Department of English
Research in the Department of English
Spanning diverse areas, methods and models, our research transcends historical periods, national and geographical boundaries, theoretical methodologies, and forms of media. We are a research-intensive community of scholars engaged in a breadth of scholarly and creative activity. We disseminate our research and creative work in peer-reviewed books and journals, in performances and readings, in print and digital formats, and in presentations at conferences nationally and internationally. We also have a well-established tradition of engaging our local and national communities through public talks, broadcasts, newspaper/magazine writing, and other interventions. And our faculty members regularly receive external funding to support research and creative activities.
Creative Writing has been a hallmark of our department since early in our history. We have offered creative writing at the undergraduate level since 1974, as a thesis option in our MA program since 1987, and in our PhD program since 1990. Our faculty and students have earned national and international acclaim, and actively contribute to the Calgary and Canadian arts communities
Scholars in our department study how texts are transformed by the technologies they inhabit, from the codex to the computer. We study the histories of texts’ material conditions of production and reception; we curate exhibits and edit texts for publication; and we study and teach letterpress technologies for disseminating texts. Our research in traditional British literature examines and challenges period formation from the medieval to Modernism; and our focus on historical texts extends to Canadian, American and Transatlantic as well as Transnational literatures.
We also study texts’ material histories from medieval manuscripts to printed books. Our digital humanists design databases, produce and theorize digital editions, and use machines to treat texts as data for visualizations. We collaborate with our colleagues in libraries and archives, and in fields from computer science to museum and media studies.
Medieval and Early Modern Literatures faculty
Eighteenth-Century Literatures faculty
Nineteenth-Century Literatures faculty
Twentieth-Century Literatures faculty
Book History, Print Culture, and the Digital Humanities faculty
The Department of English has substantial research strengths in Popular Literatures and Genres, which span periods, media, and national or geographical boundaries. Faculty members research, teach, and train graduate students in areas such as comics studies (Bart Beaty), children’s and young adult literature (Derritt Mason), speculative fiction (Stefania Forlini, Anthony Camara), and popular women’s writing (Karen Bourrier, Faye Halpern, David Sigler). We offer courses in comics and graphic novels, science fiction and fantasy, and children’s and young adult literature, including senior-level courses that provide opportunities for specialized study at an advanced level.
Our graduate program consistently offers courses on popular women writers, comics studies, and other forms of popular literature. On the University of Calgary campus, we have internationally-recognized library resources in speculative fiction (the Bob Gibson collection) and comics (the George Morley Collection). See below for all faculty members in this area.
An early area of specialization in the department was what was once called Commonwealth literature. Since 1970, we have housed the quarterly journal ARIEL (A Review of International English Literature), which has readers and subscribers in more than 50 countries.
ARIEL continues to be a leading field journal, dedicated to the study of new and established literatures in English around the world, with special attention to issues of diaspora and globalization. Global Literatures and Theory remains a significant area of research strength in our department. Research in this area intersects with a wide range of theoretical and critical approaches and crosses periods and national and geographical boundaries.
Our department has a long history of research strength in Critical and Literary Theory, an area into which we have successfully recruited graduate students for many years. A large concentration of our faculty members make research contributions in this field.
A longstanding research area in our department, complemented by and integrated with the significant collection of Canadian material in the university’s Special Collections and Archives, including the papers of Nobel laureate Alice Munro. Research contributions in this area include work in ecocritical and environmental studies, archival research, including exploration documents and narratives, poetics, literary history, gender studies, postcolonial and indigenous studies, and race and identity.
The University of Calgary is known as an important centre of Canadian studies, attracting graduate students from across Canada and abroad. There is also a fertile connection with our creative writing program, including with writers in residence brought in by the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program.