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05 August, 2014

Is English a Discipline, Do We Need it, and What Are the Alternatives?

The Modern Language Association's Division on the History and Theory of Rhetoric and Composition had invited me to contribute a paper on the topic of "Rhetoric as a New Paradigm for English Studies" for the 2014 annual meeting of the MLA in Chicago. While the other participants at the session, Douglas Hesse (University of Denver), Peter Leslie Mortensen (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), and Michael Bernard-Donals (University of Wisconsin, Madison), focused on illustrative examples of the cultural work rhetoric can do within the "English" paradigm, my own proposition as the only "English literature" person now at a major technological research institution turned out somewhat more radical. My thought experiment asked whether we need "English" departments at all, extending previous deliberations published in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

READ FULL ARTICLE in Philologie im Netz 69 (2014)