department of English.