Viewing archives for English and Joint Schools

Introduction

Dr Hankinson studied English at Balliol College, completing his DPhil in 2020 under the supervision of Professor Matthew Reynolds. He has since taught at St Hilda’s College, St Anne’s College, and Jesus College, and worked as the Co-ordinator of the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation Research Centre (OCCT), based at St Anne’s, where he currently leads a research strand on Comparative African Literatures.

Teaching

To Queen’s English undergraduates I teach both Prelims Paper 3, on nineteenth-century texts and contexts, and Prelims Paper 1b, an introductory paper on literary theory.

Research

Dr Hankinson’s research explores the relations between nationalism, belonging, foreignness, and style, with a particular focus on the period 1860-present. His work routinely involves the tracing of relations which proliferate beyond temporal and geographical boundaries, and the development of innovative comparative methodologies—two activities united in a forthcoming monograph which stages an encounter between the Victorian poet Robert Browning and the contemporary Ghanaian poet and novelist Kojo Laing. 

Publications

Please visit: https://www.josephhankinson.com/articles.

Introduction

I’m Ella, I study English at Queen’s and I’m from Hebden Bridge (a little town in West Yorkshire). I went to state school before coming to Oxford, and I’m currently in my first year here.

My favourite thing about my course is the flexibility. You really get a chance to focus on your favourite texts and your favourite parts of texts, and it’s very rare that you have to write on a subject you’re not interested in. In the first year we take four papers, in which we study literary theory, Old English Literature (650-1350), and literature from the Victorian (1830-1910) and modern (1910-present) periods. We also get the chance to do language analysis on non-fictional texts – i.e. recipes, news articles, and tweets – to see the subtle ways that language can alter our perspectives on things, which has been really interesting. My tutorials are mostly in pairs: it can be intense when there’s only two students and a tutor – this is something you don’t get at most other universities. However, it’s a unique opportunity to get a lot out of your teaching, and the tutors at Queen’s are really friendly. We usually do one essay a week, sometimes two, and we have classes on background reading for our essay topics and attend lectures to help our contextual understanding. 

College experience

What surprised me most when I arrived at Queen’s is how very few people fit the ‘Oxford’ stereotype. Before arriving I was worried I wouldn’t find people like myself – and I was really wrong! That being said, one of the best things about studying here is also finding people who are not like myself at all. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know people from very different backgrounds, from all over the world who I may never otherwise have met, and I think it’s really helped to open my mind. I play University netball, which has been a good way to make friends from other colleges, and take time away from studying. We have weekly socials, which are often in fancy dress, and involve crew dating other sports teams, followed by clubbing in Park End. In March we had our annual Varsity match, where we played against Cambridge – our biggest rivals! We won, of course.

My favourite thing about Queen’s, and the reason I chose it when I applied, is our College bar’s cocktail – Sex on the Quad. Orange juice, cranberry juice, peach schnapps, and vodka, for the reasonable price of £3. Also, our Upper Library is very beautiful, something I didn’t realise until after I arrived, but is definitely an added bonus. The collegiate system is one of my favourite things about university. It makes it so much easier to settle in when you have a small community who you can get to know; within weeks you can recognise most as familiar faces. Another thing I love about Queen’s is the people, I genuinely think we have one of the most welcoming communities of staff and students.

Advice for applicants

The best advice I was given before applying here was to read what I enjoyed, not what I thought I ‘should’ read. Chances are, if you are offered an interview, your passion for the subject is much more likely to shine through when you’re talking about a book you loved reading.

Courses

  • BA (Hons) English Language and Literature
  • BA (Hons) English and Modern Languages
  • BA (Hons) Classics and English
  • BA (Hons) History and English

Admissions

The College normally admits six or seven students per year for the courses involving English: English Language and Literature, English and Modern Languages, History and English, and Classics and English. Please note that though deferred applications (i.e. for two years ahead of when you apply) are not accepted for the English Language and Literature course, they are for all the joint courses.

The course

The BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature at Oxford is a three-year degree. Its distinctive feature is its historical breadth: you will finish your degree having studied the full range of English literature, with compulsory papers on literature from 650 to the present day and the opportunity to specialise in the areas that interest you most in your final year. There’s more detail about the course on the Faculty website.  If you are taking English with another subject, you’ll study roughly half the English degree, and there is the opportunity to combine your two subjects in some of the papers.

English is a very rewarding subject to study at university level. You will develop a deep knowledge of individual authors, literary movements, historical periods, and theoretical approaches that you will draw on for the rest of your life. You will gain skills that will equip you for a wide variety of careers: skills of written and spoken communication, analysis, and interpretation at the highest level. In recent years, students who have studied English at Queen’s have gone into teaching, journalism, publishing, arts administration, marketing, law, acting, public relations, international relations, social policy, and the Civil Service. A significant proportion have loved their course so much that they’ve gone on to Master’s and PhD study. The Faculty website has more information about careers for English students.

Teaching

Studying English at Queen’s means joining a friendly and lively community of students and tutors who will encourage and support you as you encounter new texts and ideas.  Most English papers are taught through a combination of Faculty lectures (with students from across the University), and Queen’s classes (with the rest of your Queen’s year group) and tutorials (with one or two other Queen’s students).  For example, a typical first-year paper will be taught over one term, and is made up of six tutorials, for which you will write a weekly essay, four classes on historical and critical context, for which you will be asked to prepare reading and perhaps a presentation, and lectures in the Faculty, which you choose yourself, with guidance from your tutor. If you are taking English with another subject, you may take a paper over two terms, alternating between your subjects weekly. You will meet with a tutor every week in the term, and this close attention means that we can provide exactly the support you need to get the most out of the course.

Most of your classes and tutorials will be taught by the Queen’s English tutors: Rebecca Beasley, Jen Edwards, Joe Hankinson, Amanda Holton, and Daniel Thomas.

At Queen’s we are very lucky to have one of the most beautiful libraries in the world—no exaggeration!—in which to study. The Library has an exceptionally rich collection of rare books, and we regularly use these books for teaching (some of our English students recently curated an exhibition in the Library). You will be able to spend time with first editions of works by some of the greatest writers in English, including Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare, and the Library also holds the manuscript of Thomas Hardy’s last volume of poetry, Winter Words. Queen’s is situated close to the Faculty of English, where you will have your lectures, and the Bodleian, the University’s main library.

There are plenty of opportunities for students to explore their literary interests beyond their tutorials. Many of our students have contributed to the Queen’s creative writing journal, The Rambler, and played a central role in our literary and film societies, and our drama society, The Eglesfield Players. Queen’s students are often involved in creative writing, student journalism, and drama at the University level too. At Queen’s we pride ourselves on creating a friendly, supportive, and inspiring community for students studying English. All the students and tutors in English get together as a group for several events during the year, including our annual play reading and our medieval Yule Feast, which features music, games, food, and drink from the Middle Ages. We are passionate about literature, and we are sure you will enjoy the course here if you feel the same way.

Interviews

The entry requirements for English are the same across the University. We decide who to shortlist for interview on the basis of your UCAS form, your written work, and your mark on the Oxford English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT). We are looking for students who are enthusiastic and thoughtful readers, and we look for future potential as well as current achievement. Queen’s students are ambitious and committed: in the last three years, all students studying English Language and Literature have achieved First Class degrees.

In the admissions interviews we want to get a sense of how you think about the literature you’ve read, and about literature that you are seeing for the first time. You’ll have two interviews. If you’re applying for the English Language and Literature course, one interview will be based on discussion of a short literary text supplied shortly before the interview. The other interview will be a general discussion of why you have chosen to read English, and of literature you have read. If you’re applying for English with a modern language or with History or Classics, you will have one interview with the English tutors and one with the tutors in your other subject. The English interview will include both discussion of a short text and a general discussion of your reading in English. We encourage you to think of this as a conversation rather than a test: there are no trick questions in our interviews. We simply want to get the best out of you and we aim to make the interview as rewarding and enjoyable as possible.