B&W photo of Allen Building with photos of professors: Mesha Maren, JP Gritton, Akhil Sharma, and Amin Ahmad
Fiction Open House
Refreshments will be served!
Blue background with photos of Scott McClanahan and Juliet Escoria included
David L. Paletz
Creative Writing Guest Series
Blue background with sound wave along with flyer for Medicine, Humanities and Business Celebration 2022

About Us

The Duke English Department has long occupied a vital and distinctive place both in the discipline and in the university, where it has served as one of the defining spaces of thought, conversation, teaching, and inquiry. We have played a crucial role in defining the history, present, and future practices of reading and interpretation and the paradigms of research, pedagogy, and critique common to and distributed across the humanities as a whole at Duke.

Our research and pedagogy encompass the study of English language, the range of representational forms which find expression in manuscripts, novels, poetry, drama, film and other genres and media, and the social and cultural fields within which such expressive practices take form and which they help to shape. Expertise in the department ranges in time, from the earliest Medieval written manuscripts to the most recent 21st century literature, and in universality, across several continents including literature from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and India. We offer a rich curriculum for both undergraduates and graduate students through BA or PhD programs, and a minor in Creative Writing.

Our Major & Minors

Duke's English Department offers a major and minor in English, and a minor in creative writing. Our program is designed to: convey broad historical knowledge of English, American, and other Anglophone literatures, cultivate a sophisticated habit of critically engaging literary and cultural texts, create a shared understanding of major problems, trends, and methods of literary and cultural analysis, and develop your ability to pose questions and organize knowledge in productive and original ways. We encourage students to pursue undergraduate research and graduation with distinction.

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Featured Courses


Writing the Body Professor JP Gritton Wednesdays 3:30 - 6:00 pm Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” opens as might the establishing shot of a film: the reader learns of the long,… read more about Intermediate Workshop in the Writing of Fiction »


ENGLISH 288.01 AMERICA DREAMS AMERICAN MOVIES Marianna Torgovnick A course in selected American films that create and reflect—both for better and for worse—American identity from the beginnings of… read more about American Dreams, American Movies »

Doctoral Program

Known for its innovative and influential approaches to the study of literature, our doctoral program is dynamic and challenging within a collegial atmosphere of intellectual exchange. Students are encouraged to read broadly across English and American literatures including four-nations British, Anglophone and comparative postcolonial, the Black Atlantic, Irish and other diasporas, multilingual North America, and pan-Pacific. Students investigate literary and cultural history as forms of knowledge production and social action; to develop the specific linguistic, philosophical, and historical skills relevant to their chosen field and intervention; and to think and articulate with clarity, subtlety, and imagination.

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