Intellectual Life

Academic Resources


The Division of the Humanities is home to a number of centers that allow scholars to come together across disciplines to address common interests. Students and Faculty in the Department of English regularly participate in the intellectual life of these centers, which include:

To learn about specific centers in the Division of the Humanities, please visit the Division’s Interdisciplinary Centers & Programs page.

On Campus Research

Prominent cultural institutions affiliated with the University of Chicago include Doc Films, founded in 1940, the longest continuously running student film society in the nation; the Court Theatre, a professional theater that has produced innovative revisions of classical works since 1955; the Oriental Institute, an internationally known research organization and museum devoted to the study of the ancient Near East since 1919; and the University of Chicago Press, one of the largest and most prestigious academic presses in the country.

Institutional Resources

Library Resources

Campus Archival Resources

Chicago Research

The setting of the University of Chicago affords easy access to the extraordinary cultural resources of a major international city. See below for a brief, and not at all exhaustive, list of some of the Chicago cultural institutions that have been of interest to academics from the Department of English. Each of these institutions has its own institutional history and strengths, often including significant collections of books and archival materials. University of Chicago graduate students can also utilize the library collections and resources of colleges and universities around the city through reciprocal agreements.

To explore academic opportunities for discovering Chicago, see also the homepage for the University's Chicago Studies Program.


Archival Collections

Professional Organizations

Guest Lecturers

Frederic Ives Carpenter (1861-1925) was for many years an eminent professor of medieval and Renaissance literature in the Department of English. The Carpenter lectureship was endowed in 1925 to memorialize Professor Carpenter's personal commitment to the highest excellence in scholarship and teaching and to perpetuate that commitment in a broader way. The Carpenter lecturer generally spends a week at the University, with the centerpiece of the visit being a series of three lectures. The lecturer will, in addition, visit graduate workshops, hold office hours, and spend time informally engaged with faculty and students. Previous Carpenter Lecturers include Edward Said, Stanley Cavell, Jacques Derrida, Fredric Jameson, Judith Butler, Catherine Gallagher, Michael Warner, Susan Buck-Morss, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Franco Moretti, and Jacqueline Rose, Elizabeth Grosz, and Rey Chow.

Recent Lectures:

  • Rey Chow: "Acousmatic Sound and the Writing Voice in Cinema: A Preliminary Discussion" (Autumn 2015)
  • Elizabeth Grosz: "The Incorporeal" (Spring 2015)

Upcoming Lectures:

  • Bruno Latour: October 23: "Facing Gaia: American and European Perspective" October 25: "The New Body Politik Requires a New Body"

Graduate Student Workshops

Each year the Humanities and Social Science Divisions at the University of Chicago offer a range of research workshops for faculty members and advanced graduate students. These research workshops are a key feature of the PhD program in English, one that helps to nurture a supportive as well as rigorous intellectual culture. For faculty and for students who have completed coursework, the workshops provide ongoing venues of conversation specific to disciplinary fields, areas of interest, and cross-disciplinary questions. The Department strongly recommends that PhD students participate in workshops relevant to their area of interest or dissertation project.

The workshop format varies, but participants typically discuss common readings and present the results of their own research. Most often, advanced PhD students present chapters of their dissertations, receiving important feedback and intellectual support from peers and faculty at a crucial time in their professional development. Faculty members from Chicago and other universities often present papers at the workshops as well. Departmental students and faculty can attest to the collegiality and high-quality commentary at these workshops; these are also registered in the book acknowledgments of many faculty members from Chicago and elsewhere.

Long-running workshops associated with the Department of English include workshops in Medieval Studies, Renaissance, 18th- and 19th-Century Atlantic Cultures, Poetry and Poetics, and Theater and Performance Studies. Students and faculty with particular areas of interests can form new workshops; click the link to see the full list of 2016-17 Council on Advanced Studies workshops.