Joseph Steinberg, Corpus Christi

Degree: PhD
Course: English
Supervisor: Dr Jan Schramm
Dissertation Title: The Peripheries of the Program Era: America in Australian Fiction

Biographical Information

In 2013 I began my undergraduate degree in English and Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia. After completing this degree, I qualified as a secondary teacher, then came to Cambridge in 2017 for an MPhil in Modern and Contemporary Literature. In October 2018 I began my PhD on a Cambridge International Scholarship generously funded by the Trust. In 2020, I held a Seymour Scholarship at the National Library of Australia. In May 2023, I will begin a three-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Western Australia.

Research Interests

My doctoral dissertation explores the international implications of Mark McGurl’s influential claim that ‘the rise of the creative writing program stands as the most important event in postwar American literary history’ (The Program Era, 2009). I consider how, since the 1970s, the establishment of such programs abroad has redefined the production of literary fiction in a new national context: that of Australia. Debunking the claim that universities have manufactured aesthetic conformity by importing the values of the global north, my research examines fiction by an array of Australian writers to counterintuitively suggest that this development has facilitated the diversification of Australia’s literary field. Mine is the first study of how Australian writers have idiosyncratically defined their work within, against, and even by their relative externality to the system of tertiary education. It thus begins an account of what mass higher education means for anglophone literary production not just in America, but around the globe.

Selected Publications

Steinberg, Joseph. 'Helen Garner's Education', in ALS: Australian Literary Studies 36.3 (2021)

Steinberg, Joseph. 'Kim Scott and the Doctoral Novel' in The Cambridge Companion to the Australian Novel, eds. Louis Klee and Nicholas Birns [forthcoming 2023]

Steinberg, Joseph. 'Murnane's Signposts: An Interview with Merve Emre', in the Sydney Review of Books (2022)

Steinberg, Joseph. 'Review of Gerald Murnane: Another World in This One, ed. Anthony Uhlmann', in JASAL: Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, 21.1 (2021)

Steinberg, Joseph. 'Review of Craft Class: The Writing Workshop in American Culture', in The Review of English Studies [forthcoming 2023]

Steinberg, Joseph. 'The Amazoniad: Review of Everything and Less: Fiction in the Age of Amazon, by Mark McGurl' in The Cambridge Quarterly 51.2 (2022)

Steinberg, Joseph. 'The Elephants in the Classroom: Review of The Teaching Archive, by Rachel Sagner Buurma & Laura Heffernan' in Australian Humanities Review 69 (2021)