PhD recipient, English literature (nineteenth-century United States studies, gender studies), Stony Brook University (May 2014)

A PhD-recipient in nineteenth-century United States literature and culture–and someone who reads too many comics and watches too much anime.  A fan who writes frequently on contemporary popular culture–animation, comics, fandom,  and just about everything Joss Whedon–while publishing on representations of gender, antebellum domestic ideology, and teaching practices.

Research interests: Early to contemporary American literature and popular culture.  Gender studies.  African American literature.  Native American literature.  Digital humanities and pedagogy.  Visual and material culture.  Comic books and graphic novels.  Writing and rhetoric.

See also my curriculum vitae.



Derek S. McGrath

A graduate of the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, Derek’s research and teaching interests include American literature and popular culture, with an emphasis on gender studies.  His other interests include digital humanities, new media, and popular culture, with an emphasis on comic books. He writes on gender and comics at Comic Book Masculinity.

Derek has designed and taught a range of courses:  introductory literature and composition courses, the gateway course to the English literature major, sophomore surveys of American literature, and upper-division courses for English majors.  Whether teaching literary works from John Winthrop to Maxine Hong Kingston, or using classroom discussions to approach Scott Pilgrim, Fullmetal Alchemist, and film and music adaptations of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, his courses encourage students to see the world around them as a set of traditional and untraditional texts that can be interpreted.

Derek’s dissertation, “American Masculinity and Home in the Antebellum Romance,” considers the ideologically laden and often problematic idea of home, as presented by the emerging literary and popular print culture of the United States during the mid- to late nineteenth century.  Based on the works of, among other authors Nathaniel Hawthorne, Derek argues that it was men’s regard for their homes that fostered the dominant literary style in the antebellum United States, the romance.

Derek has given an invited talk at New York University’s Poe Room Showcase, with additional presentations at the Modern Language Association, the Northeast Modern Language Association, the Popular and American Culture Association, and the Northeast American/Canadian Society for Eighteenth Century Studies.  He also has organized academic talks, including a documentary screening, conference panels, and most recently a roundtable with comics creators and teachers.  Derek’s work has been covered in the Boston Globe and Whedonology.  For his contributions to his English department, Derek received the Meyer Graduate Award from Stony Brook University in 2010.


About me

Okay–enough of the third-person voice.

This web site is a space for me to cover topics related to both my research and teaching, and my musings on more informal topics.  Some postings are rough drafts towards future publications; other postings are to share material that I hope is helpful to literary scholars, graduate students, and people considering going into graduate school.

Along the way, I write shorter observations on topics that interest me–animation, comics, Community, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, video games, and more.  I also use WordPress to favorite posts from other writers who offer advice on teaching composition and rhetoric, like to analyze cartoons such as Gargoyles and the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more.

When I’m not writing on this blog, I re-blog and write on Tumblr–including some other accounts as shown below.  I have greatly enjoyed using online platforms in my teaching and research, evident in sites my students and I have created together, on introductory writing and the works of Edgar Allan Poe.  I use Tumblr and WordPress based on their unique re-blog option towards more collaborative writing opportunities that draw together people passionate about specific topics, inside and outside of the classroom, students and teachers and all of us interested in these discussions.

Find Derek online


Comic Book Masculinity


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