2017 Winter

Literature Courses
Writing Courses
General Course Descriptions

Literature Courses

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MWF, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

In this class we will explore some of the significant techniques commonly used in different genres of writing in English. The texts we will be exploring examine the themes of technology and science. N.B.: Some of the materials for this course deal with violence and sexuality and could be considered offensive and/ or disturbing. Discretion is advised.

Course texts:

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Norton) N.B.: Please make sure that you have the 1818 version of the text!
  • The Wachowskis, The Matrix Shooting Script (available online)
  • Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Vintage)
  • Selected Poetry (the full list of poems will be provided later in the semester)

Please note that any difficulties with ordering these texts may change this list. It is therefore provisional and is intended for guidance only. The correct edition will be available at the UBC bookshop.

Mark Breakdown: There will be two major assignments (one midterm and one research essay) and a final exam.

Participation (contributing to discussion classes), 10%
Midterm (October 13), 20%
Research Assignment (Due Dec 1), 40%
Final Exam (Date TBA), 30%

Active participation in discussion classes is required throughout the semester. Research papers (1500 words maximum!) must make use of at least 2 academic sources.

In-class assignments cannot be made up except in the case of a medical issue accompanied by a doctor’s note.

Late research papers will be penalized 10% a day (no exceptions).

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

This course will focus on the analysis of literary texts depicting ghosts, science, and medicine. We will also examine a range of approaches to literary interpretation, including psychoanalytical, Marxist, feminist, post-colonial, ecocriticism, and apply the theories to the literature we read. Readings will include Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, George Eliot’s “The Lifted Veil,” and E. M. Forester’s “The Machine Stops.”

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

From Shakespeare’s Richard III to Milton’s Paradise Lost and the more contemporary Life of Pi, power has absorbed authors.  We will explore why through readings and discussions of political power, personal power, narrative power and sexual power. Drama, fiction and poetry will guide us, as well as the poet Ezra Pound’s dictum that “all truth is the transference of power.”

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

In this course we will be focusing on a selection of contemporary origin stories in different genres and on the complexities and ambiguities of 'English' in these contexts.  We'll be considering questions like: how many Englishes make up contemporary Canada?  What happens to traditional concepts of genre when the great divide between poetry and prose, 'reality' and 'imagination' is challenged? Whose 'tradition' and whose ways of knowing prevail?  Two novels --Eden Robinson's Monkey Beach and David Chariandy's Soucouyant--  are at the heart of the course together with a selection of poems, short stories, and an interactive website.  Thanks to these writers, you'll never see Canada the same way again!

Required texts:

Smaro Kamboureli, ed., Making a Difference: Canadian Multicultural Literatures in English, 2nd ed. (Oxford);  Eden Robinson, Monkey Beach (Vintage);  David Chariandy, Soucouyant (Arsenal); "High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese." An interactive website by Nicola Harwood, Thomas Loh, Fred Wah, et al.  Nelson, B.C., Oxygen Art Center. <http://highmuckamuck.ca>

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

This section of ENGL 110 will focus on issues of identity and place. How does place (geographical, social, psychological, even textual) shape who we are as human beings? And how does language both define and mediate the relationship between identity and place? In our readings, we will address questions of class, gender, nationality, and race, as they intersect with our main categories. We’ll explore these questions in poetry (by Thomas Wyatt, Christina Rossetti, William Blake, Linton Kwesi Johnson, David Dabydeen, Jackie Kay, and others), drama (Sam Shepard’s True West and Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman), and fiction (Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Paul Auster’s City of Glass (along with its graphic novel adaptation, also called City of Glass).

ENGL 110 counts as 3 credits toward most faculties’ English/Writing requirements, and also can count as 3 credits of the Faculty of Arts Literature requirement.

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
T 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (Discussion); Th, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (Lecture )

"That's when the hornet stung me" -- Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip, "Ahead by A Century."

Narrative, or the act of storytelling, is one of our most basic daily activities, as H. Porter Abbott, a narrative expert, reminds us. We encounter narratives in newspapers, advertisements, text messages, letters, novels, plays, poems, paintings, rock songs, films, political speeches, health reports, and academic textbooks.  Narrative is everywhere because it is a foundational dimension of language and human thought.

This course is an introduction to the study of narrative elements, especially as found in examples of Canadian fiction, drama, poetry, and film.   Some of the fundamental questions that we will take up include the following:  What exactly is narrative? Why are narratives important for organizing human experience?  How and why do writers manipulate narrative time?

These questions and others will be explored in lectures, group activities, discussion groups, and weekly readings in H. Porter Abbott's core textbook on narrative.  The course requirements include one in-class essay, one home essay, one short answer test, pop quizzes, active participation, and a final examination.

Required texts:

CORE TEXTBOOK: H. Porter Abbott, The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, 2nd Ed.
SHORT STORIES: Madeleine Thien, Simple Recipes (M &S)
NOVEL: Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion (Vintage)
DRAMA: John Gray and Eric Peterson, Billy Bishop Goes to War (Talon)
POETRY/SONGS: Selected poems -- and songs by the Tragically Hip, and others
FILM: Atanarjuat:  The Fast Runner (Isuma/NFB 2001), directed by Zacharias  Kunuk and screenplay by Paul Apak Angilirk: http://www.isuma.tv/hi/en/fastrunnertrilogy

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MWF, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

This course is intended to introduce first-year students to the aims and techniques of university-level literary studies by exposing them to literature written in a range of genres—poetry, drama, narrative—in a range of social and historical contexts.

This particular section of ENGL 110 will be organized around the themes of slavery and freedom. It will explore poetry and fiction by African American and Chinese American authors. We will also look at the popular hip hop musical “Hamilton”.

Students will be expected to write two in-class essays and one research essay that asserts an argument within the context of a summary of a broader conversation about the work or works in question.  Some lectures and discussion-group meetings will be devoted to developing strategies for essay writing.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Omnia mutantur, nihil interit ("everything changes, nothing perishes")  -- Ovid, The Metamorphoses, book 15

“Metamorphosis” is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “the action or process of changing in form, shape or substance” through either natural or supernatural means. It can also mean a change in “the appearance, circumstances, condition or character” of a person or a state of affairs. This course will explore the marvelously productive idea of metamorphosis as it is represented in a variety of literary forms and historical contexts. We will define the term loosely so we can use literature to think about physical alterations; sex changes and human-animal metamorphoses; changes of heart; environmental catastrophes; geo-political conversions; commercial exchanges and literary translations.

Texts will include Ovid (The Metamorphoses), William Shakespeare (Midsummer Night’s Dream and select sonnets), John Keats (Lamia), Christina Rossetti (Goblin Market), Viginia Woolf (Orlando) and Angela Carter (“In the Company of Wolves) as well a range of works by contemporary writers including Rachel Qitsualik (“The Final Craft”) and André Alexis (Fifteen Dogs).

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

Along with substantial work on poetry, this section of English 110 will focus on one play and two novels about shipwrecks and the people who survive them. In addition to the excitement of disaster, we will consider the significance of the ways in which these stories of the loss of what the characters understand to be “civilization” leads them to think about some of the big questions with which human beings have long struggled: What makes us human and not animal? What is human nature? What about race, gender and other kinds of difference? Who has power and why?

What about God, and is that the same thing as religion?

Through the study of selected examples of poetry, drama, and fiction, this course will introduce students to the analytical skills and critical thinking essential to university-level literary reading, thinking and writing. In lectures and discussions, students will engage concepts of genre and form in literature and will pursue hands-on practice of methods of literary analysis.

Reading ahead? Choose one of HG Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau and Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi or Shakepeare’s The Tempest.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

“Time is a valuable thing/ Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings/ Watch it count down to the end of the day/ The clock ticks life away” – Linkin Park, “In the End”

Is time really so inflexible? For centuries, philosophers, artists and writers have experimented with the idea that time is not a relentless ticking of the clock - we can travel in and through time, we can change or remake history, we can experience multiple temporalities. Time travel might be a fantasy, but it is an inspirational and provocative one. In this course, we will read and discuss literary experiments with time and time travel, including two novels (H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine and Olivia Butler’s Kindred), a plays (Carol Churchill’s Top Girls), a film (Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys) and a graphic novel (Jess Fink's We Can Fix It!). We will ask particularly how playing with the past, present, and future in literature can lead us to question familiar notions of progress, causality, nature, society, race, and gender. Students will also be invited to bring to the class their own reflections on time travel and related issues as featured in film, television, and popular culture. Evaluation will be based on class participation, short essays, a creative-critical project, and a final exam.

ENGL 110 counts as 3 credits toward most faculties’ English/Writing requirements, and also can count as 3 credits of the Faculty of Arts Literature requirement.

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

There is currently no description available for this section of ENGL 110. Please contact the instructor.

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

This course will be an exciting exploration of the intricacies, conflicts, and possibilities of late twentieth, early twenty-first century identity through analysis of a variety of texts. We’ll begin with Trumpet and Diamond Grill, considering race, gender, sexuality, and the in-between. We’ll then move on to cross-cultural contact, generational differences, and performing stereotypes (Mom, Dad, I’m Living with a White Girl). The missing women of Vancouver’s downtown Eastside will be discussed next, especially in relation to the city’s growing affluence, class divides, and global connections (The Invisibility Exhibit). Finally, we’ll enter the realm of young adult dystopia as we negotiate the Internet, social media, and incessant tweeting (Feed).

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

This course will examine a selection of contemporary literature from diverse Canadian contexts at a timely moment for national self-reflection. Canada marked its Sesquicentennial anniversary of Confederation this year with months of celebration culminating in the #Canada150 events on July 1, Canada Day. Yet many artists and activists pushed back against this swell of nationalist pride in creative and critical ways (within and beyond the Twittersphere), rebranding #Canada150 as #Resistance150, #Colonialism150, and #Unsettle150. These discrepant perspectives make clear that Canada has always been a contested colonial project—a site of celebration but also of struggle and conflict at different times for different communities and peoples. How does literature enable us to read the nation as a site of multiple, competing narratives? What are the forms and genres authors use to write back to, or beyond, Canada and its history? Indeed, what is a nation, what does it have to do with literature, and how many nations exist within the lands we call Canada? We will take up these and other questions by turning to a range of contemporary Indigenous and multicultural authors whose writing interrogates topics central to the story of “Canada,” such as settlement, the land, belonging, immigration, multiculturalism, and national borders. Primary texts will include Thomas King’s children’s book A Coyote Columbus Story, Eden Robinson’s gothic novel Monkey Beach, Fred Wah’s prose-poetry “biotext” Diamond Grill, and Lawrence Hill’s novel The Illegal, along with a custom selection of poetry, orature, and short films. #Canada150Plus invites you to think and write critically and creatively about literature within the complex cultural politics of Canada.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
T 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. (Discussion); Th, 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. (Lecture)

As we approach the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, the impact of the human race on the global climate are increasingly undeniable. From the beginning of the European Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century, human civilization has entered what scientists now term the Anthropocene: the period of time when human activity is leaving indelible marks on the geological history of the earth. Global warming looms over our early twenty-first century civilization, with dire warnings of future catastrophe appearing on a weekly basis. But what is the average citizen supposed to do in the face of such impending doom?  Recycle?  Cycle? Buy a Tesla? Remember to turn your lights off when you go out?  Vote Green? Take transit? Buy eco-soap? Shop local? Become vegetarian? So many small possibilities, but all seemingly insignificant in the face of the onrushing apocalyptic storm. Instead we are faced with the question of how we will experience dramatic climate change? How we will survive it? How we will witness it?

In the first section of this course we will examine how “nature writing” began in the nineteenth century, and encoded a romantic view of Nature that still impacts how western society views the environment today. We will then move on to examine how cli-fi (or climate fiction) writers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have addressed our fears of global climate change. We will begin by reading the Nature poetry of the Romantic period, in order to understand where our ideas of Nature come from, before turning to contemporary novels and short stories that examine our current-day fears about environmental apocalypse. Texts will include: Romantic and Victorian Poetry (online selections), Learning to Die in the AnthropoceneThe Collapse of Western Civilization, Cli-Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change (short fiction), We Stand on Guard (Canadian graphic novel), The Water KnifeOryx and CrakeThe Year of the Flood.

ENGL 110 counts as 3 credits toward most faculties’ English/Writing requirements, and also can count as 3 credits of the Faculty of Arts Literature requirement.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

This course looks to works of poetry, fiction, and drama to answer some fundamental questions about the place of reading and writing in our lives. Why read? Why write? Why study literature? Is writing an adequate means of self-expression? Of cultural expression? Can literature have an impact on the “material” world? Does reading give us access to the minds of others? Does it help to shape a moral worldview? How do lived identity categories like class, race, and gender shape reading and writing practices? How does technology change the place of literature in our lives? Rather than looking at reading and writing as acts that are universal and uniform across history, we will understand them as practices that both are informed by and help to inform different cultural, political, and aesthetic formations across history. At different points in history, different authors have held contrasting views of the role of literature in our lives, from those who insist that reading and writing are essential for political liberation, to those who lament the impotence of literature in the face of existential absurdity. Authors' views on these issues often find their way into literary works, whether in direct meditations on the nature of literature or through less overt “metafictional” reflections. And such considerations of reading and writing often open up broader questions about how we come to know the world and the other people we share it with—that is, about how we find and make meaning. Selections for study include works by the likes of Herman Melville, Langston Hughes, Henry James, Frederick Douglass, Mary Shelley, Bertolt Brecht, and Samuel Beckett.

Texts:

  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw and Other Stories
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein: 1818 Text
  • Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
  • Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage and Her Children
  • Frederick Douglass, The Heroic Slave: A Cultural and Critical Edition

Approaches to Non-fictional Prose
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

In her graphic memoir Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi writes that she must “never forget” who she is or where she has come from. Other writers similarly turn to life narratives -- texts often known as “autobiography” or “memoir,” and expected to be both personal and “true” – to remember and then share personal experiences that they think must not be forgotten. This section of ENGL 111 will consider “non-fictional prose” by examining the stories individuals write about themselves and/or others in auto/biographical narratives. Through our analysis of the choices these writers make about how to represent experience, shape it into narrative form, and make meaning(s) of it for different audiences and purposes, we will think about the work life narratives do in the world. In particular, we will consider how life narratives offer the potential for resisting dominant (mis)representations of marginalized groups. Our readings will include five book-length narratives (Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah; Girl, Interrupted, by Susanne Kaysen; The World is Moving Around Me by Dany Laferriere; Persepolis: A Story of Childhood by Marjane Satrapi; and Woman Warrior: Memoir of a Girlhood among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston), and two essays (TBA). Our discussions of these narratives will be informed by relevant scholarly conversations, and students will contribute to those conversations in a research paper as well as in two short analytical essays and a final exam.

Approaches to Non-Fictional Prose
Term 2
MWF, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

In our heavily mediated world, senses of self and of place are becoming increasingly uncertain. In this course, we will examine the basic concepts behind and writing practices of literary non-fiction, focusing in particular on autobiography as a writing form (and reading work by Claudia Rankine, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Fred Wah, Kathleen Jamie, Marjane Satrapi and Maxine Hong Kingston). How do we try to write ourselves into place? How do we identify and document ourselves through writing? What are the demands of placing ourselves in particular discourses and locations? We will deal with ideas of the human subject and of the depiction of and address to others (and the creation of various kinds of community), with the complex relationships between art and fact, and with the interconnections of the graphic and spoken or written language. Questions of representation and self-fashioning will form a crucial part of our investigation into how non-fiction becomes literary work.


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Writing Courses

Reading and Writing About Literature
Term 1
MWF, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

This writing course about literature meets the Faculty of Arts writing requirement as an alternative to WRDS 150. Aristotle says, “without friends no one would choose to live, though they had all other goods.” Friendship claims to exist uniquely upon a principle of equality, in an economy of even exchange. It promises a private intimacy free from masquerade and convention; only a friend knows and loves your “true portrait,” proposes Montaigne. But what would a cultural history of friendship show? Is modern friendship something new? Could you have a friend briefly? Can friendship be erotic or romantic? This course thinks about “two going together”: remarkable friendships in fiction and in life. Some readings: Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus, a few philosophy excerpts and critical readings, selected modern short stories and poems. The course will also extend your abilities to pull together and analyze research sources, to organize and support sound and interesting arguments, and to revise and edit for clarity and tone. Four writing assignments, final exam, and lively participation. More info at blogs.ubc.ca/jpaltin.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

This course offers an introduction to the skills of literary criticism. Our theme is mad science, a concept we explore by reading of a handful of literary works, ancient, modern, and contemporary: Aristotle's Poetics, Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound,  Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus, R.L. Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. These works raise important questions about scientific knowledge and human culture. What are the relations between knowledge and power? How should we understand the role of the emotions in  scientific practice? What are the consequences, both for humankind and for nonhumans, of technology and scientific invention? In addition to these and other questions, we will discuss critcism itself as a kind of science or technical knowledge.

Reading and Writing About Literature
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

What, exactly, is a fairy tale? Why do some remain popular even two or three hundred years after they were first published? And why do modern writers so often return to the form, sometimes to rewrite old tales and sometimes to compose brand-new ones? In this course, we will address these questions by reading and discussing a variety of classic tales by the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont as well as modern versions of those tales by Emma Donoghue and Francesca Lia Block. We’ll end the term by examining a recent tale by Neil Gaiman that seems to have no literary predecessors. In lectures and discussions we’ll consider how fairy tales have been adapted to meet the needs of distinct historical periods, and how different critical approaches to the same text can yield entirely different—even competing—interpretations.  A full description can be found here.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

The philosopher Simone Weil said that love is “intense, pure, disinterested, gratuitous, generous attention.” Romantic love can feel profound, even transformational. The little prince falls in love with a rose and travels from asteroid to asteroid to earth, in part, to mend his broken heart. The protagonists in the stories in Islands of Decolonial Love relate to human and non-human species intimately, even lovingly. Mandy Catron, in her book, How to Fall in Love with Anyone, tells personal stories about love and examines cultural narratives about love that have profound influence on what we expect of love.

Is love merely personal, intense, private or is it also politically useful? What does literature have to say about this? Hannah Arendt argued that “love can only become false and perverted when it’s used for political purposes such as the change or salvation of the world.” On the other hand, Martin Luther King Jr. in his sermons, Strength to Love, argued for nonviolent political action as a deep and abiding expression of agape. In All About Love, bell hooks echoed this: “Love is an action. Never simply a feeling.” Leanne Simpson articulated in an interview with Naomi Klein a politic of love as antidote to extractivism, an ideology that justifies human exploitation of land, water and non-human creatures at all costs.

We’ll read three core texts in this course---The Little Prince by St. Exupery, Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Simpson, How to Fall in Love with Anyone by Mandy Catron---alongside philosophical excerpts and critical readings. This course offers students an introduction to the skills and practices of literary criticism. We’ll read each book closely, learn new reading strategies and encounter critical readings alongside each text to deepen our readings of it. You will be asked to write often in this course. You will be invited to ask rich and provocative questions about literary texts, find and analyze research sources and write good, clear arguments.

Reading and Writing About Literature
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

English 100 offers a writing-intensive introduction to the discipline of literary studies through the exploration of texts in their critical contexts. It focuses on foundational skills in literary analysis, scholarly research, and critical writing. This section highlights fiction and poetry inspired by the First World War (1914-1918). The blasted landscapes, shattering losses, social upheavals, and protracted legacies of this conflict impact writers from different countries (Britain, America, Canada, and Ireland) and distinct generations (participants and descendants). In particular, we will examine selected poems by Wilfred Owen and three novels, namely The Sun Also Rises (1926) by Ernest Hemingway, The Wars (1977) by Timothy Findley, and A Long Long Way (2005) by Sebastian Barry. The issues of trauma, mourning, memory, and history shaping modern and contemporary controversies on war and society will organize our studies of celebrated texts. Critical readings and audio-visual materials will guide our conversations in the classroom. Students will be expected to contribute to discussions as they develop analytic and synthetic skills in reading and writing through the investigation of formal features, relevant contexts, and academic discourses. In addition to four writing assignments, requirements for this course include attendance, participation, and a final examination.

Reading and Writing About Literature
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Literature offers a representation of the world, but its value is more than representative. Among many considerations, this course examines how literature can render visible forms of violence otherwise unseen. Why does literature matter at all in our current cultural moment when other media are competing for our attention? How does literature morph and shift in response to other these other forms of media circulating around us? Finally, what is the social value of literature? How does literature’s placement of the reader in the role of “other” lend itself to a transformative experience?

This course will engage these questions in relation to a selection of recent literary texts and critical scholarship. Note: this section of English 100 is a writing-focused course that will require four written assignments and a final examination. Written assignments will gear you toward presenting and supporting a critical argument and responding sensitively to literary texts through analysis.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
TTh, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

A writing-intensive introduction to the disciplines of literary studies through the exploration of texts in their critical and theoretical contexts. Text: Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th ed., vol. 2, with particular emphasis onRobert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; George Bernard Shaw, Mrs. Warren’s Profession; World War I poetry; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Requirements: 2 in-class essays 2 x 15 = 30; 2 take-home essays 2 x 20 = 40; 1 final exam = 30

Reading and Writing About Literature
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

This section of English 100 will introduce you to the scholarly practice of literary criticism as we explore the role of emotion in literature. How does literature move us to feel and think in new and sometimes intense ways? What does literature do to us and for us? How and why does literature matter? In our exploration, we’ll encounter strategies writers employ to express affect and create the ground for communal feeling, and we’ll see how stories can move a reader through sympathy to social justice. We’ll also examine how words attempt to embody love and grief, or capture the sentiment of the times. Texts include selected poems by Emily Dickinson, as she wrote them by hand, as well as three works of prose: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, an autobiography by Harriet Jacobs; Written on the Body, a novel by Jeannette Winterson; and Hold It 'Til It Hurts, a novel by T. Geronimo Johnson. We will deepen our understanding of these texts and their contexts with critical readings and theory on affect and emotion in literature.

Reading and Writing About Literature
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

The description for this section of ENGL 100 is currently unavailable. Please contact the instructor.

Reading and Writing About Literature
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Focused on literary texts in their critical and theoretical contexts, ENGL 100 is a course in academic writing that fulfills the first-year component of the Faculty of Arts Writing Requirement.

This course is an introduction to the reading, enjoying, and study of both primary literary texts—including Regeneration (1992), by Pat Barker; Aleta Day (1919), by Francis Marion Benyon, and Three Day Road (2006), by Joseph Boyden—and selected secondary scholarly essays written about them.  By examining several theoretical approaches to the course readings, and by applying the skills of close reading, informed discussion, formal writing, and intelligent analysis to selected poetry, fiction, and non-fiction (diaries, letters, autobiography), students will enhance their critical thinking and writing abilities and broaden their knowledge of literary elements, techniques, and types.

Marking one hundred years since the infamous 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge, this section’s theme is “‘Lest We Forget’:  Literary Representations of World War I.”  The first all-encompassing world conflict, World War I (1914-1918) was a murderous cataclysm which misshaped the twentieth century and haunts the twenty-first.  We will examine some of the ways in which the “Great War” has been depicted in literature, music, posters, painting, and photography.  We will investigate the problems of representing historical “fact” as part of a “fictional” work, the relation between history and story, and how the works under study contribute to the construction of the public memory and memorialization of a war whose surviving veterans and eyewitnesses have all passed away.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
MWF 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Focused on literary texts in their critical and theoretical contexts, Engl. 100 is a course in academic writing that fulfills the first-year component of the Faculty of Arts Writing Requirement.

This section of 100 will focus on nothing. It will examine those threshold moments when beings either emerge out of nothing or seek to become nothing through the sustained discarding of the inessential. We’ll explore different incarnations of this threshold experience: Keats’ “negative capability,” Freud’s primal scene, and Heidegger’s clearing and being-towards-death. Texts include (subject to last-minute changes) King Lear, Freud’s The Wolf Man, Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, DeLillo’s White Noise, and poetry by, among others, Keats, Wordsworth, Wallace Stevens, and Robert Frost.

Reading and Writing About Literature
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

English 100 introduces students to literary scholarship, literary theory, and methods of interpreting literary texts.  Students learn to read and write about literature by acquiring the reading and writing practices of the discipline of English or Literary Studies.  Literature is constantly developing new genres, including the graphic novel.  This section focuses on four graphic novels, including two that have won or been nominated for Pulitzer prizes (Maus by Art Spiegelman and American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang) and two that deal with representations of disability and illness (Marbles by Ellen Forney and Cancer Vixen by Marissa Acocella Marchetto).  We will consider questions that literary scholars might use to classify such texts, including differences between graphic novels and graphic memoirs, but also perspectives from other disciplines—such as philosophy, psychology and anthropology—in order to understand how each discipline approaches and writes about the graphic novel as an object of study.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

This course will be an exciting exploration of the intricacies, conflicts, and possibilities of late twentieth, early twenty-first century identity through analysis and discussion of a variety of fictional and critical texts. We will begin with Fred Wah’s biotext Diamond Grill, and his racial shame over his cravings for garlic and rice, before moving onto Trumpet and discussions on sexuality, gender, physicality, and the trans-. The course will next shift to a consideration of the blurred line between humans and machines in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? before concluding with conversations on the Internet and social media through our reading of Feed. Our understandings of identity will undergo a constant layering process as we examine the specific identity questions in each of the works. The course will also incorporate secondary articles as we develop your critical thinking skills, your research capabilities, and your abilities to construct clear and effective written argumentation. Expect a mind altering, engaging, and enlightening ride.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

As I speculate about a January 2018 course while writing about it in March 2017, I’m aware of my future need to organize the course into a coherent whole. Right now, though, what can be stated with some degree of certainty is that the course will a) look at contemporary fiction and  b) feature novels and short stories in which the past (of a protagonist, perhaps, or a remote historical era) is represented and explored. As a writing course, students will be presented with assorted analytic or argumentative assignments that will encourage them to showcase their insights about these texts. Beginning with Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women, the course texts include two other novels: Trumpet by Jackie Kay and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.

Reading and Writing About Literature
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

This section of English 100 will introduce you to the scholarly practice of literary criticism as we explore watery tales of environmental catastrophe and upheaval. How does environment shape us and our perceptions? How have we imagined the environment and its elements in different times and cultures? What impact does our valuation of the natural world have on its material reality? How can literature help us imagine new relationships with the environment? In our exploration, we’ll study how writers use the environment in general, and water in particular, as a metaphor. We’ll consider how stories can shake up our unexamined ideas about the world and challenge us to broaden our understanding. Through close-reading and discussion, we will closely examine how authors use language to teach and delight their audiences. Texts include William Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream and two works of prose: The Frozen Thames, a collection of short stories by Helen Humphreys and Green Grass, Running Water, a novel by Thomas King. We will deepen our understanding of these texts and their contexts with critical readings on ecocritical theory and literature.

Reading and Writing About Literature
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

 “Have you ever retired a human by mistake?” – Rachael to Deckard, Blade Runner

From V for Vendetta to The Hunger Games to The Walking Dead, the near-future landscapes of literary and popular culture are terrifying places. In this course, we will consider dystopian speculations that reflect on the present and recent past, especially concerning the threats of mass surveillance, profit-motivated technology, environmental crisis, and redefinitions of human identity. Our core texts will be John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, and the Director’s Cut of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (though you will be encouraged to introduce other relevant texts). Through readings in current criticism and theory, we will develop strategies for textual analysis in literary and cultural studies. We will also consider the difficulty, if not impossibility, of reaching a “fixed” or consensus reading of any text. You will write two short essays, a term paper requiring secondary research, and a final examination, all focused on literary textual analysis, and will contribute to in-class and online discussion. Please check my blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/ for updates.

NOTE: THIS IS A GENERAL DESCRIPTION FOR ALL SECTIONS OF ENGL 112.

Through the study and application of the principles of university-level discourse and with emphasis on the specific genre of academic writing, this course will introduce students to critical reading and university-level writing. In lectures and discussions, instructors will focus on the rhetorical principles and strategies central to university-level discourse. Students will examine methods for discovering and arranging ideas, and they will consider ways in which style is determined by rhetorical situation and scholarly audiences. English 112 is not a remedial course. Students with serious deficiencies in their writing should seek early and expert tutorial help.

Note: This course is required of students who intend to enter the Faculties of Commerce and the Schools of Nursing and Physical Education. It is also recommended by a number of other faculties
and schools. Students should check the current UBC Calendar for further information about the first-year English requirements for particular faculties and schools.

Course Prerequisite: In order to remain registered in this class, all students must fulfill the First-Year English Course Entry Requirement (LPI). For further details on the First-Year English Course Entry Requirement, please visit:https://english.ubc.ca/first-year-english/frequently-asked-questions-faq/#1.

Course Requirements: regular attendance and participation in class activities; completion of a minimum of four essays (two to be written in class); and a final examination.
Final Examination: All students in English 112 will write a 3-hour final examination at the end of the course. The examination will test critical reading and writing skills by asking students to write two clear, coherent, well-developed essays: one analysing a passage of university-level prose in a way that demonstrates the specific critical skills learned in class, and one writing a scholarly essay in response to specific critical readings studied in class.

Distribution of Marks: course work (essays and exercises), 70 marks; final examination, 30 marks.

Texts: Reading lists for individual sections of the course will be available in the Language and Literature section of the UBC Bookstore in mid-August for Term 1 courses and mid-November for
Term 2 courses.

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Language Elective

Language Myths
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 -2:00 p.m.

What can we believe of what we hear and read about language?

Is language change bad?
Do some people have “good grammar”?
Does language shape thought and/or culture?
Are young people destroying the language?
Is texting destroying the language?
Is learning a language easier for kids?
Does your ability to learn a language reflect your intelligence?
Is all thought linguistic?
Where in your brain is language located?
Do bilinguals have an advantage or are they disadvantaged?

In this course, we critically examine a broad range of commonly held beliefs about language and the relation of language to the brain and cognition, learning, society, change and evolution. Students read a series of short scholarly articles in order to understand language myths, the purpose for their existence, and their validity (or not). We use science and common sense as tools in our process of “myth-busting”.

Course evaluation is based on two midterm examinations, a written project (pairs or groups), participation and attendance, including “Linguistics outside the classroom”, and low-stakes short weekly writing. For the project, students select a language myth discussed in popular media (online, newspaper, etc.). Based on scholarly readings concerning the myth as well as material covered in class, they “bust” or confirm the myth.

This course is an excellent introduction for students contemplating  the English Language Major as well as an appropriate elective for students already in the Major.

This course in cross-listed as Linguistics 140 and is co-taught by instructors from the English and Linguistics Departments.

Note: This course does not fulfill the university writing requirements or the literature requirement in the Faculty of Arts.

Prerequisite: Prerequisite for all 100-level English courses: Language Proficiency Index (LPI) level 5 or exemption. For further details, please visit https://english.ubc.ca/first-year-english/frequently-asked-questions-faq/#1.

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General Course Descriptions

The following are general descriptions of all the first-year English courses that we offer. Please refer to First-Year English Courses for descriptions with more specific information provided by the instructor.

English 100 is the writing-intensive introduction to the disciplines of literary studies through the exploration of texts in their critical contexts. Students will read literary texts and scholarly responses to them as a way of learning about how we study literature in the University.

Course Prerequisite: completion of all sections of the Language Proficiency Index Test with a level 5 on the essay section of the Test, or exemption from the LPI requirement.

Through the study of selected examples of poetry, fiction, and drama, this course will introduce students to the fundamentals of the university-level literary study, and furnish them with the skills to think and write critically about literature. In lectures and discussions, students will be taught the basic concepts of genre and form in literature, and methods of literary analysis, to enable them to continue in more specialized English courses at the second year or beyond.

Course Prerequisite: completion of all sections of the Language Proficiency Index Test with a level 5 on the essay section of the Test, or exemption from the LPI requirement.

Course Requirements: regular attendance and participation in the activities of the class; a minimum of three essays, two to be written in class and one at home; and a final examination.

Distribution of Marks: course work, 70 marks; final examination, 30 marks.

Through the study of a selection of non-fictional prose works ranging in length from the essay to the book, this course will enable students to extend their critical and analytical skills and to develop an awareness of the rhetorical principles that inform effective discourse. Through exposure to a variety of prose texts, principally from the twentieth century, students will develop a critical awareness of the relationship between style and meaning. They will learn how prose can mirror changing social and philosophical views, and how writers give shape to their experience and interests.

Course Prerequisite: completion of all sections of the Language Proficiency Index Test with a level 5 on the essay section of the Test, or exemption from the LPI requirement.

Course Requirements: regular attendance and participation in the activities of the class; a minimum of three essays, two to be written in class and one at home; and a final examination.

Distribution of Marks: course work, 70 marks; final examination, 30 marks

** not available to students in the Faculty of Arts **

Through the study and application of the principles of university-level discourse, this course will introduce students to critical reading and university-level writing with emphasis on processes of research-based writing. Reading and writing assignments will require students to study, analyse, and apply principles of scholarly discourse. English 112 is not a remedial course. Students with serious deficiencies in their writing should seek early and expert tutorial help. Essays required.

Note: This course is required of students who intend to enter the Faculties of Commerce and the Schools of Nursing and Physical Education. It is also recommended by a number of other faculties and schools. Students should check the current UBC Calendar for further information about the first-year English requirements for particular faculties and schools.

Course Prerequisite: completion of all sections of the Language Proficiency Index Test with a level 5 on the essay section of the Test. (Students with a final mark of 75% or higher in English 12 or English Literature 12, with a mark of 5 or higher in IB English Literature, with a mark of 4 or higher in AP Literature and Composition, or with a "C" on UBC's English Composition Test are not required to write the LPI.)

English 120 is an enriched course in English studies meant for students with a passion for reading and an openness to studying texts from more than one angle. In our weekly lectures and discussions, you will be encouraged to read deeply, to reflect on and practise a variety of critical approaches to the texts you read, and to extend your abilities and your confidence as thinkers, speakers, and writers about literary texts and the questions they raise about our world and about other worlds outside our own time and place.

Course Prerequisite: English 120 is an enriched course. Students must have a final grade of "A" in English 12 (BC equivalent) or "B+" in English Literature 12 (BC equivalent) to remain registered.

Course Requirements: regular attendance and participation in the activities of the class; a minimum of three essays, two to be written in class and one at home; and a final examination.

Distribution of Marks: course work, 70 marks; final examination, 30 marks.

Through the study of various theories of literature, this course will provide an enriched curriculum for students especially interested in literary study, particularly for those who may be preparing for an English Honours or Majors degree. Students will be introduced to various theoretical approaches that have been and continue to be influential in English studies. The course may consider such issues as feminism, psychoanalysis, or deconstruction, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of particular approaches.

Course Prerequisite: a minimum of "A" in English 12 (BC equivalent) or a minimum of "B+" in English Literature 12 (BC equivalent).

Course Requirements: regular attendance and participation in the activities of the class; a minimum of three essays, two to be written in class and one at home; and a final examination.

Mark Distribution: course work (essays and exercises), 70 marks; final examination, 30 marks (or as determined by the instructor).

A selective sample of past texts include:

  • Bennett & Royle, Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory
  • Byatt, Possession: A Romance
  • Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction
  • Kaplan & Anderson Criticism: Major Statements
  • Makaryk, ed., Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literary Theory
  • Murdoch, The Black Prince (Penguin)
  • Richter, ed., Falling into Theory: Views on Reading Literature
  • Shakespeare, Hamlet

ENGL 140 is a critical consideration of a broad range of commonly held beliefs about language and its relation to the brain and cognition, learning, society, change and evolution.

Note that ENGL 140 is an elective course that does not count toward UBC Communications or Writing Requirements, or toward the Faculty of Arts Literature Requirement. However, students interested in Language theory, or who are thinking about the English Language major are encouraged to take this course.

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Pre-Major and Second-Year Elective Courses
Upper-level Literature
Major and Honours Seminars
Upper-level Writing Courses


Pre-Major and Second-Year Electives

Literature in Britain to the 18th Century
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m

This course together with 490 is one of two required courses for the English Majors Program.  It is intended to provide an introduction to notable works of English Literature from the Anglo Saxon period to the end of the 18th century, in a range of genres, thus preparing students for senior level courses in English.  It will provide scholarly and critical tools for the study of literary and other texts, and a substantial knowledge of literature from Chaucer to Blake. Students will learn to employ strategies of close reading, library research, and textual analysis supported by reasoned argument. They will engage in lively discussion in class, be encouraged to evolve their own ideas, and to defend them effectively. We will examine several kinds of critical theory and other current methods of reading and writing about literature. Our focus will encompass the political and cultural history relevant to particular works, including matters of religious, philosophical, aesthetic and social importance.  We will also investigate ideas concerning class, nationality, and gender identity relevant to these centuries.  While remembering that literature is written within specific material conditions influencing its production, and usually with reference to other works, we will approach our texts as distinct imaginative constructs.

Texts: “The Wanderer”, “The Dream of the Rood”;  Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (“General Prologue” and “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale”); Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus; William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra; assorted poems by Sidney, Donne, Cavendish, Marvell; selections from: John Milton, Paradise Lost; Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan; Alexander Pope, “The Rape of the Lock”,  “An Essay on Man”; William Blake, The Songs of Innocence and Experience, selections from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Jane Austen, Persuasion.

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

In this course, we’ll look at a selection of poetic and dramatic texts from the medieval period and the Renaissance. We’ll be concerned with literary history, literary fashion, and debates about the purpose and function of literature.

Literature in Britain to the 18th Century
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 - 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. A full description can be found here.

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

Course requirements: Quiz #1 - 20%; Quiz #2 -20%; Home essay (1500 words) - 30%; Final examination - 30%

Texts: Joseph Black et al., eds., The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Concise Edition, Volume A, Third 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.

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

Course requirements: Quiz #1 - 20%; Quiz #2 - 20%; Home essay (1500 words) - 30%; Final examination - 30%

Texts: Joseph Black et al., eds., The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Concise Edition, Volume A, Third 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.

Literature in Britain: 18th Century to the Present
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

English 221 surveys British poetry, drama, fiction, and non-fictional prose from the 18th century to the present. This section addresses historical events spanning from the upheaval of the French Revolution (1789) to the destruction of the Twin Towers (2001). We will read a broad array of texts from The Longman Anthology of British Literature 4E/5E (2012), namely Volume 2A (The Romantics and their Contemporaries), Volume 2B (The Victorian Age), and Volume 2C (The Twentieth Century and Beyond). Writers ranging from Edmund Burke to Zadie Smith will illuminate shifts in class hierarchies, (post)colonial bonds, gender norms, and local environments, enabling us to observe continuities and differences in linguistic conventions, literary genres, thematic preoccupations, and rhetorical techniques. By situating British literature in its historical contexts, we will analyze the dynamic interrelationships between cultural tradition and social change, extending to the reinterpretations afforded by selected adaptations, documentaries, and performances. Throughout, students will cultivate spoken and written skills in literary criticism through close engagement with texts as they also compare and contrast forms, issues, and styles across historical periods. The course requirements include participation, a midterm, an essay, and a final examination.

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

This course examines late Eighteenth-Century through early Twentieth-Century British literature. It is designed to introduce you to some of the major authors and literary movements of the time periods. We will read literature written in the Romantic, Victorian, and Modernist periods. Authors read will include Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Emily Bronte, H. G. Wells, and Virginia Woolf. We will also consider the historical, cultural, and philosophical backgrounds of the literary texts. Discussion and participation will be emphasized.

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

 

This survey will introduce students to major authors from the eighteenth century to the present, with a particular emphasis on the intertwinement of monstrosity and modernity. We begin with the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, and John Keats, then turn to Mary Shelley’s seminal monster novel Frankenstein, considering the catastrophic birth of the eponymous scientist’s creation in relation to the scientific and political upheavals of the early nineteenth century. Pausing in the middle of the nineteenth century to examine Christina Rossetti’s sinister “Goblin Market,” we then plunge into a world of decadent horror in the Victorian fin-de-siècle with such texts as Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Next, we examine the existential monstrosities of the modernists, including T.S. Eliot’s monumental long poem The Waste Land and H.P. Lovecraft’s pulp masterpiece “The Call of Cthulhu,” before finally turning to China Miéville’s sprawling New Weird fantasy Perdido Street Station. Our discussions will focus on the ways that monsters reflect and exceed cultural and ontological categories, and the aesthetic, political, and metaphysical implications such category crises engender.

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

In this course we will examine paired works by women and men who were contemporaries, or nearly so—Aphra Behn and the Earl of Rochester, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Alexander Pope, and Emily Brontë and Charles Dickens, among others. Keeping in mind that in almost every case the female writer initially attracted less (in most 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. A full description can be found here.

Literature in Canada
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

"Is it possible to imagine being named by a place? And – were we to contemplate such a thing – how would we come to merit that honour?" – Don McKay, The Muskwa Assemblage

Canadian identity “is less perplexed by the question ‘Who am I?’ than by some such riddle as ‘Where is here?’”  –  Northrop Frye

“The city as we imagine it, the soft city of illusion, myth, aspiration, and nightmare, is as real, maybe more real, than the hard city one can locate on maps, in statistics, in monographs on urban sociology and demography and architecture.”  –   Jonathan Raban

Historical identity, national identity, regional identity, provincial identity, local identity, community identity, familial identity, peer identity, student identity.  While entertaining the many influences on individual, communal and national identity in a Canadian context, we’ll investigate literature from Canada (and Vancouver).

Texts are cultural artefacts: as such, they make claims about and against culture and creatively detail how humans manifest that culture or worldview.  “Literature in Canada” is a class about the process of reading literature, and the different ways in which people (scholars, students) go about making meaning of it.  This class is also about students finding interesting and creative ways to read and contextualize literature.  Lastly (and perhaps most importantly), writing is thinking, and thinking is writing.

Required Texts:

All That Matters, Wayson Choi; Canadian Literature In English: Texts and Contexts (Volume II), eds. Moss and Sugars; Connect Online Course Page @ http://elearning.ubc.ca/connect/

Literature in Canada
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 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 set in Vancouver’s downtown east side, Margaret Atwood’s most recent dystopian novel, a work about a group of dogs granted human consciousness and language, 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.

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

As W.H. New, one of our prominent historians of Canadian Literature, has written, "To read Canadian literature attentively is to realize how diverse Canadian culture is—how marked by politics and religion, how influenced by differences of language and geography, how preoccupied (apparently) by the empirical world, but how fascinated by the mysterious and the uncertain."  This course will provide a survey of the historical range and diverse forms of Canadian literature and media, including First Nations oral storytelling and contemporary Inuit film, arctic exploration journals and settler memoirs, modernist and postmodern poetry, short fiction and novels. One important aspect of our study will involve the careful analysis of how language and narrative structures across different periods convey alternative systems of belief.   We will also consider how competing narratives of Canadian identity are debated through the dialogues initiated by Canadian writers, and we will be especially interested in how writers either reinforce or challenge restrictive assumptions about social class hierarchies, racial and ethnic formations, and norms of gender and sexuality.

Required Texts:

Brief selections from Canadian Literature in English:  Texts and Contexts, Volume 2 , edited by Laura Moss and Cynthia Sugars (Pearson Education).

FILM: Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (Isuma/NFB 2001): Directed by Zacharias Kunuk; story and screenplay by Paul Apak Angilirk; English screenplay by Norman Cohn. The screenplay version is available at the Koerner library and the film is also streamed through the following website (click on  “view in SD”): http://www.isuma.tv/hi/en/fastrunnertrilogy

NOVELS:  Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women (Penguin); Joy Kogawa, Obasan (Penguin); Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion (Penguin); Thomas King, Green Grass, Running Water (Harper)

A selection of brief excerpts from eighteenth and nineteenth century exploration journals, epistolary novels, settler memoirs, satire, and poetry will be available freely from open-access web sources through Project Gutenberg and Canadian Poetry Online: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/canpoetry/

Course Requirements: Four short-answer content quizzes: 10%; 2) In-class Essay:  20%; Home essay:  30%; Class participation:  10%;  final exam: 30%.

Literature in Canada
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

This course will track the work of a group of writers who walk and write Vancouver, a Coast Salish city on the river whose watery course traces generations of diasporic movements and histories.  Our journey begins on Musqueam territory and follows the watercourse to New Brighton Park and the urban waterfront with Lisa Robertson and Meredith Quartermain as our guides.  Making our way to Hastings Park, we will reflect on Obasan and the Japanese-Canadian Redress movement.  Steveston takes us to the south arm of the river and a different history of the Issei as well as of the river itself.  Compton and Thien return us to the complexities of Indigenous and diasporic communities in the city. An online coursepack will enable us to read selections a variety of contemporary writers relevant to course themes. Pre-reading of the major course texts is encouraged.

Reading list (provisional)

  • Joy Kogawa, Obasan
  • Daphne Marlatt, Steveston
  • Meredith Quartermain, Vancouver Walking
  • Rita Wong, Undercurrent
  • Madeline Thien, Simple Recipes
  • Coursepack including selections from Lisa Robertson, Roy Miki,, Eden Robertson, Wayde Compton, Steve Collis, Gregory Scofield, Alex Leslie.

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

Kevin McNeilly and Richard Kurth

Co-taught by Prof. Richard Kurth of the School of Music and Prof. Kevin McNeilly of the Department of English, this course will investigate key songs by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, situating his music and his words – along with his performances, recordings and reception – in various musical, literary and cultural contexts. Each week, a Cohen song will be closely examined, and its musical and poetic structure explained; that song will also be compared to literary and musical work by Cohen’s contemporaries (in Canada and globally), by his influences and by those he influenced. We will discuss questions of nationalism and cultural identity, of race, gender politics, geography and class, as they emerge in and through Leonard Cohen’s body of song.

Literature in the United States
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

This course offers a selective introduction to literature written in the United States between the 1830s and the 1930s. The course material ranges from essays (by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, and W.E.B. Du Bois), to short stories (by Edgar Allan Poe and Dashiell Hammett), poetic projects (Emily Dickinson’s and Walt Whitman’s), novels (by Frank Norris and Nella Larsen), and comics (by George Herriman). Our work will be to read and think about this writing in relation to a number of different kinds of environments: literary, aesthetic, theoretical, historical, and political. We will be thinking about what is going on in the text and around it – in its historical moment as well as in the present of our reading. The span of roughly one hundred years covered in this course saw enormous transformations which helped to compose the texture of contemporary North American life: rapid industrialization, shifting centers of power towards big urban centers, a civil war (1861-66) and the economic changes following the end of slavery, political consolidation and the emergence of an America with imperial interests, and changes in relations among and between genders, races, classes, and sexualities. A main goal of the course is to introduce students to literary critical reading practices in order to develop techniques for beginning to describe how a given text engages with its various moments, including this one.

Literature in the United States
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

“It’s simpler than one might think,” says Stephen Minot, editor of Literary Nonfiction: the Fourth Genre. “Literary nonfiction is distinguished by three basic characteristics: it is based on actual events, characters, and places; it is written with a special concern for language; and it tends to be more informal and personal than other types of nonfiction writing.” Throughout this semester, we’ll consider some the following questions: How does the history of literary nonfiction reflect certain American values or sensibilities? How have memoir and the essay functioned as vehicles for American culture and identity? What is the relationship between the text, the writer, and the reader in literary nonfiction? What are the boundaries of “the truth”?

Texts: Custom coursepack; Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.

Literature in the United States
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

This course surveys some of the great innovators in the U.S. novel over the past 50 to 60 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, Toni Morrison’s Jazz, Chang-rae Lee’s A Gesture Life, Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad, and one other.

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

World literature as a category assumes that texts travel beyond their designated home in the world. This course will give students an opportunity to critique the designations of world literature and its adjutant cultural imaginaries. We read anti-foundational texts which question the “world” and engage in imaginative projects of world-fracturing. Where does world literature situate exilic, diasporic, transnational, or polylingual writers? How does it account for the popular? What constructs the markets, circulations, and exchanges of world literature? We will study case histories and current issues of controversy, reading theoretical voices along with participants and dissidents. Analysis/response entries in a discussion forum, one paper, exam.

Tentative reading list: Mahasweta Devi: Imaginary Maps; Juan Goytisolo: Count Julian; Etel Adnan : Sitt Marie Rose; Naguib Mahfouz, Midaq Alley, and its 1995 film adaptation; Mine Okubo: Citizen 13660; Ken Saro-Wiwa: Sozaboy.

More info at blogs.ubc.ca/jpaltin.

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

This course on colonial education offers an introduction to some of the key concerns of postcolonial studies, and attempts to reflect both the range and the particularity of postcolonial cultural and critical practices by emphasizing works written from and about the Anglo-speaking Caribbean (Antigua, Barbados, Trinidad) and Southern Africa (Botswana and Zimbabwe). The imaginative work of the five authors help us think through ways colonial school system was an arm of the British empire and was established to promote its educational agenda and curriculum, thus enforcing allegiance to Britain. In what ways are (classical) education and imperialism closely linked in English colonial expansion? Is there an entwined history of colonial education and the rise of English literature as a discipline in its own right? Issues for investigation will include: relations of identity, difference, place, displacement and dispossession; the aesthetics and politics of representation; decolonization and anti-colonial resistance; alternative and interventionist histories; critical and contextual studies of race, ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, history, and sexuality.

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

This course will look at classics of literature from around the world. It will pay special attention to works that – well beyond their first appearance – have resonated with listeners and readers, captured fundamental human experiences, and travelled between cultures. Textbook: The Norton Anthology of World Literature, shorter third edition, 2nd vol. Readings will include: Novellas by Joseph Conrad and Leo Tolstoy; Stories by Gustave Flaubert, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Rabindranath Tagore, V. S. Naipaul, Zhang Ailing, Lu Xun, Chinua Achebe, Ngũgĩ wa Th’iongo, Isabel Allende; Plays by Molière, Henrik Ibsen, and Antonin Chekhov; Non-fiction and poetry by Bashō and others. Requirements: 2 in-class essays: 2 x 15 = 30 points; 1 term paper: 30 points; 1 final exam: 40 points

Poetry
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Reading poetry can be fun. This course will foster poetry-reading skills by discussing a variety of 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.

Introduction to Drama
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

In this course, we will explore theories of laughter and its theatrical expressions through the study of comedies that take us from ancient Greece to the present-day. How does comedy challenge political, religious and social norms? Through laughter, our certainties are scrutinized and broken down, and in the world of comedy, rebellion itself often becomes the norm. Power hierarchies are reversed, and the unexpected results expand our ideas of what is possible. The most powerful comedy refuses to be polite, and invites its spectators to become participants in unruly behaviour and unruly ideas. We will encounter leaders of misrule in our plays, and examine what can happen when rules are violated and disorder overcomes order. We will attend live performances of plays and explore theatrical worlds through performance exercises. Our plays will include Lysistrata, Twelfth Night and The Importance of Being Earnest, among others.

Prose Fiction
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

This course will delve into fictional worlds of teen angst, desire, and identity negotiations by focusing on a selection of recent bestselling YA novels (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Twilight, The Hunger Games, The Uglies, The Knife of Never Letting Go). The course will begin by considering genre and the possibilities of YA texts and their in-between readership. We will examine each of the texts, considering how questions of subjectivity, sexuality, trauma/violence, subjectivity, and agency manifest themselves. Our discussions will also confront the market popularity/success of these works and the problematic and/or “successful” ways in which they mobilise the demands of their readers/viewers. We will also address enabling re-writings, especially how fantastical, dystopian, and vampirical imaginings allow for different accessing and confronting of the struggles and preoccupations of fraught adolescent years. Prepare to revisit your teen years in all their complex, ambivalent, and empowering glory.

Prose Fiction
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

From Time magazine’s May 2014 cover story, “The Transgender Tipping Point,” to National Geographic’s January 2017 special issue dedicated to the “gender revolution,” the question of what gender is and where it might be going is top of mind at present. As a recent spate of so-called “bathroom bills” suggests—as well as one Canadian professor’s much-publicized refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns—not everyone is happy about these developments. Unsurprisingly, artistic and cultural expression have not been immune to this activity, leading to television shows and movies like Transparent, Sense8, and The Danish Girl, as well as a seeming renaissance of novels, short stories, poetry, and literary non-fiction by transgender authors (including prominent Canadians like Casey Plett, Kai Cheng Thom, Jia Qing Wilson-Yang, Vivek Shraya, Tom Cho, and Chase Joynt). New literary presses dedicated to publishing such work have even sprung up. Some argue that this changing understanding of gender is evidence of a rapidly decaying social fabric, and can only lead to social destruction, while others praise it for moving society toward unprecedented liberation and freedom for people of all genders, old and new. Through a selection of novels and short stories, television and film, as well as new media, we’ll investigate this turbulent and changing cultural and literary landscape. Whose gender counts, and whose doesn’t? Where is gender going? Will we even recognize it when we get there?

Topics in the Study of Language and/or Rhetoric
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Expressing meaning is why we use language in the first place, but understanding how we choose the words is not straightforward. How do we decide whether to see the tree in front of the house or the house behind the tree? Why can someone’s smile be described as warm or cold even though temperature is not the issue? If someone has done something nice for you, why do say you owe them? In the course, we will learn how linguistic meaning emerges at the intersection of our embodied experience, our conceptual abilities, and our social and cultural context. Through reading and analysis of examples, we will learn what it means to view language as a tool supporting conceptualization. Examples illustrating the concepts will come from various areas of linguistic usage, including a range of textual genres, some grammatical constructions, and the discourse of the media.

Topics in the Study of Language and/or Rhetoric
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 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. In addition to the assignments, there is one mid-term test and a final exam. The prescribed books are Stockwell (2004) and Wardhaugh & Fuller (2015).

Introduction to Indigenous Literatures
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

The course description for this section is currently not available. Please contact the instructor.

Approaches to Media Studies
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

This course explores the functions of communications media today.  We will consider pop music, video and film from the early 20th C through the present, in addition to literature since the Romantic period.  We will focus on rather philosophical questions regarding relations between the form and content of communication.  Course work will include online discussion, take-home essays and final exam.

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Language and Rhetoric

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

In Rhetoric, Revolution, & Dissent students will learn about how social 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 brief survey of visual rhetoric. 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 social movement’s primary documents and artifacts, and then complete a final project that analyzes the movement’s means of persuasion and communication strategy.

Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.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. Less than a year later, it has had nearly 10 million views. English 309 takes up, among its topics, some of Oliver’s concerns.

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, the course pays special attention to the rhetoric of health and medicine, especially as scientific (and quasi-scientific) knowledge migrates into a public realm. Here are some questions we’ll consider: What are the strategies, and what are the effects, of direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription pharmaceuticals?  How does the Internet, and how does public-health messaging, help to shape the contemporary health subject?  What is the persuasive effect of technologies of self-tracking?   Is the “vaccine controversy” really a controversy?

Note: English 309 requires no special preparation in rhetorical theory or in science and medicine.

Classical Rhetoric
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

The study of rhetoric, or the art of persuasion, is one of the oldest paid teaching disciplines in European history. Despite some bruises to its reputation, the teaching of rhetoric endures. But what is rhetoric, why does it matter, and how does one become skilled at persuasion? This course begins to answer these questions by tracing the history of rhetoric back to its ancient, practical sophistic roots and its further theoretical development during the traditional heydays of Greece and Rome. Students will read some of the most important thinkers in the Greco-Roman rhetorical tradition, such as Gorgias, Plato, Aristotle, Isocrates, Quintilian, and Cicero, and then apply their rhetorical teachings to contemporary problems and events.

History and Theory of Rhetoric: The Later Theory
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 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, Erasmus, Castiglione, Vico, Nietzsche, and Kenneth Burke (among others) conceived the arts of persuasion, argumentation, and style.

Discourse and Society: Analysing Spoken Discourse
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

The activity of conversation is central to our lives and to the construction of our social identities.  Yet in formal linguistic studies, casual conversation is often overlooked in favour of written texts or instances of spoken text involving a single speaker.  This course introduces discourse analysis techniques for the analysis of language events involving interaction between two or more speakers.  Drawing on a range of linguistic and semiotic approaches, we will study dialogue as a semantic activity.  We will explore techniques for analyzing language at a variety of linguistic levels, from micro-patterns in the grammar of conversation, to turn-taking, to text type and genre.

The general goals of the course will be: 1) Developing skills in using analytic techniques to describe and interpret dialogue in context; 2) Developing skills in seeing pattern frequency and functional variety in spoken texts; 3) Finding how natural language can be viewed as a resource for social interaction and activity; and 4) Designing and producing a research project involving the collection and analysis of conversational or other natural language data.  There will be a number of in-class and take-home assignments including learning activities (6 activities worth 2% each), a midterm assignment (15%), presentations (10%), a quiz (15%) and a final project (40%). Students will be encouraged to collect and analyze their own data.  The textbook for the course will be Eggins and Slade’s Analysing Casual Conversation (Cassell 1997/2005).

History of the English Language: Early History
Term 1
MWF 1:00 -2:00 p.m.

This course provides an understanding of how the English language has changed in from its Indo-European origins to the end of the Anglo-Saxon period (1100). It begins with discussion of attitudes towards language change, the nature, causes, and mechanisms of linguistic change, and the genealogical and typological classification of languages. It then embarks upon a survey of the historical development of English.

Considering first the prehistoric changes from Proto-Indo-European to Germanic, we will then study how the language called Old English (449-1100). developed. We will look at all aspects of the Old English language, including its sounds (phonology), spelling (orthography), forms of words and their endings (morphology), sentence structure (syntax), and meanings of words (semantics), and vocabulary. Our focus will be on the “synthetic” nature of Old English grammar. In addition to language-internal causes of change, there will be discussion of the “external history” of the language, that is, the historical, political, and social events that shaped Old English.

Evaluation is in terms of four online quizzes, two in-class midterms, and a short written project. For a complete description, see http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/lbrinton/

**** No formal background in language or linguistics is required, but students must have third-year standing and have completed the Writing Requirement of their Faculty.****

History of the English Language: Later History
Term 2
MWF 11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.

This course provides students with an understanding of how the English language has changed from the Norman Conquest (1100) to today.

The course begins with a description of the historical events leading to the growth of Middle English (1100–1500). The linguistic features of Middle English are studied, focusing on the rise of analytic features. We then trace phonological, grammatical, and lexical changes into Early Modern English (1500–1700), with an emphasis on the Great Vowel Shift. Grammatical and lexical changes in the Late Modern English period (1700-1920) are explored and the rise of prescriptivism in the eighteenth century is studied in depth. Finally, the course considers lexical and grammatical changes in Present-Day English and the effects of media and computer-mediated language upon the development of English. The concept of ‘global English’ is also explored.

Course evaluation is in terms of four online quizzes, two in-class, and one short written project. For a complete description, see http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/lbrinton/

*****Knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet is required. ENGL 318 or ENGL 330 or the equivalent is recommended. Students must have third-year standing and have completed the Writing Requirement of their Faculty.*******

English Grammar and Usage
Term: 1
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

This course provides an introduction to English grammar and usage.  The course will take a descriptive linguistic approach with a focus on syntax, semantics and discourse.  We will begin with the study of basic sentence structure.  We will classify parts of speech and identify transitivity patterns and grammatical functions.  We will describe in detail the structure of noun phrases and verb phrases, with specific attention to patterns of modification.  We will then analyze coordination and subordination in clauses.  Throughout the course, consideration will be given to developing consciousness of the natural rhythms of language, applying knowledge of grammar for self-expression, and understanding the relevance of grammar for everyday communication and the usefulness of prescriptive rules.  The emphasis will be on learning to do grammatical description and understanding how the rules of English grammar are applied for effective communication.

Evaluation will be based on 2 tests worth 21% each, a final group project (10%) and a final assignment (30%).  There will also be a series of short, practical activities worth 10% in total.  One of these will be graded (4%), and the others will be given grades for completing them.  The textbook for the course is Huddleston and Pullum’s A Student's Introduction to English Grammar, Paperback (Cambridge University Press, 2005).  Prerequisites are six credits of first year English or the equivalent.

English Grammar and Usage
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 - 2:00 p.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 analyzing sentences and chunks of discourse. Students complete one collaborative assignment, two monthly tests, and a final exam counting 30% of the final grade. The prescribed books are Börjars & Burridge (2010) and Leech, Deuchar and Hoogenraad (2006).

English Grammar and Usage
Term A
Offered Online

This section of ENGL 321 is offered online. Click here  to view full description.

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 analyzing sentences and chunks of discourse. There are four short collaborative assignments, two monthly tests, and a final exam counting 30% of 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.

Stylistics
Term C
Offered Online

This section of ENGL 322 is offered online. Click here to view course description.

Varieties of English
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Course description:

This course explores variation in English in the widest sense of the word. We will look at regional variation (“dialects”), starting with linguistic atlas projects and their approaches to the study of variation. After dealing with Canadian English as a geographical (regional) dialect, we will consider linguistic and social co-variation in its most prevailing aspects: linguistic variation and age of the speaker, social class, social networks (as a pre-facebook concept). A research component is offered with a guided study of linguistic variation in texting, for which we will use the data in your own phones and you will work together with a partner.

We will give considerable focus to language and gender (Is there a men’s or women’s language? What about transgender speakers?), involving aspects of linguistic performance and identity creation. The last part of the course explores concepts of World English (now often used in the plural: “World Englishes”) and how the use of English varieties world-wide is influencing the English language as a whole: now that more speakers use English as a second language than as a first language, what are the consequences?

This course is recommended for anyone interested in the English language, including aspiring teachers of English. No linguistic knowledge is needed, but a willingness to acquire basic linguistic terminology, to be introduced over the semester, is welcome.

Metaphor, Language, and Thought
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

We perceive our colloquial use of language as literal and descriptive. Recent research has shown, however, that all language use is pervasively figurative – it often relies on our understanding of one situation in terms of another. In the course, we study recent approaches to meaning to understand how underlying cognitive patterns structure our use of language. First, we discuss metaphor, metonymy, and blending – three major types of conceptual structures. In the second part, we look at grammatical phenomena, cross-linguistic facts, and, most prominently, discourse types. Further, we apply the concepts learned to interpreting artifacts of popular culture, advertising, media, and various forms of internet discourse. Students are required to grasp the theoretical concepts and use them in their own analyses of data samples. All assignments rely primarily on analytical skills.

The Structure of Modern English: Sounds and Words
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

This course explores and examines contemporary English linguistic structure at the level of sounds and words.  It begins with a study of speech sounds.  We study the articulation of sounds in English, methods for phonetic transcription and the possible sound combinations in English (phonology). We then study words, and the processes of word formation and word classification in English (morphology).  Finally, we consider word meaning and look at a variety of approaches to appreciating the nuances of meaning in English words (lexical semantics).  Our focus will be on developing skills for analysing these three components of language, with an eye toward understanding how they belong to one communication system.  There will be 3 tests of equal weight (30%) and a class participation mark of 10%.  A variety of in-class, homework and test questions will be given, including definitions, fill in the blanks, problem solving, short answer questions and matching.  The textbook for the course will be Brinton and Brinton’s The Linguistic Structure of Modern English (Benjamins, 2010).

The Structure of Modern English: Sounds and Words
Term A
Offered Online

This section of ENGL 330 is offered online. Click here  to view full description.

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. There are three collaborative assignments, six quizzes, and a final exam counting 40% of 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 1
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 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).

The Structure of Modern English: Sentences and their Uses
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

In this course, we study the form and use of English sentences. In the first part, we learn to describe English sentential forms and recognize the connections between the structures we choose and the meanings we express. In the second part of the course, we investigate how speakers choose linguistic expressions to match the situation of use. We look at various contexts, such as journalistic reporting, conversational discourse, or narrative discourse. The emphasis throughout the course is on the description of English as it is now used rather than on any linguistic theory in particular. No linguistics background is required, but some familiarity with English grammar is helpful. Students are expected to acquire a broad area of technical vocabulary and develop enough knowledge and skill to be able to work on new examples and problems, in class and in test situations.

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Upper-Level Literature

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

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 and a continuing process of personal reflection. 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. You will work with the resources of UBC Rare Books and Special Collections to produce an online exhibit that highlights UBC’s amazing media history resources and the historical forms of communication media.

Approaches to Media History
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

What can we discover about historical media and the technologies that underlie them through reading literary works? This course aims to answer this question through case studies in the cultural significance of five technologies from the last two centuries: electromagnetic telegraphy, photography, radio, film, and television. It investigates the meanings of these technologies by way of literary writing as well as historical, critical, and theoretical texts. The course is premised on the idea that writing and print, themselves mediums, are particularly sensitive to the emergence of those new media that pertain to writing (those based on -graphy technologies). By paying close attention to writing as well as to poetics (ideas about how writing works), we will explore the possibilities and limits that accompany new technologies, and the discourses by which they are understood. Note, our geographical focus will be mostly, but not exclusively, the United States. We are interested in the spatial and conceptual idea of "America" as it comes to be identified with so-called mass media in the twentieth century. This course will be taught as a mix of lecture and discussion.

Introduction to Old English
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

“You must remember we knew nothing of [Old English]; each word was a kind of talisman we unearthed…And with those words we became almost drunk.” –Jorge Luis Borges, “Blindness”

Old English provides an uncanny sensation: so different from present-day English that it must be studied as a foreign language, it is an ancestor whose patterns reveal themselves quickly to the learner. Old English literature is strange, intimate, and violent: an exile paddles in the ice with his bare hands, listening to birdsong; a feud erupts at a wedding; a tree, torn from the wilderness to become an unwilling instrument of torture, clings to Christ in what Borges calls a lovers’ embrace. This literature is usually read in translation, but in this class you will begin to read it in the original. You will learn the fundamentals of Old English grammar, vocabulary and syntax, the basic rules of poetic composition, and unusual features that have been lost in the journey from Old to present-day English.

Old English Literature
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00

NIGHT came. He went
To check out those Danes
boozing at home in their
big house & pay them a call.

He found
them snoozing like fat, well
fed babies safe from boogies.

--Thomas Meyer, Beowulf

How far can you go in translating a thousand-year-old poem? How do you balance relevance and authenticity? What does it mean to translate medieval literature into other platforms—to screen, graphic novel, performance, fan fiction, or new media? By asking these questions and by reading essays by Jacques Derrida, Rey Chow, and others, we will get at some of the most pressing issues in literary translation.

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

We will read, in modern English translation, works in several of the languages of twelfth-century Britain. The “contests” of this era included, among others, those between contenders for the throne; rivalry between Church and state; disputes over the “true” history of Britain; battles for control of various border regions; and the confrontation of tradition with new ideas arising in the renascence of twelfth-century Europe. While keeping steadily in view the history and geography of Britain, we will also explore the shifting borders of different kinds of writing, such as chronicle, romance, saga, topographical description, saint’s life, miracle narrative, and “history.” Our goal will be to understand how diversity, fluidity, and translation (broadly defined) could serve as sources of energy and creativity even in an age beset by political division and catastrophe. Works to be read will include selections from Geoffrey of Monmouth, Layamon, Gerald of Wales, Marie de France, and from anonymous works such as the Peterborough Chronicle.

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

Medieval romance (OF: romanz) was one of the most popular of medieval genres. First appearing in the twelfth century as the predominant mode of literary entertainment of the aristocratic courts of Western Europe, romance narratives dominated European literature for much of the Middle Ages. Early romances took as their theme the lives, battles, and loves of chivalric knights and ladies, but the romance genre was – over time – appropriated for purposes as diverse as religious instruction, national and global identity politics, and eventually parody and humour.

This course will examine the romances of medieval England during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, in what has been termed the great flowering of late medieval romance. During this period the genre became highly popular not only with the nobility, but also with the rising mercantile and gentry classes of England, and this changing audience – and the changing expectations that they brought with them – led to a literature diverse in both form and content. We shall be reading of knights and ladies, giants and dragons, incestuous fathers and wicked usurpers, fearsome Saracens, malicious Faeries, children of the devil, lepers who bathe in baths of blood, and – of course – sex and sword-play. All in all, a bit like A Game of Thrones but with more difficult grammar.

Chaucer and the Middle Ages
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Chaucer was long called the ‘father of English literature’, and while his claim to be the origin of a national literature is necessarily more complicated that it was once thought, his body of work remains one of most astounding and wide-ranging of the medieval poets.

In this course we will read a selection of tales from his at turns comic and tragic Canterbury’s Tales, before turning to his epic masterpiece of doomed love under the walls of ancient Troy, Troilus and Criseyde. All works will be read in the original Middle English, and as part of the course students will develop a familiarity and grasp of beauty and complexity of Chaucer’s late fourteenth-century language, and with the late-medieval world reflected in it.

Renaissance Studies (Full course title: Experiment and Conversion in Early Modern Britain and Its Worlds)
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

A loosely thematic introduction to the (non-dramatic) literature of the British Renaissance from roughly More's Utopia (1516) to Bacon's New Atlantis (1627), with an extensive sampling of poetry, and occasional detours into the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The experiments and conversions in view will be literary, scientific, religious, ecological and more broadly cultural. Central questions posed by the course will include: How does the world change? How do we change (our) worlds? How do we know change when we see it? The main assigned text will be The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Vol. 2: The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century, 3rd edition.

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

In this course we’ll look at Shakespeare’s non-dramatic poetry: ‘Venus and Adonis,’ the sonnets, and ‘The Rape of Lucrece.’ 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 1
TTh, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

This course takes as its starting point Peter Quince's words to Bottom the weaver: "Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art translated." This course we will consider the idea of translation as it is intended here: as metamorphosis, or to use another term relevant to Shakespeare’s contemporaries, conversion.

In our discussion of Shakespeare’s writing we will keep religious conversion in mind but we will also open up our definition of the term to include other forms of transformation: alchemy and other physical alterations; sex changes and human-animal metamorphoses; changes of heart; environmental catastrophes; geo-political conversions; commercial exchanges; literary translations. We will also ask how literary forms of conversion (both poetic and dramatic) transformed their audiences by translating various kinds of knowledge.

Primary texts will likely include The Taming of the Shrew, Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, Cymbeline, The Sonnets, Venus and Adonis

Shakespeare and the Renaissance
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 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 ShrewThe Comedy of ErrorsTitus AndronicusThe Rape of LucreceRichard IIHenry VThe Merchant of Venice, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Shakespeare and the Renaissance
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 - 3:00 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 Shakespeare’s plays in the context of his particular moment in cultural history, when Renaissance Humanism began to falter, the emerging Sciences were challenging traditional knowledge in a number of spheres, emerging capitalism was displacing traditional ways of life, and religious, philosophical, and political controversy had become increasingly divisive. We will also examine aspects of domestic, sexual and social interaction relevant for the study of these works. Our readings of the drama will take into account the conditions influencing production, Elizabethan playing, and audience reception. A variety of different critical approaches will be explored, 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 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.. To enhance our understanding of the dramatic texts in their time, we will discuss brief selections from the works of Montaigne, Machiavelli, Giordano Bruno, and other important figures of the English and Continental Renaissance. Film versions of the plays will be viewed as time permits.

Plays: Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, King Lear, Coriolanus, Cymbeline; John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi

Course requirements: Students will be asked to write one researched term paper and one in-class essay, as well as a final exam.

Shakespeare and the Renaissance
Term C
Offered Online

Students who successfully complete ENGL 348A will have demonstrated an ability to read and to analyze the richness of Shakespeare’s language, dramatic characterization, and plotting; a familiarity with the economic, the intellectual, the political, the religious, the sexual, and the social conditions of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England and how these conditions may have informed Shakespeare’s plays; and a thorough understanding of the genres and theatrical conventions Shakespeare employed on the Renaissance stage. Students will thus be asked in this course to regard Shakespeare, a literary figure often acclaimed for the timelessness of his art, as a playwright, in the first instance, of his own time. We will study the following plays: Titus Andronicus, Henry V, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, and The Winter's Tale.

See full course information here.

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

This course proposes to bring drama, poetry and pictures together on a number of historical and aesthetic planes. We will explore the tensions between words and images that were figured in the religious discourses of the early modern period. We will look at poetic figures that ask readers to see pictures and we will consider moments of lyric introspection in plays that beg spectators to hear words. We will consider the role of vision and audition in the reception of both poetry and drama and we will compare private reading to the experience of public viewing. We will explore how writers conceptualized the differences between stage and page and we will think of what it means to understand literary works as visual things, not entirely different from paintings, prints and statues. We will also take stock of the developing publishing industry, the rise of the commercial theatres in London and the growing interest in prints and art collecting.

Authors studied will include: William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Webster, Aemelia Lanyer, John Donne, Andrew Marvell, George Herbert, John Milton and Aphra Behn.

Milton and the Seventeenth Century
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

In this course we’ll look at some of the numerous poems of Milton’s that focus on the idea of testing. Throughout his life, Milton was concerned with the idea that virtues of all sorts must be demonstrated in action and concerned by the failures that these tests might produce. And for him this was not an abstract issue but rather one that concerned him personally, especially in his poetic vocation. We’ll read “A Mask (Comus),” Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. Our pace will be brisk, but not punishingly so.

Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Studies
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

The Eighteenth Century is the period in which the novel begins to displace drama as the pre-eminent literary art-form in Britain. Nonetheless, the figure of the theatre remains a favourite metaphor for thinkers and writers of all kinds, and exercises an important influence in the development of prose fiction. In order to explore the implications of the idea of theatricality in eighteenth-century literature, students enrolled in this course will study three dramas by male playwrights (The Beggar’s Opera, John Gay; She Stoops to Conquer, Oliver Goldsmith; The School for Scandal, Richard Sheridan) and three fictions by female novelists (Love in Excess, Eliza Haywood; The Female Quixote, Charlotte Lennox; Mansfield Park, Jane Austen).  Excerpts in a course custom package will also sketch out some famous philosophical appropriations of the figure of the theatre, including a couple of chapters of Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments.

Studies in an Eighteenth-Century Genre
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

The century that separates the portraits of Montagu Drake and the Wood children saw many changes in how children were understood and treated.  By the end of the eighteenth century, for example, almost no one took seriously any more John Locke’s belief that children should be prepared for the demands of adult life through cold baths, hard beds, and leaky shoes; and, as Lawrence Stone notes, parental practices of giving more than one child the same name and recycling the names of dead children had more or less died out. In this course, we will examine how seventeenth- and eighteenth- century beliefs about childhood influenced writing for and about children and adolescents. We will consider such matters as parent-child relations, the models of education proposed by John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the rise of literature for young readers, and the commodification of childhood. Throughout the course, we will place particular emphasis on the connections between the educational theory of the time and children’s reading.

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

This course explores the literature of the Romantic period from a predominantly philosophical perspective.  Romanticism is the literary movement sparked by the emergence of the same forms of democratic politics and capitalist economy that organize our world today.  As such, defining aims of Romanticism also remain basic functions of culture and literature today:  questioning established power and convention, and advocating individual perspective, expression and performance.  Romanticism changed the basic function of literature from that of representing the world to that of creating it.  If democratic, capitalist society is governed principally by the choices of individuals who required no guide beyond their own freedom, then Romantic literature attempts to give concrete form and purpose to such freedom.  Readings will emphasize poetry but also include fiction and philosophy.  Course work will include online discussion, take-home essays and final exam.

Studies in Romanticism
Term 2
MWF, 1:00-2:00 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 “experience of the individual. . . becomes limited to a tiny corner of the social world. . . . But the truth 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, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

“I know that ghosts have wandered on the earth.” – Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

Whether we take Edith Cushing, Abraham Van Helsing, and Heathcliff at their word, the 19th-century Gothic revival certainly emphasized possibilities for horror and terror in tales of the supernatural. However, these interventions of un-dead beings often take place in the recognizable present; they speak to its anxieties. Perhaps they speak to ours as well, given our recent fascination with Neo-Victorian texts such as Penny Dreadful, From Hell, Crimson Peak, etc. As we journey into the dark days of autumn, we will address issues of gender and sexuality; class, race, and culture; realism and the supernatural; urban and rural settings, all in a century known for developments in science and technology, social upheaval, and a veneer of respectability, yet with monsters lurking in closets and under beds. The tentative core text list includes Wuthering Heights, Carmilla, Dracula, The Turn of the Screw, and short fiction including works by Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, M.R. James, Arthur Machen, Sheridan LeFanu, W.W. Jacobs, and E. Nesbit (and possibly others; we may even look at a few excerpts from the genuine penny dreadful serial, Varney the Vampire). We will consider the evolution of academic critical responses (as well as popular reaction) to such texts, 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 (this will be posted in late April or early May).

Studies in a Nineteenth-Century Genre
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

This course explores a prominent strand of nineteenth-century U.S. fiction that is distinguished by its concern to influence society and politics by appealing to and generating extreme audience feeling, whether terror or floods of tears. In addition to looking at the texts in the list below, we will be looking at theorists who try to explain how human emotion and intellect might be related to our apprehension of works of fiction.  Classes will consist of lectures, discussions, and small group work. Primary Texts include: Susanna Rowson, Charlotte Temple (1791); tales of Edgar Allan Poe, including, "Ligeia" (1834); "The Fall of the House of Usher" (1839); "The Black Cat" (1843); "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1842); “The Purloined Letter”(1844); tales of Nathaniel Hawthorne, including "The Birthmark" (1843) "Rappaccini's Daughter" (1844); Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852); Herman Melville, "The Paradise of Bachelors and The Tartarus of Maids" (1855); Rebecca Harding Davis, “Life in the Iron Mills” (1861); Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper" (1892); Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (1898); Kate Chopin, The Awakening (1899). We will also be reading theories of fear and disgust, including works by Sigmund Freud and Julia Kristeva.

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

In this course, we will read Victorian novels and novellas that takes up questions about what constitutes the self and how the self can be represented in narrative. We will read realist fiction along with works from subgenres such as fantasy and scientific romance. Readings will include Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, George Eliot’s The Lifted Veil, Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We will also consider the social and intellectual contexts of the fiction, discussing such topics as psychology, science, gender, and imperialism. Discussion and participation will be emphasized.

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

Called the “admiring bog” by Emily Dickinson, mass readership was a crucial part of the public emergence of the woman writer in the nineteenth century. In this course, we will explore this emergence from the point of view (as best we can approximate it) of the nineteenth-century American public, who regularly encountered women’s poetry and prose in a variety of contexts, including printed books, broadsides, newspapers, magazines, letters, and the soap box. In doing so, we will meet many voices concerned with defining the role of the poetess and professional writer, fighting slavery, mourning death, cultivating empathy, championing the vote for women, and making way for the New Woman. Readings will include selected prose by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, Sarah Josepha Hale, Fanny Fern, Sojourner Truth, and Susan B. Anthony; selected poetry by Emily Dickinson, Fidelia Hayward Cooke, Helen Hunt Jackson, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper; and Lillie Devereux Blake’s novel, Fettered for Life.

Nineteenth-Century Studies
Term A
Offered Online

This course focuses on 5 Victorian novels known for being sensational, not only in their plots, but in their challenges to the norms of their society. In these novels, we encounter women who refuse to be silent and obedient, and men who refuse to be respectable and self-controlled. Instead, by challenging class constraints, gender constraints and even the constraints of the physical world, characters such as Bertha Mason, Tess Durbeyville, Dr. Jekyll and Dorian Gray draw attention to the constructed nature of their world, and put themselves in danger of losing family, status and even selfhood. We will explore how rebels come to be seen as either mad or dangerous monsters that must be destroyed.

 Assigned novels: Jane Eyre, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Hard Times, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Picture of Dorian Gray

This is an online course, and the full description is here.

Studies in Prose Fiction
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

This course explores the recent scientific, theoretical and literary notion of  “posthumanism” using examples from well-known examples of science-fiction writing. The course will also consider posthumanism using elements from the technical, theoretical and philosophical work of scientists, philosophers and theorists.

Texts (the following list should be considered provisional; the correct texts and editions will be in the bookshop):

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818 edition)
  • Isaac Asimov, I, Robot
  • Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash
  • Greg Bear, Blood Music
  • Octavia Butler, Dawn

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

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

Studies in Prose Fiction
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

This course will introduce students to 19th and 20th century prose fiction from English-speaking countries as well as some works in translation. Text: The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 8th ed. Readings will include: Selections may include from the United States, Toni Cade Bambara, Ray Bradbury, Willa Cather, John Cheever, William Faulkner, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ernest Hemingway, Shirley Jackson, Ring Lardner, Herman Melville, Flannery O’Connor, Edgar Allan Poe, Jean Shepherd, Alice Walker, Edith Wharton; from the United Kingdom, Joseph Conrad; from New Zealand: Katherine Mansfield; in translation: Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy, Franz Kafka, Guy de Maupassant.

Requirements: 2 in-class essays: 2x15 = 30;1 term paper: 30; 1 final exam: 40

Modern Critical Theories
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 - 3:30 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? Inspired by the ecological turn in the humanities, this course offers a thumbnail of the transdisciplinary conversations shaping the environmental humanities and re-contouring the discipline of “English.” Our readings examine petro-politics in the age of oil, “slow violence” and the unseen, the labouring body, environmental racism and the settler-colonial state, queer ecologies, and new materialism. 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.

The History of the Book
Term 2
TTh, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

“Never judge a book by its cover,” we are often told, and yet we do judge books, not only by their covers, but also by their typefaces, their illustrations, and any number of other factors not apparently directly related to their content. This course will introduce students to book history, a discipline that unravels the complex relationships between particular books, the texts they contain, the cultures that produced them, and the readers who encounter them.

We will explore how materiality and meaning interact, in a range of historical and cultural contexts. Along the way, students will learn about the many forms texts have taken over the centuries, from oral recitations to ebooks, and everything in between.

A unique feature of this course is that we will meet regularly in Rare Books and Special Collections. Here, students will have the opportunity for hands-on experience with a wide collection of rare materials dating from the Middle Ages to the present. Course assignments will include explorations of typefaces, cover design, and non-print formats. For the final assignment, each class member will adopt a favourite item from the RBSC collection, and will research and write about it, to introduce it to a wide audience. The result will be a book blog (using UBC blogs or similar tools). Students will leave this course with both theoretical knowledge and practical experience concerning the history, and future, of media-text interactions.

Course text: Michelle Levy and Tom Mole, eds., The Broadview Reader in Book History

Twentieth-Century British and Irish Studies
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

This course explores the complex cultural legacies of watershed events in the history of Britain and Ireland: the Great War and the Easter Rising. Over one hundred years after the Proclamation of the Irish Republic in Dublin (April 1916) and the notorious losses at the Battle of the Somme (July 1916), we will reflect on the contested meanings of these fateful conflicts throughout the twentieth-century and beyond, meanings shaped differently in relation to class, creed, gender, generation, and nation. We will read selected poetry and fiction from Britain (Wilfred Owen, The Poems of Wilfred Owen; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Pat Barker, Another World) as well as drama and fiction from Ireland and Northern Ireland (Sean O’Casey, The Plough and the Stars; Frank McGuinness, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme; Sebastian Barry, A Long Long Way). We will study celebrated authors and canonical texts as we also attend to social and cultural history by engaging with documentaries, memorials, music, and propaganda. This course invites students to consider charged sites of individual and collective memory in Britain and Ireland through modern and contemporary literature as well as popular culture. Course requirements include participation, a group presentation, an annotated bibliography, a research essay, and a final examination.

Twentieth-Century British and Irish Studies
Term A
Online Course

This course examines developments in British writing and its milieu from the turn of the 20th century to 1930. Our readings provide the opportunity to explore the major preoccupations of various British and Irish modernists – preoccupations both aesthetic (including narrative voice, experiments in reproducing individual perception, novel shape and focus, the influence of visual arts movements) and political (including first wave feminism, questions concerning gender constructs, anti-industrialism, the end of empire). We’ll consider various constructions of the modernist canon, including the one created by the Leavisites and New Critics, the various revisions by feminists and post-colonial and race critics/historians in the latter half of the 20th century, and the versions presented more recently by the “new modernisms.” The course incorporates work from the big names – Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster – and from a less influential but perhaps equally interesting writer: Vita Sackville-West. Some discussion of the visual and plastic arts is also incorporated into the course. Reading beyond the text list in the relevant material and related texts from the period is, of course, encouraged. Where possible, you’ll access relevant supporting material, including films, through the wonderful UBC Library.

This is an online course, and the full description is here.

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

When Eloise Knapp Hay discusses T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land as a poem of “radical doubt and negation,” she argues that its city made no “convincing allusions… to St. Augustine's vision of interpenetration between the City of God and the City of Man in this world.” That vision of divine interpenetration was the unconscious of political fiction for many centuries, the eternalized Platonic Form of utopia. But toward what does political fiction point after the City of God becomes unavailable? Modernism and its scions carried out a lengthy thought-experiment through much of the twentieth century, devising new political fictions without the support of a divine guarantee of goodness. We will read a set of books whose politics are overt and whose aesthetic prowess is distinctive, but not straightforward. Possible readings: The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Heart of Darkness, Brave New World, It Can’t Happen Here, Animal Farm, The Man in the High Castle, The Dispossessed. Online discussion forum and other participation, midterm essay, final paper, final exam. More info at blogs.ubc.ca/jpaltin.

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

This course will explore spy fiction ranging from Conrad’s Under Western Eyes to John Le Carre’s A Perfect Spy.  Other authors will include Graham Greene, Elizabeth Bowen and Philip Roth.  How narrative represents stories of intrigue, deception and politics will form our theoretic discourse balanced by the treatment of locale, history and time. Questions to be asked include why spy fiction attracted novelists like Henry James, Joseph Conrad or Graham Greene and what explains the grip of the genre on readers: a love of secrets, a distrust of governments or a wish for revolutionary change?

Children's Literature
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

This section of English 468A will focus on representations of gender in a range of children’s texts, including fairy tales, fantasy and social realism. 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 contributions to cultural stereotypes of gender. Texts studied will include Little Women, Treasure Island, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables, Harriet the Spy, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Hunger Games and Luna. As well as focusing on the core texts, we will engage with theoretical perspectives on the nature of gender. 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 1
MWF, 3:00 - 4:00 p.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 graphic novels 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, adaptation theory, and reader response theory. Readings will include a variety of traditional tales as well as modern works by Emma Donoghue, Francesca Lia Block, Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, and Bill Willingham. A full description can be found here.

Children's Literature
Term 1
TTh, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

What children and youth appear in books written for children and young adults? Who is missing? Why are some childhoods considered fit for representation, and for reading by young people, and others less so? What social and cultural forces determine whether marginalized childhoods appear in fiction and how are they shaped for the reader’s consumption when they do? This course will centre childhoods often pushed into the margins of both literature and society, focusing chiefly on children with disabilities, transgender children, and indigenous children. While the children we will read about have the potential to disrupt the ableist, cissexist, and racist norms which inform much children’s literature, recuperative and assimilative impulses may also be at work in these books, insisting on reabsorbing such children into the norms they resist and disrupt; we, as readers, may be tempted to do the same. But who is served by such “fixes”? What cultural work is being accomplished when the texts we read, and perhaps the way we read them, erases the children and youth within them? Furthermore, what might such erasures signal to the young readers who encounter these books? In addition to reading canonical and contemporary novels for children and young adults, our readings will take in critical and theoretical writing from diverse disciplinary perspectives including, but not limited to, literary criticism, children’s studies, queer and trans theory, indigenous studies, transgender studies, and disability studies.

Children's Literature
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

The last two decades have seen a sharp rise in the popularity of literary dystopias aimed at adolescents. In these books, young protagonists are surveilled as terrorists, trained to be passive consumers, forced to engage in macabre versions of reality TV, and even vivisected to provide body parts and organs for transplant. Taking as our starting point the idea that dystopias represent the unintended consequences of utopian aspirations, this course will offer a survey of alternate futures in which attempts to address modern-day concerns—terrorism, race relations, reproductive rights, consumerism—lead to nightmarish futures in which social stability rests upon the regulation, and often exploitation, of the young. The reading list will include recent young-adult novels by Malorie Blackman, Cory Doctorow, M.T. Anderson, Neal Shusterman, and Suzanne Collins.

Children’s Literature
Term 2
T, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

This section of English 468A will explore a range of contemporary Canadian texts written for children. In discussions and written assignments, students will be asked to consider the extent to which social/historical factors have influenced the production of these works and whether they can be considered uniquely Canadian. Texts studied will include Money Boy, A Coyote Columbus Story, Him Standing, Skim, One in Every Crowd, Into the Ravine, The Night Wanderer, The Lotterys Plus One, Dust and Half World. 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 C
Offered Online

This section of ENGL 468 is offered online.

“You are always in danger in the forest, where no people are.” Angela Carter, “The Company of Wolves”

Danger and discovery stalk children’s literature in many ways. It so often focuses on successful (or not so successful) negotiation of the threats and learning opportunities in the intimate and public worlds around the child that “children’s” tales are often scarier than adult fiction. Not surprisingly, children’s literature has long been the focus of both fascination and controversy, and only more recently of full-on academic (theorizing) attention. In this course, we will study a broad selection of texts, most specifically through a literary/cultural studies lens, exploring their (sometimes) evolving genre features and the ways assumptions about audiences have shifted over time and according to various theorists. We’ll start with familiar (and not-so-familiar) oral-tradition folk/fairytales, to consider how their recurring devices establish tropes still commonly used in children’s adventure-quest stories. Then we will stray from the path and consider how texts that assume a mostly young readership might challenge or subvert perceived boundaries and conventions, especially in representing discovery or peril. The core text list includes an anthology of folk/fairytales; Treasure Island; Anne of Green Gables; The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; The Witches; Coraline; Skim; and The Hunger Games (Note: two or three of the novels may be replaced). Evaluation will be based on two short papers, a term paper, and an essay-based final examination, all focused on literary textual analysis, as well as on contribution to online discussion. Please check my blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/ for a fuller description of the course, its texts (any updates will be posted by October), and its requirements.

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

In this course we will explore topics such as oral narratives, 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, encounters, amalgamation, 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. Genres to be studied include auto/biography, fiction, poetry, theatre, recorded performance and music. Our discussions of the Black Atlantic across these genres will be guided by the following questions, considered within the Canadian context: What similarities and differences exist across historical and contemporary representations of blackness, between self-representations and representations by others? How do the particularities of economies, language, and/or dialects, physical and social-cultural geographies inform Black Atlantic discourse? How does Canada matter in relation to the Black Atlantic?

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

Three interrelated areas of prominence in contemporary Canadian literary studies sit at the core of this section of English 470: First Nations studies, critical multiculturalism studies, and environmental studies. We will examine the intersections of culture, social justice, politics, and art in a range of texts that are geographically diverse, culturally diverse, and generically diverse. We will also consider how authors creatively address and engage ideas about identity, history, food, ethnicity, racism, family, decolonization, politics, gender, violence, and more.  And we will reflect on how Canadian literature participates in a global literary economy by thinking about how books are produced, received, and circulated in Canada and around the world.  Some of the authors to be studied might include Emma Donaghue, Dionne Brand, Vincent Lam, Eden Robinson, Ruth Ozeki, Rita Wong, Thomas King, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, E. Pauline Johnson, Lawrence Hill, Andre Alexis, Madeline Thien, Rupi Kaur, Shani Mootoo, David Chariandy, and George Elliott Clarke.

Canadian Studies
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 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. Our literary archive spans a range of forms and genres, including drama, poetry, life writing, short story, and the novel.

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

I take my title from Joan Didion, with whom we'll start.  Topics to be engaged include California as lost promise and gothic nightmare in the 1960s; black/white race relations in the city, on the college campus, and in the military institution; the garden, the desert, the highway, the subdivision; gender ideals and misalignments; the American wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and at home; paranoia and conspiracy; the military-industrial complex; football; nuclear and chemical warfare; “Maps and mazes.  Of a thing which could not be put back.”  These books are mixed in their modes and genres:  essay, journalism, memoir, fiction, letter, phantasy, hallucination.  But in all of them America as historical idea, empire, landscape, and social reality is being described, imagined, (mis)remembered, dreamed.

Texts:

  • Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968)
  • Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (1965)
  • Don DeLillo, End Zone (1972)
  • Michael Herr, Dispatches (1977)
  • Stephen Wright, Meditations in Green (1983)
  • Ta Nehisi-Coates, Between the World and Me (2015)
  • Phil Klay, Redeployment (2014)

Requirements:

  • Regular attendance; active participation in classroom discussions - 10%
  • In-class essay - 15%
  • Two-page essay -15%
  • Four-page essay - 25%
  • Final Exam - 35%

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

This course will examine U.S. fiction (a good bit of it experimental in nature) primarily from the past twenty years. The themes and styles of the course will be eclectic and the concerns cosmopolitan, but a recurrent focus will be life under neoliberalism, the ideology of the past four decades that proposes market-based solutions to nearly all problems of political order, civic relations, and even self-valuation and identity. Our writers will propose images of exchange, value, commodification, and local and global community and commonwealth that often challenge neoliberal thinking and give us grounds for critique (or question whether critique is still something literary art regularly does). Texts are subject to change but likely to include many (not all) of the following: Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea, Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers, and selected short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri, Jennifer Egan, David Foster Wallace, George Saunders, John Edgar Wideman, Charles Johnson, Z.Z. Packer, and Lydia Davis. A handful of theoretical and historical readings are likely to be included as well.

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

This course welcomes poetry lovers, poetry haters, or those ambivalent poetry readers looking to graduate with more experience in the genre. We will consider how poems respond to crisis—public crises (eg. terrorism, war) and personal ones (e.g. loss)—as we also consider whether the genre is, as some warn, itself “in crisis.” Our goal will be to consider poetry’s role in the 21st century and we will do this through close readings of select poems as well as through discussions of films, novels, and essays. Is poetry dead, as critics seem perpetually to declare? Where does it lurk, on what occasions does it emerge, and how does it function in our social and political landscapes? In the first year of Donald Trump’s U.S. presidency (a year in which incendiary political statements have frequently been delivered in 140-characters) is poetry an urgent antidote to a changing public discourse – or is it simply beside the point?

Readings may include poetry by Carolyn Forché, Juliana Spahr, Amiri Baraka, Mark Nowak, Claudia Rankine, Ocean Vuong, Kenneth Goldsmith, Sina Querys, Sachiko Murakami, Dionne Brand, and/or rita wong. Other texts and films may include Ben Lerner’s recent book-length essay The Hatred of Poetry (from which the course takes part of its title), Nicholson Baker’s novel The Anthologist, the 1989 film Dead Poet’s Society, short videos from Robert Pinksy’s Favorite Poem Project, and a handful of popular and scholarly essays on the subject of poetry and contemporary culture.

Studies in Contempary Literature
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

This section of ENG 474 focuses exclusively on recent novels in which history plays a starring role. Organized by pairings (related to depictions of the lives of sexual minorities, Canadian Indigenous groups, and individuals of African descent), the readings examine history through at least two lenses: how an individual’s personal history and cultural context is presented as impacting both character and fate; and how authors wrestle with the depiction of bygone eras through stylistic or narratorial techniques.

Course texts include The Age of Cities (Grubisic), The Break (Vermette), George and Rue (Clarke), Kiss of the Fur Queen (Highway), The Parcel (Irani), and Trumpet (Kay).
Although none of the novels are notably long, having one or two read before the semester begins is highly recommended.

Studies in Contemporary Literature
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Welcome to 2018, the era of Facebook, Instagram, The Bachelor, and the Kardashians! This course will explore the complex and shifting contexts of the twenty-first century by examining literary manifestations of the Internet, social media, celebrity, pop culture, and reality TV. It will begin with William Gibson’s groundbreaking cyberpunk novel Neuromancer and its prescient popularization of the idea of cyberspace and hacker culture. How close is the text to current reality? How has reality evolved far beyond the novel’s imaginings? Next, we’ll consider the effects of social media on language, identity, celebrity aspirations, and relationships (Scott Westerfeld’s Extras; M.T. Anderson’s Feed) before moving onto a discussion of reality TV and the ascendancy of visual spectacle (Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games). The course will end by considering cyborg identity and artificial intelligence “Siri” interactions (Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell, Spike Jones’ film Her). Secondary critical texts will supplement discussion, as well as illustrations from current social media.

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

Drawing its title and structure from Neal McLeod's anthology, this course focuses on memory, place, and medicine in relation to both canonic and recent writing in Native North America. We will begin with Simpson and McAdam on the resurgence and revitalization of Indigenous knowledge systems, creating a framework for discussion of how the work of memory is enacted in texts ranging from Merasty's residential school narrative and Lindberg's recent novel to the challenges faced by Silko and King in the layering of competing systems of historical memory in the articulation of place. Medicine in the form of "poems as healing bundles" (Scofield) and in the form of political action through, e.g., Idle No More will contextualize Dumont's book as well as selections from such writers as Alexie, Harjo and Ortiz. The course engages with Indigenous poetics as political discourse and as contemporary expression of the medicine ways of oral history resurgent through environmental protests as much as poems.  Anti-racist pedagogy and decolonial perspectives are fundamental to English 476.

N.B.: All are welcome in English 476 but students who are new to Indigenous Studies should visit and study the Indigenous Foundations website  <http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/ as soon as possible. Chelsea Vowel's book Indigenous Writes - A guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada provides an excellent introduction.

Required Texts  (Provisional)

  • Tracey Lindberg, Birdie
  • Thomas King, Green Grass, Running Water
  • Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
  • Marilyn Dumont, The Pemmican Eaters
  • Joseph Merasty, The Education of Augie Merasty
  • Leanne Simpson, Islands of Decolonial Love
  • Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum), Nationhood Interrupted: Revitalizing nêhiyaw Legal Systems
  • Neal McLeod, ed., Indigenous Poetics in Canada
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.  The Survivors Speak
  • Selections from:  Sherman Alexie, Joy Harjo, Simon Ortiz.

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

The course description for this section is currently not available. Please contact the instructor.

Asian Diasporic Literatures
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Is Vancouver in Asia? This region has long been a centre for migrations from Asia that have shaped its cultural, linguistic, economic, and political landscape. This course examines fiction, film, new media, art, and experimental writing that explore Asian diasporic  experiences in Vancouver and elsewhere. Authors may include SKY Lee, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Ruth Ozeki, Kim Thuy, Richard Fung, and others. We will engage issues such as globalization, settler colonialism, refugee displacement, inter-generational memory, and the legacies of war with a view toward connecting what we study to social dynamics outside the classroom. Students will have the opportunity to learn and apply skills in digital media creation for projects that engage with local communities.

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Upper-Level Writing

Technical Writing
Term 2
TTh, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

This course examines the principles of written, oral, and visual communication (including online) 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) or a set of instructions, as well as participation in classroom and online discussion and activities (Note: this will be a blended course, with both classroom and online components and requirements; more information will follow on my blog, linked below). 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, to be posted by late April/early May. As well, please note that while technical competence in writing is required, the course will not cover grammar and mechanics. This course is closed to first- and second-year students in Arts, and cannot be used for credit towards the English Major or Minor.

Technical Writing
Term A
Online Course

This section of ENGL 301 is offered online. To  see the course description, click here.

Technical Writing
Term C
Online Course

This section of ENGL 301 is offered online. To  see the course description, click here.

Advanced Composition
Term C
Online Course

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? Do you want to figure out how to make the strongest impact on your readers? Are you interested in exploring the differences between writing for, say, The Vancouver Sun, The Guardian, Vice, 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. The class 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. We will start by working our way through an overview of traditional Artistotelian (or classical) rhetoric, but we’ll also consider 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, hopefully 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 aim for and actually do submit that article for publication).

This is an online course, and the full description is here.

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Majors and Honours Seminars

An Introduction to English Honours
Terms 1 and 2
MWF, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Term 1: English literature has deep cultural roots, and we’ll spend Term 1 exploring how English-speaking peoples and their forebears used their voices to share their stories and make their worlds.  From the Angles and Saxons through the Norman Middle Ages, to Elizabethan England and the traumas of the Reformation and the Revolution, we’ll study how literary works made, and reflect on, the social networks of earlier eras.  We’ll have a rare-books field-trip and a film festival during Term 1.

Term 2: we’ll highlight in more recent works particular moments of cultural change and the literatures that inform them, as well as tracking the shifts in particular genres over time.  Early and late novels about rogues, vagabonds, and slaves; the poetic elegy and its transformation; the Harlem Renaissance and African-American protest;  Maritime voices. We’ll also have a film festival this term.

Each term we’ll learn together through student-led seminars on special topics and writing and library workshops.

Seminar for English Honours
Term 2
MWF, 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 a range of primary theoretical writings representing the schools and movements that have had the strongest influence on recent literary criticism including deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, Marxism, queer theory, 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 report, and two papers.

Seminar for English Honours
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 - 12:30

The description for this section of ENGL 211 is currently unavailable. Please contact the instructor directly.

Language Majors Seminar
Term 1
F, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Most students of English are taught some or all of the following prescriptive rules:

Use fewer with a countable noun and less with a non-countable noun (e.g. fewer coins, less money).

Say It is I not It is me. Do not say Me and Jane went to the mall.

Do not use a double negative: don’t say I don’t want no more trouble.

Do not split an infinitive: don’t say I want to carefully examine the evidence.

Use the subjunctive in if-clauses: say If I were a bit taller, not If I was a bit taller.

Do not use singular ‘they’: say Everyone should take his/ his or her seats, not Everyone should take their seats.

Datum is a singular, data is a plural: say the data were complex, not the data was complex.

To what extent do speakers of contemporary English actually follow prescriptive rules? In order to determine what current usage actually is, this course studies the use of prescriptive rules in examples of spoken and written contemporary English. Students will learn the basics of corpus linguistics, or the study of naturally-occurring language on the basis of electronic collections of text (corpora). Following a set of graded exercises, students will undertake an individualized research topic by studying the use of a particular prescriptive rule in, among others, the Corpus of Contemporary American English, the British National Corpus, and the Strathy Corpus of Canadian English.

The course will also introduce students to the nature and history of prescriptivism in English.

For a taste of what is involved in this course, view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugf_yCelFE4

Textbooks:

Hans Lindquist, Corpus Linguistics and the Description of English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.
Curzan, Anne. 2014. Fixing English: Prescriptivism and Language History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Set of available readings (available through Connect)

Language Majors Seminar
Term 2
F, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Full Description

In pursuit of their political goals, social movements organize themselves to a large degree around language and through text. They introduce and repeat terms with which they position themselves and others in the political landscape. They develop visions of a future world through critical concepts and alternative phrases. They organize themselves into political associations and networked groups through written genres. They interact with authorities through established as well as subversive uses of text.

In this course, we will practice language and writing studies approaches to both historical and contemporary social and political movements. We will consider genre analysis, activity system analysis, critical discourse analysis (particularly, framing), and rhetorical analysis, and linguistic analysis. You will be asked to develop a lesson to help us work with 2 articles from our required readings. In our research project you are asked to adopt one of the forms of analysis that the course introduces and will apply it to a corpus of texts that you will collect from a social or political movement of your choice. See full course outline here.

 

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
T, 12:00 - 2:00 p.m.

This course will offer detailed studies of selected short-fiction classics in English. Text: The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 8th ed. Selections may include: from the United States, Willa Cather, John Cheever, William Faulkner, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ernest Hemingway, Shirley Jackson, Herman Melville, Flannery O’Connor, Edgar Allan Poe, Alice Walker, Edith Wharton; from the United Kingdom, Joseph Conrad; from New Zealand: Katherine Mansfield; in translation: Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy, Franz Kafka, Guy de Maupassant. Requirements: 1 in-class presentation: 20; 1 in-class essay: 20; 1 term paper: 40; participation: 20.

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

This course traces the development of popular music from the blues through some of the varieties of rock n roll, folk, hip-hop and house.  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 begin answering the questions 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.'  In addition to music, music-video and film, course texts will include fiction, poetry, philosophy and cultural, media and music theory from the Romantic period through the present.   WARNING:  REQUIRED THEORETICAL READINGS IN THIS CLASS ARE EXTREMELY TECHNICAL AND CHALLENGING.  Students are required to contribute personal musical interests in class discussion and coursework.  The latter will consist of online discussion, two take-home essays, and class presentations on self-selected examples of pop music.

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

Though it is often associated with the Romantic and Victorian periods, the Gothic and its many genres (horror, thriller, mystery) has thrived in the contemporary literary scene, and nowhere more prominently than in Scotland. This has everything to do with the fact that Scotland is itself a “Gothic” nation, or the ghost of one, often characterised as the mysterious, twisted double of the more proper England. Indeed, other persistent gothic themes like the dismembered body, suspense and secrecy, history and memory, decadence and drugs, dreams and nightmares, ghosts and monsters, religion and superstition, have all played a part in defining the Scottish “national character” (for good or ill) during the last few decades.  In this seminar, we will investigate these gothic tropes and themes in a range of Scottish novels, short fiction, and films, focusing in particular on what they tell us about regional or historical identities in the era of post-colonialism, devolution, and Brexit. After reading a few (short) examples of Scottish Gothic tales from the 19th and early 20th centuries, we will examine a selection of recent work by Janice Galloway, James Robertson, Alan Warner, Linda Cracknell, Jenni Fagan, Irvine Welsh, Jess Richards, and Peter May, as well as films by Danny Boyle, David Mackenzie, and Neil Marshall. Note: the list of authors is subject to change.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
Th, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

How do stories travel? What books get read around the world? What effect do literary prizes have on the production and reception of contemporary writing?   What makes a book a bestseller? What is the impact of sales on publishing choices? Whose books get reviewed? Why?  What role do reviews play in the reception of a work? Are novels depoliticized when they travel? In this class we will explore contemporary world literature (with fiction from Canada, England, Pakistan, South Africa, and Zimbabwe) by looking at novels that have garnered readers internationally. We will consider how literature is produced, received, and circulated globally.  Examining a series of novels from the past decade alongside ideas and theories about the literary economy, we will also consider issues of class, gender, global cultures, decolonization, cosmopolitanism, language, diaspora, terrorism, sexual violence, and the environment—in short, many of the key issues in literature today.

Authors to be studied might include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Teju Cole, Arvind Adiga, NoViolent Bulawayo, Ruth Ozeki, Emma Donoghue, Lauren Beukes, Kamila Shamsie, Mohsin Hamid, and others.

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

This seminar will introduce students to the challenging, messy, and highly rewarding work of archival research through the analysis of archival materials in both digital and print forms, and broader considerations of the archive as a cultural institution. We will work with materials from UBC’s Rare Books & Special Collections (RBSC), including family papers, such as diaries, scrapbooks, letters, and photo albums, historical documents, literary manuscripts, and ephemera. As significant cultural institutions, archives, like literature, both create and reflect larger cultural values and knowledge production, and we will be think about these implications of the archives we discuss.  Whose materials, and what kinds of experiences, are “important” enough to be kept, and why? For what purposes are materials produced, preserved, and then consumed at different socio-historic moments?  Issues of power, memory, authority, and authenticity are compelling concerns that connect literary and archival studies in considerations of how and what cultures remember. Throughout the course we will read relevant scholarship from archival and literary studies to inform our understandings of how archives work, why they matter, and whose interests they might serve. In addition to contributing to weekly discussions, students will participate in a roundtable, write an archival analysis essay, and, in a group project, produce an archival exhibit or edition. By the end of the course, students will have gained considerable experience with new research methods and theoretical frameworks. Note: Students should expect to spend significant out-of-class time doing research in Rare Books and Special Collections, since these materials are only available in the archive.

Literature Majors Seminar
co-listed with ENGL 491C (Honours Seminar)
Term 2
Th, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Theorist Sara Ahmed asks "How does multiculturalism reinvent ‘the nation’ over the bodies of strangers?  How does the act of ‘welcoming the stranger’ serve to constitute the nation? How is the ‘we’ of the nation affirmed through the difference of the ‘stranger cultures’ rather than against it?  […]  who is the   ‘we’ of the nation if ‘they’ are here to stay?" These are the central questions of this seminar. We will begin by discussing of excerpts from Ahmed's Strange Encounters and Homi Bhabha's The Location of Culture and then consider some of the ways in which their critiques of the "nation" have been further developed by Thobani, Simpson, and Vowel. These theorists will help us to lay a foundation for discussion of literary works focused on resistance, displacement, and "stranger danger" by such contemporary settler and Indigenous writers as Jordan Abel, Oana Avasilichioaei, Marie Clements, Wayde Compton and Rita Wong.

Texts (provisional):

  • Jordan Abel, Injun (2016)
  • Sara Ahmed, Strange Encounters-- Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality (2000)
  • Marie Clements, The Edward Curtis Project
  • Paulette Regan, Unsettling the Settler Within--Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada (2010)
  • Sunera Thobani, Exalted Subjects--Studies in the Making of Race and Nation in Canada (2007)
  • Chelsea Vowel, Indigenous Writes (2016)
  • Oana Avasilichioaei, feria: a poempark (2008)
  • Wayde Compton, The 49th Parallel Psalm (1999)
  • Garry Thomas Morse, Discovery Passages (2010)
  • Rita Wong, Forage (2007)
  • Online coursepack including selections from Bhabha, The Location of Culture; Larissa Lai, Slanting I, Imagining We; Henderson & Wakeham, Reconciling Canada-Critical Perspectives on the Culture of Redress; Ahmed, "Declarations of Whiteness: The Non-Performativity of Anti-Racism"; Leanne Simpson essays.

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

This course will use questions about pattern recognition, coincidence and pseudoscience to guide an exploration of the relations between conspiracy theory and literary thinking. In particular, it will consider conspiracy theory as literary thinking applied to reality.

Suggested course texts (N.B.: this list could change):

Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, The Illuminatus! Trilogy; Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum; Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49; Don DeLillo, Libra; Richard Condon, The Manchurian Candidate; George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Suggested background reading (N.B.: this list of suggestions will be subject to revision): Matthew R. X. Dentith, The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories; Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social; Jacques Derrida, Dissemination; Arthur Koestler, The Roots of Coincidence.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2
F, 12:00 - 2:00 p.m.

In this seminar we will read a series of essential works on these wars to establish a base from which to explore some pathways of future research and inquiry.  We will also, together, seek to compile a comprehensive and annotated bibliography of the Canadian war in Afghanistan.  (What did Canadian soldiers do, and what did they endure in the war?  How do they represent their experience, in itself and with respect to such key matters as the War on Terror, state building, economic development, democracy, women's rights, the opium trade, civilian casualties, friendly fire, and the Taliban?  To what extent was the Canadian military involved with U.S. and NATO military forces and intelligence services in the rounding up of “detainees” and “enemy combatants” for imprisonment, torture, and rendition?  How do the soldiers speak, and write, about coming home?  How might we reckon the costs of the war?).

As Franz Fanon observed in 1961 of the French war in Algeria, "the recruits dispatched from the métropole are not always sent of their own free will and in some cases even are sickened by this war" (The Wretched of the Earth).  To what extent was this also true of the American wars in Vietnam and Iraq, and the American, NATO, and Canadian war in Afghanistan?  To find out, we will read the soldiers’ testimonies in stories, novels, memoirs, reports, and transcribed oral histories.  We’ll also engage narrative accounts produced by doctors, nurses, reporters, prisoners, and “detainees.”  This material will enable us to deepen our understanding of an unfolding catastrophe, the long patterns of compulsive repetition that extend from the war in Vietnam through the wars in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan and, now, Syria and beyond:  the violent collision of Western "innocence" with uncanny and opaque cultures and geographies; the spectacle of national ideologies dumbfounded by slow-motion military and political defeat.

There will be two reading lists.  The primary list will be common to all participants in the seminar, the basis of weekly discussions and presentations.  Participants will also explore and help to compile a secondary reading list--a dynamic and open-ended one--in support of a series of independent research projects, both small and large.

An outline of such readings, to be sorted into primary and secondary lists (final selections will be made in the fall):

Ideological Origins, Vietnam, the Political Unconscious:

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Main-street” (1852)
  • Graham Green, The Quiet American (1955)
  • Lederer and Burdick, The Ugly American (1958)
  • Don DeLillo, End Zone (1972)
  • Michael Herr, Dispatches (1977)
  • Wallace Terry, ed.  Bloods:  Black Veterans of the Vietnam War (1985)
  • Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried (1990)
  • Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn (2010)

The Persian Gulf War:

  • Anthony Swofford, Jarhead: A Marine’s Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles      (2003)
  • Alex Vernon, The Eyes of Orion: Five Tank Lieutenants in the Persian Gulf War (2001)

Iraq:

  • Riverbend, Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq (2005)   http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/
  • Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds (2012)
  • Phil Klay, Redeployment (2014)
  • Siobhan Fallon, You Know When the Men are Gone (2012)
  • Dexter Filkins, The Forever War (2008)
  • David Finkel, The Good Soldiers (2009)

Afghanistan:

  • Christie Blatchford,  Fifteen Days:  Stories of Bravery, Friendship, Life and Death From Inside the New Canadian Army (2008)
  • Kevin Patterson, M.D. and Jane Warren, Outside the Wire:  The War in Afghanistan in     the Words of Its Participants.  Foreword by LGEN Roméo Dallaire (2007)
  • Graeme Smith,  The Dogs are Eating Them Now:  Our War in Afghanistan (2013)
  • Anand Gopal, No Good Men Among the Living:  America, the Taliban, and the War         Through Afghan Eyes (2014)
  • Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantanamo Diary.  Ed. Larry Siems (2015)
  • Bercuson and Granatstein, “Lessons Learned? What Canada Should Learn From Afghanistan” (2011)
  • Stories and poems by Benjamin Hertwig

Combat Medicine:

  • John A. Parrish, M.D., 12, 20 &5:  A Doctor's Year in Vietnam (1972)
  • Keith Walker, ed., A Piece of My Heart:  The Stories of Twenty-Six American Women       Who Served in Vietnam (1985)
  • Henry Hamilton, M.D., Phan Rang Chronicles:  A British Surgeon in Vietnam,      September, 1966-May, 1968 (2007)
  • Ronald J. Glasser, M.D., Wounded:  Vietnam to Iraq (2006)
  • Ann Jones, They Were Soldiers:  How the Wounded Return from America's Wars--The      Untold Story (2013)
  • David Finkel, Thank You for your Service.  (2013)

Theory:

  • Freud: “Remembering, Repeating, and Working Through” (1914), "Mourning and Melancholia" (1917), Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920)
  • Lacan: “Aggressivity in Psychoanalysis” (1948)
  • Baudrillard: The Gulf War Did Not Take Place (1991)
  • Zizek: Welcome to the Desert of the Real (2002)
  • Virilio, Desert Screen: War at the Speed of Light (2005)
  • Fanon, “Colonial War and Mental Disorders” [from The Wretched of the Earth] (1961)
  • Joan Didion, “Letter from Paradise, 21° 19' N., 157° 52' W” (1966)

Senior Honours Seminar (Theory)
Term 1
T, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

In this course, we address the relevance of studying poetic language use. More specifically, what can it benefit a student reading Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Heaney, or Al Purdy to be equipped with knowledge of areas like phonetics, grammar or semantics? To address this question, we will critically study core readings in stylistics, starting with Roman Jakobson’s famous call to study literature scientifically and objectively in his “Closing statement: Linguistics and poetics. This will be followed by studying an important milestone publication in the study of poetic language, A linguistic guide to English poetry by Geoffrey Leech, after which we will study selected contemporary stylistic readings of poetry. These are chosen from recent stylistics readers representing specializations ranging from contextualized stylistics (including the historical and social context), text worlds, the landscape of poetry, empirical studies of poetic language, corpus stylistics, computer-assisted stylistics, cognitive stylistics, and pedagogical stylistics. During the course, students will analyze numerous poetic texts in order to apply techniques, to replicate analyses and to evaluate the findings in the stylistic analyses studied.

Course requirements: presentation, prepared seminar discussions, research activities, and a final paper.

Senior Honours Seminar (Theory)
Term 1
W, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

What would it mean to reframe our work as readers and critics of “English" literature through the problem of translation and what critic Lydia Liu calls the “translingual practices” that have created the modern world? How do meanings and ideas trave” across languages and cultures? What happens to identity and subjectivity during those crossings? What kinds of worlds are created through translation, especially in post-colonial contexts? The first part of this seminar considers questions such as equivalence, functionality, and the status of the translated text by surveying influential theories of translation by Benjamin, Borges, Jakobsen, Derrida, and Steiner. The second part takes up the role of translingual practice in relation to histories of colonialism through writings by Spivak, Rafael, Sakai, and Apter. We will conclude with a consideration of quotidian practices in multilingual Vancouver through writings by Maracle and Kiyooka. While this is primarily a course in literary theory, we will also try some translation ourselves to situate our discussions. Please contact the instructor for finalized syllabus in August if you’d like to read ahead.

Senior Honours Seminar (Theory)
co-listed with ENGL 490-006
Term 2
Th, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Please see ENGL 490-006 for description.

Senior Honours Seminar (Theory)
Term 2
Th, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

This course will formulate, and respond to, questions of how public values about health and illness get taken up in personal bodies. It will track some ways that people are well or ill in the terms available, at a time and a place, to be well or ill in. Readings will take up three kinds of theory, primarily. The first is theory connected to Jonathan Metzl and Anna Kirkland’s “against health” thesis—the idea not that health is bad (obviously), but that health is a “prescribed state and an ideological position”: a “normativizing rhetoric” (Against Health 2). The second is theory from Ian Hacking’s “dynamic nominalism” and his account of “making up people.” “In some cases,” Hacking says, “our classifications and our classes conspire to emerge hand in hand, each egging each other on” (Historical Ontology 107). The third is rhetorical theory itself, and the course will serve as an introduction to a rhetorical approach to discourses of health and illness. A rhetorical approach invites us to consider, in the particular case, who is persuading whom of what, and what are the means of persuasion. The course will specify what rhetorical theorists/critics contribute to an interdisciplinary study of identity, agency, and subjectivity in a western culture in the grip of a discourse on health, risk, and disease.

Some of our readings will cross disciplines: For example, Metzl is a sociologist and psychiatrist, and Hacking is a philosopher. For the most part, though, we will focus on work by rhetorical theorists and critics, such as Lisa Keränen (on contested illness), Marika Seigel (on pregnancy), Jennell Johnson (on depression), and Christa Teston (on wearable technologies and the quantified self). We will read short pieces from the popular press and social media, as we turn our attention also to public discourse.

Note: This course requires no special preparation in rhetorical theory or in health and  medicine.

Senior Honours Seminar (Research)
Term 1
Th, 12:30 - 2:30 p.m.

In this seminar, we will trace the historical emergence of comics and of graphic texts for North American audiences through the mid-twentieth century in response to what’s recently been called the “great acceleration” of human culture, and we will spend some time thinking with and through Scott McCloud’s epochal framing (in 1992) of Comics Studies as a critical discipline (within and against Literary Studies). We will touch on contemporary approaches to the study of comics in relation to semiotics, critical materialism, formalism, and gender theory. And we will devote our attention to key texts in what’s now come to constitute the comics tradition, including comics and graphica co-created by Alan Moore, Lynda Barry, Kate Beaton, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jeff Lemire, Art Spiegelman, Kate Leth, Scott Snyder (and others selected by members of the seminar), focusing on their enmeshment in both literary and media histories and on the innovative (and sometimes disruptive) visual and textual tactics that inform their writing and thinking.

Senior Honours Seminar (Research)
Term 2
T, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

This course offers a selective exploration of twentieth-century American poetry and other writing attuned to experiences of radio. Beginning with two important nineteenth-century poets, Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson, who raise interesting questions of audience and intimacy, we then move into the twentieth-century to consider the strange phenomenon of radio, especially as theatrical experience, listening to and reading works by Orson Welles, Norman Corwin, and George Orwell. In the second half of the course we will study a handful of writers, poets, and composers who work closely with sound and sounded language (selections might include Gertrude Stein, John Cage, Jack Spicer, Frank O'Hara, Robert Ashley, Glenn Gould). Each of these offers a distinct poetics, that is, a way of thinking about how sounded language affects listeners or hearers. Along the way we will read theoretical work by Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Roland Barthes, and/or others.

Bear Garden

Senior Honours Seminar (Research)
Term 2
W, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Generations of scholars have observed the repeated references to bear baiting, hunting, and other violent “sports” involving animals in the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.  The most important bear garden was situated directly opposite the Globe playhouse on the south bank of the Thames.   To some degree, the two establishments shared an audience, and spectators would have brought the experience of one kind of  “entertainment” to their enjoyment of another.  The Hope Theatre acted as both a stage and a bear garden.  This course seeks to explore the interconnections between the neighboring spectacles of dramatic performance and animal baiting, both of which presented acts of cruelty, and to a greater or lesser degree generated compassionate responses.  Drawing on Animal Studies and other critical approaches, we will attempt to evaluate the ethos and pathos connected with both spaces, and investigate how the Renaissance theatre developed in relation to its rough twin.  We will focus also on changing concepts of humans and animals, and their relation to each other, beginning in classical antiquity and moving through medieval Europe to the English Renaissance.  To this end we will examine both theatrical texts and non-dramatic documents, from medieval bestiaries and animal trials to accounts of martyrdom and natural histories, observing the shifting paradigms in cultural, scientific and literary representations of animals, and especially of animals suffering.  We will attempt to ascertain how some of these changes reflect or influence the possibility of inter-species and same-species empathy.

Primary Texts:  William Shakespeare, Richard III, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale; Ben Jonson, Volpone, Bartholomew Fair; John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi

Secondary Texts: selections from Aristotle, De Anima, De Animalibus Historia; selections from Bestiary, trans. & ed. Richard Barber, selections from The Book of Beasts, Being a Translation from a Latin Bestiary of the Twelfth Century,  ed. & trans. T. H. White; selections from the York Corpus Christi Plays; selections from Geoffrey Chaucer, “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale”; selections from John Foxe, Actes and Monuments; selections from Michel de Montaigne, Apology for Raimond Sebond; Margaret Cavendish, “The Hunting of the Hare”

Combined Senior Honours & Majors Seminar (Research)
Term 2
W, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

King Lear as a comedy. Anthony and Cleopatra as romantic melodrama. Classical epistle as erotica. Moralist fiction as cultural subversive. Jane Austen and zombies. Eighteenth-century literature adapted classical and conventional literary forms in ways that interrogated contemporary cultural practice, and in recent years, the era has been a rich source of revisionist views of historical fiction and film. In this seminar we will examine the theory and practice of literary adaptation in and of the eighteenth century. First, we will first use a combination of modern and historical adaptation theory to examine practices of adaptation in the eighteenth century, including poetic forms like the classical imitation, dramatic rewritings of well-known plays, and literary hissing matches on the novel like the one around Richardson’s Pamela, Fielding’s Shamela, and Haywood’s The Anti-Pamela. Once we have come to terms with the cultural work being performed by the period’s own re-invention of its narratives, we will skip ahead to a final course section on modern adaptations of eighteenth-century narratives. Audience response to Lord of the Rings films aside, adaptation studies long ago left behind worrying about fidelity and came to address much more exciting questions: what are the critical implications of the choices made by adapters and what revisionist engagements of culture are embodied in these acts of artistic dialogue?

NOTE: this new form of seminar invites both English Honours and Majors Students (contact Donna Shanley, Undergraduate Program Assistant if you need help registering)

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English 500 will introduce first-year MA students to graduate-level research procedures and professional practices. The course will take the form of seminars and guest lectures that will cover a range of topics. Research- and course-related topics will include applying for grants, building bibliographies, practices of annotation and citation, archival research, and conceptualizing and writing a Master's thesis. Professional topics, such as how to present at conferences and how to apply for PhD programs, will also be covered.

There is currently no description available for this section of ENGL 500

Studies in the Twentieth Century
Term 1
Wednesdays 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

“Neither of us are English, we’re Londoners you see”
--Sammy, in Hanif Kureishi’s Sammy and Rosie Get Laid

This course will attempt to chart the urban and fictional landscape of the former imperial metropolis and conceptualize a London uneasily situated at the intersection of the material and the imaginary. We will read, watch, and listen to a selection of novels (Monica Ali, Brick Lane; Martin Amis, Money; Allan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty; Sam Selvon, Lonely Londoners; Iain Sinclair, London Orbital; Zadie Smith, NW; Rose Tremain, The Road Home); poetry (by Linton Kwesi Johnson); screenplays and films (Hanif Kureishi, My Beautiful Laundrette  and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid; Derek Jarman, Jubilee; Patrick Keeler, London; Mike Leigh, High Hopes); photographs (by Gilbert and George); and recordings (by The Clash and others), and through these address such issues as the representation of space in former imperial, now global, centers, and the processes of change (cultural, social, political, aesthetic) that such representations both respond to and produce.

We will debate the extent to which these fictions of London are intimately bound up not only with migrant and diasporic, colonial and postcolonial identities, but also with increasing, and in some instances highly troubled, political and cultural ties to Europe and America. Our aim will be to consider London as a complex and conflicted space of intercultural exchange where social and material inequalities are constantly challenged and resisted in imaginative representations within both literary and popular cultural forms.

Studies in Poetry
Term 1
Mondays 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

This seminar will explore the development, importance and popularity of the long poem in the modern period originating with Homer and Dante and continuing with Whitman, Pound, Eliot, Williams, Crane, Stevens, Ginsberg, Olson, Ashbery, Merrill and Anne Carson. Attention to the expansion of the long poem in relation to the efficacy of the epic in the modern period, with particular attention to American poets, will be matched by a shift to experimentation and the emergence of the confessional form (Whitman, Pound, Lowell, Ashbery). The attraction of the long poem to poets and readers will be considered, as well as the undoing of its form from a more conventional structure (re Dryden, Tennyson or Browning) to something new. What happened when Pound edited The Waste Land? Do The Cantos have a structure? Is there a system to Charles Olson’s Maximus Poems? Did Allen Ginsberg’s Howl re-make the long poem? Can the traditional form of the long poem as presented in the 17th,18th or 19th centuries contain the experiences it seeks to convey in the 20th or 21st?

A series of critical questions will drive the course: what does the long poem accomplish and why do they continue? Is a poetic sequence a long poem? Are multiple voices necessary? Can a single narrative sustain a long poem? Is Ashbery’s Flow Chart as structurally significant as Anne Carson’s The Autobiography of Red? Poetic concerns such as voice, imagery, structure, metre and theme will be of primary importance, as well as the influence of prose on the construction of the long poem. Is the novel responsible for the continuation or decline of the long poem? These and other questions will frame the course which will present a range of American authors and works such as Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” Pound’s The Pisan Canto, Ginsberg’s Howl and Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red. Secondary readings to include work by William Carlos Williams, Susan Howe, and James Merrill, all shadowed by Homer and Dante.

Studies in Literature and the Other Arts
Term 1
Thursdays 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Conceptual structures participate in meaning construction in a variety of artifacts. Our understanding of language, in everyday communication, cultural artifacts, as well as in literature, is governed by principles rooted in cognition - in the way we conceptualize the world around us. In processing language we are not simply relying on the meanings of words and on the use of grammatical structure. More accurately, we are using language expressions as prompts for mental construction of meanings.

In the course, we will study theories of communication and cognition (conceptual metaphor, blending, multimodal interaction) which offer new ways of analyzing the construction of meaning, in various contexts. We will apply the theories to a range of phenomena, especially those which participate in the expression of viewpoint. We will start with literary narratives and viewpoint forms in grammar, to then move on to the discussion of theatre and film. We will further consider visual artifacts (street art and advertising) and forms of on-line communication, such as memes. Students will familiarize themselves with the methodologies, to then apply the concepts they are interested in in the area of communication of their choice.  Students are encouraged to explore various areas of usage, literary or non-literary, to uncover the interpretive potential of the theories in focus and develop their own research projects.

Readings include a variety of scholarly articles and book chapters on cognitive approaches to figurative language, narrative, theatre, and visual artifacts. There will be no assigned literary texts, though there will be a number of examples to be discussed in class, to model informative analyses.

Studies in Rhetoric
Term 2
Wednesdays 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

This course aims for students to learn how to do rhetorical criticism through the lens of technology studies. Readings will be drawn primarily from the fields of rhetorical criticism and Science and Technology Studies [STS]. The course will begin with a survey of methodologies in traditional, text-based rhetorical criticism. Readings might include articles such as Walter Ong’s “Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought,” and Gordon Mitchell’s “Placebo Defense: Operation Desert Mirage? The Rhetoric of Patriot Missile Accuracy in the 1991 Persian Gulf War,” and Jenny Edbauer Rice’s “Rhetoric’s Mechanics: Retooling the Equipment of Writing Production.” Then the course will shift into examining both older and contemporary forays into the rhetoric of technology, or the ways that people argue, debate, advocate and dissent against technologies. Readings might include articles such as Mark Moore’s “Life, Liberty, and the Handgun,” and Peter Lyman’s “Information Superhighways, Virtual Communities, and Digital Libraries.” Along the way, students will also learn about the visual rhetoric of technologies with writings such as Robert Hariman’s and John Lucaites’s “Liberal Representation and Global Order: The Iconic Photograph from Tiananmen Square.” The latter portion of the course will consider ways that technologies are persuasive both by themselves and in assemblages with people. Readings will draw on contemporary rhetorical criticism, such as Laurie Gries’s “Dingrhetoriks,” Scot Barnett’s “Chiasms: Pathos, Phenomenology, and Object-Oriented Rhetorics,” and excerpts from Krista Kennedy’s Textual Curation: Authorship, Agency, and Technology in Wikipedia and the Chambers’ Cyclopedia, as well as STS scholarship that takes up current interests in object-oriented philosophies, new materialism, and assemblage theory by the likes of Jane Bennett, Bruno Latour, and Timothy Morton.

Studies in Old English
Term 1
Fridays 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

In the face of ecological crisis, new forms of criticism have arisen to rebuke and remedy unsustainable dualisms between (on the one hand) nature, the inanimate, animals, bodies, objects of study, and the feminine, and (on the other) humans, culture, mind, creativity, analysis, and the masculine. In various ways, ecocriticism and its related methodologies—animal studies, speculative realism, and science studies—have challenged some of the most cherished protocols of Western knowledge production. Because these structures of knowledge are so entangled with eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European thought, they have been particularly inadequate to the interpretation of earlier texts, or those produced far from colonial centers of knowledge production. Such literature, then, provides particularly rich opportunities for ecocritical analysis.

This course takes the Old English poem Beowulf, which has been a proving ground for so many theoretical regressions and renewals, as a case study for ecocritical and animal studies approaches to premodern literature. Inhuman forces (gold, seas, monsters, and many more) pervade this cryptic Old English tale of a warrior king, and the manuscript itself-- a thousand-year-old book that has been mistreated and badly burned, with ragged edges and missing pages—exerts its own curious pull on the critical imagination. What happens when we decenter the human characters and allow these powers full access to our attention? In addition to discussing some of the current debates within medieval (especially early medieval) studies on ecocriticism and animal studies, we will also investigate how periodization and the legacies of colonialism and nationalism have informed previous readings of Beowulf, and discuss what categories and concepts we might use going forward. We will read Thomas Meyer’s experimental translation, with its rich poetics of place, and take advantage of our own location in place and time to engage particularly with contemporary Canadian and indigenous ecocritics such as Peter Cole, Nicole Shukin, Pauline Wakeham, and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.

The course texts will include Liuzza’s facing-page translation, Meyer’s translation, and a course reader. The course is designed to allow students with a background in Old English
to work in the original (using either Liuzza or the standard scholarly edition, Klaeber). Students without proficiency in Old English are welcome to read Beowulf in translation
and choose their own early texts (broadly defined) for the final research paper.

Student evaluation is based on seminar participation (20%), presentation (20%), research abstract and bibliography (20%), and seminar paper (40%).

Studies in Renaissance
Term 1
Tuesdays 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

This course takes as its starting point Peter Quince's words to Bottom the weaver: "Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art translated." Over the course of the next 13 weeks we will consider the idea of translation as it is intended here: as transformation, or to use another term relevant to early moderns, conversion.

From around 1400 to 1700, Europeans converted their religious, social, political, and even sexual identities-sometimes voluntarily, sometimes by force. While theatrical play-acting and religious conversion might seem like opposites, the stage's critics and its defenders alike argued for the potential of the medium to effect material and affective transformations both on and off $,e stage.

In order to make our topic more far-reaching we will open up what counts as conversion, positioning religious conversion as but one kind of transformation within a field of interrelated variant forms that includes geopolitical reorientation, climate and environmental change, material transformation, commercial exchange, literary translation, class and sex change, and human-animal metamorphosis. We will ask, how did the theatrical forms of conversion translate knowledge and experience for early moderns, and how did theatre and theatricality integrate, critique, and enable forms of conversion? Are there aspects of theatricality and performance that depend upon an economy of conversion- page into  stage, actor into role, audience into participants -regardless of, or in addition to, the capacities of theatre to represent moments of conversion on stage? How do Medieval and Protestant forms of drama compare to the dramas of conversion performed in the newly opened public theatres?

The course is being offered in conjunction with the Early Modern Conversions Project (www.earlymodernconversion.com)

Primary texts will include a selection of the following:

  • The Second Shepherd's Play
  • The Coxton Play of the Sacrament Everyman
  • Lewis Wager, The Life and Repentaunce of Marie Magdalene
  • John Lily, Gallathea
  • Thomas Kyd, The Spanish  Tragedy Ben Jonson, The Alchemist Christopher Marlowe, Dr. Faustus
  • William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, King Lear, Taming of the Shrew
  • John Webster, The White Devil
  • Thomas Middleton,  The Changeling

Dramatic material will be supplemented by primary material on the topic of conversion from the medieval and early modern period as well as relevant theoretical reading.

Studies in the Seventeenth Century
Term 2
Wednesdays 1:00 - 4:00 pm.

Milton is often thought of and presented as a straightforwardly masculine (and masculinist) figure. Closer examination shows that the reality—both in his works and in his writings—is much more complex: Milton is both a queerer and a less certain figure than he has usually been portrayed. Considerations of how men should act and how masculinity can be defined were important to Milton throughout his career, so we’ll look at a number of his works, with particular attention paid to Paradise Lost.

Studies in the Eighteenth Century
Term 2
Fridays 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

This seminar has three intersecting goals: to introduce participants to the multidisciplinary literature on the history of sensation; to explore the emergence of what we now understand as philosophical aesthetics from its origins in aesthesis—sensation—and the continuing relations between these fields, in the philosophy and science of the seventeenth through early nineteenth centuries; and to participate in the project of exploring a body of literature from the perspective of the senses in history. We will pay particular attention to questions about the spatiality of taste, the notion of history as an object of sensation and perception, and the problem of uneven development. We will pursue these topics through the lens of studies in European (British, Irish, and German) Romanticism, a field to which the problem of sensation is especially germane for reasons rooted largely in political and philosophical history. Major texts will include Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Smith’s Beachy Head, De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Owenson’s The Missionary, M. Shelley’s Frankenstein, and major lyrics by Wordsworth, P. Shelley, and Keats.

Studies in the Twentieth Century
Term 2
Thursdays 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), arguably the most celebrated woman writer of the twentieth century, lived in a period punctuated by devastating international conflicts, including the First World War (1914-1918), the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), and the Second World War (1939-1945). As a member of the Bloomsbury group, she associated with influential artists and intellectuals such as J. M. Keynes and Leonard Woolf, who intervened in public debates on the Treaty of Versailles (1919) and the League of Nations (1920-1946), respectively. For her part, Woolf reflected on the causes and effects of hostilities in occasional writings, polemical essays, experimental novels, and late fictions. Since the publication of the signal collection Virginia Woolf and War (1991), scholars have paid increasing attention to this pivotal concern in her oeuvre, which showcases intricate engagements with the interpersonal dynamics of aggression as well as trenchant observations on the state monopoly on violence. Indeed, commentators revisit Woolf’s writings on total war and the rise of fascism in light of the asymmetrical conflicts and resurgent fundamentalisms, both secular and religious, characterizing contemporary global strife. To what extent do Woolf’s innovative texts illuminate transhistorical problems at stake in studies of war? Conversely, how do her investigations of the origins and legacies of conflict expose ethicopolitical dilemmas–inequities, injuries, displacements, and divisions–particular to her era?

The seminar has three sections. In the first section, “Theorizing War,” we will read historical, philosophical, and sociological articles on changing military paradigms in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, accentuating concepts, contexts, and controversies central to recent scholarship in war studies. We will also grapple with key statements in Woolf criticism prior to our selected readings of Woolf’s occasional writings on war (ca. 1917-1940), followed by Three Guineas (1938). In the second section of the course, “Major Novels,” we will discuss prominent research on Woolf’s experimental fictions before we approach Jacob’s Room (1922) and Mrs. Dalloway (1925). Similarly, we will address noted critical readings on Woolf’s late novels before we interpret The Years (1937) and Between the Acts (1941). In the third section of the seminar, “Juxtapositions of War,” we will analyze pertinent interventions in Woolf studies that compare and/or contrast past and present conflicts. Finally, we will conclude with Saturday (2005), a novel by Ian McEwan (1948–) that recalls Woolf’s postwar fiction Mrs. Dalloway even as it explores shifting sociopolitical configurations after 9/11. In summary, this seminar orients students to multidisciplinary research in war studies; promotes familiarity with a range of texts in Woolf’s oeuvre; fosters critical fluency in current Woolf scholarship; and invites speculations on convergences and divergences between modernist and contemporary modes of writing war.

TEXTS (subject to minor modifications):

Virginia Woolf, occasional writings (ca. 1917-1940); Jacob’s Room (1922); Mrs. Dalloway (1925); The Years (1937); Three Guineas (1938); Between the Acts (1941); Ian McEwan, Saturday (2005); TBA, critical readings (ca. 1986-2016)

ASSIGNMENTS (subject to minor modifications):

Participation and Comment Sheets; Seminar Presentation; Annotated Bibliography; Final Essay

Studies in American Literature to 1890
Term 1
Wednesdays 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

This course will explore precursors of contemporary anti-racist movements like Black Lives Matter through an investigation of 19th-century fictional, non-fictional, poetic, and oratorical acts of resistance to slavery in the United States. Our primary texts will include Melville’s Benito Cereno (1855); William Wells Brown’s Clotel (1853); Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) and Dred (1856); Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861); Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig (1859); selections from Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Frances Harper and Charles Chesnutt; as well as Hamilton: The Musical.

The course will be organized around physical sites of resistance--the Ship, the Plantation Kitchen, the Attic, the Dismal Swamp, the Underground Railroad, etc.—as well as mediations of resistance—the Periodical, the Platform, the Convention, and the Stage.

Secondary works will include Ian Baucom’s Specters of the Atlantic; Kyla Wazana Tompkins’ Racial Indigestion; Lara Langer Cohen and Jordan Stein’s Early African American Print Culture; Daphne Brooks’ Bodily Dissent; and Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake.

Studies in American Literature Since 1890
Term 1
Tuesdays 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

This seminar will take up questions that have been at the center of readings of fiction in the late twentieth- and early twenty-first century: is postmodernism at an end, and if so, what comes next? Is fiction now in a phase of post-postmodernism? Of post-irony and a “new sincerity”? Or is neoliberalism—as it describes the intersection of post-1970s political economy, financialization, and the infiltration of capitalist markets into everyday life—the best rubric under which to read for patterns among contemporary writers? After gaining an understanding of what has been meant by “postmodernism,” we will read through a representative sample of major authors (most from the US, some from the UK) of the past two decades, as well as critics and theorists who have tackled the question of periodization, the continuing need for it, and what texts best exemplify whatever new phases there might be.

We will start with a few weeks on Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow and associated readings of it as the paradigmatic postmodern text (or even, as one critic has provocatively said in the past year, a text without which scholars would not have devised the category of the postmodern). From there we will take up about a half-dozen shorter works, ranging from the investment in sentiment in David Foster Wallace and George Saunders to the reinvention of gender and racial identities alongside postmodern tropes in Jennifer Egan, Zadie Smith, Paul Beatty, and Chang-rae Lee. The dissection of financial and corporate sureties in Don DeLillo and Tom McCarthy may also play a role. Reading critics as we move along, we will also dip into major essay collections with a variety of strong viewpoints on “capitalist realism” and the meaning of the designations “postmodern” and “postwar.” Students will lead discussion (probably in pairs), write a 5-page seminar paper for discussion, and research and write a final paper of 15 or so pages.

Fiction will include (list to be winnowed some) Paul Beatty, The Sellout; Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis; Jennifer Egan, Look at Me or The Keep (or possibly Manhattan Beach, due in early 2017); Chang-rae Lee, On Such a Full Sea; Tom McCarthy, Remainder or Satin Island; Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow; George Saunders, Tenth of December; Zadie Smith, NW; David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men or Oblivion. Critical excerpts (again, list tentative) will come from Giovanni Arrighi, The Long Twentieth Century; Walter Benn Michaels, “The Neoliberal Imagination”; Wendy Brown, Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution; Jason Gladstone, Daniel Worden, Andrew Hoberek, eds., Postmodern/Postwar and After: Rethinking American Literature; David Harvey, The Postmodern Condition and A Brief History of Neoliberalism; Mitchum Huehls, After Critique: Twenty-First Century Fiction in a Neoliberal Age; Adam Kelly, “David Foster Wallace and the New Sincerity in American Fiction”; Lee Konstantinou, Cool Characters: Irony and American Fiction; Brian McHale, Postmodernist Fiction; Alison Shonkwiler and Leigh Claire La Berge, eds., Reading Capitalist Realism.

Studies in Canadian Literature
Term 2
Tuesdays 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

From the history of the Road Allowance People to the recently memorialised “Highway of Tears,” roads figure prominently in Indigenous people’s collective and personal experiences of dispossession. Focusing on a selection of literature by Indigenous writers in Canada and the US, this course will examine histories of removal, relocation, and violence associated with roads. We will consider the racialised and gendered dimensions of mobility as we move from historical experiences of dislocation to the continued violence against Indigenous women specifically. Reading our corpus of texts in light of the distressing number of Indigenous women who have gone missing along stretches of highways, we will attempt to theorise what this violence suggests about the limits of mobility in a cultural moment feted for its increased circulation of people, capital, and information. What do such disappearances reveal about the spatialisation of race and the vulnerability of those deemed, in Tim Cresswell’s term, “out of place” in settled landscapes?

Our discussion will move beyond a specific focus on roads to theorize auto/mobility, industrial geographies, space, and borders more broadly. We will examine genealogies of segregation (the spatial politics of the reserve system, for instance) within historical and present contexts of settler colonialism. While this course examines struggles over spatial justice, we will also look at many instances where Indigenous communities redefined mobility: the Idle No More movement, which took its activism to roads and highways, the Nishiyuu walkers who undertook a 1600-kilometer trek from Hudson Bay to Ottawa in 2014, the Tobique women’s 1979 “100 Mile Walk,” the Oka blockades, the Stó:lo’s obstruction of the Canadian National rail line, and the February 14 Memorial March for Murdered and Missing Women are but a handful of instances where roads were transformed into sites of political resistance. Many of the authors whom we will read similarly recast mobility in ways that push past traumatic histories of forced relocation. We will consider acts of reterritorialisation, along with experiences of spatial violence, in light of global and transnational re-orientations.

Primary literary texts (subject to change):

  • Marie Clements, Burning Vision
and The Unnatural and Accidental Women

  • Tracey Lindberg, Birdie
  • Marilyn Dumont, “City View” poems
  • Tomson Highway, The Rez Sisters

  • Leonard Peltier, from Prison Writings: My Life is My Sun Dance
  • Leanne Simpson, “ishpadinaa”
  • Richard Van Camp, “Dogrib Midnight Runners”
  • Helena Maria Viramontes, Their Dogs Came with Them and Under the Feet of Jesus
  • Louise Erdrich, “The Blue Minivan”
  • Esther Belin, “Night Travel” and “Blues-ing on the Brown Vibe”

Theoretical and critical works:

Coursepack of essays by Rob Nixon, Steven J. Jackson, Fran Tonkiss, Sara Ahmed, Stephanie LeMenager, Eric Avila, Heather Turcotte, Tim Cresswell, Philip Deloria, David Theo Goldberg, Achille Mbembe, Sarah Sharma, Renya Ramirez, Audra Simpson, Jodi Byrd, Philip Deloria, and others.

Studies in Postcolonial Literature
Term 1
Tuesdays, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Over the past two decades, the generative political and intellectual frameworks for the analysis of racial capitalism (Cedric Robinson; Angela Davis; Robin Kelley) on the one hand and settler colonialism (Nira Yuval-Davis and Daiva K Stasiulis; Jodi Byrd; Patrick Wolfe) on the other have risen to prominence, but have rarely been put directly in dialogue. “Racial capitalism” clarifies the ways in which anti-Black racism has been a fundamental, not incidental, component to economic development and underdevelopment in the Atlantic world and beyond while “settler colonialism” brings into focus the logic of dispossession and replacement that organizes this particular form of invasion and habitation on Indigenous lands. Both interpretive schemas can help us think through the genealogies and discontinuities of slavery, settlement, and Indigenous dispossession.

By focusing on Indigenous and Black writings across the Americas (particularly those from Brazil, Canada, Guyana, and USA), this seminar will bring these critical fields into more fruitful conversation, and will grapple with why they often seem to be deployed separately to explain the legacies of gendered, racialized, and state sanctioned violence across the Americas.  We will work with the tantalizingly plural keyword “Americas” as a way to plot the traces of transnational and transcultural migration and displacements throughout the hemisphere. We will interrogate historical experiences of labor and production organized around the axis of capital and the world market (Quijano 2000), experiences that include slavery, genocide, serfdom, petty commodity production, reciprocity, and violent intimacies, at the same time that we explore the possibilities of hidden or potential solidarities, revolts, passions and generative intimacies.

Studies in Postcolonial Literature
Term 2
Thursdays, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
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Studies in Literary Theory
Term 2
Mondays 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

We live in an epoch that scientists have named the Anthropocene. But what, exactly, is that? This seems a question with an easy, if devastating, answer: the era of “man-made” (and irreversible) geologic change. In an effort to elaborate the complexities embedded in this answer, this seminar will introduce students to the multidisciplinary literatures that have recently and increasingly constellated around this designation. We shall examine scientific accounts that aim to establish (and ratify) the origin of the Anthropocene and to predict its global effects on climate and sea levels. We shall also read scholarship that critiques the underlying assumptions about the Anthropocene. We shall explore alternate nomenclatures for it (Anthrobscene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene) as well as the different narratives that these designations condense. And, finally, we shall take a semester-long view of the forms and formats that criticism has taken in response to the Anthropocene to measure, insofar as we can, whether this epoch is also changing the way scholars are conducting and communicating research.

Requirements are a seminar presentation, a book review, and a 15-page term paper.

Readings will likely include scientific materials by Stoermer, Crutzen, and the Working Group on the Anthropocene (WGA); critiques, essays, and alternate narratives by Lewis and Maslin, Luciano, Mentz, Boes and Marshall (and their contributors), Ahuja, Haraway, Latour, LeMenager, Moore, Parikka, Culbert, Aravamudan, Chakrabarty, and Morton. For good measure, we should also look at excerpts from Foucault’s Order of Things.

Studies in Literary Theory
Term 2
Thursdays, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Our counter revolutionary and reactionary political moment has called up a feminist resurgence of conflicting aims and immiscible traditions. What are the conditions for feminist theory in these times? What threads of feminist theory might we build upon in our critical scholarship as in our political lives? Firmly anchored in anti-colonial, postcolonial and feminist of colour critiques, we will investigate lineages and genealogies of theories of resistance organised around key topics and encounters. Mastery of the field is not prerequisite. A course in critical theory with diverse approaches (psychoanalytic, marxist, poststructuralist, posthuman, critical race).

Studies in Literature and the Other Arts
Term 2
Tuesdays 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 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, Susan Sontag's On Photography, and Kyo Maclear's Beclouded Visions.  We will also consider works of fiction, drama, poetry, 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, Marie Clement's The Edward Curtis Project,   Roy Miki's Mannequin Rising, 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.