English Initiatives

Readings and Lectures

Yale English Initiative on Literature and Racial Justice

The “Literature and Racial Justice” initiative explores the capacity of literary works to connect diverse readers across different spaces of reading, learning, and interpretation. Through readings and lectures by invited guests, we highlight questions of race and resistance, and focus on the ways that creative writers, performers, critics and readers have shaped histories of racial justice and empowerment over the centuries. We also foster dialogue and outreach on the teaching of race, literature, and culture, and engage with ideas about social justice, pedagogy, and the literature syllabus. 

Initiative on Literature and Racial Justice: Randall Horton

Initiative on Literature and Racial Justice: A public conversation with Albert Woodfox, the author of Solitary




Reading Groups

Engaging Racial Justice in Our Classrooms 

Convenors: Rasheed Tazudeen and Sunny Xiang

The broad aims of the group are to provide a space to discuss anti-racist teaching philosophies and practices from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, to think through ways to incorporate anti-racist pedagogy into our course designs and classrooms, and to put the work of critical pedagogy and literary studies in deeper theoretical and practical conversation with racial and social justice movements both locally and globally. We welcome Yale faculty, graduate students, and participants from all departments and disciplines.

Meeting summaries for the Engaging Racial Justice reading group

Race Before 1800 Working Group

Convenors: Ayesha Ramachandran and Xavier Lee

The Race before 1800 working group is back for an exciting semester of events. Meeting dates will be posted as they become available.

Join our listserv and stay abreast of upcoming meetingshttps://mailman.yale.edu/mailman/listinfo/race-1800


Spring 2023 Schedule

2/8/23, 5:00pm: Emily Bernard

Emily Bernard is the author of Black Is the Body, a prizewinning collection of deeply personal essays that has been called “riveting,” “unflinchingly honest,” and “life-changing.” Her best-known essay, “Teaching the N-Word,” has been read in schools and colleges across the United States.

2/13/23, 5:00pm: Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess is the author of two books of poetry, Leadbelly and Olio, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, The Midland Society Author’s Award in Poetry, and received an Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. It was also nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, He is the 2023 Rosenkranz Writer-In-Residence at Yale University.