Sarah Wasserman

Sarah Wasserman

Sarah Wasserman

Position:Assistant Professor of English
Office:Memorial Hall, Newark, DE 19716

My research and teaching examine the stories that things can tell, even when they are absent. I am currently at work on a book entitled The Death of Things: Ephemera in America, which examines literary representations of ephemeral objects in American culture from the beginning of the twentieth century until today. I am especially interested in the historical and affective work that objects do in contemporary American fiction.  How do the material dimensions and preoccupations of literary texts help imagine alternative modes of being and relating? How does literature function as an archive for minor or transient objects? My work draws upon materialist phenomenology, psychoanalysis, and urban studies to apprehend the way that literature registers the shifting contours of the material world.  A recently published volume considers obsolescence as a historical phenomenon, an aesthetic practice, and an affective mode.

Sarah has recently signed on as the “curator” of Stanford University’s online colloquy on “Thing Theory in Literary Studies,” a part of the larger site,  The site will launch at the end of this year.

Sarah’s article, ” The Menace of the New: Mourning the world of tomorrow at the 1939 New York World’s Fair” was published in the volumeNew York, New York: Urban Spaces, Dreamscapes, Contested Territories (Peter Lang).

Sarah gave an invited lecture at Princeton University in December 2015.  Her talk, “Object Relations: Psychoanalysis and Material Culture Studies,” is a piece drawn from her current book project. 

In late August 2015, Sarah was interviewed for a one-hour radio show about obsolescence that appeared on WNPR:

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