The Department of English is both inspired by the richness of the humanist tradition and dedicated to innovation. Our graduates enter careers in academia and other professions well-prepared to meet the changing needs of society with creativity, historical perspective, global awareness, and outstanding communication skills.
Department of English News
When most writers publish a range of genres in as short a span as Jane Bernstein has done over 2018, people tend to call it a “prolific” year. For Bernstein, however, Professor of Creative Writing in Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of English, the last year seems more a true representation of her career’s ongoing, wide array of writing styles and capacity: more the rule of how she writes rather than the exception.
Forty-eight percent of 2018 Carnegie Mellon graduates took a Modern Languages course. Nationwide, there are only 7.5 modern language course enrollments per 100 students, according to the most recent report conducted by the Modern Language Association.
This fall our partners in the Department of Modern Languages will launch, in collaboration with our Department of English, a new Master of Arts in Global Communication and Applied Translation.
Shared from the Dietrich College, this sample of humanities courses—including English offerings such as "Data Stories" and a Grand Challenge Seminar—highlights ways students learn about data and rhetoric through both storytelling and politics.
While most Americans would prefer to believe they are not as susceptible to political propaganda as their fellow citizens, a new book by Carnegie Mellon University Associate Professor of English John Oddo argues those influences are far more complex than the public realizes. Published in November 2018, “The Discourse of Propaganda: Case Studies from the Persian Gulf War and the War on Terror” (Penn State University Press) argues “propaganda” is more than just misleading rhetoric generated by one person or group — but rather an elaborate process of keeping discourse alive and effective.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Creative Writing Program in the Department of English celebrated its 50th Anniversary during Homecoming Weekend this past October. Over 100 alumni returned to campus to take part in panels, readings and meet-ups with their creative writing community and peers, Oct. 25 - 27, 2018.
The keynote speeches by alumni Elizabeth Currid-Halkett (‘00, Chair of Urban and Regional Planning and Professor of Public Policy at the University of Southern California) and Javier Grillo-Marxuach (’91, Emmy Award-winning screenwriter and producer) immediately addressed news of that weekend's Tree of Life Synagogue tragedy and the importance of the humanities disciplines.
This past fall two students in the Department of English’s Rhetoric Ph.D. program, CP Moreau (2021) and Laura McCann (2024), were awarded major honors for their research and writing.
Kaytie Nielsen, an alumna of Carnegie Mellon University and international filmmaker, is adding to her impressive list of credits. The 2016 graduate is the fourth CMU student to earn the highly selective international Marshall Scholarship, which funds up to two years of graduate study in the United Kingdom.
Earlier this fall, two seniors in the Department of English were selected to represent the Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences as 2018-19 Andrew Carnegie Society (ACS) Scholars. Congratulations to Margaret (Maggie) Mertz and Valene Mezmin on receiving this honor.
This past October, Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of English helped host acclaimed writers Hanif Aburraqib and Cameron Barnett as the first guests in the new Speaker Series presented by the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards.
Over the days of Thursday, October 25 through Saturday, October 27, the Carnegie Mellon University campus prepared to celebrate several major milestones: From the CMU Homecoming and Inauguration of its 10th President, to the Department of English’s 50th Anniversary of the Creative Writing Program.
As one of oldest the only undergraduate programs of its kind, the Creative Writing Program's alumni gathered from around the country at Baker Hall to share in the camaraderie, success and profound experiences the writing program has given them.
On the last day of celebration on Saturday morning, news of the immense tragedy at nearby Tree of Life Synagogue reached program director Sharon Dilworth, associate professor of English. As CMU Homecoming events were cancelled, Professor Dilworth moved all Creative Writing plans to her personal home, including the keynote speeches.
Four students in the Department of English have each received a Marion Mulligan Sutton Internship Award for English/Writing Majors for 2018-19. Designed to enrich undergraduate education and provide financial support for students with summer internships in English and professional writing, the 2018 Marion Mulligan Sutton Awards are made possible through a generous grant provided by Mrs. Sutton, a CMU alumna and her husband Thomas, through Marion Mulligan Sutton, MM 1965, Internship Fund.
Recent biological sciences and English graduate Apeksha Atal has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA). “Being selected as a Fulbright Scholar is absolutely surreal,” said Atal. “To think that everything I worked towards is actually happening is beyond amazing. I’m mostly proud to make the people in my life proud. So many people believed in me when I doubted myself, and I’m so glad to have proved them right.”
Behind every Apple user’s favorite virtual assistant is a Carnegie Mellon University alumna. Enrica Rosato (DC ’13), who graduated from the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences with a degree in linguistics, took a job with the tech company in February as the Siri Natural Language Annotation Project Lead.
Nine distinguished Carnegie Mellon University juniors, among them English majors Brian Bizier, Paloma Sierra Hernandez, and Maggie Mertz, will spend the summer working on research and creative projects that span across the college’s various disciplines.
In an intership at the Posner Center, graduate students in English Steven Gotzler, Jack Quirk, and Avery J. Wiscomb have imagined a way to mark the 200th anniversary of "Frankenstein."
All semester-long, one First-Year Writing class has been engaged in an often challenging, frequently thorny discussion—they've been talking about race. Specifically, in the course "Interpretation and Argument: Communicating about Race" taught by Gregory Laski, students developed strategies to talk about race in an inclusive and productive way.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Creative Writing Program was one of the first—and remains one of the only—undergraduate programs of its kind. This fall, the program will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
In an induction ceremony earlier this year, 11 students from the Department of English joined the ranks of the Omega Tau Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society.
Never one to shy away from using wit and satire to poetically describe American life, Carnegie Mellon University’s Gerald Costanzo deconstructs a fleeting, popular and consumer culture in his new book, “Regular Haunts.”
The Shakespeare Association of America recently awarded Noémie Ndiaye, assistant professor of English, its annual J. Leeds Barroll Dissertation Prize for distinguished scholarship related to Shakespeare’s life, times, and works.
To mark Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week, the Department of English highlights some recent graduate student achievements.
In two new books out this year, Professor Sharon Dilworth uses her fiction to explore two very distinct places. In the novel, it’s the mid-century French Riviera; in the short story collection, it’s about a dozen Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
At the National Humanities Alliance annual meeting and its Humanities Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. Carnegie Mellon University’s David Shumway and Christopher Warren participated in events aimed at advocating for federally funded humanities programs.
Rhetoric graduate students have recently launched a new podcast called Re:Verb which will air two times a month and feature rhetoric students in lively conversation—and sometimes heated argument—about current events with a rhetorical twist.
In anticipation of its annual conference, the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW) grants a group of graduate student awards to aid in particularly promising research. This year, Maria Poznahovska, a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric, is among its recipients.
Associate Professor Marian Aguiar noticed shelves filled with books about arranged marriage— there were paperback romances, memoirs, self-help and novels by South Asian feminist authors. She set out to investigate this trend in a new book.
David Shumway, professor of English and director of the Humanities Center at Carnegie Mellon University, wants people in Pittsburgh to engage in "smart talk about stuff that matters." That is, after all, the motto of the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival, which Shumway helped found in 2015.
For the nineteenth year, high school and college students from across western Pennsylvania have addressed topics of difference and diversity in Carnegie Mellon University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards. This year’s winners touched on topics ranging from racial and sexual identity to the current political climate and more.
Gathered in Hunt Library, at the Folger Shakespeare Library, and in virtual spaces around the world watching a live-stream, early modern scholars and digital humanists joined forces to contribute nodes to an increasingly growing digital web of "Six Degrees of Francis Bacon."
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) named 36 writers as members of its 2017-2018 class of Creative Writing Fellows — a highly prestigious honor that comes with a $25,000 grant. One of them was Kevin González, assistant professor of English.
Where’s a student of Shakespeare to go when they want to make an interactive video game exploring “Hamlet?” Or what about the computer programmer that wants to code some foundational moral philosophy into their driverless car? Starting now, humanists and technologists alike can turn to a new interdisciplinary minor in Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of English.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences has selected five Andrew W. Mellon Fellows. Department of English PhD candidates Calvin Pollak and Natalie Suzelis are among the recipients for their proposals for innovative digital humanities projects.
In "Street Calligraphy," Jim Daniels's newest collection of poetry, kids scrawl expletives on broken brick, a nurse gets mugged on her way home from the rehab clinic, fathers drink longnecks of PBR while navigating the Ohio Turnpike and stoned, would-be lovers share cigarettes outside dingy music clubs.
Throughout much of modern American history, to make determinations about the naturalization of immigrants, courts made legal decisions about who was considered “white.” In a new book out this month, Department of English assistant professor Doug Coulson examines this complex dynamics of immigration law and racial rhetoric.