About the Department

The Department of English at the University of Chicago has played an important role in the transformation of literary studies over the past half century.  Our faculty and students have participated centrally in the rethinking and reshaping of the discipline.  The intellectual horizons of our current work continue that effort, creating a rigorous and exciting intellectual environment for our students.  The Department’s contributions to disciplinary and interdisciplinary innovation are strongly grounded in historical scholarship and in theoretical and conceptual inquiry.  They are also encouraged by the University’s long tradition of interdisciplinary research and teaching.  Our program currently supports inventive, ambitious work in all periods and genres, from medieval and early modern to twentieth century and contemporary, from epic and romance to postcolonial fiction, graphic narrative, and new media. The Department also supports a wide range of comparative and interdisciplinary work in Anglophone literatures, in political history and theory, in race and gender studies, in visual cultures, in the history of religions, in ethics, and in anthropology. 

English is the largest undergraduate major in the humanities at the University of Chicago, and it has grown larger since the turn of the century. The graduate program is small, with anywhere from 4 to 15 new PhD students joining us each year for intensive work in seminars, lecture courses, graduate-faculty workshops, discussion groups, and other formal and informal conversations. Our faculty’s innovative research informs the courses we offer both our undergraduates and graduates.  We have been significantly expanding the number of faculty over the past couple of years; we plan to continue this effort and look forward to new intellectual energy and innovation in the decade ahead.

—Department Chair Elaine Hadley