A Note from the Chair

If you are a close reader of this blog, you’ve likely noticed that I’ve been posting an awful lot lately.  I suppose it is time to finally come out of the closet: I am indeed the new chair of the English Department at the George Washington University.  I have been happy to be part of this department for the past fifteen years.  I started as an assistant professor on a contract position in 1997 and started, again, as a tenure-line assistant professor in 2002.  Ten years later, now as a full professor and chair of the department, I’m extremely proud of how we have developed.  We have such amazing undergraduate students (including, this year, both Luther Rice and George Gamow fellows); a thriving graduate program with students focused on American Literature and Culture, British/Postcolonial Studies, or Medieval and Early Modern Studies; and some of the best teachers and most renowned scholars and creative writers at the university.
You’ll find lots of great news about the ins and outs of the department on this blog; as usual, we plan to spotlight the achievements of members of the community at every level.  Watch this space, for instance, for news about the diaspora cultures of Afro-Cuban America; the intersections of disability and medieval studies; Tony Kushner’s work on his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Angels in America and participation with AIDS activists in the early 1990s; or ethnic belonging, violence, diaspora, and coupledom in South Asia.  Watch this space, as well, to learn more about our connections to the Africana Studies major or the LGBT Studies minor and about our collaborations with a range of other programs, including American Studies, Women’s Studies, and the University Honors Program.
Tonight we’re happy to be kicking off J. Jack Halberstam’s mini-residency with a book launch at Busboys and Poets K Street; find out more about the events connected to Halberstam’s visit here.  The generous donation to the department from the Albert Wang family has helped to make this and other events over the past few years possible.  We very much hope that others, alums or interested friends of literary and cultural studies, will consider — now or at sometime in the future — making a contribution. We very much rely upon the generosity of our benefactors to be able to grow our cultural and academic activities.

All gifts made to the department directly benefit its scholarly and pedagogical missions. Through funding such as yours our faculty are able to travel to conferences and present their research; to use archives in the United States and abroad; to bring new and innovative ideas into the classroom. In addition to the Wang fund, past donations or endowments have made possible the ongoing and extremely prestigious Jenny McKean MooreWriter-in-Washington; have provided our undergraduates with prizes that reward excellence in scholarship and creative writing; and have enabled research and writing for both our graduate students and faculty.

I urge you to consider using the CONTRIBUTE link at right, and designating your gift to the Department of English. We are in the midst of our Academic Program Review (a process that happens about every five years); what that means is that we’ll be thinking very carefully about where we are at right now and what our needs will be for the future.  We plan on communicating to you our hopes for building the department in the future as we go through this process of self-analysis over the next several months.  I thank you in advance for your generosity.

To all our alums especially: we are so very proud of you.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  And please stop by and see me in the main office of the department! 

Yours truly,

Robert McRuer
Professor and Chair

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