Honors in English: Important Information from the DUS

To: English Majors
From: Professor Jonathan Gil Harris

January 4, 2008

Dear English Major,

You are invited to apply to the English Department Honors Program. Department Honors offers a unique opportunity to participate in an intensive and supportive year-long program, comprising the fall and spring semesters of the senior year.

In the fall semester, students participate in a small (6-12 students) seminar focused on contemporary theory and application to texts. Readings in recent seminars have included the theoretical work of Georg Hegel, Karl Marx, Gilles Deleuze, Gayatri Spivak, Elaine Scarry, and Amitav Ghosh.

The fall semester seminar also prepares students for writing the honors thesis. A step-by-step process moves students through research strategies and theoretical frameworks to the writing of the thesis proposal; intermediate drafts are discussed in the seminar, enabling students to engage with each other’s projects and to form a support system for the final semester.

During the spring semester of the senior year, students take a three-credit “course” designed to provide time for writing the thesis. Students meet regularly with a Director and Reader of their choice, and produce a forty-page thesis which reflects research in and development of a topic of particular interest to them.

To prepare students who wish to apply for the Honors Program, the English Department will offer this February and March a 1-credit workshop series in Literary Studies (ENGL 701-10). The series comprises three evening workshops on undergraduate research. All students who wish to apply for the English Honors program (but not those studying abroad!) are expected to attend the three workshops, which can be taken as a 1-credit course. The series will include workshops on

• Library Skills and Resources, featuring staff from the Gelman Library and the Library of Congress, as well as faculty from the Folger Shakespeare Library (February 20 or 27);
• New Directions in English Studies, featuring English department faculty (March 5);
• How to Write a Thesis, featuring current English Honors students (March 12).

Please let me know as soon as possible (jgharris@gwu.edu) if you will sign up for the workshop in Literary Studies!

Some bureaucratic information:

• You do NOT need to be a member of the University Honors Program to participate in English Honors. If you ARE a member of the UHP, the English Honors sequence will fulfill UHP requirements for both coursework and senior thesis.
• The seminar counts as a theory course for the English majors’ requirements.
• You CANNOT substitute any other course for the seminar; you must be on campus in the fall of senior year.
• You CANNOT write the thesis while not on campus.

• Application forms are available in the English Department office. These should be submitted to the office or to Jonathan Gil Harris (jgharris@gwu.edu) by Wenesday, March 26, 2008. In addition to the form, please submit a transcript and a writing sample.
• You can certainly apply from abroad. Get the application from Connie Kibler (ckibler@gwu.edu) via email, and send me the completed application by email or snail mail if there’s time.

Please feel free to contact me with questions.

Professor Jonathan Gil Harris

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