The Literature and Writing Studies Department is a scholarly community of students and faculty committed to innovative teaching and learning. Critical reading, writing, and thinking occur in and serve a range of communities: local, regional, global, and historical. Therefore, we value the following principles:
Cultural Studies and Diversity Studies: Cultural studies and diversity studies are central to our community. These two interdisciplinary approaches to the study of texts include consideration of perspectives such as gender, class, sexuality, disability, nationalism, ethnicity, and race. Cultural studies and diversity studies are fundamental to literary and writing studies and provide intellectual tools that enrich our analysis of texts within and across cultures.
Canon Formation: Cultures, local and international, contemporary and historical, create canons. Canons are a significant result of each culture's literary community. Therefore, comprehending canons, canon formation, and non-canonical texts is essential to understanding and contributing to literary and writing traditions.
Theory and History: Theory and history serve as tools to help us explore and demonstrate our understanding of texts within and across cultures. A range of theoretical approaches and historical knowledge provide us with necessary thinking tools.
Reading: Meaningful analysis requires careful reading. Engaging in close reading makes it possible to take account of rhetorical, prosodic, and other formal features. It also provides a careful grounding in the ideological, cultural, and institutional contexts in which meaning is produced and enriches our understanding of texts and the cultures from which they come.
Writing: Creating and presenting texts and related media in a variety of genres enriches our understanding of the constructed nature of literary materials. The ability to produce clear and compelling communication in writing is fundamental to literary and writing studies.
Translations and Changing Meanings: Understanding that the translation of texts across languages changes the meanings of these texts is crucial to interpretive skillbuilding. A reading knowledge of at least one language other than English is desirable for an advanced understanding of literature and writing in a global context.