Lisi Schoenbach, associate professor of English, specializes in transatlantic literary modernism. Her book Pragmatic Modernism was recently published by Oxford University Press as part of its series “Modernist Literature and Culture.” Challenging the prevailing view that modernism was uniformly oppositional and anti-institutional, Pragmatic Modernism traces an alternative strain of modernist thought that grows out of pragmatist philosophy and is characterized by its commitment to gradualism, continuity, and recontextualization. Writers such as William James, Henry James, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Dewey, Gertrude Stein, and Marcel Proust share an institutionally-grounded approach to change which emphasizes habits, continuities, and daily life over spectacular events, heroic opposition, and radical rupture. An earlier article on which this book is based—“‘Peaceful and Exciting:’ Habit, Shock, and Gertrude Stein’s Pragmatic Modernism”— was cited in a 2008 Publication of the Modern Language Association (PMLA) article as an example of the “New Modernist Studies” that are currently transforming this field.
Schoenbach is currently serving as Faculty Fellow for Curriculum in the Chancellor’s Honors Program. She is also a recipient of the English Department John C. Hodges Award for Excellence in Teaching and the College of Arts and Sciences Junior Teaching Award.