The English program teaches students to analyze literature's aesthetic, social, and political ambiguities, to consider how literature both captures the human imagination and moves us to deeper contemplation of fundamental values: What is love? What is justice? What is evil? How should I live my life? What, finally, does it mean to be human?
At D'Youville, students will study how authors have wrestled with the human condition along a wide historical and cultural spectrum and within diverse sociopolitical contexts. The course offerings, which are offered as both major and core curricula, include American and British literature, world literature, African American literature, women's literature and gender studies, cinema and media studies, critical theory, and creative writing. Students engage with texts through reading, researching, interpreting, discussing, and writing, rigorously developing their oral and written communication skills.
The English curriculum also encourages students to think in interdisciplinary terms by applying the critical and analytical skills they learn in studying literature to their work in other disciplines. Further, students are challenged to consider how literary authors and texts continually work to unsettle institutionally mandated assumptions, perspectives, and values, charging us with a lifelong commitment to curiosity and empathy.
The program encourages students to use their own writing projects—whether scholarly, creative, or activist—to hone the crucial skills of critical thinking and compassion that they will need to confront and articulate the human condition for themselves. The program is thus designed to help students develop an analytic and imaginative relationship with literature that will continue after their graduation as they pursue graduate studies or embark on a career within the wide array of opportunities open to English majors.