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Ryan Cordell

Headshot of Ryan Cordell

Associate Professor of English; Graduate Program Director

Ryan Cordell’s scholarship seeks to illuminate how technologies of production, reception, and remediation shape the meanings of texts within communities. Cordell primarily studies circulation and reprinting in nineteenth-century American newspapers, but his interests extend to the influence of computation and digitization on contemporary reading, writing, and research. As a core founding faculty member in the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks. Cordell collaborates with colleagues in English, history, and computer science on the NEH- and ACLS-funded Viral Texts project, which is using robust data mining tools to discover borrowed texts across large-scale archives of nineteenth-century periodicals. Cordell is also a primary investigator in the Digging Into Data project Oceanic Exchanges, a six-nation effort examining patterns of information flow across national and linguistic boundaries in nineteenth century newspapers. Cordell is also a senior fellow in the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School and serves on the executive committee of the MLA’s Forum on Bibliography and Scholarly Editing.

Read Professor Cordell’s Faculty Spotlight.

View CV
  • American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Digital Innovation Fellowship, for “Global Viral Texts,” 2015-2016
  • Accepted Participant, Summer Institute in Digital Textual Studies, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, 2015-2016
  • Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2013-2016
  • Outstanding Teaching Award, Northeastern University College of Social Sciences and Humanities, 2014-2015
  • 5th Annual Best Article Prize (2013), ProQuest and the Research Society for American Periodicals, for “‘Taken Possession of’: Hawthorne’s ‘Celestial Railroad’ in the Nineteenth Century Evangelical Canon,” awarded January 2014
  • Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2013-2016 (
  • Project Director and Primary Investigator, NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant, “Uncovering Reprinting Networks in Nineteenth-Century American Newspapers” project, 2013-2014 (
  • Northeastern University Humanities Center Faculty Fellowship, Program Theme: “Viral Culture,” 2013-2014
  • DHSI Tuition Scholarship for the “Geographic Information Systems in the Digital Humanities” course at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, University of Victoria, Canada, June 2011
  • Faculty Development Summer Grant, Office of Faculty Development, St. Norbert College, to support development of a new digital humanities course, Summer 2011
  • Thomas J. Griffis Prize for the Best Essay by a Student Beyond the First Year of Graduate Work in English, for “‘Taken Possession of’: Hawthorne’s ‘Celestial Railroad’ in the Nineteenth-Century Evangelical Canon,” University of Virginia English Department, 2010.
  • SHANTI Exploratory Cohort Fellowship, for technical training, initial design, and help implementing a digital edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Celestial Railroad” (forthcoming at, University of Virginia, 2009-10.
  • Buckner W. Clay Endowment for the Humanities Summer Research Grant, for startup research work for, University of Virginia, Summer 2009
  • Tane Travel Scholarship, for travel to present at the Bicentennial Poe Conference, Edgar Allan Poe Society, Philadelphia, October 2009


Course catalog
  • In this studio-based course, students investigate intersections among media, literature, and computation in order to understand the history of the book and imagine its future. Students cultivate new technical skills that will enable them to effectively use a range of historical and contemporary textual technologies, including letterpress, binding, 3D printing, and interactive, online storytelling. Students use the skills they develop over the course of the semester to develop multimodal creative or research projects, building their own print-digital books.

  • Focuses on the themes, forms, and techniques of major American novelists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, such as Cooper, Hawthorne, Melville, Stowe, Twain, and James.

  • Grapples with the long and sometimes tumultuous relationship between literature—including fiction, poetry, film, and video games—and new media technologies. Offers students opportunities to historicize and engage the social and literary upheavals of our own technological moment through reading, discussion, writing projects, and practicums that seek to develop skills for analyzing the data and metadata of texts through both qualitative and quantitative methods.

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