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The Duke English Department's business manager, Catherine Beaver, is one of four Trinity College of Arts & Sciences staff members to receive the Dean's Pillar of Excellence Award.  The Pillar of Excellence Award was established in 2017 to encourage and acknowledge staff members dedicated to the Duke Community.    Honorees display a commitment to service, initiative, leadership, increased efficiency, enthusiasm, collaboration, mentoring, or diversity.  Dean Valerie S. Ashby, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences,… read more about Congratulations to Catherine Beaver, Dean's Pillar of Excellence Award Winner »

The Office of the Provost has selected 17 projects for funding through the Duke Endowment to study “Reckoning with Race, Racism and the History of the American South.” All research projects will be led by Duke faculty members; some projects include staff, students and community members. read more about New Faculty Research to Explore Race in the South from Diverse Angles »

On Tuesday, March 29, Professor Derrick Spires of Cornell University visited the English Department as a guest of the Ad Hoc Committee on Anti-Racism.  Professor Spires visited virtually with a group of English Ph.D. candidates to discuss their work and offer advice.  Following his meeting with the graduate students, Professor Spires and Professor Jarvis McInnis, Cordelia and William Laverack Family Assistant Professor of English at Duke University, had a virtual conversation via Zoom centered around Spires’ book The… read more about Professor Derrick Spires’ Visit with Duke English »

Look back on sights, sounds and legendary moments from Duke University's undergraduate 2021 commencement ceremony. read more about Duke Commencement 2021 Glory »

Oftentimes, in my classes, you can hardly distinguish a current syllabus from one of years past. My teachers usually follow a fixed curriculum, a tried-and-true set of lesson plans, course readings, and homework assignments.  But for Professor of English Thomas Pfau, PhD, that’s not the case at all. Even after thirty years at Duke, Pfau still searches for novel subjects to teach. “There are not many classes I repeat,” says Pfau. “I tend to always be prowling out for new materials and configuring new books.” This semester… read more about Designed for Digital: English 101, 2021 Edition »

In spring 2020, Duke’s campus cleared out and the classrooms were left empty. Students returned home and finished out the semester over Zoom. Like so many others, Nima Babajani-Feremi struggled to learn online. As the strangest semester most of us have ever experienced drew to a close, Babajani-Feremi, a sophomore at the time, decided that another semester of “Zoom University” was not realistic for him.    Babajani-Feremi is no traditionalist — the bright yellow and blue floral print shirt he is wearing will tell you that… read more about Learning, Away From Duke »

When I was younger, I always fantasized about heading up North. I wanted to leave my hometown in Mississippi behind, and say farewell to the magnolia trees, to the humid summers and SEC football. The North was where culture was, and in my mind, it was where writers went.   I had a particular fascination with New York. I associated the city with writing workshops, like Sackett Street or Gotham Writers. I was drawn to the intimacy of those spaces, and their dynamism, too—places where my prose and ideas… read more about English 322: An Exercise in Writing and Self-Kindness »

17-year-old Amin Ahmad might’ve been surprised by the trajectory of his life, three decades later.  “It’s very strange where my life has taken me,” Ahmad says. “I didn’t expect to be in North Carolina—and I certainly didn’t expect to be teaching writing!” Last fall, Ahmad joined Duke’s faculty as a professor of English. While he’s new to Duke, Ahmad is no stranger to crafting an engaging story. In addition to his critically acclaimed novels, Ahmad’s work has appeared in a litany of… read more about Writing Across Borders and Genres: Amin Ahmad Brings Scaffolding to Creative Writing Faculty »

Cliff Haley’s “Stuck on the Spectrum” is a queer analysis of male heterosexuality within mid-20th-century American literature. Haley’s thesis begins with Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, then moves to Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises before returning to Baldwin’s Another Country. Within these texts, Haley explores the dilemmas of sexuality—and he argues that while we as modern readers better understand the sexual spectrum, we embrace… read more about What's in a Thesis? We Ask Undergrads What It Takes »

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Kathy Psomiades works on Victorian literature and culture. She is the author of Beauty's Body: Femininity and Representation in British Aestheticism (Stanford, 1997), and co-editor, with Talia Schaffer of Women and British Aestheticism (Virginia, 1999). She has been the recipient of an NEH fellowship, and a Kaneb award for undergraduate teaching at the University of Notre Dame. Her current book project, read more about Victorian Lit, Dinner Parties, and Nuns: Q&A With Kathy Psomiades, PhD »

Christina Chia has been Associate Director of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University since 2014. She received her Ph.D. in English from Duke in 2004 and worked at the Center for Multicultural Affairs prior to joining the FHI in 2006. read more about Alumni Profiles Series: Christina Chia »

Savannah Marciezyk’s cat is named Clio. Clio, named after the Greek muse of History, is a frequent visitor in the Zoom classes that fill Marciezyk’s day, and to any of the students in her classes, the cat’s name seems apt — Marciezyk can always be counted on to chime in with a shrewd comment on the historical context of a Dickinson poem or cite the customs of George Eliot’s England. Much to the advantage of her classmates, even as a graduate student, Marciezyk has begun to teach.  Marciezyk’s natural tendency to share her… read more about How a Passion for Poetics fuels a future PhD »

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is pleased to announce the 2021 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellows.  These fellowships support promising doctoral students in the humanities and interpretive social sciences with a year of funding designed to help them complete projects that will form the foundations of their scholarly careers. The program, now in its fifteenth year, is made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. ACLS has named 72 fellows this year, the largest and most diverse… read more about Congratulations Kathleen M. Burns, 2021 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow »

Duke’s theaters, galleries, and other arts venues are typically busiest in April! This year, we bring the buzz, artwork, and stages online. Our creative community has risen to meet the challenges of the pandemic while connecting us through making and sharing new work.  The Duke Arts Student Showcase shines a light on Duke University academic arts departments—Theater Studies, Dance, Music, English, and Art, Art History & Visual Studies. Join us for the premiere of this produced special that highlights… read more about Duke English Featured As Part of the Duke Arts Student Showcase »

We are excited to announce the winners of the 2021 Creative Writing Contests and the Creative Writing Scholarship awardees. Each year the English Department administers writing contests to recognize fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry by English majors and non-major undergraduates.  The department also awards three academic scholarships to undergraduate students who have been nominated by English faculty for work done in one or more creative writing courses.  Congratulations to the following students!  FICTION  Anne… read more about 2021 Creative Writing Contest and Scholarship Winners »

For the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Month, a look at six Duke faculty who have published poetry collections. read more about Celebrate National Poetry Month With Six Duke Faculty Poets »

Duke English creative writing students have had the pleasure of creative writers visiting their classes to share their experiences, answer students' questions about writing, and provide tips on improving their writing skills.    Guest authors to Professor Maren's "Intro to Creative Writing" class this spring have included Kendra Allen, Tyree Daye, and Paul Yoon.   Professor JP Gritton’s “Intro to the Writing of Fiction” class enjoyed virtual visits from Cidinha da Silva and Adrienne Perry.  "Overall, it was cool to read… read more about David L. Paletz Creative Writing Guest Series Last Two Visitors for Spring Semester  »

Listening to music with the poet whose alternative history of humankind intersects with the realities of Black life in America.  read more about Nathaniel Mackey's Long Song »

George Saunders, the celebrated fiction writer, was doing quite well writing short stories – winning prizes, earning acclaim, making a living. Yet novels remained elusive. “It’s like being a builder of custom yurts and then someone asks you to build a mansion. You say, ‘No, I don’t do that,’” Saunders said. “But wait a minute, maybe I could just put a bunch of those little yurts together.” read more about Critics and Authors Talk Literature In Novel Dialogue Podcast from Duke English »

Professor Sarah Beckwith, Katherine Everett Gilbert Distinguished Professor of English, gave a Work-in-Progress presentation on February 26th featuring her paper “Tragic Implications.”   A copy of “Tragic Implications” was shared with members of the audience in advance of her talk.  Beckwith composed this piece for a symposium held in Boston, MA in 2019 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Stanley Cavell’s essay collection “Must We Mean What We Say?”  Professor Beckwith told the audience that she did not go back and make… read more about Professor Sarah Beckwith’s Work-in-Progress Talk  »

Graduate and professional programs across the university also scored impressive rankings in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of graduate programs released today.  Duke University School of Medicine rose to third among 122 medical schools in the nation for research.  In addition to the medical research rating, seven specialty programs in the School of Medicine placed in the top 10: Surgery (second); Anesthesiology (fourth); Internal Medicine (fifth); Radiology (sixth); Pediatrics (seventh, tied); Obstetrics… read more about Duke Graduate Programs Score High In Latest US News Rankings »

Two respected scholars -- one of African literature and one of the political economy -- will join the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences faculty this year. Grace Musila has been named associate professor in the Department of English, and Eric Mvukiyehe has been named assistant professor in the Department of Political Science. Both hires were supported by a $4 million grant from The Duke Endowment, a private foundation based in Charlotte. The funding is dedicated to hiring up to six new scholars with expertise on Africa… read more about Two Experts on Africa to Join Trinity Faculty »

Even in the days before Zoom classes and masked seminars, you would have been hard-pressed to find a student nibbling on a Café crepe in Professor Thomas Ferraro’s classroom. Professor Ferraro writes on his syllabi that students mustn't bring food into the classroom, not just out of courtesy for one another but because of “what Italians call amicizia: to break bread together is to bond blood, while withholding bread from others is to deny relation.” And, of course, in Ferraro’s class, relating to one another is… read more about The Wellian: A Tribute and A Table »

Cord Whitaker, Duke English Ph.D. alum and Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Wellesley College, was invited to give a virtual talk on March 12 by the Duke English Ad-Hoc Committee on Anti-racism.   Whitaker was invited as one of two special guests to give talks during the Spring 2021 semester.  On this spring-like Friday afternoon, approximately 50 attendees joined Whitaker and the committee for his virtual presentation entitled "From Medieval America to Modern": On Being BIPOC and Making Meaning in… read more about Cord Whitaker, Duke Ph.D. Alum, “From Medieval America to Modern”: On Being BIPOC and Making Meaning in White Disciplinary Spaces”  »

Jeannine Carpenter received her Ph.D. in English from Duke in 2009. She is currently Director of Research and Policy at the Women’s Fund of Greater Chattanooga, an organization made up of advocates, volunteers, and philanthropists who work to improve the lives of women and girls in the state of Tennessee. read more about Duke Graduate School Alumni Profiles Series: Jeannie Carpenter »

Two of the English Department's creative writing classes have had the pleasure of authors visiting their classes this semester as part of the David L. Paletz Creative Writing Guest Series.  Author Kendra Allen visited Professor Mesha Maren's English 110S "Intro to Creative Writing" class on February 11th.  Cidinha da Silva visited Professor JP Gritton's 221S "Intro to the Writing of Fiction" class February 15th.  Poet Tyree Daye, a North Carolina native, visited Professor Mesha Maren’s “Intro to Creative Writing” class… read more about Allen, Da Silva, & Daye’s David L. Paletz Creative Writing Guest Series Visits  »

ABC 11 WTVD reporter Ed Crump recently interviewed Duke English Professor Dominika Baran, a sociolinguist, to discuss “How our daily language has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.”   read more about New Normal, Flatten the Curve, Quarantine: How Our Daily Language Has Changed During the COVID-19 Pandemic »

Cade Metz, Duke English alum and technology correspondent for the New York Times, took time out of his busy schedule for an interview with the English Department to discuss his experience as a Duke English major, his professional career path, and his new book, Genius Makers, which is scheduled to be released on today, Tuesday, March 16, 2021.   During the interview, Metz shares how he has managed to merge the humanities world and STEM into a profession he loves.  Cade Metz graduated from Duke University in 1994 with an… read more about Cade Metz, Duke English Alum, Technology Correspondent  »

Professor Caryl Phillips, English Professor at Yale University, returned to Duke from February 16 to 24 for his second year as the Blackburn Writer-in-Residence as part of the English Department's Blackburn Reading Series.  Every year the department invites a major, active fiction writer for a reading and a series of workshops that allow its creative writing students to interact with a noted, contemporary author.  When asked for remarks about returning as the Blackburn Writer-in-Residence this year, especially during a… read more about Caryl Phillips’ 2021 Virtual Blackburn Writer-in-Residence Visit  »

Professor Aarthi Vadde will welcome esteemed writers like Teju Cole (author of Open City), Orhan Pamuk (winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature), and George Saunders (author of Lincoln in the Bardo) to her new podcast “Novel Dialogue,” which premieres today. Each episode pairs a novelist and a critic for lively, fun, and sophisticated dialogues about the art of novel writing. Vadde will serve as a co-host on the show alongside John Plotz, the Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at… read more about Professor Aarthi Vadde Debuts New Podcast “Novel Dialogue” »