English Studies is centered on the analysis of literary texts from the English-speaking world. It is concerned with aesthetic form and the ways in which literature intersects with the cultural, political, social, and economic dimensions of human existence. It is an expansive discipline that engages with a wide-variety of other academic fields (both within and beyond the humanities) and cultural media such as film, music and the internet.
The resources provided in this guide are organized, in part, according to the major concentrations within English Studies. The Research Topics section consists of bibliographic databases, reference resources and digital collections that constitute a valuable knowledge base for research projects in that concentration. The Research Suggestions box features five essential resources that can further any project within English Studies.
The Victorian Women Writers Project (VWWP) began in 1995 at Indiana University and is primarily concerned with the exposure of lesser-known British women writers of the 19th century. The collection represents an array of genres - poetry, novels, children's books, political pamphlets, religious tracts, histories, and more. VWWP contains scores of authors, both prolific and rare.
Quiet since 2003, the VWWP is pleased to be back with an expanded purview that includes women writing in the nineteenth century in English. As before, the project will devote time and attention to the accuracy and completeness of the texts, as well as to their bibliographical descriptions. New texts, encoded according to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines, will adopt principles of scholarly encoding, facilitating more sophisticated retrieval and analysis.
Black LGBTQ+ poets write from the intersections of Black and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer identities and experiences. Black LGBTQ+ poets explore issues of gender expression and discrimination, love, sex, sexuality, desire, culture, race, and more through their creative work. Due to compounding oppressions, the history of Black LGBTQ+ poetry and poetics has not been given adequate attention by scholars or mainstream audiences. What follows is a list of poetry books by Black LGBTQ+ poets, anthologies of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) poets who are LGBTQ+, and scholarly articles on the topic, in celebration of Black History Month. We have also included a very brief introduction to African American poetry and recommendations for further reading on that subject.
Poet Danez Smith reading "Genesissy" for Button Poetry, 2015
As with many of these national commemorations, one month is never enough time to fully honor and celebrate the history and culture of marginalized communities, let alone heal the legacies (and ongoing reality) of harm they've experienced. We recognize that there is much more to be done, that racism and anti-blackness can't be eliminated simply through the creation of resource guides, and that the work of realizing justice won't soon be over. But nevertheless, we keep trying, contributing how we can and building upon the efforts of those who came before us, and we continue to learn from and with one another.
If you'd like to engage more deeply with Black History Month, the IU Libraries Arts & Humanities department has created a number of interrelated resources and features to provide more holistic coverage of this remembering. You'll find those, below:
And for all things Black culture, you can never go wrong with the resources, services, and collections of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Library.
A very brief introduction to the African American / Black Poetic Tradition
African American poetry predates the written word and has its roots in a rich oral tradition. shares sonic qualities with Black musical forms like gospel, jazz, blues, hip-hop, and rap, and includes a rich array of poetic sound devices: alliteration, rhyme, anaphora (the repetition of lines or fragments), to name a few. Black Poetry can be about any theme or subject, but the Black experience is often at the center of Black Poetry, which is informed by the distinctiveness of Black culture. Black Poets often unpack and critiques the systemic oppressions and individual discriminations that they, as Black Americans, have endured, like slavery, segregation, and police brutality. Notable writers and movements in Black Poetry are described in the Power of Poetry series of blog posts from the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Critics and supporters of the distinction between African American and American literature abound. The positions of each side are outlined in this wikipedia article on the subject.