Think of an idea, any idea. Can you do so without using words? Language is the vehicle by which we make sense of ourselves, our and others’ stories, our relationships with others, the world around us and our place(s) within it. In the English Department we are passionate about words, both their use and interpretation. To study language and literature is to develop your understanding of your own values and views, and your ability to articulate these clearly and with style.
We offer a range of courses on academic and professional writing, public speaking, and many forms of literature. We have the courses you expect on different periods of literature written in English: British, Canadian, and American. We also offer courses on Aboriginal literatures, international literatures in translation, as well as courses on topics such as speculative literatures, children’s and young adult literature, literature and film, and more. Our degree requirements are flexible enough to allow you to pursue your interests.
In any of our courses, you will build skills in textual analysis and interpretation, critical thinking and inquiry, research, and written and oral communication. In a recent survey of business and nonprofit leaders, the American Association of Colleges and Universities found that 93% valued these skills, and 95% wanted employees to have strong ethical judgment, intercultural skills, and a capacity for lifelong learning. These, too, are fostered in our courses.
Our faculty love what we do. We enjoy our small classes and the opportunities for lively discussion they provide. We welcome your curiosity and share your passion for the well-written word. We love to read. As playwright Alan Bennett notes, “The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours” (The History Boys, 2004). Our classrooms and the texts we share are the best kinds of contact zones.
Explore our website: check out our courses and our faculty’s areas of interest. I am available to answer any questions you might have about them, or about degrees in English. In fact, I look forward to hearing from you.
Terri Doughty, Chair
“Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.” (Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel)