Optional tracks within the English Department offer the chance for students with special interests to focus their programs of study within the discipline of English and on questions that lie between disciplines. Concentrators may elect a track at any time: a junior may already know she wants to focus on literary theory; a second-semester senior may realize he has been writing about literature and the arts all along. Some tracks, however, have more requirements than others (arts and media, theater and performance studies, and creative writing in particular), and students are advised to make a start as early as the sophomore year.
Literature, Culture, Language:
Concentrators may focus on a particular national or international body of work: British, American, or Anglophone.
- British: Literature and culture of the British Isles. Requirements: four courses in British literature; one junior paper and the senior thesis on a British topic. One cognate course in another department (history, art and archaeology, etc.) on a British topic may be counted.
- American: Literature and culture of the territories that became the United States, from native peoples and the first European settlers to the present day. Requirements: four courses in American literature (including at least one of ENG 201, ENG 353, or ENG 366); one junior paper and the senior thesis on an American topic. One cognate course in another department (history, art and archaeology, etc.) on an American topic may be counted. This track is often combined with a certificate in American studies or African American studies.
- Anglophone: Literature and culture of English as a global language. Four courses in Anglophone literature; one junior paper and the senior thesis on an Anglophone topic. Up to two cognate courses in another department (history, art and archaeology, etc.) on an Anglophone topic may be counted.
Arts and Media:
Literature in relation to other arts, including architecture, visual art, film, photography, music (classical, popular, or other); and/or in relation to its circumstances of production and transmission, from manuscript to print to radio, television, and the Internet. Requirements: three courses in topics related to the arts and media, including up to two cognates from other departments; one junior paper and the senior thesis on a related topic.
English in relation to the literature of another language. Requirements: at least three and no more than four 300-level courses in a single foreign language (with no other cognates permitted); one junior paper and the senior thesis on a comparative topic (including translation). With permission of the departmental representative, some foreign language classes may be used to satisfy the departmental distribution requirements.
Theory and Criticism:
For students interested in thinking about the underlying principles by which we understand literature. Considers the history and theory of literary interpretation from Plato to the present, including such methods and movements as linguistics, structuralism, feminism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, race studies, postcolonial studies, and deconstruction. Requirements: three courses in literary or cultural theory and literary criticism, including either ENG 305 or ENG 306; one junior paper and the senior thesis on a topic in theory and criticism, or making imaginative use of critical methodologies.
Theater and Performance Studies:
A home for the study of dramatic literature, performance culture, and/or performance studies. Includes traditional theater, live and recorded music, popular culture performances, avant-garde arts, stand-up comedy, street theater, contemporary dance, and slam poetry. Requirements: one introductory class in theater by the end of sophomore year; at least two and not more than three 300- or 400-level courses in theater, counted as departmental courses (no other cognates are allowed); departmental courses must also include one upper-level Shakespeare course, one course in drama and/or performance before 1700, and one course in drama and/or performance after 1700; one junior paper and the senior thesis on a related topic.
Students elect the creative writing track provisionally; final admission depends on the permission of the Program in Creative Writing to write a creative thesis. The Department of English recommends that students take at least one 200-level creative writing course by the end of sophomore year. Requirements: a minimum of two and a maximum of three courses at the 300 level or above in creative writing counted as departmental courses (no other cognates are allowed); creative thesis. Students not approved to write a creative thesis revert to one of the other tracks. One 300-level creative writing class may be used as a cognate.
Individual Program of Study:
By special arrangement with the departmental representative, students may design an interdisciplinary track in an area not covered by the above, counting two cognates taken in other departments toward their eight departmentals.