Department Mission Statement
The Literature and Writing Studies Department is a scholarly community of students and faculty committed to innovative teaching and learning. Critical reading, writing, and thinking occur in and serve a range of communities: local, regional, global, and historical. Therefore, we value the following principles:
Cultural Studies and Diversity Studies: Cultural studies and diversity studies are central to our community. These two interdisciplinary approaches to the study of texts include consideration of perspectives such as gender, class, sexuality, disability, nationality, ethnicity, and race. Cultural studies and diversity studies are fundamental to literary and writing studies and provide intellectual tools that enrich our analysis of texts within and across cultures.
Canon Formation: Cultures, local and international, contemporary and historical, create canons. Canons are a significant result of each culture’s literary community. Therefore, comprehending canons, canon formation, and non-canonical texts is essential to understanding and contributing to literary and writing traditions.
Theory and History: Theory and history serve as tools to help us explore and demonstrate our understanding of texts within and across cultures. A range of theoretical approaches and historical knowledge provide us with necessary thinking tools.
Reading: Meaningful analysis requires careful reading. Engaging in close reading makes it possible to take into account rhetorical, prosodic, and other formal features. It also provides a careful grounding in the ideological, cultural, and institutional contexts in which meaning is produced, deepening our understanding of texts and the cultures from which they come.
Writing: Creating and presenting texts and related media in a variety of genres enriches our understanding of the constructed nature of literary materials. The ability to produce clear and compelling communication in writing is fundamental to literary and writing studies.
Translations and Changing Meanings: Understanding that the translation of texts across languages changes the meanings of these texts is crucial to building interpretive skills. A reading knowledge of at least one language other than English is desirable for an advanced understanding of literature and writing in a global context.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students in the Department of Literature and Writing Studies develop critical reading and writing skills and learn to recognize that effective thinking and writing about texts must be informed by knowledge about relevant local, global, and disciplinary contexts. We have designed our departmental curricula to help students who graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Writing Studies to develop and demonstrate the following abilities.
Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Writing Studies will:
- Create clear and compelling communication in writing, speech, and other media;
- Closely analyze texts, applying critical and theoretical approaches;
- Identify and describe literary canons and alternative traditions and the process of their formation; and
- Distinguish the local and global contexts of multicultural and international texts and apply those contexts in textual analysis, utilizing relevant theoretical frameworks.
Assessment of these learning outcomes occurs in a variety of ways: students are asked in our classes to complete many different kinds of writing assignments, including short essay exams, in-class responses, reading journals, research papers, thesis-driven essays, oral reports, and collaborative writing projects.
Educational and Career Opportunities
The Literature and Writing Studies major prepares students to think, speak, and write effectively. These skills are essential for many occupations including marketing, editing, reporting, creative and technical writing, business management, library science, medicine, public relations, teaching, social work, banking, government work, and law. LTWR students pursue a range of advanced degrees. We encourage majors to consider an internship during their senior year. For more information about internships and career opportunities visit our website at www.csusm.edu/ltwr. Students are also invited to speak with LTWR faculty about educational and career opportunities in literature and writing.