The English Department offers a wide range of courses in literatures of the English-speaking world, from medieval romances to contemporary novels and film. Students develop their own paths through the major, experimenting with historical periods, genres, forms and methodologies that might be unfamiliar, while also developing expertise in areas of specific interest to them.
The department stresses critical analysis, incisive writing and speaking, and we encourage our students to take initiative and responsibility for the enterprise of interpretation. With their advisers, English majors design a personalized program of study that deepens their understanding of diverse genres, textual traditions, and periods. The major culminates, in the senior year, in an independently written essay of 30-40 pages, developed during a senior research seminar in the fall semester and individually mentored by a faculty member in the spring. Students are encouraged to take at least two English courses at Bryn Mawr or Haverford before signing up for the major or minor.
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English House Statement
We stand firmly with you in demanding justice for all Black people who have been killed by police violence and in denouncing white supremacy and state-sanctioned violence in all its forms. We mourn the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Sandra Bland, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, and the far too many other Black trans, women, men, and gender non-conforming people whose futures have been foreclosed.
We declare that Black Lives Matter, that we support our Black colleagues and students and their families, and that we are committed to actively working to dismantle white supremacy at Bryn Mawr College. To build a more just Bryn Mawr, we must confront its racist history and advocate at every level to make the Department and the College an anti-racist space. From admissions to graduation and from hiring to retirement, we must provide the intellectual, financial, and emotional resources necessary for Black students, faculty, and staff to thrive and for there to be true equity in English House and in the College community.
During this pandemic, which has disproportionately affected people of color and exposed anew our systemic racisms, we must continue to read literature and theory that raises our consciousness about intersecting oppressions, structural inequality, implicit bias, and microaggressions. Language, narrative, and critical analysis are fundamental tools for reckoning with our racist past and present. They are also vital for imagining a radically just future in which we decrease funding for police, military, and ICE and increase funding for schools, health care, social services, and the arts. We therefore pledge to dedicate ourselves to decolonial learning in English House by centering minority voices in our curricula and by engaging in the discussions about privilege and marginalization that anti-racist work requires.
We in English House declare unambiguously that we stand with all the vulnerable populations targeted by the current Administration. The literature and theory we read in our classes teaches us that we cannot be silent in the face of discrimination and injustice, and the critical work we do in our classrooms gives us tools to interrogate white supremacy, racism, heteropatriachy, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, misogyny, sexual abuse, nativism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, and classism. We are committed to developing critical consciousnesses and fighting for social justice for all who are marginalized and maligned. This is a time in which we need solace and the support of community. We pledge to love and care for each other and to work to make English House a sanctuary for people of color, queer and transgender folks, folks who are undocumented, Muslims, feminists, and allies.
English House: The Department of English, the Creative Writing Program and the Writing Program