One of the most significant events in the history of English language studies in this country was the establishment of the English Language and Literature Department in 1929. The founders of the Department were Mary Stansfield–Popović, an English language lecturer, and Vladeta Popović, who had successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled Shakespeare in Serbia in London in 1928, and became the first Head of this Department. At the beginning, there were only fourteen students who studied English language and literature. It was not easy to work in the difficult conditions – there were no course books and the libraries offered but a few dozen books. However, within several years, a beginner’s, intermediate and advanced courses were introduced, while Mary Stansfield–Popović wrote the very first course books for English language students.
When the Nazi Germany invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, Professor Popović and Mary Stansfield–Popović were among the first who were sent to concentration camps in Germany, as prominent figures with strong ties to the British culture. Luckily, they both survived the horrors of their captivity and were able to return to their faculty-related duties after the war.
The following phase in the history of this Department may be called the phase of fast development. It started in 1945, along with a sudden and rapid increase in interest in English as a language. During that period, English language graduates had no problem finding jobs upon graduation as English was, right after the war, introduced in many secondary and some primary schools.
Today, the curricula of the Department of English language, literature and culture are designed to follow the general trends in English language studies in Europe. What is more, the Department nurtures various forms of international cooperation and publishes Bells, its own journal (http://www.belgrade.bells.fil.bg.ac.rs/). Numerous writers, poets, critics and professors from English-speaking countries were guests of this Department, some of them being Lawrence Durrell, Saul Bellow, Mary McCarthy, Angus Wilson, Tony Parsons, Lawrence Buell, Charles Bernstein, Judith Butler, Fredric Jameson, Charles Simić, Vesna Goldsworthy.