English and World Literature

At Pitzer College, Field Groups (similar to a discipline or department) organize major requirements and courses.

Through the aesthetic, historical, and theoretical dimensions of literature we learn to read other lives and our own. We learn those lessons best when the literature we study includes the voices of a diverse array of writers and when we are responsive to the ways in which such voices and texts change our conceptions of art, culture and society. Literature stirs us and is stirred by us; it is not something to be experienced at arm’s length. For this reason, we encourage our students to practice becoming engaged readers and writers of literature.

We also encourage our students to explore other disciplines, in order to broaden the sources for developing their own writing and critical thinking skills. Abilities gained in coursework are essential for other academic disciplines, are indispensable for graduate study as well as for careers in many fields.

Students may choose from three tracks: Literature, Creative Writing, and Narrative Arts for Social Justice.

Sample Courses

Legal Fictions: Law and Victorian Literature

The course explores the intimate interconnections between legal culture…

Activist Poetics

What is the role of poetry in a time of political and ecological crisis? How can a poem respond to war…

World Literature in an Oceanic Context

A survey of world literature, this course will focus on fiction in the context of the world’s …

Black Queer/Narratives

This course examines Black, feminist, queer/trans culture, art, and theories that push the envelope…


Brent Armendinger
Professor of English & World Literature/Creative Writing
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Sumangala Bhattacharya
Professor of English and World Literature
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Laura Harris
Professor of English and World Literature and Africana Studies
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Amanda Johnson
Assistant Professor of English and World Literature
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Amanda Lagji
Assistant Professor of English and World Literature
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Goals of the Sociocultural Track

  1. Study a diverse range of literatures and genres of writing for breadth and master some in depth.
  2. Articulate the ways in which selected works of literature challenge and change our conceptions of society, culture, and art.
  3. Identify and discuss the aesthetic and cultural elements in given works of literature. Be able to incorporate such elements in one’s creative or critical writing, as appropriate.
  4. Articulate the intimate connections between works of literature and histories, cultures, and world views.
  5. Make meaningful connections between literatures/writing and real-world problems. For example, make practical applications of writing through community-based courses or through the acquired skill of authorial voice and formal essay techniques.
  6. Practice the study of literature and the craft of writing as a collaborative creative process, both in and out of the classroom.
  7. Regardless of concentration, gain experience writing both critically and creatively. Be able to organize, research, and communicate ideas effectively in both oral and written form. Be competent in various strategies of literary craft and experimentation in order to produce compelling creative works.
  8. Make connections between the study of literature, the craft of writing, critical theory, and interdisciplinary study.
  9. Gain proficiency in the use of appropriate technologies to explore literatures/writing.
  10. Gain the critical and creative skills to be adequately prepared for graduate school in literature-related fields, or for employment in such fields as art, law, publishing, journalism, education, non-profit grant work, business, and creative or professional writing.

Art, law, journalism, education, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations, business, advertising, and creative and professional writing.