English & Cultural Studies


In a recent issue of PMLA, Wendell Harris, lately Head of the English Department at Penn State,  gives grounds for supposing that in the next ten to twenty years most English departments nationwide will adopt one of two alternatives: they will (1) "become Cultural Studies departments (whether they change their names or not,)" or (2) "separate into two departments -- literature in English and Cultural Studies" (PMLA 115:7, 2061-62).

The consensus among Rutgers undergraduates to whom I have spoken is that something like option (1) will in the normal course of things occur (or has already occurred) at Rutgers. This is, so far as I can tell, entirely in line with student demand. By far the greater number of English majors who e-mailed me in response to an earlier online questionnaire said that they were drawn by the department's focus on CulturalStudies, including gender, sexuality, political identity, television and popular culture.

A minority of students who e-mailed me their responses indicated, however, that they had been drawn to the English major primarily as an opportunity to undertake "the literary study of literature," focusing on such genres as tragedy, comedy, and satire, major authors such as Chaucer, Milton, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, James Joyce, systematic study of such periods of English literature as medieval, Renaissance, and 17th century, such periods of American literature as colonial, Revolution and early republic, American Renaissance, etc. A number have said that they would not continue as majors in a department of Cultural Studies.

A colleague has suggested that if there were a sufficient number of undergraduates -- even as few as one or two hundred -- interested in literary study, it might be possible to form a small separate department of English and American Literature. (The analogy she gives is with the Department of Classics. That is, the "English department" would consist of a small English faculty, with a limited number of undergraduate majors, concentrating entirely on English and American literature.)

This would be option (2) in Wendell Harris's projected state of affairs.To try to see how it might work out in terms of course offerings, I took the list of English courses that currently appear in the Rutgers catalog and divided them up into Literature and Cultural Studies categories. The numbers are imaginary. I made them up to conform to our present 200-300-400-level numbering scheme.

I'd be interested in hearing from colleagues around the country whose departments seem to them to be moving toward a point of permanent and official division into departments of Cultural Studies and literary studies.


Rutgers University

Department of English






Courses -- English & American Literature

English 219: Intro to Literary Study 1 (Poetry) English 309: Restoration Drama
English 220: Intro to Literary Study 2 (Narrative) English 310: Augustan Age
English 225: English Survey: Medieval to 18th Century English 311: Age of Johnson
English 226: English Survey: Romantics to Modern English 312: Romantic Age
English 227: American Survey: Colonial to Civil War English 313: Victorian Poetry & Prose
English 228: American Survey: 1860 to Present English 314: Victorian Novel
English 300: Old English Language & Literature English 315: Modern Literature
English 301: Beowulf English 316: Contemporary Literature
English 302: Medieval Literature English 317: Colonial American Literature
English 303: Chaucer English 318: American Renaissance
English 304: Renaissance English 319: American Realism and Naturalism
English 305: Shakespeare English 320: 20th Century American Literature
English 306: Elizabethan & Jacobean Drama English 400: Seminar: Literary Genre
English 307: 17th Century Literature English 401: Seminar: Major Author
English 308: Milton English 402: Seminar: Poetics & Literary Theory

Rutgers University

Department of Cultural Studies








Courses -- Gender, Sexuality, Political Identity, Popular Culture

Cultural Studies 200: Introduction to the Study of Women Writers Cultural Studies 321: Issues and Problems in Feminism
Cultural Studies 201: Introduction to Feminist Studies Cultural Studies 322: Postcolonial Writing
Cultural Studies 202: Introduction to Homoerotic Literature Cultural Studies 323: Migration, Immigration, and Diaspora
Cultural Studies 203: Introduction to Black Literature Cultural Studies 324: Minority Literatures in English
Cultural Studies 207: Popular Culture Cultural Studies 325: Literatures in English other than British or North American
Cultural Studies 300: Black Narrative Cultural Studies 326: Ethnic Literatures in the U.S.
Cultural Studies 301: Black Poetry Cultural Studies 327: Native American Literatures in English
Cultural Studies 302: Black Autobiography Cultural Studies 328: Asian-American Literatures in English
Cultural Studies 303: 19th-Century Black Literature Cultural Studies 329: Chicano/Chicana Literatures in English
Cultural Studies 304: Harlem Renaissance Cultural Studies 330: Deconstruction and Poststructuralism
Cultural Studies 305: Black Music and Literature Cultural Studies 331: Marxist Theory
Cultural Studies 306: Black Writers and the Sixties Cultural Studies 332: Postcolonial Theory
Cultural Studies 307: Black Women Writers Cultural Studies 333: Feminist Theory
Cultural Studies 308: Literature of the Black World Cultural Studies 334: Gender and Sexuality
Cultural Studies 309: Issues and Problems in Black Literature Cultural Studies 335: Psychoanalytic Theory
Cultural Studies 310: 19th Century Women Writers Cultural Studies 342: Film and Society
Cultural Studies 311: 20th Century Women Writers Cultural Studies 337: World Cinema
Cultural Studies 312: American Women Writers to 1900 Cultural Studies 343: Theories of Women and Film
Cultural Studies 313: Issues in 19th Century   Culture Cultural Studies 400: Seminar: Cultural Studies
Cultural Studies 314: Issues and Problems in 20th Century Culture Cultural Studies 401: Seminar: Gender Studies
Cultural Studies 315: Literature and Psychology Cultural Studies 402: Seminar: Feminist Theory
Cultural Studies 317: Drama by Women Cultural Studies 403: Seminar: Postcolonial Theory
Cultural Studies 318: Poetry by Women Cultural Studies 404: Seminar: Minority Literatures
Cultural Studies 319: Autobiography by Women Cultural Studies 405: Seminar: Popular Culture
Cultural Studies 320: Gender and Genre