The Department of Literary Arts and Studies provides a rich curriculum in literature, literary and cultural theory, and various forms of writing, including creative writing. With class sizes that range from 15–25 students, our courses are generally discussion-based and focus on the development of keen critical thinking and reading skills, an effective and individual writing voice, and a deep and nuanced understanding of the role of literature in a range of different cultures and historical periods.

Course offerings include both traditional and unconventional approaches to British, American and world literature, and emphasize the connection between literature – in the broadest sense of the word – and political, historical and cultural contexts. Writing workshops are offered regularly and include a variety of genres: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, playwriting and journalism.

In addition to providing a strong disciplinary foundation for literary study, the Literary Arts and Studies curriculum is characterized by comparative examinations of the dialogue among diverse literary traditions and interdisciplinary approaches that invite thinking about literature in relation to other disciplines. These include, but are not limited to, the following areas: Eco-Theory and Environment Studies, Gender and Sexuality, Literature and Visual Culture/Popular Culture, Postcolonial Cultures and Literatures, Race and Ethnicity, and Material Poetics.


Department Head

Nicole Merola

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Fleet Library at RISD

With more than 150,000 volumes, RISD's library has a rich collection in art, design, architecture + photography.

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Writing Center

Skilled student tutors provide free one-to-one peer tutoring in writing.

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English Foreground Image 4
The Fleet Library at RISD offers a comfortable spot to stop and read any of the more than 400 art
and design magazines regularly available.