Sarah Garland

Sarah Garland


  • 2.21 Arts and Humanities Building

Personal profile


Sarah Garland is a researcher in literature and the visual arts, specifically in modernist American literature and American visual arts.  She has particular expertise in the period 1910 to 1970, in interpreting experimental forms of prose, visual media and non-fiction, and in ideas about authorship and the artist.  She also works on the ways in which the arts create meaning in our everyday lives, particularly through dress and design.

Dr Garland's research seeks out works which combine literary and visual modes in experimental ways, asking questions about the interpretive patterns and riddles created by these kinds of inter-arts forms. She is interested in how aesthetic and language-based meaning is blended by the reader-viewer of mixed media works, and in how artists, authors and makers are shaped by the work they undertake. 

Most recently, she has also been asking these same questions of what we loosely call 'lifestyle' or everyday aesthetic forms -- dress, interiors, magazines, personal notebooks and personal practices and rituals.  How might we interpret how dress works on its wearer, for example? How do these forms which are both symbolic and phenomenological work to create meaning?

Area Studies:

Dr Garland's interdiciplinary work is part of our vibrant Area Studies community, both in its exploration of American word and image forms and in her theorisation of interdisciplinary itself.  Mixed Messages (MUP) develops the idea, with Dr Catherine Gander, that word and image forms are mediated through embodied cognition. This conviction that words and image are both ways of thinking that use the body feeds a conception of art and writing that is relational, and which is part of a specific space, moment and place.   


Dr Garland has published essays in international collections and peer-reviewed journals on Samuel Beckett, Ed Ruscha, Don DeLillo, Georgia O'Keeffe, on the conceptual architects Arakawa and Gins, Gertrude Stein and food writing, on Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag and aestheticism, on baroque and modernist style, on Henry Miller, and on the American bestseller.  She has also published on the global garment industry and on maternity dressing.  


Sarah Garland is co-editor with Catherine Gander (QUB, Belfast), of Mixed Messages: American Correspondences in Verbal and Visual Practice (Manchester University Press, Sept 2016) and special edition of the European Journal of American Culture on the American Imagetext (2013).

She is currently working on 'The White Box', an interdisciplinary project on the ways in which Roland Barthes' essay, 'The Death of the Author' (1967) is reinflected by its birth in American avant-garde multi-media magazine in a box, Aspen (1965-71).  

Networks and Prizes

She is also UK co-ordinator for AMS's UK-US teaching partnership with Temple University, Philadelphia, and won a UEA Excellence in Teaching Award in 2009 a UEA Teaching Fellowship in 2010, and a Students' Union Transforming Teaching award in 2015.

Areas of Expertise

American literature (20th century); American visual arts (modernist); image, text and interpretation; American avant-gardes; authorship; everyday arts; dress, clothing and fashion studies.

Academic Background

Doctor of Philosophy: Literature and Criticism (University of East Anglia. 2005). AHRB funded

Master of Arts: Studies in Fiction (University of East Anglia. 2001). AHRB funded

Bachelor of Arts: Film and Literature (Warwick University. 1998)

Administrative Posts

Current: Research Director for the School of Art, Media and American Studies.  Steering Commitee for CreativeUEA.

Past service: Research Director for the Interdisciplinary Institute for Humanities, Sainsbury Research Institute, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, SISJAC.  HUM Research Staff coordinator (interim).  Postgraduate Research Director: Art, Media and American Studies (AMA).  Examination officer (AMA).  Course Director: American Literature; American Literature and Creative Writing.  Senior Adviser: American Studies.  

Teaching Interests

Over the past 20 years I have taught across American and English Literature modules, and on American Studies modules, including:  American Word and Image, Modernism (for LDC), American literature 1 (colonial to 1900) & 2 (1900 to present), American Gothic, American Novel in the Early Twentieth Century, American Novel in the Late Twentieth Century, Nineteenth Century American Writing, Twentieth Century American Poetry, American Paris between the Wars, American Icons, The American 1960s, The American Body, American Women Writers, American Bestsellers, Contemporary American Fiction, Literary Theory and Criticism.

Postgraduate Research Opportunities

I am currently accepting PhD supervisees in American literature and interdisciplinary studies.  I would welcome applications for the supervision of projects on the avant-garde, on modernisms, on the everyday, and on word and image forms.