The English Department studies how people make and interpret language. We accept, as a matter of principle, that nuances of language can profoundly affect meaning. This is as true in our classroom interactions and internal departmental operations as it is in our writing and research. All parties must therefore listen closely to each other and consider the effects of their words, so that we can create and uphold collegiality and mutual respect among students, staff, and faculty.
The English Department Development Committee strives to make the English Department a welcoming, supportive, and intellectually fulfilling community for all its staff, faculty, and students. The Committee supports our community in part by developing programming for the Department, including discussions of how we can work together to create diverse syllabi and inclusive classrooms to work towards overcoming the legacies of systemic racism within our discipline and at Harvard as an institution. We, collectively and individually, aim to be responsive to any concerns about interpersonal dynamics: please contact a member of the Committee if you have experienced or witnessed incidents of harassment or abuse as they relate, for example, to race, class, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, religion, hierarchies within the university, and any other similar issues. We can serve as a sounding board and also advise about appropriate reporting mechanisms.