National English association coming to Brock

Brock University’s Department of English Language and Literature will be home to the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) for two years starting July 2020.

“It’s an important association for English professors across the country, so we will be serving as advocates and representing the concerns of people in the field,” says Professor Gregory Betts, who will serve as the president of ACCUTE. “We will host at least two conferences, and possibly other smaller events.”

While at Brock, ACCUTE will also see Associate Professor Ronald Cummings as vice-president and Elaine Aldridge-Low as coordinator for the association.

“It will put Brock at the centre of the field for two years, so there will be extra advocacy and work opportunities for other students and faculty members to get involved in a national conversation,” says Betts. “It does bring a bit of prestige to the University to have ACCUTE here.”

With issues around racism and decolonization at the forefront of the discipline, the team will build on the work that has already begun to bring about changes in the field.

“It’s an opportunity to contribute to conversations and to ask hard questions,” says Cummings. “How do we move conversations forward and keep them sustained? How do we use this as a space to do the critical work that is necessary?”

Being at the head of the organization, Cummings and Betts will help shape ACCUTE’s advocacy on these issues. They will also work on building connections between ACCUTE and other scholarly organizations that also work with literature.

“The field of English is a very nebulous discipline,” says Betts. “It makes connections to all kinds of different, smaller organizations that have things to offer this discipline as well. It constantly needs to be reassessed and re-evaluated and shifted because the discourse changes very quickly.”

ACCUTE was founded in 1957 to promote the interests of those teaching and researching in the field of English at Canadian post-secondary institutions. ACCUTE organizes scholarly and professional meetings, including an annual conference as part of the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences organized by Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

In addition to the annual conference and outreach events, ACCUTE also publishes English Studies in Canada, one of the top journals in the country in the field, four times a year.

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