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English Alum Receives MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’
Poet, lawyer, advocate for people in prison Reginald Dwayne Betts ’09 awarded $625,000.Read More about Alum Receives MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’
On October 5, join a discussion on Eighteenth-Century Intertexts in Marlon James’ Fiction and Antiracist pedagogy.Read More about Eighteenth-Century Intertexts in Marlon James’ Fiction and Antiracist pedagogy
Early American Literature Program Ranks Among Best in Nation
Faculty, student achievement highlighted by U.S. News & World Report's 2022 'Best Graduate Schools' rankings.Read More about Early American Literature Program Ranks Among Best in Nation
An internship at the Maryland General Assembly is helping English major Sumayyah Ghori ’21 prepare for a future in law.Read More about In Session
English weds critical inquiry and creative expression to unleash the power of words.
The department’s award-winning faculty whose research programs reflect the vitality of the Washington, D.C.-Maryland research, art and politics corridor, prepares students for leadership roles in a range of 21st-century careers. Trained in digital and media studies, a wide variety of literary and cultural traditions, and critical race and other interdisciplinary studies, students learn how critical thinking and persuasive writing can change the world.
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Library of Congress names alum its National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.
Read more about Jason Reynolds
Gerard Passannante is the Department's latest Guggenheim Fellow. His project, “God is in the Detail,” follows the concept of scale in early modernity as it moves between the realm of empirical observation and the intuitive realm of sense.Read more about Gerard Passannante
Recent PublicationsView All
The Failed Promise: Reconstruction, Frederick Douglass, and the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
The absorbing narrative of Frederick Douglass’s heated struggle with President Andrew Johnson reveals a new perspective on Reconstruction’s demise.
When Andrew Johnson rose to the presidency after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, African Americans were optimistic that Johnson would pursue aggressive federal policies for Black equality. Just a year earlier, Johnson had cast himself as a “Moses” for the Black community. Frederick Douglass, the country’s most influential Black leader, increasingly doubted the president was sincere in supporting Black citizenship. In a dramatic meeting between Johnson and a Black delegation at the White House, the president and Douglass came to verbal blows over the fate of Reconstruction. Their animosity only grew as Johnson sought to undermine Reconstruction and conciliate leaders of the former Confederate states.
Black Queer Freedom: Spaces of Injury and Paths of Desire
Mapping a geography of black queer life through art
Whether engaged in same-sex desire or gender nonconformity, black queer individuals live with being perceived as a threat while simultaneously being subjected to the threat of physical, psychological, and socioeconomic injury. Attending to and challenging threats has become a defining element in queer black artists’ work throughout the black diaspora. GerShun Avilez analyzes the work of diasporic artists who, denied government protections, have used art to create spaces for justice. He first focuses on how the state seeks to inhibit the movement of black queer bodies through public spaces, whether on the street or across borders. From there, he pivots to institutional spaces--specifically prisons and hospitals--and the ways such places seek to expose queer bodies in order to control them. Throughout, he reveals how desire and art open routes to black queer freedom when policy, the law, racism, and homophobia threaten physical safety, civil rights, and social mobility.
A trenchant critique of Post Critique Methodologies. Special Issue on “What Is and Isn’t Changing” From MLQ (Modern Language Quarterly).
Has postcolonial literary criticism been affected by the postcritical antihistoricist turn? The short answer is no. It is hard to imagine what an antihistoricist postcolonial literary criticism might look like, since any investment in the term postcolonial assumes a simultaneous commitment to history and politics. While the term from its inception has been subject to criticism, it continues to hold its own despite more recent terms like global and world. While they may signal a post-postcolonial turn, a term initially used by Erin O’Connor (2003) to critique postcolonial analyses of Victorian novels, the use of and engagement with the postcolonial still provide a methodological challenge to modes of criticism advanced under the global and the world. Postcolonial literary criticism remains attuned to questions of aesthetics and ethics.