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A Sampling:

Jewish Women Writers
This study of Jewish women's writing addresses how the question of religion complicates female representations of gender, nationality, class, sexual orientation and ethnicity

American Heartbeat: Ginsberg, Kerouac, Snyder
This seminar takes a close look at the writers of the Beat generation as well as some who were influenced by them in the context of the cultural history of the 1950s and 1960s

Narratives of Haunting in U.S. Ethnic Literature
Examines the theme of haunting in contemporary U.S. ethnic literature by such authors as Lan Cao, Nora Okja Keller, Maxine Hong Kingston, Cynthia Ozick, Toni Morrison, Sandra Cisneros and Leslie Marmon Silko.

Desire, Incest, Cross-dressing and Homo-erotica: Identity Politics in the Early American Sentimental Novel
Explores disjunctions between the sentimental structure of the early American novel and its contradictory attitudes toward liberty and self-expression

Irish Literature and Film
An introduction to the field of Irish Studies, examining how issues relating to language, identity and nationhood are intimately connected in Irish literature and film

Black Women Writers
An introduction to the major themes and concerns of 20th and 21st century African American women writers, using a variety of genres by such writers as Frances Harper, Sojourner Truth, Anne Spencer, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, Gloria Naylor and Octavia Butler

British Literature in Historical Context: The Age of Heroes
The literature of the Anglo-Saxon era, which, despite (or perhaps because of) successive waves of foreign invasion and political disunity, developed arguably the most distinctive and sophisticated culture in early medieval Europe

Department of English
Department of English
Silliman 214
807 Union Street
Schenectady, NY 12308
(518) 388-6231
Literature class with English Professor Andrew Burkett.
Literature class with English Professor Andrew Burkett.


See where Union takes you:
  • Associate Editor, Pearson Education
  • Marketing Assistant, LEGO Systems Inc
  • Senior Web Writer and Editor, Quinnipiac University
  • Speech Language Pathologist, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • 8th Grade English Language Arts Teacher
  • Senior Producer, Hot Snakes Media television concepts
  • Director of Admissions, Champlain College
  • Communications Associate, American Cancer Society
  • Master's Degree Candidate, Carter Journalism Institute, NYU
  • Editorial Writer, Us Weekly
Nicole Beland '96
Nicole Beland '96
Magazine writer and editor

Great literature engages the mind and the heart in search of answers to some of life's toughest questions. Who am I, and what has shaped me? What gives life meaning? What is love? Justice? Evil? Literature confronts and expresses the most fundamental quandary of all: what it means to be human.

As an English major at Union, you will study how great authors, from Keats to Maxine Hong Kingston, have wrestled with such questions. You will tackle a broad range of topics, including historical, cultural, gender and author studies.

Julia Friedman '12

"I'm working on my master's in journalism, with a concentration in magazine writing, at NYU. A short story I wrote for Professor Selley's fiction workshop was recently published in a literary quarterly. I have all of my English professors at Union to thank for my easy transition to graduate school."

Julia Friedman '12

Explore diverse cultures in "Discourses on the Vietnam War," "Jewish Women Writers," "Asian American Literature and Film" or "Irish Literature and Film." Delve into the relationship between culture and literature in a seminar on the Beatles. Or make your own claims about what it means to be human through creative writing workshops in a range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction prose and poetry.

Through intensive reading, writing, research projects, oral presentations and discussions with your peers and professors, you will sharpen your analytical eye, hone your persuasive and writing skills, and develop your critical thinking skills.

English majors regularly present at Union's Steinmetz Research Symposium each spring. Topics have included "The Scottish Curse," "Melville, Romanticism and the Scientific Imagination," "Poetry's Broadening Sexual Definitions” and "Challenging the Glorification of Humanity in Human and Monster Literature."

Our program is also rich in study abroad opportunities and visiting writers. Literary figures such as Maya Angelou, Andrea Barrett '72, Andre Dubus III and Richard Russo have visited campus to talk with students and give readings.

English majors contribute to the campus literary magazine, the Idol, and student newspaper, Concordiensis, as well as poetry and fiction readings. They edit and frequently publish in The Minerva Review, an undergraduate scholarly journal.

Our graduates work in advertising, business, communications, journalism, publishing, radio and television. They also pursue degrees in education and business and go on to law and medical schools. Whatever their profession, they reap the rewards of their commitment to critical analysis, clear thought and speech, and precise, graceful writing.