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Department of English

Drown Hall at Lehigh University

Welcome to English at Lehigh University

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.

Core Activities

  • Exploring how the study of literature contributes to questions of social justice.
  • Analyzing literary history from a range of theoretical perspectives.
  • Interacting with Lehigh's varied interdisciplinary programs, including Africana Studies; Health, Medicine, and Society; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Jewish Studies; and Environmental Studies.

At the graduate level, the department offers an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English. These programs seek to promote the academic, personal, and professional growth of our students, helping to prepare them for a range of future roles as writers, researchers, educators, and leaders–both in the academy and beyond. Our graduate curriculum seeks to promote foundational skills of critical analysis, oral communication, written argument, and sustained research. It also emphasizes how the study of literature is relevant to other discourses and methodologies across diverse historical and cultural contexts.

The graduate program has a dedicated focus on Literature and Social Justice (LSJ).  We believe that the literature of different historical epochs is crucial to ethical inquiry, raising questions about the very meaning of justice, the powerful legacies of injustice, and the possibilities for social transformation. Our courses and our scholarship explore topics including feminism, critical race studies, economic exploitation, queer studies, postcolonial studies, ethics, and medical humanities across historical periods. Our work also demonstrates that these social problems and emancipatory movements—and the assumptions upon which they are founded—accrue different meanings in different times and places. To learn more, see the LSJ Mission Statement.