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The Department of English has a focus on Literature and Social Justice, the outcome of a multiyear effort to revitalize the traditional period-based approach to literary studies. The program provides students with the skills necessary to recognize how literature and other forms of cultural production intervene in questions of justice and shape our conceptions of the world. Through a curriculum grounded in developing critical analysis, oral communication, and written argument skills, our students will have the opportunity to acquire familiarity with a range of literary genres produced in various historical contexts and critically evaluate the ethical, political, and formal aspects of texts within and across historical contexts, exploring how these texts are shaped by and reflect diverse experiences of race, class, gender, sexuality, and other forms of identity.
In particular, Ph.D. students will: develop expertise in the primary and secondary literature of a specific period or field of study, focused on literary, cultural, and theoretical texts; engage in a process of rigorous and sustained inquiry that enables entry into a focused scholarly conversation; contribute new knowledge to the scholarly conversation in their chosen field through the dissertation project; gain further expertise in pedagogy, through opportunities to design and teach advanced writing courses, introductory literature courses, and online summer courses.