The Undergraduate Program in English

Dear Student,

Welcome to the English Department!

Our English majors are not only attracted to the pleasure of reading literature but also understand the power literature possesses. Through studying English at Clark, you will learn to write beautifully and use critical analytical tools, and to explain your world. In our courses, through strategies that structure and shape your writing and through lively discussion of texts, you will develop critical thinking and writing skills. Through careful and close reading, you will hone your ethical reasoning and cultural sensitivity. You will also learn to read texts in a historical and cultural context, which will foster intercultural understanding. Through this comprehensive approach, the English major will prepare you for a wide variety of career paths and a meaningful life.

In introductory English courses, you will become acquainted with the writing specific to the discipline of literary study through both literary and cultural texts. You will begin to view this writing within the learning community of the course and the larger community of literary study. In the intermediary historical sequence and genre courses, you will broaden and deepen your knowledge of writing literary criticism. The historical courses, which cover the British, American, African American, Ethnic American, and Women’s literary canons, possess a breadth in coverage. The genre courses offer depth in covering both classical and popular genres, such as the short story, poetry, the Gothic and speculative fiction. Once you’ve taken some English courses, you will be asked to choose a specialization in American or British Literature, Global or Gender Studies, Theory, Book History, or Creative Writing and Journalism.

Finally, in upper-level seminars you will apply a particular theoretical or literary perspective to continue to deepen your knowledge of literary and cultural texts and engage with fields of scholarship within that perspective.

Our seminars are both classical and innovative in coverage, providing you with a solid foundation in the field. In the Senior Capstone, you will be prepared to position yourself within the knowledge and scholarship in your field of study, including your minor, concentration, and/or second major, in a deeply integrative and interdisciplinary way within a comprehensive research project.

As part of our inventive approach to literary studies, we offer a Creative Writing Stream comprised of a variety of courses taught by professional writers. We also advise students interested in specializing in secondary education or the health professions. In addition, we sponsor a number of internships and foster study in the Study Abroad Program.

The inviting home of the English Department, Anderson House, encourages students to gather in informal and formal communities of learning. Study groups formed in courses and co-curricular events meet within our department and throughout the year. We host social events that highlight student achievement as well as provide information concerning the field, such as our Chowder Fest, in which English Department alumni speak on their employment experiences and how the English major has aided them in their chosen careers. We also offer a series of experiential workshops for students involved in our creative writing courses. 

Again, welcome! Please feel free to stop by and speak to any of us in the department about questions you may have.



Lisa Kasmer

Associate Professor and Chair

Department of English


James P. Elliott— Chair,
Department of English


2013 LEEP Project Pioneer

Working with the associate media producer for WaterFire in Providence, RI, Andrew Doig '14 is assisting with video production, post-production and marketing projects for the 2013 WaterFire season.
Follow his blog

2012 LEEP Project Pioneers

Kulani Panapitiya Dias '13 (double major with psychology) set out to investigate the prevalence of the psychological processes of moral disengagement, ingroup glorification and essentialism in post-war Sri Lanka by focusing on narratives of trauma. Following a study she conducted in December 2011 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Kulani interviewed and surveyed both Tamil and Sinhalese individuals in the war-afflicted areas of Jaffna and Galle, respectively. Her study examines how individuals cognitively disengage themselves from the injustices that their ingroup may commit, and the means by which one justifies and sanitizes atrocities that occur during conflicts. This research is geared toward aiding reconciliatory efforts in post-war Sri Lanka by helping to identify the obstacles that linguistically, and socially, propagate conflict and difference between groups.
Read her blog. Watch an interview with Kulani.

Learn more about LEEP