Travel, or the journey, is often conceptualized in relation to home as the point of departure and return: in Homer’s Odyssey, the hero wanders as his wife waits faithfully in Ithaca. These gendered roles—man as traveler, woman as homebody—reflect age-old assumptions about travel. But women have always traveled: as pilgrims, migrants, settlers, nurses, even soldiers and sailors, as well as the involuntary travel of millions of enslaved women. Travel writing as a literary genre includes less women than men in its early periods due to women’s limited access to education and publication. We’ll read published and unpublished writings by early women travelers, from medieval pilgrim Margery Kempe to Victorian nursing pioneer Mary Seacole. Others include witty aristocrat Mary Wortley Montagu, feminist thinker Mary Wollstonecraft, Romantic diarist Dorothy Wordsworth, and enslaved traveler Mary Prince.
Multicultural, Identity, Pluralism, and Tolerance (IP) courses examine the social construction of collective identities, the emergence of representative voices from varying social and cultural standpoints, and the effects of prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination. The purpose of courses in this category is to analyze the general principles underlying tolerance, or the lack of it.
US: Difference, Inequality, and Agency courses focus on race and ethnicity in the United States by considering two or more racial and ethnic groups.
Literature, 1500-1789 courses focus on writings during the period of European exploration and colonization -- from the early English Renaissance to the late eighteenth-century -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history. Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them. The study of early periods in particular sensitizes readers to historical transformations of the language itself.
Gender, Ability, Queer Studies, and/or Sexuality courses focus on the ways that issues of sexuality, gender, queerness, and disability are represented, critiqued, and developed in media and literature.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.