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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of English Language and Literature

Faculty and Staff Directory

Gretchen Woertendyke

Associate Professor
McCausland Fellow
Department of English Language and Literature

Phone Number: (803) 576-5954
Office: HUO 511
Curriculum vitae: Download PDF


Ph.D. English, State University of New York, Stony Brook, 2007
B.A. English (cum laude), DePaul University, Chicago, IL, 1998

   Associate Professor, Department of English, University of South Carolina (2015-present)
   Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of South Carolina (2008-2014)
   Affiliate Faculty, African American Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies (2008-present)

Areas of Specialization 

   18th-19th Century American Literature
   Studies of the Novel
   African-American and Caribbean Literature
   Hemispheric American Studies

Recently Taught Courses 

ENGL 840: Graduate Seminar: Maritime Literatures
ENGL 750: Graduate Seminar: The Atlantic World Novel
ENGL 742: Hemispheric American Studies-the long nineteenth century
ENGL 700: Introduction to Graduate Studies

ENGL 490: Independent Study: Postcolonial Literatures
SCHC 457: Honors Pro Seminar: Pirates, Ships, and the Atlantic
SCHC 456: Honors Seminar – Secrets & Lies
ENGL 429: Early American Literature
ENGL 428b: African American Literature, 1903-present
ENGL 412: US Literature, 1830-1860
ENGL 383: Romanticism
ENGL 384: Realism (European and American)
ENGL 287: American Literature: Honors
ENGL 287: American Literature Survey: Atlantic Exploration
ENGL 285: Themes in American Literature: Aliens
ENGL 282: Introduction to Fiction
WST 111: Introduction to Women’s Studies

Professional Accolades 

   • Appointed, Peter and Bonnie McCausland Faculty Fellow of English Language and Literature
   • Selected, South Carolina Collaborative for Racial Reconciliation Faculty Fellow
   • Provost Humanities Research Grant, University of South Carolina, 2013
   • American Council of Learned Society (ACLS) Faculty Fellowship, 2010-2011
   • Josephine Abney Fellowship for Research in Women’s and Gender Studies, University of South Carolina, 2011
   • Mayers Fellow, Huntington Library, Two-Month Residency, 2009
   • Morton E. Kahn Award, Best Dissertation, SUNY Stony Brook, 2007

Current Research Projects 

A History of Secrecy in the United States

In this project, I suggest first, that secrecy, while often conflated with privacy, is something apart; and second, that secrecy involves a process of discernment, drawing boundaries, sifting categories. As such, secrecy is foundational to origins – how, then, does secrecy help the nineteenth-century U.S. grapple with the nation’s orgins? What forms of concealment and revelation emerge and how does the literary participate in the protocols of secrecy? Sacredness, intimacy, privacy, silence, prohibition, deception – all converge and conflict in secrecy, granting depth and gravity beyond the particulars of any one secret. The power of secrecy to protect and to destroy inspires a range of emotions, like fear, desire, awe, and shame. In the twenty-first century, we have come to understand secret histories as history. There are secret histories of the environment, secret histories of globalization, even a secret history of Wonder Woman. The secret history as a genre dates to Procopious’ The Secret History of the late Roman Empire and has remained popular since its reinvention in the eighteenth century.  And since the September 11, 2001 attacks, secrecy has been at the fore of public discourse. In the “war on terror” U.S.  government, intelligence, and military communities continue to justify secret operations in the name of public safety. Our contemporary culture of secrecy now closely resembles that of the 1790s, a historical moment rife with paranoia, isolationism, and censorship. Secrecy is at the center of disparate social formations, from Wikileaks and Edward Snowden’s NSA disclosures; to Wall Street and the Ashley Madison debacle; to Hillary Clinton’s secret emails and Donald Trump’s undisclosed tax returns. A History of Secrecy begins in the late eighteenth-century, and traces the nation’s increasing epistemological anxiety throughout the nineteenth century, in order to account for our current culture of secrecy.

Selected Publications 


   Hemispheric Regionalism: Romance and the Geography of Genre (Oxford University Press)

   “Secret History in the Early Nineteenth-Century Americas.” The Secret History in Literature, 1660-1820. Eds., Rebecca Bullard and Rachel Carnell.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 242-255.
   • "Geography, Genre, and Hemispheric Regionalism," Atlantic Studies, 10:2 (2013): 211-227.
   • "Romance to Novel: A Secret History." NARRATIVE, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Oct 2009): 255-273.
   • "John Howison’s New Gothic Nationalism and Transatlantic Exchange." Early American Literature. 44, 2 (2008): 309-335.
   "Haiti and the U.S. Novel" The Haitian Revolution and the Early United States, Eds Elizabeth Maddock Dillon and Michael Drexler (University of Pennsylvania Press: 2016), 232-249.
   • "History, Romance, and the Novel." Oxford Handbook of Charles Brockden Brown, Ed. 2 Philip Barnard and Stephen Shapiro. (forthcoming from Oxford University Press)
   • "Trials and Confessions of Fugitive Slave Narratives"  Journeys of the Slave Narrative in the Early Americas, Eds. Nicole N. Aljoe and Ian Finesth.  (University of Virginia Press: 2014), 47-73.

   Anna Brickhouse, The Unsettlement of America: Translation, Interpretation, and the Story of Don Luis de Velasco, 1560-1945.  Oxford University Press, 2015.  Early American Literature, Vol. 50, No.3, 2015: 953-959.
   Cohen, Margaret. The Novel and The Sea. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010.Novel: A Forum on Fiction 45:3 (2012): 455-460.
   Pratt, Lloyd. Archives of American Time: Literature and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century.Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010. Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and The Philosophy of History, 40:2 (2011): 17-22.
   Shapiro, Stephen. The Culture and Commerce of the Early American Novel: Reading The Atlantic World-System. Philadelphia: U of Penn Press, 2008. Huntington Library Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 2 (June 2010): 339-343.

   “In The Cage.” A Critical Companion to Henry James, Eds. Eric Haralson and Kendall Johnson. Facts On File: New York, NY, (2009): 246-255.

Other Information 

   Book Review Editor, Clio, A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History. 2014-
   Reader/Referee for the following journals: African American Review, Early American Studies, Genre, ESQ, Oxford University Press, and Studies in American Fiction

   American Studies Association
   American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies
   Modern Language Association
   Society of Early Americanists
   Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists