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Laura Heffernan

Associate Professor | Director, Digital Humanities Institute

English | College of Arts & Sciences

Areas of Expertise

Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Literature, Disciplinary History, History of the Novel, Sociology of Expertise


University of Pennsylvania PhD 2007 (English)

University of Pennsylvania BA 1999 (English)


Laura Heffernan works on nineteenth and twentieth century literature and culture, with a particular focus on histories of reading and histories of literary criticism. She is author, with Rachel Sagner Buurma (Swarthmore College), of a new disciplinary history of English that focuses on the archival record of what major literary critics taught in their classes throughout the twentieth century. The Teaching Archive: A New History For Literary Study will be published by the University of Chicago Press in January of 2021. Portions of and outtakes from the book the have appeared in New Literary History, PMLA, the Modernism/Modernity "Discipline" column, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and ACLS News. Dr. Heffernan received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 and taught at Tulane University and Brown University before joining the faculty here at UNF. In the English department, she teaches courses on the history of the novel, modernist literature, digital methods in literary study, and later periods of British Literature. Dr. Heffernan helped develop the new Digital Humanities minor at UNF and, in 2019-21, she is serving as Director of UNF's Digital Humanities Institute. 


  • Ralph Cohen Essay Prize for "The Common Reader and the Archival Classroom," New Literary History, 2011
  • 2011-12 UNF Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Award of Research Excellence

Grants and Contracts Awarded

  • American Council of Learned Societies Collaborative Research Fellowship, 2012-14 for The Historicist Classroom (with Rachel Buurma, Swarthmore College)
  • Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Brown University, 2010-11
  • Harry Ransom Humanities Center Summer Research Fellow, 2008

Publications & Presentations



  • "New Approaches to Women's War Writing.'' Co-authored with UNF students Aislinn Kelly and Deanna McMichael in Janine Utell, ed. Teaching Modernist Women's Writing in English. (MLA, 2021).
  • "Poetry Explication: The Making of a Method." Co-authored with Rachel Sagner Buurma. Modernism and Close Reading, ed. David James (Oxford University Press, 2020).
  • "Axel's Classroom,'' Modernism and/as Pedagogy special issue, eds. Peter Howarth and Rebecca Beasley, Modernist Cultures (Summer 2019).
  • "Victorianists and Their Reading," with Rachel Sagner Buurma. Routledge Companion to Victorian Literature, eds. Dennis Denisoff and Talia Schaffer (Routledge, 2019).
  • "The Classroom and the Canon: T.S. Eliot’s Modern English Literature tutorial and The Sacred Wood.” Co-authored with Rachel Sagner Buurma. PMLA, March 2018.
  • "Abstraction and the Amateur: De-disciplining T.E. Hulme,” Modernism/modernity 21.4 (Novem- ber 2014), 881-898.
  • "Notation after 'The Reality Effect': Remaking Reference with Roland Barthes and Sheila Heti." Representations 125.1 (Winter 2014): 80-102.
  • "Interpretation, 1880 and 1980," co-authored with Rachel Buurma, Victorian Studies 55.4 (Summer 2013): 615-28.
  • "The Common Reader and the Archival Classroom: Disciplinary History for the 21st Century." with Rachel Buurma. New Literary History 43.1 (Spring 2012): 113-135.
  • "The Baffled, the secret, the true: John Rodker and late avant-garde reading." Joyce's Disciples Disciplined: A Re-Exagmination of Work in Progress. Tim Conley, ed. (Dublin: UCD Press, 2010): 94-106.
  • "Reading Modernism's Cultural Field: Rebecca West's The Strange Necessity and the aesthetic 'system of relations,'" Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 27.2 (Fall 2008): 309-326.

Contact Information

(904) 620-2273