English and Comparative Literary Studies was founded in 1965. Its research and teaching are interdisciplinary and we work closely with departments in both the Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Social Sciences, in particular Philosophy, History, Film and Television Studies, and the School of Creative Arts, Performance and Visual Cultures. We were ranked 1st in the UK in the 2014 Research Exercise Framework, having received the highest research ratings in previous Research Assessment Exercises (2001; 2008); and 22nd in the world in the 2021 QS World Rankings. The current Head of Department is Professor Emma Mason.
Our research is interdisciplinary, comparative, and dynamic. We have particular strengths in American studies, eighteenth and nineteenth-century studies, environmentalism and ecocriticism, gender studies, the literary and cultural history of the medieval and early modern period, performance studies, poetry and poetics, and World Literature. Our major research centres include Critical Environments, Poetry at Warwick, and the Warwick Research Collective (WReC). We were also involved in establishing the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance in 1993, which brings together staff from five departments engaged in the study of Renaissance Europe, and which enjoys formal academic links with several institutions including the Warburg Institute, the Sorbonne, and with the University of Venice. We have close links with the Centre for Research into Philosophy, Literature, and the Arts, the Early Modern and Eighteenth-Century Centre, and the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies.
We hold an ECLS Research Seminar during term in which members of the Department (both staff and post- doctoral fellows) as well as visitors from outside the university present their research and to which all graduate students are invited. International links are also fostered through conferences for which Warwick’s facilities are exceptional and for which internal funding is often available. Conferences and colloquia are an integral part of our research activity and of our graduate training; and it is here that we can often help establish an international platform for our graduate students by introducing them to the appropriate international networks of scholars.
We offer three UG courses: English Literature, English and Theatre, and English and History; and four MA courses: English Literature, World Literature, English and Drama, Critical and Cultural Theory. We also run joint degrees with Film and Television Studies (Film and Literature), Philosophy (Philosophy and Literature), Classics and Ancient History, the School of Modern Languages, and the School of Creative Arts, Performance, and Visual Cultures (English and Creative Writing).
We are successful in attracting high calibre students at UG and PG level, and are committed to the university's widening participation agenda, on which we lead. We ensure students at all levels study literature as a historical, global, aesthetic, and theoretical subject. Students across all degrees choose modules from a wide array of topics and the department has secured numerous awards for teaching excellence, including several National Teaching Fellows and one of the highest scores in the university on NSS-Teaching.
We're delighted to have been mentioned in the phenomenal Taking up Space: The Black Girl's Manifesto for Change (2019) by Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi. In the following passage, they quote English Literature alumni, Mikai McDermott: