Department of English

As faculty in the English Department at Xavier University, we are committed to the Jesuit values of solidarity and kinship, for and with others. In line with these values, we are committed to anti-racist action and working toward justice in our daily lives.

We believe in the power of literature to build empathy and understanding.

We believe in the power of language to move people to action and justice.

We commit to working toward this justice in our classrooms.

As faculty in the English Department at Xavier University, we whole-heartedly assert that Black Lives Matter.

To our black students and colleagues, we commit to work alongside you for justice.

To all of our students, colleagues, alumni, and friends, we invite you to join our anti-racist work. All for one, and one for all.


The English Department at Xavier University fully supports the MLA Statement Deploring Systemic Racism: 

MLA Statement Deploring Systemic Racism

In June 2020, the Executive Council approved the following statement. It was endorsed by five other organizations. 

The Executive Council of the Modern Language Association condemns in the strongest possible terms the wanton destruction of Black life in the United States. We deplore the horrific murders of Black people by the police and the systemic racism in police forces, in educational institutions, and throughout society. It has never been more important for educational institutions to support and expand Black and Africana studies, Latinx and ethnic studies, and Native American studies and to teach the literatures born of struggle against racist violence. During the time of pandemic, Black Americans are disproportionately at risk of illness and death because of a historical and ongoing deprivation of adequate health care. Whether Black lives are extinguished by police forces or by a broken and unjust health care system, it is clear that they are treated as dispensable lives. We call for an opposition to racism throughout society and for an understanding of the history of racism and lynching as it assumes a freshly brutal form in the present. We urge departments of language and literature to engage with the art and criticism that reflects on history and envisions another future. We call on educational institutions to renew their commitment to actively undo structures that limit access by and hinder the full participation of Black Americans and other nonwhite people at all levels. We stand in solidarity with all those who are trying to make a world of racial equality and justice. We oppose the lethal ignorance and hatred that animates racism, and we affirm educational projects that expose (and seek to overcome) the scourge of white supremacy.  


American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Medieval Academy of America
Middle East Studies Association
Shakespeare Association of America


Statement on Linguistic Justice

Xavier English Department and Writing Program

Fall 2021


Language can be used as a tool of power and has the ability to persuade, change policies, alter perceptions or beliefs, reinforce or challenge biases, incite violence and divisiveness or promote peace and inclusivity. Language reflects the ideologies from which it springs, and we acknowledge that what is commonly considered “proper English” is a specific dialect used by those in the highest tiers of power. This dialect is often called “Standard English” (SE) but contemporary linguists also use the term “White Mainstream English” to highlight the racial systems that inform this convention.


The Xavier English Department and Writing Program is committed to challenging linguistic bias and racist practices by acknowledging that multiple Englishes are equally relevant and that students have a right to their own language practices. We also understand that identities can be strongly tied to language and the words we use, as well as the labels others use for and with us. The Xavier English Department and Writing Program is likewise committed to ensuring that our students feel welcome in the classroom and that we respect diverse identities by using the correct pronouns and names of our students and colleagues.


We are committed to continued learning and growth in these areas and welcome feedback from our students and colleagues as we work to support linguistic justice for all.