Become an English Major Learn about how a degree in English can help you meet your scholarly and career goals.
Study What You Love and Travel the World Explore the UK with our "Rediscovering Harry Potter: Sources, Landscapes, and Legacies" course.
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Meet Renowned Authors and Scholars at Departmental Events Author Bob Cowser workshops with students as part of the River City Writers Series.
Learn from our Award-Winning Faculty  Ladrica Menson-Furr receives the 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award.

Choose English and Write Your Own Future!

The English Department allows you to write a degree program that will help you reach your career goals as you choose one of our six undergraduate concentrations: African American Literature, Creative Writing, ESL, Language and Linguistics, Literature, and Professional Writing.

In addition to our 300 undergraduate students, we have over 100 graduate students, pursuing Masters' Degrees, MFAs in Creative Writing, Graduate Certificates in ESL and African-American Literature, and PhDs.

English graduates succeed as lawyers, teachers, web designers, writers, administrators, journalists, and business professionals. With online degree programs and a variety of classes, the English major is flexible. English also works great as a second major or minor!

Ready to start writing your own future with an English Degree? Explore our website, contact us, or drop by Patterson Hall to learn more!

Department of English News

  • Samuel Richardson coverA huge congratulations to Prof. Marcus Wicker who is a finalist for an NAACP Image Award for his book of poetry, Silencer. Click here for more information on the Image Awards which will air on TV One on Monday, January 15th.
  • The Department of English is proud to welcome our new English advisor, Bridget Wells!
  • Congratulations to Dr. Darryl Domingo on his chapter "Theatre and Drama" in the newly published volume Samuel Richardson in Context.
  • Tucker book coverThe Department of English is proud to announce the publication of Dr. Terrence Tucker's book Furiously Funny: Comic Rage from Ralph Ellison to Chris Rock. A combustible mix of fury and radicalism, pathos and pain, wit and love--Terrence Tucker calls it "comic rage," and he shows how it has been used by African American artists to aggressively critique America's racial divide.

In Furiously Funny, Tucker finds that comic rage developed from black oral tradition and first shows up in literature by George Schuyler and Ralph Ellison shortly after World War II. He examines its role in novels and plays, following the growth of the expression into comics and stand-up comedy and film, where Richard Pryor, Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg, and Chris Rock have all used the technique.

Their work, Tucker argues, shares a comic vision that centralizes the African American experience and realigns racial discourse through an unequivocal frustration at white perceptions of blackness. They perpetuate images of black culture that run the risk of confirming stereotypes as a means to ridicule whites for allowing those destructive depictions to reinforce racist hierarchies. At the center of comic rage, then, is a full-throated embrace of African American folk life and cultural traditions that have emerged in defiance of white hegemony's attempts to devalue, exploit, or distort those traditions. The simultaneous expression of comedy and militancy enables artists to reject the mainstream perspective by confronting white audiences with America's legacy of racial oppression.

Tucker shows how this important art form continues to expand in new ways in the twenty-first century and how it acts as a form of resistance where audiences can engage in subjects that are otherwise taboo.

Department of English Events

Civil Rights The Department of English Presents Deborah Willis and Teju Cole at the Brooks Museum of Arts for "Seeing Civil Rights"

Wednesday, March 28th and Thursday, March 29th at 6pm

The University of Memphis English Department is proud to present The Seeing Civil Rights Symposium, March 28-29 at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Seeing Civil Rights explores how participants in a documentary of the Civil Rights movement imagined photography's dual role as an art form and a tool for political change. It brings together esteemed and provocative scholars, writers, and artists to address how photographs shaped the immediate reception of the civil rights movement and continues to impact how we remember it.

Keynote speakers include Deborah Willis, PhD. and Teju Cole. Deborah Willis will be presenting her lecture, "Re-Framing Civil Rights and the Photograph". Teju Cole is the author of Open City, Blind Spot, and Known and Strange Things and is a photography critic for New York Times Magazine.

This event is held in conjunction with Black Resistance: Ernest C. Withers and the Civil Rights Movement. It is the first annual George A. Riley Symposium on the Public Humanities.

You can register for individual panels or keynotes, or the entire event at the Brooks Museum website, which can be viewed here. For more information about this event, download the flyer here.


the quiet one posterInvitation to a Screening of Sidney Meyers' The Quiet One at Clayborn Temple With a Special Introduction by Dr. Donal Harris

Monday, March 26th at 7:00pm 

The Department of English invites you to a viewing of Sidney Meyer's movie The Quiet One at Clayborn Temple in Memphis, TN on Monday, March 26th. University of Memphis' Dr. Donal Harris will be giving a special introduction before the showing begins.

"Sidney Meyer's groundbreaking The Quiet One captures the trials and triumphs of Donald Peters, a lonely ten-year-old African American boy who wanders the streets of New York City. Shot on site in Harlem and at an interracial youth rehabilitation center in Esopus, New York, The Quiet One continues to stand as a landmark study of the psychological tolls of racism, poverty, and neglect on kids. With a voice over written by James Agee and cinematography by Helen Levitt, The Quiet One is part documentary, part poetry on film, and more than anything 'a story of a human being's search for love,' as its original tagline plainly stated. Perhaps the only film to ever both make the New York Times Best Films of the Year List and be endorsed by the National Probation and Parole Association, it was also won the International Award at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for two Oscars and the Golden Lion."

This event is free and open to the public, and will begin at 7:00pm on March 26th. Click here for more information. This event is supported by the George Riley at MLK50 Campaign.


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