Director's Message

At York, it is axiomatic that reading be informed by theory, history, and criticism, and our faculty and courses represent a comprehensive range of theoretical, historical, and critical approaches to literature. York’s is one of Canada’s key literary faculties in postcolonial studies. Having been at the forefront of the Canadian development of “commonwealth” studies, York’s world-renowned faculty maintain their cutting edge in research into and teaching of the literatures of postcoloniality, the writings of diasporic and indigenous peoples and communities, theories of imperialism and its resistance, and globalization studies.

York’s program has always been a national powerhouse in the study of Canadian literatures. Our continuing interest in the full historical range of Canadian imaginative writing up to contemporary, small-press experiments, our expertise in the study of Canadian publishing cultures, and our unparalleled scholarship in Canadian and Quebec translation issues makes York an outstanding place for future Canadianists to train. Feminist scholarship and criticism are thriving at York in distinct courses, in research initiatives, and by virtue of an integration of their lessons into curricular planning as a whole. Our longstanding reputation for groundbreaking research in Victorian studies is maintained by the Victorian Studies Network at York (VSNY), which sponsors an annual programme of interdisciplinary lectures, symposia, and conferences, and provides students with the opportunity to work with faculty on such renowned scholarly pursuits as The Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Collected Works of Walter Pater, The Correspondence of John Tyndall, and The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies.

American literatures are a field of vigorous inquiry here, and our vantage outside America’s borders yet proximate to its cultural influences makes York a particularly advantageous laboratory for considering American forms and influences, including especially African-American literature. Faculty expertise in book history, bibliographic theory, critical race theory, environmental theory, gender theory, queer theory, theories of cultural studies, genre theory, poetics, and semiotics support a rich, attractive, and continually updated roster of courses as well as an extraordinarily diverse repertoire of graduate research projects and dissertations.

A measure of the program’s noted excellence is our ability to boast three winners of the John Charles Polanyi prize for outstanding early-career research, four Distinguished Research Professors, a Canada Research Chair, two fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, along with numerous national and international book and research awards and citations. A distinguished and intellectually active faculty and a compelling roster of stimulating courses combine to cultivate a stream of successful and highly effective young scholars and teachers. York supports graduate study through financial awards that are linked to teaching assistantships. One result is that York doctoral graduates are well-known as the best qualified new university teachers in Canada. Mindful that students rightfully expect career and job-placement support, in addition to academic course work, York provides students with specific, targeted training in all aspects of academic professionalization. A vibrant graduate students’ association is fully involved in the program’s collegial life and planning.

With a history of achievement and renown, equipped with an accomplished faculty of superb researchers and talented teachers, and with the enthusiasm and creativity of our excellent students, York’s Graduate Program in English consistently maintains its well-recognized place in the vanguard of literary inquiry in Canada.

Thomas Loebel

Graduate Program Director
Department of English