Skip to main content

Welcome to the Department of English Studies

The Department of English Studies submitted 55 members of staff, comprising 48.81 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) staff, to the REF English Language and Literature UoA. The submission included eight Early Career Researchers.

Outputs

Our publications cover all periods of literary history as well as anglophone literatures and literary theory, including:

  • Award-winning creative writing, such as Kayo Chingonyi's poetry collection, Kumukanda, winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award 2018
  • Major contributions to scholarship, like The Norton Chaucer, edited by David Lawton
  • Ground-breaking studies in world literatures, such as Maryam Mirza's Intimate Class Acts: Friendship and Desire in Indian and Pakistani Women's Fiction
  • Interdisciplinary collaborations including The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities, edited by Angela Woods, sharing understandings of the human body in the wider world.
Find out more about us
Ranked 4th in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2022
Top 50
Top 50 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022
World leading research 90% of our research activity was judged to be 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' in REF 2021
Athena Swan Bronze Award
Athena Swan Bronze Award Recognising our work to address gender equality

Supporting voice-hearers and changing perceptions

Our Hearing the Voice project – drawn from research from across the University - is providing resources to help voice-hearers, their families and mental health professionals.

We’re changing the way people think about voice-hearing. Up to one in ten people hear voices no-one else can and one in 50 hear voices on a regular basis. It’s an experience commonly associated with distress, mental illness, and shame linked to social stigma.
Read the full case study
Close up of a woman working on a laptop

About Us

The Department is one of few globally which is committed to research and teaching across the full historical spread of English literature, from contemporary writing back to the early medieval period. We’re equally committed to research and teaching in global anglophone writing from many regions, nations, and cultures. 

We’re in the World Top 50 (36=) in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2022, and we’re 3rd in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022, 4th  in The Complete University Guide 2022 and 5th in The Guardian University Guide 2022

Much of our work, cutting across historical periods, connects to the ‘new humanities’: medical, environmental, and digital – we have a particularly close connection with the Institute for Medical Humanities and are global leaders in this field. We also have emerging areas of research and teaching in disability studies, sensory studies, the cognitive humanities, and Black Studies, amongst many others. 

We offer the chance to study creative writing at undergraduate, MA, and PhD level, working with renowned poets and authors who are regularly publishing with significant presses, and receiving prizes for their work.  

We’ve expanded substantially in recent years, strengthening the historical and topic range of our teaching and research, and making possible new collaborations within and beyond the academy. Our globally significant research shapes our teaching, and all our staff work with our students – there is no such thing as a ‘research-only’ professorship in our department. 

Find out about our equality, diversity, and inclusion commitments

Our impact activity balances regional and national commitments with a global outlook, working with local communities, national networks, and international partners. 

Our REF achievements draw on work with our students through teaching and research activity. They also indicate new areas for undergraduate teaching and postgraduate supervision. We are all ‘research active’; we all undertake ‘research-led teaching’. The REF shows that our community, from first-year undergraduate students to our most experienced professors, succeeds in providing significant and original research insights, and has demonstrable impacts on wider society. 

 

 

This is the image alt text

Research Themes

The Department is significantly involved in University Centres and Institutes, including leadership roles at the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Centre for Modern Cultures and Conflicts, the Centre for Culture and Ecology, and the Institute for Medical Humanities amongst others.

More about our Research Themes

Like to Know More?

The Department has particular strengths in medieval and early modern studies, eighteenth and nineteenth-century literature, modernism and twentieth-century literature, world literatures and literary theory and creative writing. There are additional strengths in a number of trans-historical topics, including medical humanities, digital humanities, poetics, and textual editing. 

Recent work in the Department has helped to develop the discipline of medical humanities and encouraged a trans-historical interest in the relationships between literature, medicine and science. There is a strong environment of creative writing, including creative non-fiction, among staff and students, and there are further specialisms in American, African, Indian and Pakistani, and Irish writing. 

  • Centre for Poetry and Poetics

    The Centre for Poetry and Poetics promotes the reading, writing and editing of poetry from classical antiquity to the present, as well as the critical exploration of current issues and ideas in literary theory.
    People dressed in medieval tudor costume at a re-enactment event
  • Centre for Modern Conflicts and Cultures

    The Centre for Modern Conflicts and Cultures brings together expertise from researchers across Durham University in order to investigate how intellectuals, writers and artists have engaged with or participated in the major geopolitical and ideological conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries.
    Durham Castle Courtyard

Centre for Poetry and Poetics

The Centre for Poetry and Poetics promotes the reading, writing and editing of poetry from classical antiquity to the present, as well as the critical exploration of current issues and ideas in literary theory.
People dressed in medieval tudor costume at a re-enactment event

Centre for Modern Conflicts and Cultures

The Centre for Modern Conflicts and Cultures brings together expertise from researchers across Durham University in order to investigate how intellectuals, writers and artists have engaged with or participated in the major geopolitical and ideological conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Durham Castle Courtyard