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OVERVIEW

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Welcome to the Department of English

The Department of English at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has a distinguished history. It is the oldest Department of English in the country, and can trace its beginnings to the establishment of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Malaya in Singapore in 1949.  The Department of English subsequently became one of the first departments of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences set up on the present campus in Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur in 1959.  


The department’s identity, which proudly sets it apart from every other Department of English in Malaysia, lies in our continued commitment to coverage of traditional British literature, from Chaucer and Middle English, through Shakespeare and the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, to the Victorians and the Modernists.  

Today, this coverage of the canonical tradition, unique in the country to the department, is complemented by an equally strong emphasis on the teaching of postcolonial literature and postcolonial theory. The teaching of postcolonial texts, which was then called “Commonwealth literature” and later known as the “new literatures in English”, was introduced into the curriculum during the tenure of Lloyd Fernando as the first Malaysian Professor of English (1967–1979). This extraordinary curricular range is reflected in the course offerings of both the department’s BA and MA programmes, which, in addition to the entire span of literature in English from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present as well as postcolonial literature, also cover dynamic areas and approaches including Stylistics, American literature, critical theory, travel literature, women’s writing, creative writing as well as literary and other cultural productions from contexts as historically rich and diverse as Africa, the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia. 

The Department of English has striven to be at the forefront of the latest developments in literary and cultural studies, with our members of staff engaging actively in research and offering exciting new courses of an interdisciplinary nature. These include Literature and Popular Culture, Literature on Screen, English in Advertising, English in Journalism, and Literature and the Environment. This singular curricular breadth and depth is mirrored in the research interests and expertise of our academic staff, and is a national hallmark of the department.

In addition to our undergraduate enrolment, the department has a lively postgraduate (Master’s and Doctoral) student body. Our teaching, research and professional activities are also regularly energized by visiting faculty and through the convening of talks, seminars and conferences at both national and international levels.  We have hosted distinguished scholars such as Michael Pearson, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Scott Slovic, Ien Ang, Yasmine Gooneratne, Benedict Anderson, Harish Trivedi, Sukanta Chaudhuri and Pheng Cheah.

Notable alumni who have contributed significantly to the development of the nation include Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Razali Ismail, K.S. Maniam, Chin San Sooi, Rebecca Santa Maria and Leow Puay Tin.

We warmly welcome prospective students, both from Malaysia and from abroad, who wish to pursue undergraduate or advanced studies in literature in English.   

Please feel free to use the links provided to learn more about our programmes of study and admissions process. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need further information.

With my very best wishes,

Head of Department
Tel: +6(03) 79675505
Fax: +6(03) 79675456
Email:
 marys@um.edu.my

Last Updated: 19/06/2019