I’ve been bouncing around university English departments since I was 18 years old, more than a full lifetime ago now. From my BA in English and philosophy at Case Western, to an MFA in fiction writing at UNC Greensboro, to my PhD at Duke and my time ever since here at Marquette, “English” has been the space that helped me find out who I was, and where I’ve found the mentors, colleagues, and friends who have shaped my life and work. A bookish kid who somehow turned into an even more bookish adult (even as I’ve devoted myself to studying popular and cult media objects I might have been embarrassed to admit I love this much when I was younger), reading and writing has always been a place of pride, solace, and joy for me, and I’m very glad to be part of a department that works so tirelessly to advance the study of English and determine, with the help of our students, what reading and writing will look like for the next generation. If you were a bookish kid too—or if you weren’t, if you’re only finding out what sorts of textual play thrills and delights you since you’ve arrived at Marquette—we’re incredibly happy to have you in our community, and we can’t wait to see the things you make.
Books teach us how to think, and how to feel—and then they empower us to act in the world, to help build the future we will all inhabit. Students from Marquette English have gone on to careers in writing, editing, researching, and teaching, of course, but to careers in countless other fields as well, from law to medicine to public health to politics to nonprofit management to social work to journalism to film and television production to technical communication to PR to museum and library science (and more). Wherever your talents and passions are carrying you, the English department is here to help you get where you want to go. The professors in this department are deeply committed to your success, both while you are here with us and long after you leave Marquette.
If you need anything—or if you just want to talk for a bit about comic books and video games and science fiction of highly questionable quality—please, reach out. In the meantime, welcome! It’s so good to have you with us.
Dr. Gerry Canavan
Professor and Chair