Interim Dean of Faculty
Sarah Cole is Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature and served as Columbia University’s Dean of Humanities up to September 2023. A specialist in literary modernism, she is the co-founder of the area-wide NYNJ Modernism Seminar and serves on the board of several scholarly journals. She teaches courses in literary modernism and other topics in the 19th and 20th centuries, including the protest novel, war and violence, the body and sexuality, Irish literature, and author focused courses on Woolf, Eliot, Wells, Joyce, and others.
Her scholarship engages a range of topics in 20th century literature and culture, always with the conviction that literature expresses the deepest struggles and dilemmas of the modern world. She is the author of three books, Inventing Tomorrow: H. G. Wells and the Twentieth Century (Columbia, 2019), At the Violet Hour: Modernism and Violence in England and Ireland (Oxford, Modernist Literature and Culture series, 2012) and Modernism, Male Friendship, and the First World War (Cambridge, 2003), and has published articles in journals such as PMLA, Modernism/modernity, Modernist Cultures, Modern Fiction Studies, and ELH, and in edited collections. She is currently co-editing the Oxford Handbook of H. G. Wells.
Professor Cole has a longstanding interest in war, and as Dean of Humanities founded the Humanities War and Peace Initiative. She also spearheaded a scholarly and pedagogical initiative, Climate Humanities, in partnership with the Columbia Climate School. She is currently working on a book about novels that aim to produce political and social change in their societies.
Professor Cole was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her Ph.D. is from the University of California, Berkeley (1997) and her B.A. from Williams College (1989).