The English & World Literatures major is grounded in the belief that despite its variety and diversity across histories and cultures, the written word possesses aesthetic value and power. Therefore, the major provides students with opportunities to engage literary voices and traditions from around the world and to develop a range of essential intellectual and professional skills. While acknowledging the Anglo-American roots of the discipline, the faculty has designed a curriculum that extends well beyond this tradition. Through its regional requirements, the curriculum ensures that students will study literature composed and consumed around the globe. Faculty have made this a priority because we believe in the power of literature to transcend differences, to invite empathy with others, and to prepare individuals for the unique challenges of global citizenship in the 21st century.
Students are required to engage with contemporary literary theory and criticism, which not only exposes them to sophisticated ways of thinking about themselves and the world around them, but also connects their study of literature with other disciplines that have influenced literary studies. In their literature courses, students are invited to draw connections not only to other creative fields—art, dance, music, and theatre—but also to subjects that inform both writers and readers—economics, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. In other words, like the literature that they read, our students’ studies never exist in a vacuum.
The major prioritizes helping students develop critical reading, writing, research, and thinking skills essential for success not only in their academic work but also in their professional lives beyond the classroom. Majors are encouraged to individualize their curriculum through independent studies, to supplement their classroom experiences with internships, and to broaden their global perspective through study abroad. By the time they graduate, majors are well prepared for graduate school or to pursue careers in advertising, communications, creative writing, journalism, law, media studies, public relations, publishing, and many other fields.
We make these promises to our students!