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 2017

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The Case for Christ (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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The Circle (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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The Cottonwood that Bent the Highway, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Dark Tower (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West (Book Review), James C. Schaap

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The Grammar of Complicity, Howard Schaap

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The Great Loss of the Great War, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Hidden Conditions of Heroism, Howard Schaap

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The Importance of Literature, Luke Hawley

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The Refugee Down the Pew, Howard Schaap

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The Refugees (Book Review), Howard Schaap

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The Resounding Voice of What's Not There, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Shack (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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The Villasur Massacre, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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The Voice of His Word, James C. Schaap

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The WPA in LeMars, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart, James C. Schaap

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Time-Zone Poems, Bob De Smith

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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War for the Planet of the Apes (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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Where the Buffalo Roamed, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Where We Put Our Fears, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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White Buffalo Girl's Grave, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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White Buffalo of the Omaha Chiefs, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Who Needs Men? Titania’s World and Shakespeare’s Argument for Marriage In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bob De Smith

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Who's Who in the Rogues' Gallery, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Wilderness Vision, James C. Schaap

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Willa's New Home on the Prairie, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Wonder Woman (Movie Review), Joshua Matthews

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Wooden Shoe Militia, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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You and Me and West Texas: Review of Hell or High Water, James C. Schaap

Faculty Work from 2016

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Akimbo Cross, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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A Powerful Medicine, Howard Schaap

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Aspiration(s), James C. Schaap

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Become a Believer, Howard Schaap

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Behold the Power of Gesture, Howard Schaap

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Between the World and Me, Michael Brown, and White Imagination, Howard Schaap

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Coaching Teacher-Writers: Practical Steps to Nurture Professional Writing, Troy Hicks, Anne Elrod Whitney, James Fredricksen, and Leah A. Zuidema

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Deadheading to Firecracker, Joshua Matthews

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Ex Machina: Notes for Viewing, Bob De Smith

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Exploding the Nuclear Family, Howard Schaap

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Faith, Not Confidence, Howard Schaap

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For the LORD is a God Who Knows, Leah A. Zuidema

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From Small Wonder(s), James C. Schaap

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Hand from the Whiteness: When Bears Ear Saved Mary C. Collins, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Hard Midwestern Life and Equal Rights, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Heorot, Bob De Smith

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Hesed: Sunday After Shabbat, Mary Dengler

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How Then Shall We Eat?, Tanya DeRoo

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Hugh Glass and the Epic Poetry of Siouxland, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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I Am the Way, the Truth, the Life, Leah A. Zuidema

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Incense, Bob De Smith

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Is Certainty the Same as Faith?, Howard Schaap

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Is Consumerism Consuming Us?, Howard Schaap

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Joseph the Imperturbable, Howard Schaap

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Just Add Water, Bill Elgersma

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Language of Arrival, Joshua Matthews

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Last Buffalo, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Light of the World, Joshua Matthews

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Liturgies of the Body: The Jump Shot and Spiritual Practice, Howard Schaap

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Love Undone at Blackbird Hill, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Loving God By Making Poems, David Schelhaas

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Macondo and Leota, Howard Schaap

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Maximillian Sunflowers, David Schelhaas

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Miracles and Superheroes, Howard Schaap

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Music of the Spheres, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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New Hope at Christmas, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Not Even the Past, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Path to Freedom through Tabor, Iowa, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Political World of Bob Dylan: Freedom and Justice, Power and Sin (Book Review), David Schelhaas

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Praise in the Drought, Howard Schaap

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Prayer Mercenaries, Howard Schaap

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Precision, Howard Schaap

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Properties of Conception, Rose Postma

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Put Weather In, Howard Schaap

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Refugees on the Prairie, James C. Schaap and Mark Munger

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Religion in the Early British Literature Classroom: The Challenges of Teaching Religion and Literature to Students of Faith, Bob De Smith

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Resources Preservice Teachers Use to Think about Student Writing, Leah A. Zuidema and James E. Fredricksen

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Something Oxymoronic, James C. Schaap

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Somewhere Between Tom Brokaw and The Misfit, Howard Schaap

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Surprise, Howard Schaap

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Talking to Kids about Race: Against the Grain, Howard Schaap

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The Emperor's Cut, Rose Postma

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The Incarnational Point of View, Howard Schaap

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The Left Hand of God, Howard Schaap

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The Miraculous Catch of Fish, Howard Schaap

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The Pageant of Specificity, Howard Schaap

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Thirst, James C. Schaap

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Too Young to Marry?, Leah A. Zuidema

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Use Your Words, Lester, Howard Schaap

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Wage Gaps in Professional Sports, Bill Elgersma

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Wanted: A Spiritual Pursuit Through Jail, Among Outlaws, and Across Borders (Book Review), Howard Schaap

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What Does Social Democrat Mean?, David Schelhaas

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What Jesus Could Not Do, Leah A. Zuidema

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Who Do Your Kids Look Like?, Leah A. Zuidema

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Why Are Vacations So Exhausting?, Howard Schaap

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Winter Eves in Northwest Iowa, Mary Dengler

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Zechariah, David Schelhaas

Faculty Work from 2015

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Advent: Ring the Bells that Still Can Ring, Tanya DeRoo