The English Department of Dordt College believes that "nothing matters but the kingdom of God, but because of the kingdom, everything, literally everything, matters." (Gordon Spykman, Dordt College commencement 1988, "Kingdoms in Conflict")

From that perspective, we teach students how to read poems, stories, plays, and essays. Such reading requires examining how an author uses language to create imagined worlds and to communicate meaning. It also requires that the reader examine how literature from a variety of time periods and cultures challenges or affirms our values and enriches our lives. We aim to foster life-long reading in all our students.

We also demand that students respond to specific selections they read as well as to the broader world in which they live. Thus we teach our students to write poems, stories, essays, and research papers, all of which may help them articulate their Christian understanding of literature and life.

Because we expect all of our graduates will write for publication, we aim to teach them to write clearly, concisely, and forcefully so that the ideas they express and the causes they represent will be advanced.

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Faculty Work from 2020

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A Dream in a Town Named Academy, South Dakota, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Bdote: Where Rivers Come Together and People Fall Apart, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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For Dr. Marlin Vanden Bosch: Professor, Poet, and Pitcher, James C. Schaap

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Galena and the General, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Little Cathedral on the Prairie, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Meisy's Resistance, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Movie Review: 1917, Joshua Matthews

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Movie Review: Onward, Joshua Matthews

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Movie Review: Parasite, Joshua Matthews

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No Heart of the Ioway, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Seven Stanzas at Easter, David Schelhaas

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Shenandoah: Our Thirst for Home, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Silas Soule and the Courage to Stand Against the Tide of Injustice, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Siouxland's Response to the Spanish Flu, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Soddies: Home, Home in the Range, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Novels You Re-Read, David Schelhaas

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The Osage Church: Faith, Murder, and the Presence of History, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Secret Treasure of Coming Home: Ruth Suckow Park, Earlville, Iowa, James C. Schaap

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Trying to Understand Memorial Day, Howard Schaap

Faculty Work from 2019

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3.2 Beer at the Buckaroo, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Advent: A Thrill of Hope, Howard Schaap

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A Family Plot, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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A Kindness That Saved the Farm, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Another Day, Mary Dengler

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A Town Named Victory, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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A Winter's Tale, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Bank Heist, Sioux Center, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Black Robes on the Prairie: Dyeing for Tradition, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Black Sunday: Poems (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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Bud and Dode and Death in Le Beau, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Byway, Bob De Smith

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Cottonwoods for a Better Future, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Digging into Durable Books, Joshua Matthews

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Dreamers, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Dvorak in Spillville, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Exposure, Mary Dengler

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Faith and Superstition, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Filled with Thanksgiving, James C. Schaap

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Fire, Loss, and What Cannot Be Said, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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For Joel on his 60th, Bob De Smith

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Giveaway, James C. Schaap

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Hope Emerson from Hawarden to Hollywood, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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In Consideration of Three Works of Art, James C. Schaap

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Jesse James' Train Robbery and Creation of a Myth, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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John Wick: Chapter Three - Parabellum (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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Labor Day, the Side-Eye Holiday, Howard Schaap

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Labors of the Prairie, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Learning to Ride a Bike, Shaun Stiemsma

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Level Bs, Bill Elgersma

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Living the Metaphor, Shaun Stiemsma

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Magenta Sunset, David Schelhaas

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Melville's Moby-Dick: A Lesson in Reading, Mary Dengler

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Miss Perception, Mary Dengler

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Movie Review: Ford v. Ferrari, Joshua Matthews

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Movie Review: Green Book, Joshua Matthews

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Movie Review: Roma, Joshua Matthews

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Netflix Review: Bandersnatch, Joshua Matthews

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Netflix Review: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joshua Matthews

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Oahe Dam, the Turtle Effigy, and Honoring Thy Enemy, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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One Night on the Old Missouri Trail, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Outdoor Evening Worship, Bob De Smith

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Part One: Reforming Journalism, Lee Pitts

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Part Two: Journalism as a Sharing of Stories, Lee Pitts

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Pentecost, James C. Schaap

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Pilot Rock: A Lighthouse to the Past, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Pure Celebrity, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Retirement, Mary Dengler

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Some of Us Were Only Spectators, James C. Schaap

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Sonnets to the Dust Bowl, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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So You are Thinking about Reading Moby-Dick..., Joshua Matthews

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Spark, Shaun Stiemsma

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Spenser's Images of Grace and the Canons of Dort: Faerieland Meets the Five Main Points of Doctrine, Bob De Smith

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Swallowing the Camel by Wintering in Florida, David Schelhaas

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That Big Hearted Virgil Earp, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Algona Nativity, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Battle of Pecatonica, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Comfort Bird (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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The Illuminated Path to an Illuminated Bible, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Keeley Cure, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Legend of Jedediah Smith, James C. Schaap

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The Missouri: River of Time and Memory, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Secret Treasure of Coming Home, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Shinging, Shaun Stiemsma

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The Significance of Story: A Review of On Reading Well, Shelbi Gesch

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The Time of Peace and Cats, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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What Do We Do With Our Bad Stories?, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Why Nebraska is a Quintessential Movie About the American Midwest, Joshua Matthews

Faculty Work from 2018

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Acculturation Through Education, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Advent Joy: The Joy of the Incarnation is in Tents, Howard Schaap

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An Innocent Voyage West and the Trail of Tears, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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A Peacemaker Enters the War to End All Wars, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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A Plains Understanding, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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A Quiet Place (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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As Armistice Approached, War's Engine Roared, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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A Walk into Nature's Past, James C. Schaap

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Battle of the Spurs, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Big Oil and Climate Change Denial, David Schelhaas

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Black Sunday: Dust to Dust, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Bleeding Kansas, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Broken Kettle Dawn, When the Past and Present Merge, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger