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Provost Briefs

English and Comparative Literature

The Trias Residency and reading series has brought a number of world-class writers to campus this year, including the year-long Trias Writer-in-Residence Mary Gaitskill, who taught an advanced Creative Writing workshop to a number of students in the fall semester and worked one-one-one in independent studies with four students in the spring semester. Gaitskill also curated a reading series that included such nationally acclaimed writers as George Saunders, Wells Tower, Gary Shteyngart, and Jo Anne Beard (who is scheduled to read in April). Trias also hosted Eleni Sikelianos as our spring Writer-in-Residence for a Week of Poetry. Sikelianos gave a reading and a craft talk, visited classes, and met with five students one-on-one to workshop their creative work. In addition to the Trias series, the "Writers Reading" series participated in the 40th Anniversary of Women’s Studies and the 10th Anniversary of LGBT Studies by arranging for a reading by transgendered poet Ely Shipley. Writers Reading also brought Karen Alkalay-Gut, Isreali poet and translator, to campus for a reading during the fall semester.

This year, the department began to implement its new and more structured curriculum. They have continued to strengthen their offerings in Global Literature by hiring Professor Ivanchikova, whose courses complement those offered by others in the department, especially Professor Basu. These global offerings, alongside such courses as Professor Erussard’s interdisciplinary medieval course taught with Professor Wells, also strengthen the department’s program in Comparative Literature. One of the goals of the Comparative Literature program is to encourage students of literature to develop their skills in other languages. The evidence that students are responding to this encouragement is clear, actually “loud and clear” in Demarest Hall, since Professor Carson has recently begun a tradition of blowing a herald's horn to announce the signing of each new major.