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Wendy Griswold

Bergen Evans Professor of Humanities, Professor of Sociology

Area(s) of Interest

Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Literature, Urban Representations


Wendy Griswold, Professor of Sociology and Bergen Evans Professor in the Humanities, holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard and a Master’s Degree in English from Duke. She has previously taught at Harvard and at the University of Chicago. She has been a visiting professor at the University of Oslo, Norway, and at IMT Lucca, Italy, and she is on the academic boards for the cultural sociology programs at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands and Cattolica University, Milan, Italy. She has been a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; for the 2017-18 academic year she is a Fellow at the National Humanities Center. At Northwestern she is affiliated with Comparative Literary Studies, English, the Program of African Studies, and Media, Technology and Society in the School of Communications.  She is currently the Interim Director for the Program of African Studies.

Professor Griswold’s research and teaching interests include: cultural sociology; sociological approaches to literature, art and religion; regionalism, urban representations, and the culture of place; and the sociology of reading. Having recently published a book on the Federal Writers' Project, she is currently writing the third book in a trilogy on the culture of place.  She is also conducting comparative research on reading practices and media use and on urban cultural transformations in China and the US.

Professor Griswold directs the Culture and Society Workshop at the Alice Berline Kaplan Institute for the Humanities.

Courses Taught

Soc 101: Freshman Seminar Syllabus

Soc 406-1: Classical Theory in Sociological Analysisn Syllabus

Soc 420: Sociology of Culture Syllabus

Soc 476: Special Topics: Research Methods for the Sociology of Culture Syllabus

Soc 576: Workshop Culture and Society Syllabus


American Guides: The Federal Writers' Project and the Casting of American Culture 
University of Chicago Press, 2016

Cultures and Societies in a Changing World - 4th Edition
Pine Forge, 2012

Regionalism and the Reading Class
University of Chicago Press and Princeton University Press, 2008

Bearing Witness: Readers, Writers, and the Novel in Nigeria
University of Chicago Press and Princeton University Press, 2000

Renaissance Revivals: Revenge Tragedy and City Comedy in the London Theatre, 1576 - 1980.
University of Chicago Press, 1986


"Evangelists of culture: One Book programs and the agents who define literature, shape tastes, and reproduce regionalism"
With Hannah Wohl
Poetics 50 (2015) 96-109

"Objects, Words, and Bodies in Space: Bringing Materiality into Cultural Analysis"
With Gemma Mangione and Terence E. McDonnell
Qualitative Sociology 2013

“The Kano Durbar: Political Aesthetics in the Bowel of the Elephant”
With Muhammed Bhadmus.
American Journal of Cultural Sociology 2013

Readers as Audiences
(with Elizabeth Lenaghan and Michelle Naffziger),
Handbook of Media Audiences; Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2011

Glamour and Honor: Going Online and Reading in West African Culture
 (with Erin Metz McDonnell and Terence McDonnell),
 Information Technologies & International Development, 2006

Cowbirds, Locals, and the Dynamic Endurance of Regionalism
(with Nathan Wright)
AJS Volume 109 No. 6: pp. 1411-51, 2004

Wired and Well Read
(with Nathan Wright), Society Online:The Internet in Context; Sage Publications, 2004

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