Year of Establishment : 1907
History of the department : Founded in 1907, the Department of English, one of the oldest operating departments of all the modern universities in Asia, has retained its eminence for 110 years. The objective of the department is not only to make students think differently, but also to groom them in the way that enables them to connect the classroom with the outer world, the knowledge of literature with real life.
During the Vice-Chancellorship of Sir Asutosh Mookerjee (1906-14) classes in the Post Graduate level started in the Department. In 1944-45 a Chair was instituted in the name of Sir Gooroodas Bannerjee, the Universitys first Vice-Chancellor of Indian origin. The first Professor to adorn the Chair was Professor Mohini Mohan Bhattacharya. In 1979 in Professor Bhattacharyas memory a biannual Lectureship was instituted, which is delivered by an invited distinguished person. During the Headship of Professor Sisir Kumar Das, the M.Phil Programme was started in the late 1980s (effective from 1990). Among luminaries who have taught here in the course of history are: H.M.Percival, Heramba Chandra Moitra, Prafulla Chandra Ghosh, Henry Stephen, Mohini Mohan Bhattacharya, Tarak Nath Sen, R.K. Dasgupta, Humphry House, Sisir Kumar Das, A.G. Stock, Jyoti Bhattacharya and many others. The Department has from time to time played host to several celebrated educationists, authors and cultural personalities as visiting faculty and invited speakers, such as: Stephen Spender, J.M.G Le Clézio, André Beteille, Gayatri Chakravarti Spivak, Arindam Chakrabarti, Elleke Boehmer, Tapan Raychaudhuri, U.R. Ananthamoorthy, David Lean, Bill Ashcroft, Geraldine Forbes, Mrinal Sen, Alka Saraogi and others..
The Department was a pioneer within the University in the field of starting an academic journal pertaining to the various areas of English literature and language. The Journal of the Department of English, which was previously known as the Bulletin of the Department of English, is published annually with contributions from well-known scholars from India and abroad.
The Department has incorporated newer areas of specialisation as per the needs and interests of the changing world. It concentrates on the students strong foundation in Classical Literature and also to make them conversant with the contemporary strands of literary styles and theories. The specialised courses offered by the Department include areas as diverse as American Literature and Indian Writing in English, Postcolonialism and Gender Studies, Modernism and Postmodernism and Language Studies, V. Woolf, T.S. Eliot, Harold Pinter and R.K. Narayan. The Department has a vibrant research programme.
The Department has never ceased to produce students, whose brilliance of merit is reflected not only by the consistent good results of the Department every year, but also from the fact that they have found their careers in various walks of life. It has produced authors, poets, philosophers, journalists, linguists, historians, academicians, administrative heads, cultural personalities and lawyers. The students are also enthusiastic about co-curricular activities and often arrange for cultural events. The success of the students and the Department is constituted on the basis of a healthy and productive teacher-student relationship.
Special award/ recognition from UGC or related statutory body : The Department has the UGC funded Special Assistance Programme (DRS) since 2002. Currently the DRS Programme is in SAP-III, Phase III (2013-2015).
Major activities :
- The UGC-assisted international conference is arranged annually by the DRS Programme of the Department of English. Stage and Screen: Representations and Self-discoveries and Connecting Texts: Literature, Theatre and Cinema were the annual seminars held in 2014 and 2015. Among the speakers were luminaries like Anjan Dutt (noted film and theatre personality), Suman Mukhopadhyay (noted film and theatre personality), Kunal Basu (noted author and educationist), Nrisinha Prasad Bhaduri (eminent Indologist and Sanskrit scholar), Dattatreya Dutta (former Professor of English), Dipendu Chakrabarti (former Professor of English and critic), Sohini Sengupta (eminent film and theatre personality), Manasij Majumdar (leading art critic) and so on.
- The student production of a classic play has become quite an annual event. Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello (2013) and The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht (2014) garnered critical acclaim from all quarters.
- In May 2015 the students arranged Raytrospective, a screening of Satyajit Rays Pratidwandi, preceded by a lecture on the film by eminent journalist and critic, Siladitya Sen.
Campus : Asutosh Siksha Prangan (College Street Campus)
Address for communication : 87/1, College Street, Kolkata- 700 073