The English department is committed to teaching and research that examines past and present social differences and hierarchies. This commitment is reflected in the opportunities our curricula offer for all students to investigate the construction of historical inequalities around race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion, class and disability. We hope that these teaching and research initiatives translate into community-building practices that rest on mutual respect, support and solidarity across differences. The English department rejects the politics of white supremacy and its attendant ideologies of xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia and ableism. We will always seek to create a climate that reduces alienation and exclusion and that gives all of us the tools to combat ideas and rhetoric that divide us. At the same time, we acknowledge the department’s failures, historical and ongoing, to live up to these values and the continued work that we need to do.
The Department of English has published an anti-racist action plan, which was prompted by a statement of solidarity and commitment previously written by the department's Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee is a group of faculty, students and staff members charged with promoting the values of diversity and equal opportunity for everyone in the Department of English. The committee works to assess the initiatives, policies and culture of the Department to ensure an equitable environment for working, learning and teaching. The Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee is the Department Diversity Officer, appointed by the Department Chair in consultation with the Executive Committee. The Diversity Officer advocates for enhancing diversity in hiring processes and also functions, in collaboration with the Chair, as the Department’s chief resource person for those with concerns or grievances about discrimination or harassment based on race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, ability, religious belief or veteran status.
No Hate @ Ohio State
Launched in response to the appearance of white-supremacist flyers in our and other departments’ buildings (and at universities around the country), No Hate @ Ohio State is a collection of resources and readings aimed at combatting hate on our campus. A collaborative and continuing effort on the part of the departmental community, the site documents past and ongoing anti-hate actions and provides a platform for sharing information, strategies and teaching tools.
Undergraduate Diversity Requirement
In order to complete the English major, each student must fulfill a Diversity Requirement by taking at least one designated diversity course. This requirement reflects the department’s firm conviction that English majors need to develop a critical viewpoint that is informed by an understanding of the experience, literature, culture and history of marginalized and oppressed groups.
By defining the requirement in this way, the department maintains that understanding diversity is not only about recognizing difference and multiplicity--basic elements of critical thinking that are assumed to be part of all English classes--but recognizing that different cultural positions, perspectives and identities are produced and intertwined within a web of power relations. The diversity requirement ensures that students completing the major will have a chance to hear the voices and study the cultural expressions of those who have been long underrepresented in mainstream society precisely because of those relations of power.
Designated Diversity Courses:
- English 4577.01 Folklore I: Groups & Communities
- English 4580 Topics in LGBTQ Literatures/Cultures
- English 4581 Topics in U.S. Ethnic Literatures
- English 4582 Topics in African American Literature
- English 4586 Studies in American Indian Literature/Culture
- English 4587 Studies in Asian American Literature/Culture
- English 4592 Topics in Women in Literature and Culture
- English 4597.01 Disability Experience in the Contemporary World
For more information on these courses, as well as other courses offered in the department, visit our Undergraduate Courses page.
Virginia Hull Diversity and Inclusion Award
The Virginia Hull Diversity and Inclusion Award is given annually to an English major from an underrepresented Ohio State student population who contributes to the inclusive excellence of the university through academics and/or community impact. The recipient of this award will receive an invitation to the English department’s annual awards ceremony in April and a $2,000 scholarship.
“Underrepresented,” is, of course, a broad and shifting category; it includes, but is not restricted to, students of color, first-generation college students, students who have had to overcome severe social or economic disadvantages or those with a registered disability. Your application essay should explain how you contribute to the diversity of the English undergraduate community. The judges will take into consideration the overall makeup of the student community in deciding how best to enhance diversity through this award.
For further information about this award and the application process, please visit the Undergraduate Scholarships, Grants and Awards Page.
The Diversity & Inclusion Committee organizes events, like the ongoing series of forums on Anti-Racist Pedagogy, Methodology and Mentoring, and cosponsors events happening in other units. For a complete listing of these events and others around campus with a strong diversity, equity and inclusion focus, please visit the departmental event calendar.
Zora's House: A co-working and community space catering specifically to women of color