The strength of literary study at UQ was recently recognised when the discipline was awarded the highest possible ranking in a national research assessment exercise. We contribute to some of the most exciting developments in the field including:

  • current debates in Australian literature
  • the intersections between literature and the history of ideas (especially in the early modern period)
  • life narrative
  • literary theory; and
  • literature, gender and sexuality studies.

Literary studies staff have won significant external funding. Australian Research Council projects currently underway include:

  • a study of the intersection of religion and literature in the eighteenth century
  • a major exploration of the history of emotions in early modern Europe, undertaken in collaboration with colleagues at four other Australian universities
  • a study of the history of American editions of Australian books; and
  • an innovative and internationally-recognised account of the representations and self-representations of asylum-seekers, in the context of human rights theory.

We are also engaged in research projects on British literature between 1600 and 1830; literature by women; Australian literature, including an emphasis on Indigenous and multicultural writing; modernism; literary theory; and contemporary fiction in English.

Research on literature, critical theory, and cultural and intellectual history also takes place in the Faculty’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH). One of the Institute’s designated research areas is Intellectual and Literary History. The Institute also houses the UQ Node of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (Europe 1100-1800), which has a strong focus on English literature of the medieval and early modern periods.

Since the establishment of UQ’s first lectureship in English in 1911, and its first Chair in 1922, English Literature at the University has played a leading role in the nation’s intellectual culture, offering generations of Queensland students an intensive education in literary studies. UQ also has one of the nation’s strongest traditions in teaching and researching Australian literature. Worldwide, the study of literature continues to be robust and innovative. By exploring new historical and contemporary contexts for writing, by attending to new genres, technologies, and modes of dissemination, and by establishing new connections with other disciplines, literary study remains at the centre of the humanities.

The Literature team welcomes inquiries from established researchers interested in participating in our current projects; from potential postdoctoral fellows; and from anyone keen to pursue advanced study in literatures in English. Honours and Postgraduate literary study at UQ offer a challenging and rewarding research experience in which candidates acquire deep understanding of their chosen topic, developing strong analytical skills and a high level of proficiency in writing.