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Contours of English assesses the state of English Language Studies, a thriving discipline located primarily in English departments and English curricula, at the beginning of the 21st century. Chapter by chapter, it is a book about aspects of English---aspects that, in their own right, will fascinate readers of various disciplines, not only English and linguistics, but also American culture, history, sociology, education, and information sciences. Section by section and as a whole, the book considers ways in which the study of English language intersects with other concerns of the English curriculum (i.e., teaching and research in Anglophone literature and culture) as well as with the related public discourses and policy interventions.
Contours of English and English Language Studies is organized into four parts representing four particularly active and interesting fields central to English Language Studies. The four parts in this book include American Dialects, the History of English, English Lexicography, and English and Education. Each part is structured neither miscellaneously nor as a debate, but rather as an unfolding disciplinary conversation, and includes three chapters by leading scholars in the relevant subfield marked by different perspectives, methods, and material, as well as a response to those chapters by another leading scholar in the field. The responses are significant essays in themselves, not formulaic end-pieces to the sections; they point toward the future of English Language Studies, bearing the chapters in mind.