NEW YORK � Students looking to study the works of 18th century literary greats such as Jonathan Swift, while learning about the culture, politics and social issues of that time will find a rich array of offerings in Fordham’s English Language and Literature Department. The 18th century is viewed by many scholars as the beginning of modern thinking, when ideas such as the nuclear family, selfhood and nation were born. “Many of the models we subscribe to today can be traced back to the 18th century,” said Associate Professor Susan Greenfield. “People see it as the inception of modern culture.” Boasting nationally renowned faculty members, the department’s 18th century program is building a reputation as one of the leading academic authorities in the field. “Other people are sitting up and taking notice,” said the Rev. Alvero Robeiro, S.J., an 18th century literature professor at Georgetown University. He compared Fordham with schools such as the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where, of 30 English department professors, one is devoted to 18th century literature. Meanwhile, in Fordham’s department of 39 professors, five are devoted to the subject. “Now, that is impressive,” Father Robeiro said. In recent years, Fordham has bolstered its already impressive program with three new hires, including the Rev. Michael Suarez, S.J., who received his doctorate from Oxford University; Stuart Sherman, Ph.D., who received the coveted Gottschalk Prize for the best book on 18th century literature; and Bridget Orr, Ph.D., author of the soon-to-be-published Civilizing the Stage: Colonialism and English Drama 1660-1700 (Cambridge University Press). Frank Boyle, PhD., English Department chair, said the program is making a niche for itself in other ways as well. The school hosts New York Society for 18th Century Studies seminars each semester, seminars previously held at Columbia University. And the department is working to expand Fordham’s study abroad program with Suarez’s help, creating opportunities for graduate students studying English literature to do research at Oxford. Suarez will spend six months of every year at Oxford conducting research, teaching and assisting Fordham’s study abroad students with their work, Boyle said. More Fordham graduate students are already gravitating toward 18th century studies, and this year, for the first time, applicants are mentioning Fordham’s reputation in this field as the reason they want to study at the University, Boyle said.