2016 Winter Session

Listed below are short descriptions of our 2016 Winter Session courses. The instructor will post the actual course syllabi for registered students shortly before term begins or distribute them on the first day of class.  View the full course schedule here.

 

COURSE OFFERINGS 2016W (As of 02-JAN-2017)

Pre-Major and Second-Year Electives

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
MWF, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

In this course, we will investigate major texts and themes of medieval and early modern British literature, with a particular focus on how this literature--from Old English poetry to seventeenth-century drama--recuperates and repurposes the past in order to shape identity in the present. Students will learn to close-read, to turn a close reading into an argumentative essay, and to understand and use the tools of literary study. Major texts will include Beowulf, Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and Shakespeare's King Lear.

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 p.m.

This course focuses on selected English writers of poetry, drama, and prose from the 14th to the early 18th centuries.  The following literature will be studied: The General Prologue in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night; poems by John Donne; selections from John Milton’s Paradise Lost; Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko; Part 4 of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.  Class discussion of each work will sometimes focus on its treatment of social, political, and economic issues of the period in which it was written: for instance, the alleged corruption of the late medieval Church and the questioning of conventional gender roles in the early modern period.

Texts:

  • Joseph Black et al., eds., The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Concise Edition, Volume A, Second Edition (The Medieval Period, The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century, The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century)
  • William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night (Broadview)The texts will be available at the UBC Bookstore in a specially priced, shrink-wrapped package.

Course requirements:

Quiz #1 - 20%
Quiz #2 - 20%
Home essay; 1500 words - 30%
Final examination  - 30%

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

This survey will consider various forms of disorder in the literature of the medieval and early modern periods, including social, political, theological, and ontological disorder and tropes of monstrosity, misrule, anarchy, and subversion. From the violent, monster-haunted world of Beowulf to the carnivalesque disruptions of the social order in William Shakespeare’s Saturnalian comedy Twelfth Night to the Satanic rebellion in John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost, we’ll think about the ways that literature contests, critiques, and reflects the conventions of the periods in question. Our discussions will also focus on examples of transgression and transformation in literary form in genres like the epic poem, chivalric romance, drama, and prose satire, while assignments will help refine close-reading, research, and argumentation skills.

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

This class will give an overview of literature of the British Isles from the approximately the sixth century CE up to the late seventeenth century. The majority of our readings will be poetry, narrative (Beowulf, portions of The Canterbury Tales), dramatic (Doctor Faustus and Twelfth Night) and lyric (including lots of sonnets). We will pay particular attention to matters relating to Arthurian romance, courtly love and its decline, and devotional poetry.

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 2
MWF, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

There is currently no description available for this section of ENGL 220. Please contact the instructor.

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

From the Anglo-Saxon clans to the monasteries of medieval England, from the court-cliques of Henry the 8th to the bloody factions of the Civil War, it was all about social networks and what held them together or broke them apart.  We’ll read literature defining and responding to the groups and outcasts of English cultures from 800-1700 CE: poetry, plays, early novels, diatribes, histories, and legends. We’ll use a custom anthology and do lots of collaborative work.

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

In this course we will examine major literary works from the 14th to the 17th century, with a focus on how changes in literary form reflect an increasingly human-centred view of natural order. In discussions and lectures we will examine work by Chaucer, Marlowe, and Shakespeare as well as a number of anonymous writers. The historical organization of the material will enable students to gain insight into both the development of literary style and the relationship of each work to its period.

Literature in Britain: the 18th Century to the Present
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

In this course we will examine paired works by women and men who were contemporaries—Mary Leapor and Alexander Pope, Emily Brontë and Charles Dickens, and Charlotte Mew and Thomas Hardy, among others. Keeping in mind that in each case the female writer initially attracted less (in some cases much less) attention than her male counterpart, we will consider, first, what a predominantly ‘male’ literary canon looks like, and, second, how including women writers transforms that canon.

Literature in Britain: the 18th Century to the Present
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

There is currently no description available for this section of ENGL 221. Please contact the instructor.

Literature in Britain: the 18th Century to the Present
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

This course surveys British Literature from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. It aims to introduce students to a wide sampling of literary works of poetry, fiction, and drama across the period. While these works engage a diverse variety of topics, in reading them we will also want to keep in mind such themes as art and imagination, memory and history, the individual in society and freedom and repression. While taking care to situate these texts in their historical and cultural contexts, we should also, where appropriate, allow ourselves to approach them with a sense of openness and humour.

Mark Breakdown:

  • Participation - 10%
  • In-class essay - 20%
  • Term paper - 40%
  • Final exam - 30%

Novels:

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Penguin)
  • Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (Oxford)
  • George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (Penguin)
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day (Vintage)

 

Poetry and Drama: The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Concise Edition, Vol. B. SECOND EDITION.

Materials unavailable elsewhere will be provided electronically or by handout.

Literature in Britain: the 18th Century to the Present
Term 2
TTh - 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

There is currently no description available for this section of ENGL 221.  Please contact the instructor.

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

This course in early Canadian writing offers an introduction to some significant works in Canadian literary culture in English from its emergence in pre-Confederation colonial literature to its development until the end of the World War I. We will ask, how has Canada’s particular colonial history shaped what has been recognised as Canadian literature and culture? How have settlement patterns, geographical features, or political structures affected cultural production in Canada? With these questions in mind, the themes we will address in this course include: exploration, colonization and settlement; First Nations literatures; English-French relations; issues of race, class, gender and sexuality; literature and the telling of history; Canadian literary regionalism. We will address these themes and many other questions about the relationship between literature and national identification in an historically and culturally contextualised survey of selected English-Canadian poets, essayists, and writers of fiction.

Literature in Canada
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

This course will begin in “a little town,” seemingly homogeneous and united within its collective cultural identity. It will then proceed to complicate this little town and its survival (Journals of Susanna Moodie) by engaging with texts that use both their form and content to offer alternative readings of Canadian subjectivity. What happens when the “Indians” win a victory over the cowboys (Green Grass Running Water)? What happens when a kappa (a Japanese mythological creature) lands on the Canadian prairies (Kappa Child)? Students will reconsider pioneer myths, the rewriting of national narratives, and finally, both the limits and possibilities of diasporic identity and Canadian multiculturalism (Soucouyant). Overall, the class will be introduced to shifting literary representations of Canadian identity and invited to consider their own position in relation to this ambiguity and uncertainty.

Canadian Literature
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

The most defining characteristic of Canadian society, and Canadian writing, in the 21st century may well be its diversity, and the novels and stories studied in this course will reflect a range of concerns, approaches and styles. Texts will include a collection of short stories dealing with the experiences of young medical students and doctors, Margaret Atwood’s most recent novel (set in a dystopian future), a work about the experiences of a First Nations’ soldier in WW1, and several other award-winning novels. Students will be encouraged to develop independent critical responses to the works studied, considering these texts in the context of contemporary Canadian society, personal experiences and broader critical perspectives. Assessment will include two in-class essays, a term paper and a final examination.

Canadian Literature
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Nature has always been at the core of Canadian writing. Over the past hundred years, however, creative responses to the environment have changed dramatically. In the past few decades, with the “ecological renaissance” and the “social turn,” nature poets are less apt to either passively address the land or render it sentimentally and more apt to imagine an altered state of environmental change, even degradation. Contemporary writers often look at the effects of human interaction, resource extraction, and economic exploitation on Canadian land and waters. One strand of nature writing employs a poetics of warning as writers speculate on the effects of the tar sands on global warming, the relationships between Indigenous land claims and strip mining, or the consequences of the genetic modification of crop plants on prairie ecosystems. In parallel to the creative work, much critical work has turned to discussions of human/ non-human interaction, bioregional studies, postcolonial ecocriticism, and the development of the Energy Humanities. In this course we will read critical work alongside fiction and poetry by Indigenous and Non-Indigenous writers from the past century. In the epigraph to In the Skin of a Lion, Michael Ondaatje quotes John Berger’s claim that “never again shall a single story be told as though it were the only one.” This statement could also stand as an epigraph for this section of 222.

Literature in the United States
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 A.M. -0 12:00 p.m.

This course surveys some of the great innovators in the U.S. novel over the past 40 to 50 years, ranging across the stalwarts of realism, postmodernism, and the proliferation of important multicultural voices in the American canon. Questions we will address include: What have been the major innovations in fictional form in the U.S. in the past sixty years, and what forces seem to have driven them? What structures have writers developed in this era to demonstrate new layers of guilt, innocence, and moral complexity? Does the novel, as informational and imaginative medium, have authority in this era? If so, what sort of authority is it? What difference has the explosion in prominent ethnic writers within U.S. literature made for definitions of “American culture”? Students will write three essays: a close-reading paper (about 500 words) and two longer papers (1500 and 2000 words), as well as a final exam. Texts are likely to include Philip Roth’s The Ghost Writer, Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays, Don DeLillo’s White Noise, Toni Morrison’s Jazz, Chang-rae Lee’s A Gesture Life, and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad.

Literature in the United States
Term 2
TTh, 12:30-2:00 p.m.

This course will survey nineteenth-century American literature by focusing on prose and poetry dealing with major social justice issues of the day. We will study literature that took on U.S. settler colonial culture, capitalism, slavery, women’s rights, and workers’ rights. To help with context, students will be introduced to major features of nineteenth-century U.S. history,

Authors studied will include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, William Apess, Rebecca Harding Davis, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Jacobs, Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The assignments include one in-class essay, one re-write of the in-class essay, an annotated bibliography, and a final exam. In addition, students are graded on class participation and group presentations.

Literature in the United States
Term 1MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

This course will be devoted to the study of the long poem as an American literary genre.  Equally if not more importantly, it will survey a range of methods and theories of criticism that make the meaning and significance of these difficult poems accessible to readers.  We will study long poems that are considered to be monuments in American poetry, including Walt Whitman’s foundational nation-building romantic anthem Song of Myself, T.S. Eliot’s deconstructionist modernist masterwork The Waste Land, and Lyn Hejinian’s radical postmodernist prose poem My Life. These works seem daunting to understand at first.  However, this course will demonstrate that they become much more accessible when they are explained by expert critics.  Key theoretical frameworks for understanding literary texts—such as formalism, historicism, and materialism among others—will be surveyed and explained.  By studying criticism that explains the aesthetic, social and political significance of each work, students will acquire knowledge of the basic principles that are used in literary analyses of the long poem as genre.  They will also develop familiarity with the technical terms that are used in literary criticism more generally.  The course will prepare students to pursue upper division English courses in a variety of subject areas.  However, it may be taken by anyone who loves American literature and wishes to understand and appreciate it more fully.  Students will undertake two short close readings and two research essays over the course of the term.

World Literature in English
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

“Strange how unimportant eyebrows can be, so long as there are two of them,” says the omniscient narrator about Gemmy in Remembering Babylon, perhaps arguing for how obvious or natural conformity of behavior and visual similarity are to belonging, and inciting an examination of the mechanisms, criteria and actions by which we do belong or feel at home.  Through our investigation of four core texts (Zakes Mda’s Ways of Dying, Michael Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost, Andrea Levy’s Small Island, and David Malouf’s Remembering Babylon) – set in the post-colonial/post-empire countries of South Africa, Sri Lanka, Jamaica and Britain, and Australia, respectively – we’ll discuss the role of outsiders (or ‘the other’) in modes of belonging and versions of home, and more importantly, come to some understandings of how the ideas of Empire – difference, the unknown, race, among others – inform and construct place-specific belonging.  We’ll watch the Masterpiece Theater production of Small Island too (yay!). You’ll be evaluated chiefly by a midterm, a final paper, and a final exam, but also through a couple of smaller one-page assignments.

World Literature in English
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

There is currently no available for this section of ENGL 224. Please contact the instructor.

World Literature in English
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Monuments and memorials mark heroic turning points in the life of a nation, state or people and claim to be the final word in social struggle. But how do we memorialize a war or a fact like slavery or colonization when the argument and the wounds are still open? Architecture and museums are called upon more than other forms to draw such periods of trouble to a close, yet memorialisation can take many forms: statues, installations, museums, exhibitions, film or literary works. We will read literary accounts that register the trouble with memory alongside interesting cases of politically charged memorials. To approach this question we will look at 4 cases: South Africa after apartheid, USA after Vietnam, Algeria after revolution and Lebanon after civil war. Works by Annie Coombes, Yvette Christiansen, Lauren Berlant, Assia Djebar and Rachid Daif along with short essays in architecture and urban studies.

Poetry
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Reading poetry can be fun. This course will foster poetry-reading skills by discussing a variety poems written in English. We will look at contemporary as well as historical examples and pay attention to the techniques, tropes, and forms that contribute to a poem’s meaning. Students will do casual writing and write short essays which they will be given the opportunity to revise. This course will be an excellent introduction for students interested in writing as well as reading poetry.

Prose Fiction
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

For most readers - and viewers - of Martin’s fantasy-medieval A Game of Thrones narratives, the world of Westeros and the embattled Seven Kingdoms seem medieval. Knights fight on horseback, women are protected (or not) in castles, and peasants farm the fields (or are slaughtered in them). This course examines how the medieval is reimagined in our current moment through Martin’s novels and the HBO series that they have spawned. Reacting both to the High Fantasy genre of the 1970s and 80s (that inspired by, and largely imitating, the mode of Tolkien’s novels), and to post-everything nature of the last twenty years, Martin’s works hold an influential place in the popular modern imagined medieval, largely supplanting any real notion of the European Middle Ages in the minds of most of its readers and viewers. As such, we will be considering Martin’s works as much for what they tell us about our own time, as for what they tell us about our ideas of the past. The course will involve the reading of the five books (thus far) of the series, and the watching of the six seasons of the HBO series. While it is not a pre-requistite to have read all the novels before the course starts, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour if you have done so.

Prose Fiction
Term 2
M, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The Perilous Realm is the world of Faërie, the shadow world of human desire, a realm of unfamiliar beauty as well as unanticipated menace, and ever dangerous to the unwise or unwary who travel its twilight paths. Faërie is a place where our personhood is both revealed and undone, where humans are not the only beings of significance…or power. Our readings for this course will guide us through the Perilous Realm, focusing on speculative works loosely as “fantasy,” as distinguished from science fiction and horror. By analyzing both canonical works in fantasy (including novels by J.R.R. Tolkien and Ursula K. Le Guin), more radical interventions in the field, and important literary criticism, we’ll consider how fantasy fiction informs our understanding of what it is to be (or not to be) human and why it matters, and how these works complicate our own storied experiences as both readers and social beings.

Topics in the Study of Language and/or Rhetoric
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 p.m.

This course introduces the way language functions in society. We study topics ranging from regional dialects, the effects of social class, gender, age or ethnicity on language use, multilingualism, contact languages, creoles, to the structure and strategies of everyday spoken conversations and text messages. Students complete two data-based assignments: one on recording and analyzing a conversation to demonstrate how social group membership is reflected in language and one on collecting data from computer-mediated discourse to explore how language is used in contemporary society. There is one mid-term test and a final exam. The prescribed books are Stockwell (2004) and Wardhaugh & Fuller (2015).  More details are available on the course website on connect.ubc.ca.

Topics in the Study of Language and/or Rhetoric
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 a.m.

Rhetoric and Power surveys various ways that language creates hierarchies, distributes authority, and maintains rank, not to mention how language helps to subvert these forms of power. Along with learning some fundamental rhetorical concepts, students will examine topics such as propaganda, scientific controversies, insults, speech acts, definitions, and interrogation techniques as they apply to politics, public policy, law, and even the court of Rastafarian God/Ethiopian Dictator Haile Selassie.

Introduction to Indigenous Literatures
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 p.m.

This course explores a selection of recent writing by self-identified Indigenous authors in Canada. To provide a context for reading this body of literature, our study draws on recent critical conversations that have framed the reception of Indigenous writing. These critical essays examine, among many issues, histories and enduring legacies of colonization, the possibility of an ethical literary scholarship, culturally diverse notions of gender and sexuality, the function of reconciliation for settler-colonial states, and the spatialization of violence.

Approaches to Media Studies
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

*This course is open only to students in the BMS degree program. The Term 2 section below (232-002) is open to all upper level students.

Approaches to Media Studies
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

The form and function of television continues to shift radically; the transformation – some would say the death – of network TV and the emergence of media platforms such as YouTube or the PVR, alongside menu-driven multichannel flows and on-line archives such as Netflix or Hulu, have altered both what and how we watch in North America, and globally. Studying a selective set of American television dramas and comedies, we will explore a variety of critically-informed approaches to television viewing and viewership, uncovering various means of reflecting on and assessing how we consume contemporary mass media. Primary viewing will include episodes of Star Trek, The Carol Burnett Show, Kung Fu, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Freaks and Geeks, Mad Men, Adventure Time, and Miranda Sings. Our critical reference text will be the most recent edition of Television Studies: The Key Concepts (Routledge). The course will be organized around a set of media concepts and critical tropes linked to the study of television: flow, screen, encoding/decoding, corporealities, audience (publics and counterpublics, fandoms), text and script, technology and materialism, commodification, archive and memory, globalization. Assignments for the course will include a viewing blog, a brief YouTube-style video, a short formal analysis, a critical research essay and a final examination.

TOP

Upper-Level Language and Rhetoric

Studies in Rhetoric
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

In Rhetoric, Revolution, & Dissent students will learn about how mass-movements use and design persuasive messages, images, artifacts, and events.

Course readings will include:

1.) primary documents, such as manifestos, memes, organizational programs, speeches, and websites, drawn from both recent movements (e. g. Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, and Idle No More) and more distant historical events (e. g. the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and the French Revolution);

2.) a survey of rhetorical and argumentative criticism; and

3.) a survey of visual design. By assessing both more and less successful persuasive tactics, strategies, and genres, the course will teach students how communication strategies help to stimulate and maintain resistance and revolt (or not). Students will complete a series of assignments that entail analyzing the rhetoric of a mass movement’s primary documents and artifacts, and then creating a final project that visualizes the movement’s means of persuasion.

Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

On May 8, 2016, the main story on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver concerned scientific studies. Oliver talked about media reports of not-really-scientific studies that invite people to believe that certain findings, even in the face of completely contradictory findings, are reasonable bases for decision making, especially on matters of health. You can see Oliver’s 19-minute segment at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rnq1NpHdmw. Within a week of broadcast, it has had over 5 million views. English 309 takes up, among its topics, some of Oliver’s concerns; possibly, it’s not as funny.

Although we typically think of science as existing in a realm separate from the realm of rhetoric (that is, persuasion), it is actually the case that science, even when it is working very well, relies on persuasion quite a bit. In fact, persuasion occurs in spaces we don’t typically think of as rhetorical: in the pages of scientific journals, in laboratories, in working groups tasked with arriving at diagnostic categories, in meetings of the FDA, and so on. Given the prominence of health topics in public discourse currently, this course pays special attention to the rhetoric of health and medicine—and considers questions like these: What are the strategies, and what are the effects, of pharmaceutical advertising?  How does the Internet help to shape the contemporary health subject?  How is naturopathy, as a practice, persuasive in itself?  Is the “vaccine controversy” really a controversy?

History and Theory of Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

 Every year, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People appears on bestseller lists—which may, at first, seem strange: currently this self-help book, published in 1937, is the Globe and Mail’s #5 bestseller, sitting between Brave Enough and The Woman’s Book of Joy, both published within the last six months.  Part of what accounts for Carnegie’s relentless success is that strategies of persuasion—the means of moving people to one’s own point of view (for better or for worse)—haven’t changed very much, not only in the last 80 years, but, arguably, in the last 2500.  When Aristotle published his Rhetoric in the 4th Century BCE, he described “the available means of persuasion” in ways that remain useful for those who wish to influence other people (we all do) and those who wish to understand how other people influence them: in formal speeches and informal tweets; in politics, law, advertising, science, and interpersonal relationships. This course moves back and forth between ancient and contemporary texts of rhetorical theory, and between rhetorical theory and rhetorical practice: How, in daily life, are our minds made up and changed?  What do people say to get other people to trust them?  Can Donald Trump get himself elected while this course is in session?

History and Theory of Rhetoric: The Later Theory
Term: 2
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

What is rhetoric, and how does rhetoric work? How you can persuade your friends, family, colleagues, and strangers? Some of the most infamous intellectuals in in the history of European thought vehemently disagree about the answers to these questions, but taken together, their answers provide a blueprint for rhetorical theory. By reading and applying major rhetorical theories advanced in the major epochs of western intellectual history, students will learn how writers such as St. Augustine, Desiderius Erasmus, Baldesar Castiglione, Giambattista Vico, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Kenneth Burke (among others) conceived the arts of persuasion, argumentation, and style.

There is currently no description available for this section of ENGL 312. Please contact the instructor.

History of the English Language: Later History
Term: 2
TTh, 11:00 a.m.

The course follows the development of the English language from around 1100 to the present, with attention to selected historical events shaping the language, starting with the Norman Conquest up to recent events of the postcolonial era. Students do a hands-on project investigating the language and pronunciation of Shakespeare with the help of Original Pronunciation (Crystal 2005), comparing Shakespeare’s speech with their own pronunciation, and complete a mini-assignment on the pronunciation of present-day varieties. There is one mid-term test and a final exam. The prescribed book is Brinton & Arnovick (2011). More details are available on the course website on connect.ubc.ca.

English Grammar and Usage
Term 1
TTh, 9:30 a.m.

The English 321 course provides an introduction to English grammar and its use in everyday communication. We take a descriptive stance when considering the rules of grammar, starting with the study of words and their parts, proceeding to word classes, phrases and clauses, and concluding with the different communicative functions that grammatical structures can perform when we package information in particular ways. This course equips students with skills to identify and describe the effects of derived or deviant structures in various communicative situations and provides a strong basis for further study of the English language and of literary and non-literary stylistics as well as for teaching English. The course includes numerous exercises in class and at home analyzing sentences and chunks of discourse. There are monthly tests, the last of which is the final exam, each contributing one third towards the final grade. The prescribed books are Börjars & Burridge (2010) and Leech, Deuchar and Hoogenraad (2006). More details are available on the course website on connect.ubc.ca.

English Grammar and Usage
Term 2
M, 2:00-3:00 p.m.; W, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

This course presents a traditional grammatical description of Present-day English. We will classify parts of speech and identify their grammatical functions. We will analyze the noun phrase and the verb phrase, observing how modification works in English. Finally, we will describe the clausal processes of coordination and subordination. Throughout,we will consider the nature and usefulness of prescriptive rules of grammar, especially with regard to eighteenth-century goals for standardization.

Texts:

  • Berk, Lynn. 1999. English Syntax: From Word to Discourse. Oxford University Press.
  • Friend, Jewel A. 1974.Traditional Grammar. Southern Illinois University Press. UBC Bookstore Text Packet.
  • Oxford Canadian Dictionary. 2001. Edited by Katherine Barber. Oxford University Press.

English Grammar Usage
Term B
Distance Education

This section of ENGL 321 is offered through Distance Education. The description for this course can be found here.

Stylistics
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 p.m.

The stylistics course is an introduction to the linguistic analysis of poems, prose and plays. We make a close study of a variety of literary texts in each of the three main genres, looking at some sub-genres of each, and apply our knowledge of language in general and of specific techniques developed in linguistics to interpret the literary message. Students participate in two workshops, one analyzing and interpreting the language of a poem and one the language of a play, write a term paper on describing a short story stylistically, and write a final exam. The prescribed books are Short (1996) and Simpson (2014). More details are available on the course website on connect.ubc.ca.

Metaphor, Language, and Thought
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

The course builds a rich understanding of language and communication in the context of how people conceptualize the world they function in. It shows how they use linguistic and visual forms to construct new meanings and develop new communicative forms. Specifically, materials to be studied show the important roles played by figurative expressions in all types of communication. In the theoretical discussions, we will use recent approaches to meaning to show how underlying cognitive concepts structure our understanding of language, literature, and art, but also artifacts of popular culture, advertising, media, or various forms of internet discourse.  In class, we will devote much attention to close analysis of texts and other cultural artifacts. First, we will establish the primary concepts: metaphor, metonymy, and blending – three major types of conceptual structures. In the second part, we will expand the range of our discussions to grammatical phenomena, cross-linguistic facts, and, most prominently, discourse types. Students will be required to grasp the theoretical concepts and use them in their own analyses of data samples. All assignments will rely primarily on analytical skills.

The Structure of Modern English: Sounds and Words
Term: 1
MWF, 1:00 p.m.

In this course, we study the sound system of English (phonology) and word formation and classification in English (morphology). We begin by studying how speech sounds are articulated and we learn to transcribe English speech sounds using the phonetic alphabet. We identify both the distinctive sounds of English and the sound combinations possible in English, as well as the patterns of stress, intonation, and syllabification. We turn next to an analysis of the meaningful units in language – affixes and roots – and examine how they combine to form words, are grammatically modified, and can be classified into parts of speech. Last, we consider both traditional and structural approaches to the question of word meaning (semantics), giving some attention to cognitive approaches to meaning.
In English 330, emphasis is placed upon the description of English rather than on any particular theory of linguistics.

Required text:
L.J. Brinton and D.M. Brinton, The Linguistic Structure of Modern English (Benjamins 2010).

Prerequisites:
Third-year standing and completion of the writing requirement in one’s Faculty. No previous linguistics or language course is required. ENGL 330 and 331 may be taken concurrently or in reverse sequence.

Course evaluation:
The written work required in this course includes: three non-comprehensive unit tests (in-class) and six on-line quizzes. Students will expected to complete ungraded, self-testing homework exercises.

The Structure of Modern English: Sounds and Words
Term: B
Distance Education

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to English phonology, morphology, parts of speech, and lexical (word) meaning. We start by studying the smallest units of language, speech sounds, and work our way up to larger structures until we reach the level of words and their meanings. Students are required to become proficient in phonetic transcription, including becoming familiar with the International Phonetic Alphabet as it pertains to present-day varieties of English. The course is offered from a descriptive perspective, an approach not situated exclusively in any specific linguistic theory. To be successful in this course, it is important to participate in the numerous exercises assigned from the workbook and in addition to it. There are three monthly tests, the last of which is the final exam, each contributing one third towards the final grade. The prescribed book is Brinton & Brinton (2010). More details are available on the course website on connect.ubc.ca.

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The Structure of Modern English: Sentences and their Uses
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the structure of sentences and their uses in Modern English. We study the structure of phrases and the clause functions of phrases, sentence types, finite and non-finite clauses and sub-clauses, the meaning of sentences, information packaging and speech acts. Students are required to learn the techniques of labelled bracketing and tree diagrams for syntactic description. The course is offered from a descriptive perspective, an approach not situated exclusively in any specific linguistic theory. To be successful in this course, it is important to participate in the numerous exercises assigned from the workbook and in addition to it. There are three monthly tests, the last of which is the final exam, each contributing one third towards the final grade. The prescribed book is Brinton & Brinton (2010). More details are available on the course website on connect.ubc.ca.

The Structure of Modern English: Sentences and their Uses
Term: 2
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

In this course, we study the principles by which contemporary English operates (beyond the level of the word). The course is taken up primarily with a detailed analysis of English sentence structure (syntax) from a generative perspective. In the remainder of the course, we consider the structure of both phrases and clauses in English. We then look at the interaction of syntax and semantics in terms of propositions and theta roles. We end with an examination of the functions and contexts of language use (pragmatics), including information structuring, speech act theory, and politeness.

Required text:
L.J. Brinton and D.M. Brinton, The Linguistic Structure of Modern English (Benjamins 2010).

Prerequisites:
Third-year standing and completion of the writing requirement in one’s Faculty. No previous linguistics or language course is required. ENGL 330 is not a prerequisite for ENGL 331 but is recommended.

Course evaluation:
The written work required in this course includes: three non-comprehensive unit tests (in-class) and six on-line quizzes. Students will expected to complete ungraded, self-testing homework exercises.

Introduction to Old English
Term: 1
TTh, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

There is no course description available for this section of ENGL 340. Please contact the instructor.

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Upper-Level Literature

Approaches to Media History (BMS)
Term 1
TTh, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

*This section is open only to students in the BMS degree program. The term 2 section (ENGL 332-002) is open to all upper level students.

This class explores the history of media and mediation from the early modern period to today. It will be organized comparatively, with a focus on digital and print modes of communication and inquiry, and will combine theoretical reading and discussion with hands-on project-based learning. Students will have the opportunity to investigate the historical development of knowledge technologies, to explore their practical use, and to use digital media to organize and explain their findings. In order to model the technological practice and collaborative learning you will engage in, the class will be networked with Introduction to Media Theory, an upper-division class at the University of Colorado at Boulder. UBC students will collaborate with CU students to produce an international online exhibit that draws on the resources of both campuses and both communities to highlight the historical forms of communication media.

Approaches to Media History (BMS)
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

This course offers case studies in the cultural significance of four or five technologies from the last two centuries, choosing from the following: electromagnetic telegraphy, photography, phonography, wireless radio, film, television, and the internet. It investigates these technologies by way of literature. Writing and print (as media) are particularly sensitive to the emergence of powerful new technologies, especially those technologies that pertain to writing (the -graphy technologies). Paying attention to writing and ideas about writing (that is, poetics), we explore the possibilities, consequences, and constraints that accompany new technologies, as well as the discourses by which they are understood at the time of their emergence. What can we discover about historical media and the technologies that underlie them through reading literary works? Can this method be brought into the present moment? Our geographical focus will (mostly) be the United States, since we are interested in the emergence of the spatial and conceptual idea of "America" as it comes to be identified with mass media.

Writers may include some of the following: Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Walter Benjamin, Nathanael West, Gertrude Stein, Henry James, Henry Adams, Andy Warhol, Marshall McLuhan, Daniel Clowes, David Foster Wallace, others.

Note, this is a new course and is curently under construction.

Old English Literature
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

This course explores the Old English epic Beowulf from an ecocritical perspective, bringing the poem into conversation with aboriginal trickster methodologies, local BC forest politics, medieval Arabic travel writings, and other relevant discourses. What happens when we look beyond the human and make monsters, seas, fire, blood, gold, ice, ravens, and wolves the centers of our reading?

We will read Beowulf in two translations (one popular, one experimental), along with selections from other relevant early medieval works and contemporary ecocritical theory. All reading will be in translation, but students with knowledge of Old English will have the opportunity to work with the original.

REQUIRED TEXTS:

(Please obtain in hard copy)

  • Beowulf, trans. Seamus Heaney
  • Beowulf, trans. Thomas Meyer

 Please access electronically through UBC Libraries:

  • Shira Wolosky, How to Read a Poem
  • Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ed., Prismatic Ecology

Medieval Studies
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

King Arthur and the figures and objects associated with him - Lancelot, Guenevere, Merlin, Galahad, Excalibur, the Holy Grail - are embedded in our popular culture. This course will look at where the myth began, by studying the medieval British texts that created the King. We’ll begin with Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain, which was the first text to present a whole career for Arthur. We’ll look at the fragmentary and mysterious medieval Welsh poems that might have given Geoffrey some of his material. We will read two great Middle English alliterative poems, The Alliterative Morte Arthure and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; in the first, Arthur goes to war with Rome, and in the second, it’s one of Arthur’s knights, Gawain, who pursues the harrowing challenge brought to the court by a supernatural green knight. Finally, we will read selections from Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthure, the 15th-century prose text that attempts to arrange the whole world of Arthurian myth into one sequential narrative. As the inspiration for Victorian painters and poets, not to mention T.H. White (who wrote The Sword in the Stone), Malory is the link from the British Arthurian past to our present. We’ll forge other links through things like workshops on medieval writing; visits to Rare Books and Special Collections to see medieval manuscripts and related books; and clips from movies and television adaptations, all to learn how it is that Arthur became “the Once and Future King."

Medieval Studies
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

This course will introduce the rich array of writing by women of the high and later Middle Ages. We will focus on Heloise (and Abelard); Marie de France; Margery Kempe; Christine de Pizan; and the women of the Paston family. Because the works we will read include both traditional genres (lyric, dream-vision, brief romance) and less canonical kinds (letters, mystical and devotional writing, political treatise), we will consider the definition of ‘literature’ and questions of canonicity.  Our approach will frequently be interdisciplinary, as we will explore the historical circumstances in which these women lived, read, and wrote, and will make comparisons with other aspects of medieval culture, such as the visual arts. Texts will be in modern English translation or in modern-spelling late Middle English, which you will be able to read without any special expertise or instruction.

Chaucer and the Middle Ages
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

With the help of a reader-friendly edition and a series of structured but gentle lessons, you will acquire facility in reading Chaucer’s Middle English. More importantly, you will learn how Chaucer makes use of his language’s power in assembling a series of narratives ostensibly told by the diverse company of pilgrims he met on the way to Canterbury. The pilgrims’ tales create a conversation about many themes, including class, love, sex and gender, work, language, the nature of narrative itself, and the pleasures and travails of studenthood, and our class meetings will reflect the collection’s spirit with regular sessions of open discussion. We will consider the linguistic and literary innovations that led readers to consider Chaucer the “father of English poetry” together with the sense of humour – by turns satirical, bawdy, and self-deprecating – that makes reading his poetry a constant joy.

Renaissance Studies
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Love and sex are different things: although they may be combined, they must never be confused. In this course we’ll look at poetic treatments of love and sex in the works of seven17th-century poets: John Donne, Lady Mary Wroth, Thomas Carew, Andrew Marvell, Katherine Philips, Aphra Behn, and John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. We’ll focus on the variety of viewpoints rather than try to establish a consensus. We’ll consider such questions as the relationship of love and sex, at both good and bad love and sex, and the relationship of love and sex to power, gender, and humanity. This course contains mature themes and subject matters, as well as a good deal of extremely obscene language. You’ve been warned.

Renaissance Studies
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

The fractious Tudor courts will be the focus of this literary course: their politics, their religious wars, their romantic intrigues, and their colonialist pretensions.  Henry VIII, Mary I, and Elizabeth I were focal points for most of the literature of this period, and we’ll spend the course examining the Tudor era’s reinvention of English literature within, and against, the Tudor royal circles.  We’ll read love poems, comedies, travel-narratives, martyr-stories, satires and romances by Thomas Wyatt, William Shakespeare, Philip & Mary Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Katherine Parr and Elizabeth I herself.  Group projects, workshops, and open discussion will characterize our work together.

Shakespeare and the Renaissance
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

In this course we focus on Shakespeare’s literary output during the last decade of the sixteenth century. We’ll explore his recycling of classical sources (the poetry of Ovid, for example) and his relation to English dramatic traditions. We’ll attend especially to the idea of “personhood” in his early plays and poetry, interrogating the relation between a person and the various institutions (educational, economic, familial, governmental, legal, medical, religious, and theatrical) that define and may reconfigure that person. Readings will likely include The Taming of the Shrew, The Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus, The Rape of Lucrece, Richard II, Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Shakespeare and the Renaissance
Term: 1
MWF, 1:00 p.m.

This course explores the ways in which Shakespeare dramatizes the dominant media of his time--orality, script, and print--in five plays: Romeo and Juliet; Hamlet; King Lear; Othello, and Macbeth. The course asks why Shakespeare characterizes the shift from orality into script and print as tragic.

Shakespeare and the Renaissance
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

In this course we’ll look at Shakespeare’s non-dramatic poetry: ‘Venus and Adonis,’ ‘The Rape of Lucrece,’ the sonnets, and ‘The Phoenix and the Turtle.’ Although the course is without drama in the sense of not including any plays, one of our concerns will be how the poems can be understood as dramatic statements. We’ll be particularly interested in the depiction of sexuality, the question of the importance of the visual in a non-visual medium, and the relationship of poetry to narrative.

Shakespeare and the Renaissance
Term 2
MWF, 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Executive training retreats and management guides based on Shakespeare’s plays are now options for the up-and-coming CEO. Shakespeare may offer valuable lessons about “communicating your vision” and “managing your team,” but what exactly does he teach us about the successful leader? We’ll look at six plays featuring some of his most distinctive leaders, and examine the mix of compassion, ruthlessness, and policy that comprises their leadership styles. On the reading list: Richard II, 2 Henry IV, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, and Tempest.

Shakespeare and the Renaissance
Term: 2
MWF, 2:00 p.m.

This course will focus primarily on the plays of Shakespeare, with some attention given to other Renaissance dramatic and non-dramatic works. We will discuss cultural history, contemporary religious, philosophical, and political controversy, and elements of domestic life and social interaction relevant for the study of these works. We will explore the conditions influencing production and the participation of these plays in the ideological and theatrical aspects of Elizabethan playing and audience reception. A variety of different critical approaches will be examined, including those of earlier decades, and those more current.

Shakespeare’s theatre can be seen as a commercial enterprise, licensed by the authorities, and dependent on royal patronage, involving complex negotiations of class and subjectivity. It can also be seen as a marginal or liminal space wherein the dilemmas and dreams of Shakespeare’s time and now of our own can be evoked and given form; where competing cultural voices find expression; where “things as they are” can be challenged by the very manner of their representation. The dramatic poetry of Shakespeare is both historical document and unfinished experiment -- a boundlessly eventful experiential realm. Students will study six plays, four with full coverage in the classroom and two with briefer coverage in class. We will also consider a handful of the sonnets. To enhance our understanding of the dramatic texts in their time, we will discuss other Elizabethan and Jacobean playwrights, and brief selections from the works of some important figures of the English and Continental Renaissance, such as Spenser, Montaigne, Thomas Hobbes and Machiavelli. Selections from film versions of the plays will be viewed as time permits.

Plays: Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, Hamlet, Macbeth, The Tempest; Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, The Changeling

Play texts will be available at the UBC Bookstore. Supplementary readings, such as Montaigne’s essays and Shakespeare’s sonnets, will be available online.

Course requirements: Students will be asked to write one in-class essay (25%), one term paper (40%), and the final exam (30%), and will also be asked to produce a creative presentation (5%). Regarding the latter, students may choose between individual or group work, and will have considerable choice of media and method. Students may prefer to act in a classroom performance of a scene or part of a scene from one of the plays on our list. Students may choose to rewrite, write a related piece of their own in any form, direct rather than act, or work on costumes and props. They may produce visual art, musical pieces (such as songs or interpretive responses), dance performances, set design, film, poetry, puppet shows, talk shows, wrestling matches, folk plays, pantomime, etc. For anyone who is utterly opposed to being involved in a class performance or presenting their art, there is another option: you may write a review of any performance of a Shakespeare play which you have seen recently, on film or in the theatre. The purpose of this exercise is to encourage the reception of Shakespeare’s dramatic art as theatre, or as extra-textual experience, rather than as literature written for the page.

A bibliographical guide to Shakespeare scholarship will be distributed in the third week of term.

Seventeenth-Century Studies
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

17th century England had itself a homosexual king, a military coup, new colonies, plays about incest and werewolves, women preaching sedition, and preachers describing their mistress's breasts.  It was a weird and complex era in which power and bodies were constantly interacting.  We'll focus on the most interesting examples of this: in the embodied devotions of Donne, Herbert, and Wroth; in the assertive textuality of Philips and Lanyer; in the blood-lust of Webster; in the drinking poems of Herrick and Jonson, and in narratives about virginal colonies.  We'll work interactively on these materials, with presentations, workshops, and (maybe) Rare Books field-trips.  Text: a custom Broadview anthology.  Assignments: small-group workshop presentations, research paper, final exam.

Milton and the Seventeenth Century
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

This course is an intensive textual and historical study of Milton’s great epic Paradise Lost, with some attention given to his anti-censorship tract Areopagitica. Our conversations will engage Milton’s biographical, literary, linguistic, scientific, artistic, and critical contexts. Students will be encouraged to investigate and to draw as many connections as they can between Milton and the many other momentous developments (both in England and beyond) that took place in his lifetime.

Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Studies
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

The long eighteenth century (1660–1837) was an era of revolutions, arguably the period during which revolutions in the modern sense first arrived in Britain and Western Europe. This class will examine literary responses to revolution, beginning with Edmund Burke’s crucial work, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1791) and tracing connections back and forth across the “century,” looking at how conceptions of revolution develop, how literary works reflect such events, and how they perform, in their own right, revolutionary acts. We will read poetry, including parts of Milton’s Paradise Lost, works by Margaret Cavendish, Andrew Marvell, Alexander Pope, and Thomas Gray; drama, including Aphra Behn’s The Rover and John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera; novels, including Henry Fielding’s Joseph Andrews and Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian; as well as non-fiction prose by Mary Wollestonecraft, Thomas Paine, Oloudah Equiano, and others.

Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Studies
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

After the silence of the Puritan Commonwealth, London’s theatres burst into social, artistic and ideological prominence (and no small fabulousness) with the restoration of King Charles II. Through tragedy, heroic drama, burlesque, and several types of comedy, plays contributed to cultural dialogues on the relative identities of the nation and the individual through such conflicting elements as noble heroics, brilliant wit, political subversion, historical revisionism, and some rather explicit sex. We will consider the ways in which English playwrights both echoed and reinscribed ideas of heroic masculinity and femininity, sexuality and marriage, intellectualism and passion, violence and its burlesques, as well as the ways in which the dramatic genres of the era embraced both spectatorship and readership and made the political into the (very) personal. Reading ahead? Start with Wycherley’s deliriously witty and smutty Country Wife if you want comedy and Dryden’s All for Love if you want a grand tragedy about Antony and Cleopatra.

Studies in an Eighteenth-Century Genre
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

During the eighteenth century, Britain transformed from a relatively minor European country to a great economic power with a worldwide empire. British ships ranged the world, sending back reports of new peoples, and setting off a new discussion concerning the nature of “civilization” in contrast with the so-called “primitive” or “barbaric” peoples that British travellers encountered. The use of African slaves in British colonies became a major source of wealth, though this practice also sparked what is arguably the world’s first great humanitarian campaign, the movement to abolish the slave trade. These events had a major impact on eighteenth-century literature, flooding the literary marketplace with travel books and with fictional and non-fictional accounts of far-away places and non-European peoples. This section of English 358 will focus on the many ways that literature of the eighteenth century reflected an expanding world-view, the rise of empire, and a transformed understanding of humanity as comprised of multifarious races, nations and cultures. We will consider the first widely-read literature in English by non-white people as well as the struggles and adjustments precipitated by the rise of Britain as global colonial power. We will proceed chronologically through a selection of texts by Aphra Behn, Mary Rowlandson, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Olauda Equianao James Cook, and others. Evaluation will be based on a mid-term text, a final essay, an exam, and class participation.

Studies in an Eighteenth-Century Genre
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Gothic fiction emerged in Britain in the mid eighteenth century and achieved immense popularity in the 1790s. Its characteristic features, which tend to include vast and labyrinthine castles, malevolent father figures, missing mothers, imperilled heroines, supernatural manifestations, paranoid fears, and uncanny sensations, captured many of the contradictions and terrors associated with what we still recognize as the modern world. From those late-eighteenth century gothic tales we can trace some of the origins of many other genres, including science fiction, fantasy, the Harlequin romance, and even the western. Beginning with some classic early examples (and some literary precursors, including Macbeth), we will look into the conditions from which gothic fiction emerged, the literary innovations its practitioners have accomplished, and some examples of the sub-genres it helped to spawn. Texts will include Ann Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest, Matthew Lewis’ The Monk, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and James Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner. We will also view and discuss a few movies and television shows, including Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Firefly, and Jane the Virgin.

Studies in Romanticism
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Though British Romanticism is often associated with nature and imagination, many Romantic period (1770-1830) authors were also inspired by the sense of decay, corruption, and decline that they felt in the ruins of historical buildings and ancient civilizations. Contemporary with the development of disciplines like history, anthropology, and archeology, Romanticism looks behind itself almost as much as, if not more than it looks ahead. This course will examine the way various ideas of “ruin” shaped Romantic literature. We will start by considering the roots of the Romantics’ fascination with ruins in late enlightenment concepts of the picturesque, the sublime, and the gothic, as well as in the fascination with Classical, “Oriental,” and Celtic cultures evident in its aesthetic and travel literatures. We will then examine the role ruins play in poems by Charlotte Smith, William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, and John Keats. We will also read one Romantic play, Joanna Baillie’s De Montfort, and two novels, Lady Morgan’s The Wild Irish Girl and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man, all of which use ruins to redefine their respective dramatic and fictional genres and to comment on the state of their nation and time.

Studies in Romanticism
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

Two decades ago, Fredric Jameson described the emergence of imperial and global networks at the end of the eighteenth century as an event in the history of thought and feeling as well as in political and economic history. He wrote that the “<em>experience</em> of the individual. . . becomes limited to a tiny corner of the social world. . . . But the <em>truth</em> of that experience no longer coincides with the place in which it takes place. The truth of that limited daily experience of London lies, rather, in India or Jamaica or Hong Kong; it is bound up with the whole colonial system of the British Empire that determines the very quality of the individual’s subjective life.” This course revisits Jameson’s statement in the form of two questions: how did British writers at the turn of the nineteenth century experience (consider, perceive, or sense) the emergence of global networks? How did they represent or register their experience in their work? We will read works by writers who explored or travelled, by migrant, emigrant, and immigrant writers, and by writers who spent time imagining connections between themselves, or Britain, and the world. While our readings will be arranged around four important categories in the early nineteenth-century history of Britain’s global activities (slavery, commerce, exploration, love), we will also think in an ongoing way about the relationships and resonances among these categories, and these readings.

Studies in a Nineteenth-Century Genre
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

In this course, we will read Victorian fiction of the fantastic: fantasy, science fiction, and ghost and horror stories. We will read tales of the uncanny, the marvelous, the supernatural, the monstrous, and the weird, as we consider why genres of the fantastic flourished in the period. Readings will include George Eliot’s Lifted Veil, Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray; Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, H.G. Wells’s Island of Dr. Moreau, and short stories by Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, and others.

Requirements include one essay, a mid-term and a final, a brief presentation, and regular attendance and participation in class discussion.

Studies in a Nineteenth-Century Genre
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

There is currently no description available for this section of ENGL 362. Please contact the instructor.

Nineteenth-Century Studies
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

In this course we will read, discuss, analyze, and write about nineteenth-century British literature depicting cities and urban spaces. We will also read theoretical texts (both older and modern) that think through the meaning and symbolic significance of these spaces.  What does the city symbolize for nineteenth-century British culture? What kinds of utopian hope does it mobilize?  How does the traditional “country-versus-city” dichotomy organize ways of thinking about the possibilities of human life? What were the impacts of rapid urbanization and industrialization on British culture?  How were these impacts experienced differently by different populations: women, children, marginalized “others,” the poor? How did the authors of imaginative literature respond to and shape these fundamental questions? The course texts will be organized around three British cities: London, Manchester, and Bath. Literary works will include: Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend; Arthur Morrison, A Child of the Jago; Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey; Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South; and shorter pieces and essays by Henry Mayhew, Charles Baudelaire, Friedrich Engels, and others.  We will also read a range of modern criticism and theory dealing with cities, urbanization, and critical geography.

Course Expectations: Students are expected to read all course materials and come to class prepared to be active participants.  You will be divided into small study groups that will meet throughout the semester to discuss reading questions (given to you in advance), and will be asked to prepare short written reports on these meetings.  You will also be invited to participate in discussion outside of class time through blog postings and/or a class Facebook page.  Together these activities with constitute your participation grade (20%).  You will also write two essays (20% each), and a final exam (40%).

Nineteenth-Century Studies
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

As Oscar Wilde wrote, "Art, like Nature, has her monsters." But what is a monster? What does its creation have to say about fear and desire in the world it haunts? This course will examine the literary representation of monsters, both hideous and beautiful, as well as of their creators and victims, throughout the long 19th century. We will address contextual issues of gender and sexuality; class, race, and culture; realism and the supernatural; urban and rural settings, all in a century known for its developments in science and technology, its social upheaval, and its veneer of respectability, yet with monsters lurking in closets and under beds. The tentative core text list includes Frankenstein and Dracula, as well as Jane Eyre, Carmilla, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as various examples of short fiction. We will also consider the evolution of academic critical responses (as well as popular reaction) to these texts and the 19th-century Gothic in general, and the way in which such texts have shaped the way we think about and visualize the 19th century. Evaluation will be based on two short essays, a term paper, and a final examination, all focused on literary textual analysis, as well as contribution to in-class and Connect-based discussion. Please check my blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/ for a fuller description of the course, its texts, and its requirements.

Nineteenth-Century Studies
Term 2
Distance Education

This course offers the student the opportunity to encounter and engage with the works of some of the most successful writers of the Victorian period, and to be exposed to some of that period's central concerns: gender, class, religion and art. These subjects were at the centre of heated tension, so that much of the discourse about them – by politicians, clerics, scientists, novelists and essayists, among others – takes the form of oppositions and power struggles. These basic concerns can be then connected to larger issues of empire, industrialism, individualism, private and public domains, domesticity, religious doubt, decadence, and aestheticism, as seen in a variety of genres. Jane Eyre and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde will represent gothic fiction, including the sub-genres of epistolary and sensation fiction; Hard Times will represent the 'condition of England'/industrial novel; Tess of the d'Urbervilles will represent the pastoral and 'fallen woman' novel; and The Picture of Dorian Gray will represent the aesthetic novel. Each novel's thematic concerns and genre are closely connected with the concerns of at least one other novel in the course. Each novel will be read not only in the context of the socio-political and critical concerns of its own period, but also of modern scholarly approaches to it. Please click here for a fuller description of the course, its texts, and its requirements.

This section of ENGL 364A is offered through Distance Education. The description for this course can be found here.

Studies in Drama
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
mackieg@mail.ubc.ca

Although the phrase “comedy of manners” originates as a generic descriptor for Restoration and early Eighteenth-century comedic drama, it has also found wide applicability in other genres and historical periods. In this course, we will explore this generic and historical expansiveness by reading dramatic and fictional comedies of manners from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Without ignoring their humour, we will pay close attention to the relations these texts forge among gender, social decorum, and the genre of “comedy.” This course, moreover, attends literally to the term “manners,” since decorum and its manifold violations structures many of the texts we will encounter. We will also read nineteenth- and early twentieth-century plays that exploit the technical and stylistic vocabulary of “drawing-room dramas” (the stereotyped stage setting for comedies of manners) to achieve different aesthetic and political aims. Students will also have the opportunity to perform in brief group acting skits near in the final days of the term.

  • Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The School for Scandal (1777)
  • Dion Boucicault, London Assurance (1841)
  • Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892); An Ideal Husband (1895); The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)
  • Arthur Wing Pinero, The Second Mrs. Tanqueray (1893)
  • Frank Harris, Mr. and Mrs. Daventry (1900)
  • George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion (1914)
  • Ronald Firbank, The Princess Zoubaroff (1920)
  • Noel Coward, Hay Fever (1925); Private Lives (1930)
  • Somerset Maugham, The Constant Wife (1926)

Most of our books are available for purchase at UBC Bookstore. Others will be available in a custom course pack also at the Bookstore.

Course Requirements and Policies:

  • Informed Participation (including in-class group acting skits) - 15%
  • Midterm - 20%
  • Term Paper - 35%
  • Final Exam - 30%

NOTE: we will be spending an average of two class sessions per play. It is strongly recommended that students not miss a single class.

Studies in Prose Fiction
Term: 1
MWF, 11:00 a.m.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti declared that poetry would thereafter be known as “BS” and “AS” – “before” and “after” September 11. This course asks whether a similar assessment can be made for prose. How has fiction responded to the 9/11 attacks and to the so-called “war on terror”? Has the genre been irrevocably transformed or does it instead echo the work of earlier historical periods and traumas? We will explore U.S. fiction (and some nonfiction) written after, and with some relation to, the September 11 attacks. Some texts will respond directly to the attacks, some to its geo-political aftermath, and some have been chosen for their oblique relation to the attacks, one that may suggest a changed cultural climate at large. In the broadest sense, as we read the literature of 9/11, we will read texts that take on topics of war, trauma, memory, loss, race, and identity in a 21st-century context.

In addition to a small selection of essays TBA, our readings will likely include the following: Jonathan Safran Foer’s /Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close/; Don DeLillo’s /Falling Man/; Mohsin Hamid’s /The Reluctant Fundamentalist/; Phil Klay’s /Redeployment/ (selected stories); Dave Eggers’ /Zeitoun/; Jennifer Egan’s /A Visit from the Goon Squad/.

Studies in Prose Fiction
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

This course explores the recent scientific, theoretical and literary notion of posthumanism. Our exploration will draw on the theoretical and philosophical work of N. Katherine Hayles, Andy Clark, and Jacques Derrida among others. We will also be exploring some aspects of the science that inform the course texts.

Provisional list of texts (the correct texts and editions will be in the UBC Bookstore):

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818)
  • Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash
  • Greg Bear, Blood Music
  • William S Burroughs, Naked Lunch
  • Octavia Butler, Dawn

NB: Given the EXTREMELY graphic nature of some of these texts, individual discretion is STRONGLY advised.

Requirements: individual presentation (20%), discussion participation (10%), research essay (40%) and final exam (30%).

Modern Critical Theories
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Organizing theory as what Foucault called a "history of the present," ENGL 409 begins with four foundational contributors to contemporary theory --Saussure, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida-- and then considers major theoretical modalities like Structuralism, Poststructuralism,  Postcolonial theory and Critical Race Theory.  In the second part of the course, we'll focus on selections from a variety of contemporary theorists including Ahmed, Spivak, Anzaldua, Bhabha, and Yancy. While lectures will be a major component of the course, there will be opportunities for group and individual presentations as well as discussion throughout the course.   If you're new to theory, you should expect a fairly steep learning curve and a good foundation for more advanced work in theory. N.B.: ENGL 409 is not a 'literature' course.  Interested students are welcome regardless of their Major.

History of the Book
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

What is the relationship between the book and society? Are knowledge machines such as the book merely products of society, or do they actually produce our social frameworks?

Twentieth Century British and Irish Studies
Term 1
MWF, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Three 20th century Irish writers will be the focus of this course, two of whom won the Noble Prize.  The impact of Ireland on the writers, only one of whom resided in the country, will be discussed with readings in drama, poetry and fiction.  Core texts will include Murphy, Endgame and Waiting for Godot by Beckett, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses by Joyce and selected poems by Yeats from The Tower, 1928 and The Winding Stair and Other Poems, 1933. Politics, culture and England will compete with language, history and reception theory.

Also at issue will be how these three Irish writers redefined 20th century Modernism but left the concept of Irish Modernism in limbo. The two Joyces dramatize the situation. One Joyce is the internationalist, the deracinated modernist who was considered to have become European and modern by transcending his Irishness. The other is the Irish Joyce who has more recently emerged from the convergence of post-colonial and Irish studies. While a canon of Irish Modernism exists, its central importance to international literary developments draws it away from the Irish context. This contested condition will be a major focus of the course.

Twentieth-Century Studies
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
The histories of women’s lives are always already mediated -- perhaps this became clearest once culture had entered what Walter Benjamin called the era of mechanical reproduction, that is, the era when media was massified once and for all. In response, this course reads through a range of 20th century women’s mediated self-representations, that is, texts which are particularly aware of media’s normalizing and governing force, as well as of its limits and vulnerability to reform or deformance. We will see how these writers negotiate with celebrity, spectacularity, sexualization, racialization, spectrality, infantilization, and other ideations of an anxious hegemony. We will back up our readings with theorizations from feminist scholars of media and new media such as the Women’s Studies Group of the CCCS, Haraway, Raley, and other recent scholars involved with women’s online lives in gaming and other virtual worlds.Midterm in-class essay, final exam, final project.

More info at blogs.ubc.ca/jpaltin.

Twentieth-Century Studies
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

This course traces the development of popular music from the blues through some of the many varieties of rock n roll, folk, rhythm and blues, disco, punk, hip-hop, edm and house.  Throughout our focus will be on the interplay between the poetics of lyric and music themselves, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the political issues raised in pop music by, for instance, racial and cultural assimilation, sexual objectification, and the economics and technology of performance and distribution.  An aim of the course will be to at least begin answering the question if and how the apparent democratization of the means producing and accessing music, and the increasing ascendency of dance music within pop music, represent actual democratization; that is, if and how pop music is what the blues began as, a means of giving voice to the voiceless, giving 'power to the people.'  The main course texts will be the music itself, supplemented by some theory and history and modernist poetry.  Students will be strongly encouraged to draw on personal musical interests in class discussion and coursework.  The latter will consist of take home essays and, depending on class size, class presentations.

Studies in a Twentieth-Century Genre
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 -2:00 p.m.

This course will explore the development, importance and popularity of the long poem originating with Homer and Dante and continuing with Whitman, Browning, Pound, T.S. Eliot, Hart Crane, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Allen Ginsberg, James Merrill, and Anne Carson. Attention to the structure and theme of long works will complement such questions as why long poems, what do they accomplish, do they succeed, why are they important and why do poets continue to write them?

Background reading: Selections from The Odyssey, The Divine Comedy

Children's Literature
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Children’s literature is an unusual field of study.  Children rarely write children’s books, nor have they produced a body of research on children’s literature.  Instead, adult authors write for imagined child readers, and adult academics pursue research based on the foundations of consciously (or unconsciously) constructed models of childhood. Our class will grapple with this defining problem of children’s literature—the difficulty of constructing the child reader—by applying a variety of critical approaches to European fairy tales and their descendants.  We’ll begin by reading fairy tales that were published in England, Germany, France, and Russia in the 17th to 19th century. We’ll then turn to modern versions of these tales and finish by examining recent novels and films that adapt conventions of traditional fairy tales to explore the complexities of modern life. In a nod to the folklorist Max Lüthi, who saw sevens nearly everywhere he looked, I’ve chosen the following approaches for our class:  interactions between text and image, socio-historical criticism, formalism, psychoanalytic theory, feminism, ecocriticism, and posthumanism.  Readings will include a variety of traditional tales as well as modern works by Emma Donoghue, Francesca Lia Block, Donna Jo Napoli, Philip Pullman, and Neil Gaiman.

Children's Literature
Term 1
T, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Queer sexuality, representations of gender, First Nations’ history, war in Afghanistan, the Holocaust – these are some of the political and social issues explored in the texts written for children selected for this course. In discussions and written assignments, students will be asked to consider social/historical factors influencing the production and reception of children’s literature, as well as its ideological role in promoting social change. Texts studied will include Folk & Fairy Tales, The Hunger Games, I Am David, Number the Stars, The Breadwinner Trilogy, A Coyote Columbus Story, Two Weeks with the Queen, When Everything Feels Like the Movies and Skim  (most of which are contemporary), and cover a range of genres: traditional fairy tales, fantasy, social realism and a graphic novel. As well as focusing on the core texts, we will engage with theoretical perspectives on the genre and its increasingly fluid contemporary incarnations. Students will be encouraged to develop independent critical responses to both texts and theories. Assessment will include a critical response, an in-class essay, a term paper and a final examination.

Children's Literature
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Much fantasy literature for children focuses on a child or adolescent's quest to gain ascendancy in the battle between good and evil. The literature we will explore in this course relies on British and European national myths of adventure, religion and selfhood. As we examine these quest narratives by Tolkien, Pullman and others, we will trace the ways in which patterns and continuities of history and memory, the force of nostalgia in creating an idealized past, and the reliance on an assumed framework of common cultural community combine to form potent ideological perspectives about nationhood, which are both maintained and challenged by the authors we will study.

Children's Literature
Term 2
TTh, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

This course takes as its starting point the idea that much contemporary young adult (YA) fiction sees surveillance as a central, intensely problematic fact of modern life. With that in mind, we will look at how recent YA novels explore both the danger and liberating possibilities of surveillance in a digital age. Some of these present the interplay between terrorism, state surveillance, and civil rights; others focus on voluntary peer-to-peer surveillance through social media; and yet others consider the digital surveillance of consumers by corporations. In each case we will consider the teen subjects’ responses to being watched, and the role these responses play in forming civic and personal identity. Readings will in all likelihood include novels by Lois Lowry, Cory Doctorow, J. K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and M. T. Anderson.

Children's Literature
Term 2

This section of ENGL 468 is offered through Distance Education. The course description is available here.

This online course provides an introduction to the scholarly study of literature written for children, covering a historical range from the 19c to the present and a range of genres, including fairy tales, fantasy, social realism and a graphic novel. Texts – Folk & Fairy Tales, Treasure Island, Anne of Green Gables, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Hobbit, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Skim, Annie on My Mind and Parvana’s Journey – will be approached as cultural and literary productions, exploring their (sometimes) evolving generic features and audience assumptions, in terms of age, gender, content, and perceived boundaries. Students will be introduced to relevant theoretical material and encouraged to develop independent critical responses to the texts. Participation in online discussions as well as group activities is an integral component of this course. Written assignments include two critical responses, a term paper proposal and tentative bibliography, a term paper and a final examination.

Canadian Studies
Term1 1
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

In this section we’ll engage with six novels, three from the 1970s and three ‘responses’ from the 2010s. By now canonical, the earlier texts are: Lives of Girls and Women (1971; Alice Munro), Badlands (1975; Robert Kroetsch), and Lady Oracle (1976; Margaret Atwood). The selected contemporary novels that directly or indirectly address these novels are: Birdie (2015; Tracey Lindberg), 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (2016; Mona Awad), and From Up River and For One Night Only (2016; Brett Josef Grubisic)
In light of the reading load, a novel or two read before the semester begins is highly recommended.

Canadian Studies
Term 2
TTh, MWF 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

In this course we will explore topics such as oral narrative, slavery, gender, sexuality, music, regionalism and religion across diverse forms of Black Atlantic cultural production grounded in one geographic location in the African Diaspora: Canada. We will begin by outlining the concept of the Black Atlantic and exploring some of its foundational metaphors—rooting, routing, pulling, transfers, transplantation, and dislocation. We will go on to consider how the Black Atlantic has functioned as a heuristic device. As a heuristic device it has effectively re-inserted blackness into the making of the modern world and, in the process, has begun to challenge the “ethnic absolutism” and “Americocentricity” of black culture. Of utmost importance in this course will be to reevaluate the privileging of certain geographical settings (America, Britain, the Caribbean, West Africa) in global mappings in Black Atlantic discourse. We will consider how these mappings absorb, obscure, or ignore Canadian geographies and black cultural productions as an integral part of the Black Atlantic scene.

Canadian Studies
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

This section of English 470 focuses on the intersection of Canadian Literature and Web 2.0, described by scholar Nicole Cohen as “interactive, participant-based online media.” Who is participating in online discussions of Canadian literature, and why? Avid readers are posting reviews of Miriam Toews’ All My Puny Sorrows on Chapters.Indigo.ca and Amazon.ca. Poets such as Rebecca Thomas (e.g., “Just Another Native Poet”) and Shane Koykzan (e.g., “To This Day”) are circulating their work through YouTube and Facebook. André Alexis’ Fifteen Dogs has been pinned to #CrazyforCanLit, the Scotiabank Giller Prize’s board on Pinterest, and rated 4,863 times to date on the social media site, GoodReads.com. People are tweeting about Anita Rau Badami’s The Hero’s Walk and Lawrence Hill’s The Illegal at #CanadaReads, the hashtag inspired by CBC Radio’s mass-reading event of the same name. What motivates Web 2.0 users to create, share, and re-circulate this content? What social needs are they addressing? What cultural work—or “social action” (Miller)—are they performing? Who benefits from their labour? We will approach these questions through scholarship on genre and media theory. We will also be participating in Web 2.0: one of our class assignments will be writing entries about Canadian literature for the Wikipedia community, as part of the Wiki Education Foundation initiative. Our course readings include Canadian literary works in English (still to be determined), public uptakes of these works, and scholarly articles.

Canadian Studies: Canadian Literary Genres
Term 1
Distance Education

This section of ENGL 470 is offered through Distance Education.

English 470 provides a study of Canadian literature in a historical context with a focus on the intersections and departures between European and Indigenous traditions of literature and orature.

At the heart of this course is an examination of the power of stories, and in particular the stories we tell ourselves about being in Canada. We will examine story telling in literature and the stories we tell about literature; we will look at “whose stories” we listen to, and whose stories we cannot seem to hear – and why not?  Edward Chamberlin urges us that, “now, it is more important than ever to attend to what others are saying in their stories and myths – and what we are saying about ourselves.”  Students will read a range of literary texts and academic articles. Students will be encouraged to develop independent critical responses to the texts as well as active participation in online discussions.

The objectives of this course are to strengthen your critical and literary skills and to enrich your understanding of the complex historical and contemporary relationships between literature and storytelling. This includes an understanding of the historical relations between nation building, canonization and colonization. This course requires that students have a willingness to develop a critical awareness and sensitivity to the tensions created by racism in Canada in the past and the present.

The course is designed for senior students and requires analytical skills and written assignments as befits a 400-level course, as well as consistent engagement and the ability to work with an online community of fellow students.

--Erika Paterson
The description for this course can be found here.

American Studies
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 p.m.

This will be an intensive though necessarily limited introduction to two essential American modernists. We'll read four books from each, and this will allow us to explore some fascinating patterns of development and correspondence.

We'll proceed by means of close reading and discussion.  Students will write essays and, on occasion, give short, informal presentations.

Texts:

  • Hemingway, In Our Time
  • Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
  • Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
  • Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
  • Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
  • Faulkner, Sanctuary
  • Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
  • Faulkner,  Selected Short Stories of William Faulkner

Studies in Contemporary Literature
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Critical and artistic responses to media representations of climate change and to contemporary discourses of imperiled ecology have given rise in the first decades of the twenty-first century to an aesthetics of what the photographer Edward Burtynsky has called  “manufactured landscapes”: denatured, waste-filled contact zones between human technologies and uninhabited space. Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts call these spaces “edgelands,” and develop a latter-day poetics that tries to account for the human intervention in the natural, while Kathleen Jamie asks, as she travels the shorelines of the human, “if it’s still possible to value that which endures, if durability is still a virtue, when we have invented plastic.” Beginning with a selection of Burtynsky’s photographs and the Belgian philosopher Isabelle Stengers’s assessment of what she calls our “catastrophic times,” we will work with a set of lyric essays and speculative fictions to investigate how it is possible, in what has been called the Anthropocene, to compose a durable literature or to speak of the natural in an age of “wildlife management,” when human dominion has so pervasively and troublingly asserted itself over the disparate surfaces of the earth. Core texts will include Isabelle Stengers, In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism; J. G. Ballard, The Drowned World; Octavia Butler, Dawn; John K. Samson, Lyrics and Poems, 1997-2012;  Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, Edgelands; Kathleen Jamie, Sightlines; Don McKay, Deactivated West 100. Assignments will include a response blog, a close reading, a research essay, a descriptive essay and a final examination.

Studies in Contemporary Literature
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

What might it mean for a literary work to be of its time? What might it mean for it to address, not only its "own" time--that of its writing or its publication--but also our "own" time, that is, the time of its reading? This course studies "contemporary literature" as it names at least two different things: literature of a specific period (literature written after World War Two, say, or after 1968, or after 9/11); and literature that addresses the idea of the contemporary as a relationship that holds between any two events or phenomena that take place at the same time. The course explores writing that addresses questions of the contemporary, and seeks to understand both what is historical and what is ahistorical about this writing. In addtion to cass studies of specific authors/works, the course proposes that a handful of tools from affect theory can help to develop methods for moving between temporal scales. Writers and artists may include some of the following: Elena Ferrante, Lena Dunham, Garry Shandling, Gertrude Stein, Andy Warhol, Robert Ashley, Bertolt Brecht, Emily Dickinson, Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Derrida, Raymond Williams, others.

Studies in Contemporary Literature
Term 2,
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

This course uses three giants of American letters to explore the period from the mid-1960s to the present – from the upheavals of the Vietnam War, civil rights, and counterculture to the era of 9/11, neoliberalism, and wars in the Middle East – in U.S. literature and social history. The concepts of dream (and associated tropes of aspiration, immigration, founding, and democratic promise) and nightmare (Gothicism, apocalypticism, and extremes such as U.S. totalitarianism and racist exile) will offer us a loose organizing framework. Texts will in all likelihood include Don DeLillo’s Americana and either Falling Man or Underworld (depending on time), Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, and Toni Morrison’s Paradise and Love, along with a handful of critical and theoretical texts. Students should prepare for intense reading (and re-reading) experiences and will write two major essays, take a final exam, and participate regularly in classroom and online discussions, possibly on occasion through podcasting and wiki forms.

Indigenous Studies
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

This course will critically engage the works of contemporary Indigenous authors from both Canada and the United States with a comparative perspective situated in the broad field of Indigenous studies.  We will read a variety of poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, and novels as well as criticism in Indigenous studies.  The organizing questions for this particular semester are: What is the relationship between activism and contemporary Indigenous literature?  How have Indigenous writers used popular literary forms to intervene in American or Canadian discourses about Native peoples?  How do Indigenous scholars and writers contextualize contemporary narratives culturally, politically and historically? How do they address sovereignty, self-determination, decolonization and resurgence in their work? What makes a work “activist” literature?  We will address themes taken up in Indigenous literature such as carcerality, gender and sexual violence, decolonial love, and resistance. Texts may include the following:

  • Tekahionwake: Pauline Johnson’s Writings on Native America edited by Dory Nason and Margery Fee
  • The Surrounded by D’Arcy McNickle
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich
  • Birdie by Tracey Lindberg
  • Slash by Jeanette Armstrong
  • Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Simpson
  • Solar Storms by Linda Hogan

Post-colonial Studies
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

In his review of We Need New Names, Nigerian writer Helon Habila reproaches Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo for “performing Africa” and succumbing to “poverty porn” in her novel.  Habila implies that the book was written to appeal to a non-African reading public with a limited set of expectations for work by an author from Zimbabwe. The review places the novelist in the position of having to wrestle with what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls the “danger of a single story.” Habila’s ungenerous reading of Bulawayo’s work misses both the novel’s cutting political critique and its situatedness in a state of crisis. In short, he reads it out of context. Habila’s review also raises important questions about how stories travel and what happens when they land. In this course, we will read literature from Southern Africa in historical, literary, and cultural contexts. Within the framework of the literary economy, we will consider how literature is produced, received, and circulated globally. In the process of historicizing literature from South Africa, in particular, we will look at the role creative writing played in fighting apartheid policies and the role it continues to play in the post-apartheid nation. Examining a series of novels and plays alongside ideas and theories about the literary economy, we will also consider issues of class, gender, globalization, cosmopolitanism, language, diaspora, terrorism, sexual violence, and the environment—in short, many of the key issues in literature today.

Asian Diasporic Literatures
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Food, cooking, and eating are biologically necessary and socially powerful: we cook food to survive, but also to reinforce social bonds, to celebrate tradition, to evoke memories of home, to compete with other cooks, to impress the eater, and even to beguile and seduce.

This course will explore food in literature, in cookbook selections, and films across different cultures and nations, including Asian North American and local Vancouver contexts.  Readings will include theories of foodways, and books by Maxine Hong-Kingston (The Woman Warrior), Gish Jen (Typical American), Fred Wah (Diamond Grill), and Madeleine Thien (Simple Recipes).  Tasteful excerpts from local cookbooks by Janice Wong and the renowned Vikram ViJ and Meeru Dhalwala will be sampled.   Films will include Juzo Itami's  Japanese "noodle western" Tampopo,  Ang Lee's Eat Drink Man Woman, and  the restaurant  documentaries of Cheuk Kwan. See his fabulous website at http://www.chineserestaurants.tv.  One special treat will be a class dialogue with visiting film-maker Cheuk Kwan.  Students will be able to research local Asian-influenced restaurants or even gardens or farms as final projects.

All students with an interest in the content of this course are welcome: no previous knowledge of Asian North American or transnational food practices or traditions is required.

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Upper-Level Writing

Technical Writing
Term 1
TTh, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

This course examines the principles of written and oral communication in various professional activities. You will spend much of term producing a formal report, in which you will investigate concerns in a real-life workplace, organization, or community, and make recommendations for solution or improvement. This report is a multi-part assignment, involving a proposal, a progress report, an oral presentation, and the final report itself with all of its apparatus. Evaluation will also include short assignments, such as a job application (letter and resumé) and a set of instructions, as well as participation in classroom and Connect-based discussion, and completion of short exercises on Connect. Our discussions will consider the requirements and the ethical concerns of these forms of communication, given their specific aims, methods, and goals. In some ways, you can think of this course as an extended report-writing Boot Camp; it is an intensive, useful preparation for the last phase of your undergraduate degree, as you start applying to professional and graduate programs, and for the years beyond of work and community involvement. Please check my blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/ for a fuller description of the course, its assignments, and its texts.

Technical Writing
Term 1
Distance Education

This section of ENGL 301 is offered through Distance Education.

English 301 involves the study of principles of written and online communications in business and professional contexts. This course includes discussions and practice in the preparation of abstracts, proposals, applications, reports, correspondence and online communications: emails, texts, Web Folio and professional networking.

English 301 is a dedicated intensive writing course offered in an online classroom environment. During the course, you will be expected to work in three ways: independently; in consultation with your instructor; and also collaboratively in writing. Writing assignments are due weekly, and some weeks have two assignments due. Peer review is a major element of this course, which means that timeliness is essential.

The course has these major purposes: to introduce the distinctive elements of writing in professional and technical contexts; to provide opportunities for practice and perfecting strategies and writing techniques; to engage with online discussion, peer review, and the production and analysis of documents produced for professional and technical contexts; to direct you to the considerable resources available through UBC’s Career Services unit; to develop and design an online Web Folio in two forms: a Linked in profile with accompanying references and a professionally designed website that also presents your resume; and finally, to encourage and assist with self-assessment and self-editing skills.

--Erika Paterson
The general description for this course can be found here.

Technical Writing
Term 2
Distance Education

This section of ENGL 301 is offered through Distance Education.

English 301 involves the study of principles of written and online communications in business and professional contexts. This course includes discussions and practice in the preparation of abstracts, proposals, applications, reports, correspondence and online communications: emails, texts, Web Folio and professional networking.

English 301 is a dedicated intensive writing course offered in an online classroom environment. During the course, you will be expected to work in three ways: independently; in consultation with your instructor; and also collaboratively in writing. Writing assignments are due weekly, and some weeks have two assignments due. Peer review is a major element of this course, which means that timeliness is essential.

The course has these major purposes: to introduce the distinctive elements of writing in professional and technical contexts; to provide opportunities for practice and perfecting strategies and writing techniques; to engage with online discussion, peer review, and the production and analysis of documents produced for professional and technical contexts; to direct you to the considerable resources available through UBC’s Career Services unit; to develop and design an online Web Folio in two forms: a Linked in profile with accompanying references and a professionally designed website that also presents your resume; and finally, to encourage and assist with self-assessment and self-editing skills.

--Erika Paterson
The general description for this course can be found here.

Advanced Composition
Term 1
Distance Education

This section of ENGL 304 is offered through Distance Education. The full description for this course can be found here.

Are you trying to figure out new ways to strengthen your writing? Have you always wanted to develop a recognizable writing voice of your own? Are you interested in figuring out how to make the strongest impact on your readers? Are you wanting to explore the differences between writing for, say, The Vancouver Sun, The Guardian, and an academic journal? Are you considering going into teaching and wondering how to go about talking to your students about their own writing? If you find yourself thinking about these sorts of questions, this is definitely the course you should take. Advanced Composition approaches the study and practice of writing with a focus on audience, authorial voice, and style. It emphasizes the writing process and the rhetorical concerns and principles (situation, genre, intent) which govern that process. The course offers an overview of traditional Artistotelian or classical rhetoric, as well as looking at more recent (20th and 21st century) theorizing of genre and communications. Students get to do in-depth studies of communities of practice; they learn to situate and develop their own rhetorical strengths. They also get to argue thoughtfully and even vigorously with their instructor and classmates, and to prepare a final project aimed at a real and carefully identified community of readers (best case scenario: you might even think of aiming for publication). There is only one inexpensive text to purchase; everything else is available online through our fabulous UBC Library and various links.

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Major and Honours Seminars

An Introduction to English Honours
Terms 1 - 2
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

This version of the introductory course for English Honours students will concentrate on the development of the main literary genres since the Renaissance. Instead of proceeding in a straight chronological order, the course will match early and more modern variations of tragedy, comedy, the pastoral, the heroic and the prose fiction. This background will provide honours students with a greater understanding of how the main genres have formed a consistent basis for literary expression throughout the centuries while also allowing change and development. Opening with readings and discussion of theories of genres and the canon, including selections from Northrop Frye, Mikhail Bakhtin, Jacques Derrida, we will precede through a selection of works from the main genres from both early and recent periods, including works by Shakespeare, Stoppard, Wycherley, Wilde, Milton, Wordsworth, Walcott, Austen, and Achebe. Evaluation will be based on a combination of essays mid-terms and exam. In addition, students will be asked to lead one class, beginning with a seminar presentation.

Seminar for English Honours
Term 1
M, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.; W, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

This course introduces students entering the English Honours Program to the major currents of literary theory commonly used in English studies today. We will review several approaches that have had a strong influence on literary criticism in the twentieth century (and beyond) including, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, Marxism, post-colonialism, and eco-criticism. We will also examine the way that these theories have been applied in literary studies by reading a selection of criticism on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Evaluation will be based on student contributions to ongoing discussions, a presentation, and two papers, one of which may be written in conjunction with work in ENGL 210. [Revised 2016-11]

Language Majors Seminar
Term 1
M, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Why do some new media artifacts motivate belief and action while others fail do to do so? To answer this question, the seminar will examine the persuasive capacities of new media technologies and content. Students will learn how rhetorical criticism can be used to analyze new media, such as vine, gifs, facebook, meme macros, twitter, etc. Specific topics will include the adaptation of tropes and figures of speech to new media, the art and politics of brevity, and the digital reinvention of classical rhetorical concepts. The typical in-class experience will be participatory. Together, students will analyze, critique, and debate new media artifacts and course readings. For the final project, students will write an in-depth rhetorical analysis of a new media artifact.

Language Majors Seminar
Term 2
W, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

The seminar will focus on viewpoint as a conceptual mechanism and show its role in guiding the choices speakers and writers make in language and communication. In the first part of the course, we will study a range of linguistic forms: grammatical constructions (such as negation), function words (possessive determiners, demonstrative determiners), verbs of cognition (think, know, guess, doubt, etc.), and narrative discourse (especially the use of referential expressions and constructions representing characters’ discourse). In the second part, we will consider various visual and multimodal forms of communication, such as internet discourse, advertising campaigns, political discourse, street art, etc. Participants will read and discuss a number of articles illustrating and analyzing viewpoint phenomena. In class, we will analyze many relevant examples, to develop analytical skills needed for the coursework. Students will also be asked to perform in-class presentations. The final assignment will be a term paper; this task will include collection of appropriate data and an analysis of viewpoint expressions.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
M, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

“You see, but you do not observe”– Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Watson

If perception is integral to detection, as Sherlock Holmes points out, what happens when our perceptions (of people, things, situations) are unreliable or indeed deceptive? This course considers the themes of performance and masquerade (by detectives and criminals alike) in British texts from the second half of the nineteenth century, the formative era of the genre of detective fiction. Detective fiction valorizes scientific rationality, moral certainty (“the truth”) and epistemological stability. The detective analyzes clues, the unknown becomes known, and the mystery is solved. But this narrative form must also contend with the unreliable and the unknowable: realism, in other words, is balanced with romance. Indeed, one of the predominant features of this genre is the constant tension between concealment and revelation. This tension is particularly palpable in Victorian texts that emphasize theatricality and performance along gender and class coordinates – a prevalent pattern in the sensation fiction of the 1860s, where our readings begin. Far from being a conservative force for reinforcing existing social norms, detective fiction, as we shall see, also raises some tantalizingly subversive possibilities. Writers studied may include Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Anna Katherine Green, R. L.  Stevenson, Catherine Pirkis, Grant Allen, and Guy Boothby.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
T, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

“The play’s the thing wherein we’ll catch the conscience of the king,” says Hamlet.  The anti-theatre lobbyists of Shakespeare’s day agreed that plays could change audiences—but not for the better.  Shakespeare and his contemporaries were quite aware of the dubious magic performed by the theatre on its viewers, and in many of their plays they invent audiences on their stages as they investigate the pleasures, and dangers, of being a spectator.  What these self-conscious, meta-theatrical plays tell us about being a playgoer is the focus of this seminar.

Plays:
Kyd, Spanish Tragedy; Marlowe, Faustus; Shakespeare, Hamlet; King Lear, Midsummer Night’s Dream; Tourneur, Revenger’s Tragedy, Beaumont, Knight of the Burning Pestle. We’ll also watch and discuss film-versions of Hamlet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Revenger’s Tragedy.

Seminar participants will each review secondary materials; provide a seminar presentation; and write a research paper.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
W, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Gender, masculinity and femininity were ideas thought to be firmly understood in eighteenth-century North America; the idea of race, however, was only coming to be theorized in scientific terms in the second half of the century, and in popular and literary terms, ideas of difference yielded wildly conflicting notions and accounts. One of the most intriguing sites for this contest was in the breakout genre of the captivity narrative: a combination of elements of fiction, history, ethnography, conduct book, and sermon that both asserts specific normative ideologies in early North America, and reflects on the cultural values from “back home” in Europe. Our seminar group will examine literary, historical and theoretical texts to engage constructions of race and gender originating in and imported to the North American colonial context. We will consider how these constructions were used as a preliminary vocabulary for imagining and reporting upon the Indigenous nations and individuals encountered there. Captivity narratives were written in their time to be something between religiously edifying and exciting popular reading about exoticized groups and widely misunderstood conflicts and communities. Captivity narratives contain scenes of violence and may be disturbing to some readers; reader discretion is advised.

Reading ahead? Choose Mary Rowlandson’s Captivity account and Robert Rogers’ play Ponteach.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
W, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

This course analyzes African diasporic art forms in North America, Europe, Latin America through the conceptual lens of “black noise.” We will use the prism of black noise to highlight the dynamic relationship between African diaspora studies and sound studies. While critics have tended to frame black cultural production as noisy, derivative, simple, subversive, we will examine the themes of excess, anger, belonging, erotics and desire. We will interrogate the transnational and transcultural mobility of specific aesthetics as well as ways racial, gender, and sexual identity categories function more broadly within them. Our aim is to use African-diasporic art forms such as music, film, literature and performance art to interrogate this conventional conception of racialized noise.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
Th, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

This seminar will introduce students to early twentieth-century American poetics. It will read the period’s poetry in terms of both its formal experimentation and its political radicalism. The course will survey the works of both canonical figures, such as Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, and H.D., and less canonical figures such as African American poets Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and Claude McKay and political poets such as Alice Duer Miller, “Anise,” and Muriel Rukeyser. Students will have an opportunity to give oral presentations about particular poets and to write research essays on topics of their own choosing.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2
M, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

This course will examine the influence of photography and cinema on literary form. Photography has become such a common aspect of contemporary life that camera technology is now routinely built into our phones, computers, and automobiles. The photographic recording of everyday life provides an unprecedented archive of visual memories.

We will explore some of the following central questions:  Given the increasing power of photographs and cinematography in the formation of private and public judgments, how have novelists, poets, dramatists, and film makers responded to these visual influences?   What happens to the articulation of the written self when it confronts the power of photography?  How have writers incorporated some of the techniques of photographic and cinematic ways of seeing into their forms of writing?

Readings will include Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida, selected essays by Walter Benjamin, and Susan Sontag's On Photography.  We will also consider works of fiction, drama, and cinema that respond to our increasingly visual culture such as Michael Ondaatje's Coming Through Slaughter, Le Thi Diem Thuy's The Gangster We are All Looking For, and films by Alfred Hitchcock (Rear Window), Michaelangelo Antonioni, (Blow-up), and Christopher Nolan (Memento).

Course requirements include a presentation, participation in weekly discussion, and a major essay.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2
T, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Writers who wrote in English—or who received prominent translation into English—played a major role in a number of facets of early modern science, including early science fiction. Moreover, the literary dimension (broadly speaking) of those writers’ achievements repays examination from a humanities as well as a scientific point of view. The same, of course, can be said of more “literary” writings that engage issues of what we now call science. In this course we’ll aim to become competent, independent researchers in early modern English literature, and we’ll do this by cultivating practical skills for investigating how printed materials reflect and mediate the period’s exciting intellectual and scientific developments. Participants will require no prior scientific knowledge, but only a determination to uncover and taste some of the rich primary materials produced in the period of the Scientific Revolution. Writers studied may include authors such as Thomas Digges (translator of Copernicus), William Gilbert, Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Robert Burton, John Wilkins, Francis Godwin, John Milton, Aphra Behn, and Thomas Sprat. We will access their works mainly, though not exclusively, via the amazing collection available at Early English Books Online (EEBO).

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2
W, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

In recent years a new genre of speculative fiction has become increasingly popular; one that examines the impact of humans on the natural environment, and which speculates on the impacts of continuing climate change on modern human civilzation. Cli-Fi - or Climate Fiction - has become a genre of pressing importance in recent years, acting as both a meditation upon and a warning against the now-inevitable impacts of global climate change. In contrast with post-Barthean notions of authorial agency, Cli-Fi also speaks with the urgency of activism; authors speak of their intent to make a difference, to change behaviours, to sound the warning bells that will engage change. Texts will include short stories, novels, and film, and will be read in converstation with critical and scientific writing. The course seeks to answer the question of how do we witness the disasters to come?

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2
Th, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

This course will explore various definitions of “Britain” and “Britishness” since the late 1970s, a period that has seen Great Britain attempting to negotiate its way, always ambivalently and anxiously, through its relationships with Europe, America, and its own colonial past. The texts we will be reading (or listening to) all suggest that the ways in which people in Britain have constructed national identities and come to understand themselves as national subjects are complex, various, and intersected with other understandings of identity. They are, as well, implicated in different histories. In our engagement with these texts, we will discuss such issues as place, language, ethnicity, gender, history, religion, values, and traditions, in order to consider how an idea of a stable, essential, unified national identity has been, and continues to be, contested on a number of fronts. Given the terms of inquiry here, we will begin by concentrating on the Thatcher years. The election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979 as prime minister of Britain ushered in a period of free markets, monetary control, privatization, and cuts in both spending and taxes, combined with a populist revival of the ‘Victorian values’ of self-help and nationalism. Wilfully oblivious to the long history of Britain as a site of contestation among the nations from which it was constructed, Thatcherism insisted instead on a vision of the unified nation. Not surprisingly, we find a significant number of writers at the time rising up against the politics of moral populism, with its insistence on a homogeneous definition of the nation state. Though the precise terms of such a definition shifted somewhat under subsequent New Labour and Tory governments, more recently Brexit has reminded us that the constitution of national identity has continued to be a pressing, at times violent, issue in British society. Through close engagement with the texts on our list (poems, lyrics, plays, novels, and sound recordings), we will look, then, at ‘Britain’ and ‘Britishness’ not as one imagined national identity but as a group of often competing communities seeking recognition of changed working terms for ‘England’ and ‘Britain’.

Senior Honours Seminar - Theory
Term 1
M, 100:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

This seminar will explore the literary impact of 9/11 through poetry, fiction and the essay. Trauma will be a major concern, the argument of the seminar that  9/11 generated, almost forced, new approaches to narrative and genre at the same time it drove a re-assessment of the function and purpose of contemporary American writing. The course will challenge the view of Frédéric Beigbeder that “since September 11, 2001, reality has not only outstripped fiction, it’s destroying it.” Literature and affect, writing and disaster, words and catastrophe are some of the topics to be addressed in texts by Don DeLillo, Jonathan Safran Foer, Moshin Hamid, Robert Creely, Art Spiegelman, Galway Kinnel, Judith Butler and David Foster Wallace.

Senior Honours Seminar - Theory
Term 1
Th, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

What if make industry, energy dependencies, and sustainable futures relevant to literary criticism—or literary criticism relevant to them? What role can humanities scholarship serve in understanding the ecological, social, and epistemic implications of the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch shaped by human demand for energy? Drawing on a diverse archive of theory, literature, photography, documentary, and new media, this seminar is interested in how art and literary criticism can answer the representational challenges posed by slow and fast violence.

Senior Honors Seminar - Theory
Term 1
T, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

This course will ask questions about value in times of neoliberalism and financial crisis, exploring the intersection of economics, literature, and language. The course will in all likelihood be divided into four main units: 1) Money, finance, neoliberal capitalism; 2) Debt; 3) The gift; 4) The commons. Major sources for our theory/history/essay readings: selections from Giovanni Arrighi, The Long Twentieth Century; Leigh Clare La Berge and Alison Shonkwiler, eds., Reading Capitalist Realism; David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism; David Graeber, Debt; Margaret Atwood, Payback; Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share; Lewis Hyde, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property; Jacques Derrida, Given Time: Counterfeit Money; Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Studies; Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Commonwealth; Jonathan Lethem, “The Ecstasy of Influence”; ASAP journal’s special issue on Art and the Commons (2016); and possibly materials relating to Occupy, Strike Debt, and Rolling Jubilee. Fiction will likely include some (perhaps not all) of the following: Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis; Zadie Smith, NW; Chang-rae Lee, On Such a Full Sea; David Foster Wallace, a few selected short stories. Students will write an explication of a major theory text, lead discussion with group members, make regular substantial contributions to a discussion forum or blog, and construct a final research essay (about 12 pages). All details about the course here are subject to revision.

Senior Honours Seminar - Theory
Term 2

M, 12:00 -2:00 p.m.

In this course, we will explore critiques of political theory, literatures of democracy, socialism, and dystopic collectives, technologies for the persuasion and control of crowds, and philosophies of bare life and biopolitics. It seems an appropriate moment to rethink the collective and some of the standard stories about its history, when global migrations, evolving democracies, virtual-digital crowds, and crowd-based political movements around the world are receiving wide attention. We will draw on the literary as a productive archive for this critique, and modernism in particular as a historical moment which serves as a hinge from the nineteenth-century citizen-crowd to the contemporary global multitude.

Readings include works or selections from Raymond Williams, Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Le Bon, Virginia Woolf, Siegfried Kracauer, Georg Simmel, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, Modris Ecksteins, Fritz Lang, Sean O’Casey, Hardt and Negri, Paolo Virno, Judith Butler, Jacques Ranciére, others. All non-English texts are with or in translation.

Presentation, prepared seminar discussions, research activities, final paper.

Senior Honours Seminar - Research
Term 1
F, 12:00 - 2:00 p.m.

The blues in its various historical modes has played a central role in the evolution of African American literature, and to a lesser extent in the literature of Black Canada and First Nations. As “an autobiographical chronicle of personal catastrophe expressed lyrically” (Ralph Ellison), with the capacity to redeem “woe and melancholy … through sheer force of sensuality, into an almost exultant affirmation of life, of love, of sex, of movement, of hope” (Richard Wright), the blues has afforded a form as well as a structure of feeling and a rich nexus of musical, cultural and historical intertexts to African American writers. Aboriginal writers like Sherman Alexie and Tomson Highway have cross-culturally appropriated the blues into their texts, adapting the form to articulate the aboriginal experience of oppression, endurance and resistance. Through African American literary theory and an extraordinary corpus of music, the blues offers a framework within which to explore a rich variety of 20th and 21st century texts and issues touching on race, gender and cultural hybridity. Primary texts: Langston Hughes and Sterling Brown, selected poetry; August Wilson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; Gayl Jones, Corregidora; Alice Walker, The Color Purple; Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Walter Mosley, RL’s Dream; Sherman Alexie, Reservation Blues; Tomson Highway, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing; Djanet Sears, Harlem Duet. Requirements: in-class presentation(s); short paper; term paper.

Senior Honours Seminar - Research
Term 2
Th, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Why do we tell stories? The very phrase “telling stories” is synonymous, to quote the Houyhnhnms in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, with saying “the thing which is not.” Yet most story-tellers are trying to articulate “the thing which is,” however they might define that in socio-political and/or aesthetic terms. In this course we will explore story-telling—our own and others’. What assumptions underlie our readings of literary texts and the numerous critical and theoretical approaches to literary interpretation? What does the popularization and commodification of texts—from the re-visioning of the Alice books in every medium to the transformation of “classic” novels such as Far from the Madding Crowd into film—tell us about the texts themselves, the societies that produced them, our own society, and ourselves? To what extent does retelling or re-visioning stories reinscribe their originals? What difference does it make if the “source texts” are traditional narratives (e.g., folk tales, classical myths) or actual historical events? Some of the texts that we will be studying self-consciously question the nature of “story,” “history,” and “truth”; some (equally self-consciously) rewrite traditional folk, classical, biblical, and literary narratives. All raise questions about the nature of story-telling, interpretation, identity, and society. Our texts and films: “Beauty and the Beast” (Barbot de Villeneuve (translated by Planché), Le Prince de Beaumont, Wilde, Carter, Cocteau); Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Carroll, Miller); Far from the Madding Crowd (Hardy, Vinterberg); Under the Net (Murdoch); “The Story of the Eldest Princess” (Byatt); Anil’s Ghost (Ondaatje).

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