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Teaching and research at the Department for English and American Studies is made up of the four sections:

  • Medieval English Literature and Historical Linguistics
  • Literary Studies: American Literature and Culture, Modern English Literature, Anglophone Literatures and Literary Translation, and Comparative Literature
  • English Language and Linguistics
  • Language Skills

Medieval English Literature and Historical Linguistics

The English Middle Ages (c.500-c.1500) weren’t dark; but in fact bright, colourful and highly complex. The department of Medieval English Literature and Historical Linguistics provides students with skills in philology, literature studies and linguistics which enable them to better understand cultural and linguistic phenomena of modernity by exploring the otherness of the historical distant epoch.

The history of English language and literature is shaped by intercultural and intertextual traditions. Latin, Scandinavian and French influences are constitutive of the cultural products of both medieval and modern times. Accordingly, the detailed synchronic analysis of medieval texts is of the same importance as diachronic comparative-contrastive questions, the answers to which require knowledge of cultural sciences, precise analytical approaches and critical theoretical reflection of one’s own actions.

To the Medieval Studies website

American Literature and Culture

The courses and research activities at the Department of American Studies cover a broad range of US-American literature and culture, stretching from the early American (colonial) period to contemporary culture. We connect perspectives from literary studies, cultural studies, and media studies. A wide definition of ‘text’, which includes written, spoken, audiovisual, and digital forms of cultural expression, helps us to explore the manifold forms and functions of culture in exchange with their socio-historic, economic, political, and technological contexts. Traditionally, American Studies has embraced a broad concept of culture, including popular culture and new media. We examine literary genres such as narrative, poetry, and drama in different material manifestations.

We regard US-American literature as embedded in evolving networks of transnational, intermedial, and socio-political processes and discourses. Literature, in this sense, shapes and is shaped by diverse cultural and social figurations as well as systems of meaning-making, from formations of identity to power relations in increasingly digital environments. The research foci of the department include literature and culture of the 19th-21st century, critical digital studies, literature and science studies, intermediality, transnational studies, gender studies, African American literature, and literature and the economy.

To the American Studies website

English Language and Linguistics

The English Language and Linguistics department proudly presents three professors, Ingo Plag, Tania Kouteva, and Kevin Tang, as well as a number of post-doctoral researchers and PhD students. Ingo Plag is a leading researcher in morphology, syntax and creole studies with over a hundred publications, Tania Kouteva is internationally renowned for her expertise in language development, grammaticalisation and language typology, and Kevin Tang focuses on phonetics, phonology and morphology with a special interest in computational linguistics, laboratory phonology and psycholinguistics.

To the Linguistics website

Professor Ingo Plag about English Linguistics at HHU

Professor Kevin Tang about English Linguistics at HHU

Modern English Literature

Research and teaching at ANG4 spans the full historical range of British literature: from Shakespeare to Samuel Beckett to Sarah Kane; from William Wordsworth to T.S. Eliot to Jackie Kay; from Mary Shelley to James Joyce to Irvine Welsh; from Jane Austen to Virginia Woolf to Zadie Smith.

We are committed to practice-oriented research and to research-oriented teaching.

To the Modern English Literature website

Anglophone Literatures and Literary Translation

The section is dedicated to Anglophone literatures in our transculturally entangled world. Tracing exchange, interrelations and differences across diverse literatures written in English, we draw on world literature theory, postcolonial and transcultural studies as well as theories of translation. While we are committed to tracing the uneven travels of literary traditions, creative practices and texts across the world, we also put emphasis on the transformative power of locality. Foregrounding the aesthetics and politics of fiction, we seek to examine the role of Anglophone literatures in the negotiation, reflection and translation of social configurations and cultural concepts across the globe. We firmly believe that literature can offer new ways of ‘worlding’ and does therefore make a difference – not in spite of but because of its distinct characteristics.

In our teaching and research, we aim to identify and retrieve the marginalised and neglected voices of postcolonial and transcultural writers within a wide spectrum of cultures, genres and periods. The literary and cultural topics we study therefore vary widely: for example, memory and transculturality, cosmopolitanism and gender, postcolonial justice and ethics, visuality and visibility in postcolonial cultures, nature and the environment, queerness and sexuality, nation and state, memory and trauma, English as a language of imperialism and English as a world language. We are committed to “unforgetting” English (Rebecca Walkowitz) and to showing what it means to represent specific experiences in English.

To the Anglophone Studies/Literary Translation website

Comparative Literature

How do literary texts interact with one another, with other art forms, modes of thought and discourse, and with the world that surrounds them in all its complexity and uncertainty?

The Department of Comparative Literature introduces students to textual processes that cross linguistic as well as culturally and historically constructed boundaries. We invite students to explore literary texts in their rich and unique capacity to evoke the heterogeneous contexts from which they emerge, and which they in turn shape, articulate, render intelligible.

An ongoing engagement with these cultural practices challenges us to become—and remain—wide and close readers as well as critical and imaginative thinkers.

To the Comparative Studies website

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