Rhodes University English Department About Us

Rhodes University English Department About Us

About Us

Literary Studies in English at Rhodes

Welcome to the Department of Literary Studies in English.

In this department, we seek to develop critical and imaginative thought. The curriculum situates the study of individual works and authors within a general inquiry into cultural history and literary understanding, and exposes students to a variety of analytical orientations. Both in its teaching activities and research activities, the department is guided by the over-arching goals of social enrichment and justice.

The department has a lively culture of learning pursued through lectures and small-group discussions, as well as through research seminars and colloquiums. It regularly hosts visiting academics and writers, and maintains strong links with cognate departments and institutes such as the National English Literary Museum in Grahamstown.

While the undergraduate courses are wide-ranging, postgraduate courses and staff research focus on the fields of Early Modern to Romantic literature, World literature, and Southern African literature.

There are compelling reasons to study English at Rhodes: the university is located in a region known for its diverse and rich literary-cultural traditions; the department enjoys an excellent reputation; the curriculum is responsive to students’ needs and interests; prescribed reading balances the traditional and the new, the local and the international; courses focus on the skills of careful analysis and contextual interpretation; postgraduate students are involved in teaching activities and research presentations; and the academic environment is supportive, pleasant and stimulating.

A Short History

The Department of Literary Studies in English (originally known as the department of English) was born when the University was – in 1904.  From rooms beneath the clock tower in the present administrative building, the first Head, Stanley Kidd, conducted a one-year bachelor’s programme.  In addition to studying Milton, Shakespeare, Tennyson, and Jane Austen, students attended one lecture a week, which the 1906 Calendar laid out as follows:Read More>>