About English at JMU

The core of the study of English at James Madison University is the exploration of our world and ourselves through words. Throughout human history, talented writers, poets, playwrights, and essayists have understood and used the power of creative, well-crafted language to inspire us, to persuade us, to make us reflect and question, to draw empathy from us, to entertain and awe us, and to expand our understanding – often many of these at the same time.


Our Mission

Our mission is to prepare our students to be appreciative yet critical readers and creators of language, texts, and ideas, attending to the powerful link between the literary arts and the human condition. We develop in students the ability to write with clarity, creativity, and rhetorical power, and to recognize and explore the complex interaction between texts of various genres and diverse contexts of production and reception, that they may emerge with superior dexterity of reasoning, a heightened empathy, and an expanded worldview. 

Our Commitment to Diversity

JMU English upholds the dignity and recognizes the worth of all members of the JMU community, inclusive of race, ethnicity, embodiment, identity, background, and rank. Our department believes that learning a range of experiences, perspectives, and modes of literary expression leads to a fuller, richer, and more equitable understanding of human existence. JMU English equally values all scholars and the questions they bring to the discipline. Our department amplifies traditionally marginalized voices in our teaching, research and writing activities, in the events and projects we organize, and through the substantial support we give to WGSS, AAAD, LAXC, and related interdisciplinary programs. In addition to our recruitment activities, our teaching and mentoring, and our connections with our alumni, our research and creative endeavors, our service commitments to the University and the discipline, and our programming all contribute toward building a complex, inclusive, and evolving ethical sensibility of what it means, and what it has meant, to share a planet over time.

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