American Literature, Contemporary Literature, Digital Humanities, Cultural Analytics 


Laura B. McGrath specializes in computational literary criticism and contemporary American literature. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University. Prior to joining the faculty at Temple, she was the Associate Director of the Literary Lab at Stanford University. Her research and teaching interests focus on American literature post-1945, digital humanities and cultural analytics, literary sociology,  and contemporary literary production. 

She is at work on a book called Middlemen: Making Literature in the Age of Multimedia Conglomerates, a study of the literary agent. She draws on a range of methods- data analysis, close reading, literary ethnography- to reveal the literary agent's centrality in the development of the American canon, post-1965.

Her work has been published or is forthcoming in American Literary History, Post45, CA: The Journal of Cultural Analytics, and the Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Fiction, 1980-2020. Her public writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Books, and Post45: Contemporaries.

She has held fellowships with the Price Lab for Digital Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania and the Smithsonian Institute of American History. She has been awarded grants from the Mellon Foundation and the Big Ten.

Selected Publications

  • "Literary Agency." (Forthcoming in American Literary History, Spring 2021).
  • "Voice," with Nika Mavrody, Nichole Nomura, and Alexander Sherman. (Forthcoming in Post45, Spring 2021).
  • "America's Next Top Novel,Post45: Contemporaries. April 8, 2020.
  • "Who Cares About Literary Prizes?" with Alexander Manshel and J.D. Porter. Public Books. September 3, 2019.
  • "Comping White." The Los Angeles Review of Books. January 21, 2019.

Courses Taught

  • Contemporary American Literature
  • Digital Text Methods
  • Popular Fiction​