Equity and inclusion

Reflection

By convening an extraordinary range of texts and ideas, the Notre Dame English Department is a meeting place for diverse human communities, past and present. We consider it our responsibility to attend to unheard voices, and to highlight stories and perspectives that might otherwise go unheeded. Together we are working to realize the most inclusive possible definition for our field of study, one that reflects the enormous global diversity of literatures in English.  

We also recognize that the English language has served as an instrument of oppression and subjugation, erasure and exclusion, and continues to do so. In our teaching and research we foreground the ongoing legacies of racialized violence, settler colonialism, imperial domination, and ecological degradation that shape and inform our objects of study. By examining these social and political histories, we work to account for the institutional powers that make and break our cultures and communities. 

Invested in the liberatory possibilities of language and literary form, we believe that the critical imagination has a vital role to play in unfinished projects of repair, solidarity, and justice. We seek to take care with language in the hope of remaking our worlds. In this spirit we acknowledge our presence on the unceded homelands of the Haudenosauneega, Miami, Peoria, and Pokégnek Bodéwadmik / Pokagon Potawatomi, who have been using this land for education for thousands of years, as they do today.

Practices and visions

Building on Notre Dame’s mission of Catholic service, community, and social justice, we, as scholars and teachers, stand in alliance with vulnerable and marginalized members of our own community. We endeavor to protect all those who are subject to discrimination on the basis of race, gender identity, sexuality, religion, immigration status, disability, caste, class, and other forms of difference. We actively reckon with our responsibilities towards local and global legacies of extraction, colonialism and imperialism. A commitment to justice, be it sociocultural, politico-economic, or environmental, forms a core component of our work.

From exploring the non-European roots of medieval literature in English to researching the resistive power of contemporary postcolonial literature, members of this department actively interrogate systems of violence, privilege, and capital. Our award-winning research demonstrates the significance of understanding and creating linguistic and literary forms that take seriously their historical and cultural contexts. 

In collaboration with the Kaneb Center’s commitment to inclusive pedagogy, our faculty and graduate teachers believe that difference and diversity catalyze learning. We believe that the communities we create in our classrooms can counter the social forces that isolate and marginalize our most vulnerable students. This emphasis on inclusion motivates our desire to offer undergraduate and graduate courses that reflect the extraordinary diversity of literatures in English. 

Members of this department are involved with several institutional efforts that seek to come to terms with and repair injustice, past and present. Our faculty play major roles in the Notre Dame Initiative on Race and Resilience, the Literatures of Annihilation, Exile, and Resistance research collective, the Gender Studies Program, the Institute for Latino Studies, and the Moreau College Initiative

Moving forward as a Department, we are committed to equal opportunities employment practices in hiring, pay equity, and promotion. We strive to be a positive force for equity, inclusion, diversity, and all forms of justice in our own community and well beyond.