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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

English Department


We have strong faculty interests across a spectrum of interrelated fields, including African American literature, post-coloniality, Native American studies, and 20th-century popular culture. Graduate students also have the option of pursuing interdisciplinary work through the American Studies concentration. In addition, our Composition and Rhetoric Program provides cutting-edge opportunities in that area, while the University of Massachusetts Renaissance Center gives us a special strength in early modern studies. Underlying our activity in all these fields is a strong programmatic commitment to practical preparation for a profession in transition.

American Studies

American Studies is an interdisciplinary study of cultures in the United States. Required America Studies seminars in the concentration are regularly supplemented by interdisciplinary courses such as "Representations of Race," "Photography and American Culture," "The Ragtime Era" and "African American High Culture." In addition to the several American literature and culture faculty who work with American Studies graduate students, affiliate faculty frequently come from history, anthropology, communications, theater, journalism, legal studies, psychology, art history, and music. Also available to graduate students in American Studies is the Five College Center for Crossroads in the Study of the America, and, for those interested in arts and culture, Historic Deerfield and the Northampton Historical Society. For more information about the American Studies concentration, please consult the American Studies Home Page.

Composition and Rhetoric

At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, graduate students in English wanting to specialize in Composition Studies have available to them a rich array of resources: a distinguished faculty, a nationally-known first-year writing program, a well-established writing across the curriculum program, and a computer equipped writing facility. Students can take courses in composition theory, rhetorical theory, writing and emerging technologies, voice in writing, research methods, and literary studies. These courses complement the Department's extensive graduate offerings in literary and cultural studies, creative writing, and American Studies. For more information about the concentration in Composition and Rhetoric, please visit the Composition and Rhetoric page.

University of Massachusetts Renaissance Center

Each term the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies (Arthur Kinney, director), housed in the Daiken Estate at the University of Massachusetts, offers interdisciplinary courses involving the age of Shakespeare; recent offerings have included English/Theater, "Re-inventing Shakespeare", English/History, "Court and Culture in England, 1590-1625"; English/Art History, "Text and Voice in Renaissance Art"; English/Hispanic Studies, "The Golden Age." In addition, the Center invites graduate students to participate in local and regional colloquia and international conferences held on campus; edit and work on two book series, the journal English Literary Renaissance and the forthcoming Garland Encyclopedia of Tutor England; and use the Center's special collection of Renaissance materials (15,000 rare books and supplemental materials). All of these actives complement the course offerings in Renaissance English literature offered by the Renaissance faculty in the English department and elsewhere in the University. For information about the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies, please consult the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies Home Page.