Faculty Statement

The English department at the University of Chicago believes that Black Lives Matter, and that the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Rayshard Brooks matter, as do thousands of others named and unnamed who have been subject to police violence. As literary scholars, we attend to the histories, atmospheres, and scenes of anti-Black racism and racial violence in the United States and across the world. We are committed to the struggle of Black and Indigenous people, and all racialized and dispossessed people, against inequality and brutality. As part of our commitment to funding and fostering scholarship in Black studies, in the coming academic year (2020-2021) we are prioritizing consideration of applicants who work in and with Black studies for admission to our PhD program.

The department is invested in the study of African American, African, and African diaspora literature and media, as well as in the histories of political struggle, collective action, and protest that Black, Indigenous and other racialized peoples have pursued, both here in the United States and in solidarity with international movements. Together with students, we attend both to literature’s capacity to normalize violence and derive pleasure from its aesthetic expression, and ways to use the representation of that violence to reorganize how we address making and breaking life. Our commitment is not just to ideas in the abstract, but also to activating histories of engaged art, debate, struggle, collective action, and counterrevolution as contexts for the emergence of ideas and narratives.

Spring 2020 P/F Policy

1. All courses taken for a P/F grade in Spring 2020 will count toward English major requirements. All requests for P/F grade options in ENGL courses will be automatically approved. Students should contact their academic advisors should they wish to switch a class to P/F. All requests by students to take a course pass/fail must be made by Friday of Week 9 (June 5).

2. We are encouraging faculty to be as generous as possible in assessing student work this quarter, given the inevitable inequities in learning and teaching conditions.

3. Faculty will be expected to give students provisional grades by the end of Week 8 of the quarter (May 29) so that students can make informed decisions about whether to switch to a P/F grade.

4. Please note that some courses are cross-listed with English but taught by faculty from other departments. These courses may have different policies. Please ask the Student Affairs Administrator, Katie Kahal, if you have questions about what courses will follow English department policies and what courses are cross-listed.

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