Statement of Principles from the Faculty of English, Georgetown University
Posted: 21 November 2016
The Department of English at Georgetown University stands united in its commitment to the fundamental equality and inherent dignity of all human beings. These values are the foundation of our work in the humanities and transcend political affiliation. They are also embedded in our University’s mission and the Jesuit tradition of seeking social justice.
As humanists we are committed to the practices of principled argumentation, free inquiry, careful consideration of evidence and fact, and sustained, contemplative engagement. A prerequisite for those practices is respect.
We join together in opposition to those who would ignore, reject, or recast as debatable the principles of equality and justice that are the foundation of our work as educators.
We affirm this shared commitment publicly because the values of equality and human dignity are increasingly under threat. Instances of racist, misogynist, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, homophobic, and anti-Semitic harassment, coupled with hate crimes and acts of racial terrorism, are on the rise nationally. They have begun to occur at Georgetown.
The climate for these acts has been substantively shaped by a rhetoric of divisive bigotry that has come to dominate our political discourse, even at the highest levels of our government. As teachers of English we know that words are powerful. We reject the language of division and affirm publicly our shared commitment to justice.
To our students: we stand in solidarity with you. We acknowledge your fears and affirm your right to pursue knowledge regardless of your identity or origin. Our task is to support, to encourage, and to challenge all of you. We recommit to that task now more than ever.
With its small classes, the English Department at Georgetown University emphasizes close work with students and teaching excellence. Our faculty boasts a robust and diverse record of publication, and many have won major university teaching prizes. Reflecting a broadening of the field in recent years, our department offers courses in canonical and non-canonical literature and film in English. The Department is the home of the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, the Shakespeare Association of America, the University Writing Program, and the College’s undergraduate Journalism Program.
Many courses are interdisciplinary and our faculty have played a major role in founding the interdisciplinary programs of the College:
Department Chair: Ricardo Ortiz
Director of Graduate Studies: Patrick O'Malley
Director of Undergraduate Studies: Christine So
If you are seeking information on English language courses, please contact the Center for Language Education and Development.