Poems, memoirs, movies, novels, fairy tales, speeches, ads, stories, TV shows, laws, contracts, bumper stickers: all are texts. Our English program acquaints students with great texts, from the works of Chaucer to contemporary writing and film, and provides students with skills for reading, understanding, analyzing, discussing, creating, editing, advocating and evaluating.
Our students organize and participate in spoken-word events such as “Speakin’ It Real” and run and contribute to their own creative writing magazine, The Record. Students also have opportunities to learn from writers and artists invited to their English courses. Field trips to local museums, libraries and other literary venues (such as the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, Folger Shakespeare Library, National Archives, Busboys & Poets) are regular excursions in many literature courses.
Our majors and minors read attentively and write curiously, clearly, and confidently, for a good English student can win an argument without ever raising her voice. As such, studying English readies our students for an unlimited range of professions and experiences.
The English faculty is supported by a dedicated team of Instructional Specialists.
Featured CoursesENGL 220 African American LiteratureThis course introduces students to the study of African American literature, including the vernacular tradition, the New Negro Renaissance of the early twentieth century, periods of realism and modernism in the late 1940s and early 1960s, the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s, and newer voices at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century. Students will practice literary analysis and study the literary techniques and genres belonging to this literature, as well as the ways in which the texts attempt to reinvent, disrupt, or challenge traditional European/North American literary traditions and criticisms. Many of the texts will engage the meaning of race, the forced migration of Africans to the Americas, racism and black resistance to it, institutionalized enslavement and strategies for survival, economic oppression, the celebration of blackness, and the literary achievements of black authors. Biographical, historical, and political contexts will be examined as ways to enrich the reading of the texts.
General Education Requirement: Knowledge and Inquiry ENGL 267 Multicultural United States LiteratureExamines largely contemporary writings by writers representing the diverse cultures in the US with a consideration of the ways in which difference or "the other" may be constructed. Formerly ENG 200 Multicultural US Literature.
Core Area II: Understanding the Self and Society ENGL 325 Works of ShakespeareStudies selected plays of Shakespeare in all the major genres, including comedy, tragedy, history, and romance, as well as introduces students to Shakespearean poetry.
3 credits ENGL 370 Ethics and Social Change in Global LiteratureThis course combines the reading of literary texts, film, and critical essays to examine how African Diaspora writers imagine social and political agency in a global context. By tracing major events, movements and theories that have affected peoples of African descent around the world, this course seeks to examine the way authors present the ethical causes and implications of the exercise of choice, the uses of power, and the movement toward freedom. Major terms and concepts to be studied include: colonialism, modernization, globalization, imperialism, capitalism, post-colonialism, and theories of the body. We will study the effects of these major concepts on African Diaspora cultures. What are their effects on identity formation, education, religion, political structures, the natural environment, concepts of family or community, and health and health services? How do African-descended people respond to issues that gravely affect the course of their lives, for better or worse? How do writers represent these responses?
Prerequisites: ENGL 107
Gen. Ed Area: Knowledge & Inquiry ENGL 389 Literary and Critical TheoryIntroduces traditional and contemporary models of literary criticism and theory through practical interpretation of literary texts. Formerly ENG 397 Literary and Critical Theory.
Prerequisites: Two literature courses at the 200-level or higher
Gen Ed Area: Capstone Seminar ENGL 451 Writers of the American SouthInquires into the effect of Southern life, history, and culture on the development of American authorship, focusing on the work of two or three authors. Writers to be considered may include Kate Chopin, Zora Neale Hurston, Flannery O'Connor, William Faulkner, and others.
FLC Seminar II ENGL 470 Wright, Ellison, and BaldwinExamines the novels, short stories, and essays of Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and James Baldwin. Themes addressed may include racial and ethnic politics and literature, world conflict, Paul Gilroy's theory of "the Black Atlantic," jazz, queer theory and gender politics, and the development of the African American novel in the 20th century.
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Dr. Pamela Barnett, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences; Distinguished Professor of English
Dr. Bill Beverly, Associate Professor of English
Dr. Rewa Burnham, Assistant Professor of English
Dr. Jacqueline Padgett, Associate Professor of English
Ms. Wendy Bilen Thorbjornsen, Assistant Professor of English