The Department of English offers a curriculum that traverses historical eras and global boundaries to explore various literatures and critical approaches to them. The Department has reimagined what it means to teach the humanities by integrating eight multidisciplinary research centers into its courses and programs. These research clusters provide an innovative complement to the classroom, allowing undergraduate students to collaborate with faculty and post-doctoral and visiting scholars.
Our undergraduate programs are research-intensive and production-based. As part of our research-hub model, we encourage students to choose from seven specializations: American Cultures; Early Modern Studies; Literatures & Cultures of Information; Literature & the Environment; Literature & the Mind; Medieval Literature; and Modern Literature and Critical Theory. On all these fronts, we prepare our students to study, write, design, and perform the imaginative arts to transform everyday worlds.
The Early Modern Center is the English Department's locus for students and faculty working in sixteenth- through eighteenth-century studies, offering courses, conferences, and special events, and supporting collaborative on-line projects, including EBBA.
The Center builds upon our campus’s considerable strengths in American Studies by offering an interdisciplinary setting for new research and teaching initiatives.
The 22nd U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith came to visit UC Santa Barbara to share her poems and writing process. Before her talk in UCSB’s Campbell Hall, she spoke to poets and aspiring student poets at the Old Little Theatre in The College of Creative Studies, where Writing, English and Literature students asked questions about her inspiring poetry journey.
In a series of video interviews, Humanities and Fine Arts professors share thoughts on the merits of their fields and their most rewarding experiences as teachers and researchers.
Cornell University English professor Helena María Viramontes urged students and faculty in UC Santa Barbara’s English department to consider launching a Creative Writing program during her talk called, “Residing, Reciting, Reading: One Writer’s Perspective on the value of Creative Writing.” Currently, the College of Creative Studies is where UCSB students can pursue a Writing and Literature major, while the Writing Program offers courses in creative nonfiction. But Viramontes endorsed the life-changing value creative writing has to offer to a larger population of students.
“It is very necessary to talk about race, and black girls are often left out of the conversation,” said Amoni Jones, who recently facilitated the MultiCultural Center’s first Race and Literature event at UC Santa Barbara. The monthly event explores race using various literary works.
Jones is a Feminist Studies doctoral student, who has worked with underprivileged African-American girls in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. She used the novel Shapeshifters, by Aimee Cox, to talk about the struggles young black women face growing up, and to show that society often stereotypes girls of color and forces them into roles they don’t want to be in.
Violence, memory and history. That was the theme of the first ever Latin American and Iberian Studies graduate student conference, held this spring at UC Santa Barbara.
The conference gathered 24 graduate students from universities both in the United States and Europe. Each graduate student presented the topics they discussed in their thesis statements.
Justine Bethel is a UC Santa Barbara English major who within the span of eight years went from living as a homeless adolescent in San Diego to giving a well-received keynote address at TEDxUCSB in March.
After leaving an abusive household at a young age and entering the cycle of youth homelessness, Bethel was able to get off the streets, receive three associate’s degrees from the San Diego Community College District, and become financially stable by starting her own jewelry business before entering college at UCSB.
In her TED talk, she shared a series of short stories about important acts of kindness from strangers that helped turn her life around.
“Working with UCSB TV and attending a few of these workshops has really helped me find my niche. It can be difficult for transfer students to get involved with campus events, learn about the different free services that are available on campus and even find friends. While I might have eventually stumbled across workshops hosted by different departments or the AS Food Bank, it was having to research our television stories that has familiarized me with the campus and all it has to offer.”
—KELISHA ABAD, THIRD-YEAR ENGLISH MAJOR AT UCSB
The Division of Humanities and Fine Arts is thrilled to announce that English professor Patricia Fumerton and performing arts curator David Seubert, of the Special Research Collection at UC Santa Barbara’s library, have been awarded a total of $630,000 in grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities for research projects in the field of music.
Fumerton, a professor of English literature, received $315,000 for her ongoing project titled "EBBA and the British Library: Making Popular Ballads of the Past more Present." Library curator David Seubert also won $315,000 for his work on “The American Discography Project: Edison Disc Recording Access Initiative,” which is to complete discographic entries for the entire output of Edison Diamond Discs, Thomas Edison's recording company, for the Discography of American Historical Recordings.
This poem, titled “Train of Thought” and written by Andrew Nguyen, is the runner-up of the Creative Writing category of the “Tell Your Story” student contest conducted by UC Santa Barbara’s Division of Humanities and Fine Arts for Give Day 2018.
For many undergraduate students nearing the end of their fourth year, graduating college and entering the real world feels daunting and uncertain. For others, the future after college is clear. UC Santa Barbara alumna Julia Marsh is one of those grads who was ready to forge her way to professional success after building the necessary skills while completing her undergraduate degree. Today, she is a successful graphic designer and graduate student in New York, preparing for a future in a field she loves.
Marsh is a 24-year-old from Carmel, a small town on the coast of Northern California. Her college journey started in 2011. While she loved art, she thought it was too impractical a field to pursue as a career so she chose to study writing. In her freshman year, Marsh decided to apply for a job at The Daily Nexus, the student run newspaper on campus. She became fast friends with the design director at the paper, who convinced her to take an available position working in layout. Within a few short months, she took over the role of design director.