New English Major Structure: The Survey Sequence

by Beth Sattur

For CAS students starting in Fall 2018, there is a new core sequence within the English major: Literature I, II, III, and IV. (Those who began earlier can choose either the new or old major structure.) Previously, the survey requirements within the English major consisted of British Literature I & II, and American Literature I. While resembling their predecessors, Literature I, II, III, and IV introduce variety to the major by focusing more broadly on Anglophone literatures. There is extraordinary diversity in literature, even that which is restricted to the English language, and the step towards being more inclusive and intersectional is a good one. Great literature has come from places other than England, after all! Being able to choose any three of the survey courses and take them in any order will also give the students more power to shape their course of study.

The new numbered sequence has the following course titles: Medieval and Early Modern Literatures (ENGL-UA 111), Literatures of the British Isles and British Empire 1660-1900 (ENGL-UA 112), American Literatures to 1900 (ENGL-UA 113), Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Literatures (ENGL-UA 114), which correspond to Literatures I, II, III, and IV, respectively. The course list for Fall was published on Friday, March 16, and gives more details about these courses and the department’s many other offerings.

“We’ve been working on this new structure for (literally) years now and I’m excited our majors and minors will finally get to experience it!” says Mary Mezzano, the undergraduate program assistant.  “A comment that I’ve heard from a few students in the past is that they wished there were more options to study recent/contemporary literature–and we’ve taken a big first step in making that option a reality; I think ENGL-UA 114: Literatures in English IV (Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Literatures) is going to be very popular. When we decided to add this new course, we also wanted to make sure we weren’t adding any more requirements to the major, which resulted in the ‘choose-three-of-four’ structure. You really get to choose your own adventure.” In general Ms. Mazzano stressed the differences between the old “Literature of One Nationality” (that is, England) and the new “Literatures in English.”

Anyone who has questions about this new program can visit the English building at 244 Greene St, 3rd floor and meet with either Prof. Boggs or Prof. Watson, whose walk-in hours are Thursdays 2:00pm-4:00pm and Wednesdays 1:30pm-4:00pm, respectively. Mary Mezzano will also be available to help with questions and scheduling conflicts.