Year of establishment : 1901
Location : 2nd Floor, Banikanta Kakati Bhawan
History : The Department of English has been an integral part of Cotton College since 1901, the year the college itself came into being. For more than a century now it has been playing a pivotal role in contributing to the academic and cultural life of the entire northeastern region of the country. Prof. F.W. Südmersen, founder Principal of Cotton College also taught English initially for two years. Prof. Narendranath Roy, who joined the college in 1903, was the first full time teacher of the department. From the session 1913-14, Honours Course in English was introduced under Calcutta University. M.A. course in English (Group-A) under Calcutta University was introduced in Cotton College in 1914 and that was the beginning of Post-Graduate education in Assam. However, with the close of the session 1932-33, the M.A. classes in English were abolished due to economic depression. But PG classes in English were reintroduced in 1979 under Gauhati University.
The Department of English, Cotton College which happens to be the only department in the college to include students from all the disciplines and streams under its wings from various programmes and courses is without an iota of doubt, one of the most highly rated departments of the college. Although it has always been striving for attaining high standards in all the important areas of teaching, research and extension activities during the course of the last four years in particular this department has made significant progress in the following fields:
- Academic excellence: Not only has the pass percentage been very high but Anurag Rudra, a student of the Department who passed his BA with major in English in 2012 created a record of sorts by securing a first class with the highest marks so far in the history of Gauhati University in English Major. Similarly, one of our PG students bagged the first position in the MA final exams of Gauhati University in 2012, while there were several others to secure a first class. In 2013, the no of first class shot up to 12 – a rare feat in English. Even otherwise the results have been excellent at both the UG and PG levels.
- Research: The level of research engaged in by the faculty has been very high during the last four years with Dr Garima Kalita, Dr Arpana Nath and Sanghamitra Sadhu all having presented papers in International conferences in two of the Universities of Istanbul and Cornel respectively. The latter two were even awarded fellowships for attending advanced courses. Sanghamitra Sadhu has been awarded another scholarship for attending a Research Programme at King’s College from December, 2014. Similarly, Dr Rakhee Kalita Moral, another member of faculty has been awarded a Fellowship for two years by the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. In addition, several of the members of faculty have presented papers and chaired sessions or acted as Resource persons in various National seminars, workshops and conferences both within and outside the state.
- PhD awarded: As many as three members of the faculty, viz, Dr Kalpana Bora Barman (by IIT,Guwahati}, Dr Arpana Nath (by IIT,Guwahati} and Dr Dhrubajyoti Das (by Gauhati University) were awarded the PhD degree during the course of 2010-14.
- Pursuing PhD: While Sanghamitra Sadhu has submitted her doctoral thesis to EFU, Shillong Ms Afsana Begum Borbhuyian is pursuing her PhD from Gauhati University.
- Research guides: As many as three members of faculty, Dr Gautam Sarma, Dr Garima Kalita and Dr Rakhee Kalita Moral are actively engaged in guiding PhD scholars under Gauhati University.
- Research projects: Three members of faculty, Dr Deetimali Nath, Dr Merry Baruah Bora and Dr Abanti Bharali are actively engaged in Minor Research Projects under UGC.
- National Seminar: The Department organized a National Seminar on 11 and 12 February, 2014 on “Reading the Ramayana: Text and Context” where there were about 200 participants both from within and outside the state. Eminent scholars from several universities of the country and one from Hungary acted as Resource persons and panelists in different sessions of the seminar.
- Lectures and Talks: The Department of English has in the last four years organizedseveral importantlectures and talks by distinguished scholars both from the country and abroad. Some of these include talks by Prof Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Professor of American Studies and English at the University of Texas, Dr Geraldine Forbes, Professor of History, Suny Oswego University, New York , Dr Subir Dhar, Professor of English, Rabindra Bharati University, Dr Dilip Barua, Former Prof & Head, Department of English, Burdwan University, Dr Rajbir Parashar, Professor Department of English, RKSD PG College, Kurkshetra University, Dr Tilottama Misra Former Prof & Head, Department of English, Dibrugarh University etc.
- Resource persons/Keynote speakers: Many of the members of Faculty like Dr Gautam Sarma, Mr Santanu Phukan, Dr Geetam Sarma, Dr Garima Kalita, Dr Abanti Bharali, Dr Rakhee Kalita Moral have acted as Resource persons and Keynote speakersat differentseminars and conferencesincluding Refresher and Orientation Coursesduring the last two years.
- Consultancy: Quite a few teachers are engaged in offering consultancy services in fields relating to cultural studies, media, film studies etc. Mr Santanu Phukan has also been associated with consultancy services under the Ministry of Cultural Affairs , Govt of Manipur.
- Collaborative Programmes: The Department has been taking up collaborative programmes regularly with Gauhati University, Tezpur UniversityIDOL, KKH, OKD , RMSA, Rotary International, Cine Club, Assam Akademi for Cultural Relations etc
- NET/SLET cleared: More than adozen students from this department have cleared their NET/SLET exams and are happily engaged in teaching and research in various college and universities. Three of our students who cleared the NET within the period stated are now working as Assistant Professors in the Department of English, Cotton College itself.
- Publications: The department publishes a departmental journal entitled Negotiations and another student journal entitled Voices. The literary association begining with erstwhile'"Shakespeare Society"and Ënglish Association" have for several years now held activities in theatre, film and cultural fields bringing together academics, students, activists and researchers from time to time. The department is also going to bring out a festschrift in honour of the 100th birth anniversary of its former Professor &Head the late Tarini Kanta Bhattacharya very shortly with academic articles from eminent scholars of English studies of the state. In addition to this Dr Garima Kalita has authored three books. Dr Rakhee Kalita Moral’s book on conflict issues has been accepted by Routledge for publication. Similarly, Dr Dhrubajyoti Das too has authored three books. Another book by Dr Das is in print. Dr Garima Kalta and Dr Dhrubajyoti Das are also regular contributors to magazines and periodicals in Assamese. Dr Gautam Sarma, Mr Amlandeep Das, Mr Santanu Phukan and Dr Abanti Bharali, though not regular contributors have written for many periodicals and newspapers during the period under mention. Again, Dr Gautam Sarma, Dr Garima Kalita, Dr Arunabha Bhuyan, Dr Rakhee Kalita Moral, Dr Geetam Sarma and Dr Abanti Bharali have contributed several articles to books and journals with ISBN and ISSN numbers respectively’
- Books edited: Several of the faculty are actively engaged in editing books and journals. Many of them are also in the editorial teams of various text books as well. While Dr Gautam Sarma has edited a text for the Major and PG students of English of Nagaland University, published by Macmillan,Dr Garima Kalita and Santanu Phukan have been in the editorial team of texts for Gauhati University. On the other hand, Dr Abanti Bharali and Dr Arunabha Bhuyan have jointly edited the latest volume of the Departmental Research Journal Negotiations.
- Preparation of Course Material: Dr Gautam Sarma, Mr Santanu Phukan, Dr Abanti Bharali Dr Garima Kalita, Dr Deetimali Nath, Dr Merry Baruah Bora have prepared Study materials for open and distance education programmes of KKH, IDOl and Tezpur University.
- Translation Studies:, Dr Arunabha Bhuyan , Santanu Phukan, Dr Gautam Sarma are all engaged in translation projects. Dr Arunabha Bhuyan and Santanu Phukan have also translated stories for Katha.
- Langage Laboratory: The language laboratoryinstalled in the Department during the period under mention has been a major achievement of the Department. More importantly, it caters to the interests not only of the Dept of English but of all the language departments of the college.
- Add on courses: While the Department on its own successfully launched a certificate course in Functional English, it is also associated with other add-on courses like Cultural Studies and Montessori Training being conducted by the Departments of Anthropology and Education respectively.
- Placements: The placement record of students from this Department in the last four years has been quite impressive. While Nabaneeta Chakravarty and Mukesh Pandey were selected for the IAS cadre several of our students are occupying faculty positions in various colleges and universities both within and outside the state. Among them Dr Amit Rahul Baishya has joined the Faculty of IOWA University, USA and Dr Hemanga Dutta who is in the faculty, Department of Linguistics, Hyderabad University is pursuing his Post doctoral research from MIT, USA. Many again like Madhurkongkona Roy, Panchali Kakoti, Kasturi Barman, Anwesha Mahanta are occupying important positions in Media houses, Cultural centers Civil services, Banks and allied services across the country