English majors at Lehigh love to read, sometimes bringing this love with them from high school, sometimes developing it in first-year English classes. If on a spring afternoon you visited the terrace of Drown Hall, our home on Lehigh's South Mountain, you would be likely to find students scattered in chairs reading, hunched at tables editing one another's papers, or gathered to continue a discussion begun in class.
Message from the Department Chair
Literature and Social Justice
In 2009, the Lehigh English Department made a commitment to literature and social justice (LSJ) as the central intellectual emphasis of our department. Through this focus, we explore the distinctive contributions that literary works (and other forms of expressive culture) have made to movements for social justice over many centuries, as well as the ways in which literary texts have represented and often legitimated unjust social arrangements.
Due to COVID-19 and the need to move most instruction and services online, your most reliable way to contact anyone in the English Department is by email. Faculty email addresses are available through the Lehigh directory and in the faculty profiles on the department website.
For questions regarding undergraduate courses and overrides, undergraduate major/minor declarations and schedule changes, please contact Department Coordinator, Carol Laub (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For questions regarding graduate programs and graduate student scheduling/financial issues, please direct all inquiries to email@example.com.
For questions concerning undergraduate transfer credits, please contact Department Chair Ed Whitley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
English at Lehigh
Welcome to the English Department! You can explore the department's offerings and get a sense of what we're about by browsing the cards on this page and the navigation above. Note the events and news blocks! You'll also find an events calendar; Please check back regularly for updates.
The Department of English has a focus on Literature and Social Justice, the outcome of a multi-year effort to revitalize the traditional period-based approach to literary studies and to develop an organic interest among many of our faculty members. Like the university as a whole, the department is committed to cultivating graduates who will be engaged citizens and community members, in addition to successful professionals and life-long learners. We also hope that our students in particular will learn to recognize how literature and other forms of cultural production uniquely intervene in questions of justice and shape our ways of being in the world.
English Department News
- An exploration of how studying literatures contributes to questions of social justice.
- An immersion in historical periods informed by strong theoretical commitments.
- An engagement with contemporary literature and culture. An emphasis on theorized pedagogy, reflective practice, and the scholar-teacher model.
- An interaction with Lehigh's varied interdisciplinary programs, including Africana Studies; Classics; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Jewish Studies; and American Studies.
Statement of Solidarity: Department of English, Lehigh University
June 16, 2020
The English department at Lehigh University wishes to express solidarity with the growing movement for racial justice in the United States and worldwide in the aftermath of the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbury, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Rayshard Brooks, and many others. We believe that Black Lives Matter.
Our interest in thinking about racial justice is not new, even as we recognize there is much work to be done in our department and our university. For more than a decade, the English department’s graduate program has been organized around a focus on Literature and Social Justice. In our Mission Statement, we say: “We believe that the study of literature, mapping the contours of what it means to be human—our aspirations and anxieties, our histories and hopes—is essential to the work of social justice. We come to know others by the stories they tell, even as we determine who we are by the stories we tell ourselves.” For too long, the story of racial injustice has been a story academics have relegated to the margins. English departments, including ours, for many years used curricula that left the experiences of people of color out.
We are committed to the following:
- Continuing to diversify our faculty and student body, recruiting and retaining students and faculty of color.
- Examining the historical representation of race and racism, including the social construction of whiteness and anti-blackness, in English-language literatures around the world, including US literatures.
- Working to amplify the importance of Black literature and media to our students, and the broader public.
- Considering race and racism as a discourse that intersects with other modes of marginalization, including those related to gender and sexuality, class, and Empire.
- Challenging the legacy of racial exclusion in English Studies that has existed for generations, including decentering whiteness from the Anglo-American literary Canon and our curriculum.
- Supporting the experiences of underrepresented minorities and first-generation students in our department and across campus, with the hope of helping all of our students complete their degrees and go on to successful careers. Concretely, we ask Lehigh to hire a counselor who specializes in supporting the experience of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students at predominantly white institutions.