Professor Outka’s research focuses on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature and culture. Her latest book, Viral Modernism: The Influenza Pandemic and Interwar Literature (Columbia UP 2019), investigates how one of the deadliest plagues in history—the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic—silently reshaped the modernist era, infusing everything from T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, to the emergence of viral zombies, to the popularity of séances. She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
She has written on topics ranging from consumer culture, to postcolonial representations of trauma, to disability studies. Her first book, Consuming Traditions (Oxford UP 2009) examines the marketing of authenticity in turn-of-the-century Britain. The book analyzes how the selling of objects and places allegedly free of commercial taint marks a crucial turn in modern culture and offers a new way to understand literary modernism and its complex negotiation of tradition and novelty.
She teaches courses on modernism, twentieth- and twenty-first century Anglophone literature, the contemporary novel, the literatures of war, environmental literature, social change and modern drama, and women in literature.