Sean Cosgrove

Sean Cosgrove


Sean Cosgrove is a lecturer in the Writing Program at the University of Southern California and a trained historian, having received his PhD from Cornell University. As a scholar, his primary area of research expertise lies at the intersection of popular culture, queerness, gender, and sexuality, violence studies, and social/spatial theory in the modern United States. Currently, he is at work on a book project that focusses on forms of intimate violence and ‘acts of intimidation’ that white Americans became fascinated by at the turn of the twentieth century.

Here at USC, Cosgrove teaches WRIT150 where students learn to write critically (and academically) from a cultural studies perspective in the social sciences and humanities. His classes embrace curiosity and questioning, challenging students to consider the radical possibilities for, and pathways toward, the world(s) that we may yet create. Whether examining broad processes of globalisation, interrogating the place and culture of Los Angeles, or tackling issues of urban care and repair, all of his courses approach writing and critical thinking through practices of peer collaboration and dialogue to develop new and innovative ideas. 




Letters of Recommendation

Students who are seeking a letter of recommendation are welcome to reach out to me directly. Some guidelines when requesting a letter of recommendation:

  1. Fit: The most important thing to consider when requesting a letter of recommendation is what kind of relationship you have with your letter writer. You should, at a minimum, have taken one class with me and have been engaged and present. I will be honest with you if I do not think that I will be able to write a strong letter of support for your application.

  2. Timeframe: Good recommendation letters can take up to six weeks to produce depending on the requirements and time of year. You should reach out with ample time before the deadline in order to ensure a tailored letter.

  3. Logistics: Please provide all of the necessary details or requirements for the letter. Different institutions and/or organisations will have different expectations. Please include these in your email along with the deadline for the letter and means of submission (i.e., a portal submission, an email, paper only).

  4. Materials: The best letters of recommendation accentuate your achievements. Send any relevant materials along with your request (where allowable; some applications request you not share application materials with letter writers) to ensure that I can support your claims.


  • Ph.D. United States History, Cornell University
  • M.A. Social Sciences, University of Chicago
  • B.A. History & English Literature, University of Sydney
  • Research Keywords

    Cultural History and Theory; Modern U.S. History; Popular Culture; Sex, Gender, Sexuality, and Queer Studies; Urban Studies; Violence Studies.

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