2017 Summer

100-level Courses

Term 1
Mon & Wed, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.

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

Term 1
Mon & Wed, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Students in this course will read a romantic tragedy (Romeo and Juliet), a romantic comedy (Pride and Prejudice) and a story of survival (Into Thin Air: Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction account of 1996 Mount Everest disaster that killed nine climbers). There will also be a selection of poetry.  The readings are relatively brief and commensurate with what the human brain can absorb during six short weeks of warm and sunny weather. Owing to the brevity of the Summer Semester term, the course will focus on fewer texts, but will attempt to cover them in greater depth.

The course requires all students to make a single group presentation, valued at 20 %.

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to some of the skills of literary study, including the techniques of close reading.  There will be two marked in-class close-reading poetry assignments, one near the beginning of the course and one near the end.

Any student who wishes to take this course needs to attend the very first class.


  • Shakespeare, William.  Romeo and Juliet.
  • Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice.
  • Krakauer, Jon.  Into Thin Air.
  • Custom course package containing poetry.


  • Attendance and participation - 5 %
  • Group presentation - 20 %
  • In class assignment - 20 %
  • In-class close reading exercise - 10 %
  • At-home essay (1,000 words) - 25 %
  • Final exam - 20 %

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
Tue & Thu, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.

For this section of the course we''ll be reading two contemporary novels by Canadian authors (titles TBA), two plays by British and American authors (ditto), and a selection of thematically interrelated poetry from Canada, the US, and the UK.

In view of the brevity of the six-week summer semester, the course instructor highly recommends reading at least one - and preferably two - of the course texts before Day 1. These include two novels (George and Rue, This Location of Unknown Possibilities) and two plays (Fences, The Importance of Being Earnest)

Term 1
Tue & Thu, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

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

Term 1
Wed & Fri, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

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

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
Mon & Wed, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.

The renowned writer of weird fiction H.P. Lovecraft famously claimed that “the true weird tale has something more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains according to rule” – rather “a certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present.” This section of English 110 will consider drama, poetry, and prose fiction that meets these criteria: stories of monsters, demons, unfathomable horrors, metaphysical mystery, and cosmic awe. We will examine the ways that “weird” literature evokes emotions of wonder, fear, and disgust while engaging with political, social, and philosophical questions, interrogating boundaries, norms, and categories. Beginning with the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf, a blood-soaked tale of monster-hunting in a world governed by a cruel, inhuman fate or “wyrd,” we will trace the literary history of the weird, following it first through the otherworldly Wales of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the fallen, omen-haunted tragedy of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. After the weird wakes from the rationalist nap of Enlightenment we turn to the Romantic poetry of Blake and Coleridge, and then press on to Christina Rossetti’s sensuously malevolent “Goblin Market” and Sheridan le Fanu’s erotic vampire story “Carmilla.” The course concludes with a consideration of early twentieth-century weird fiction, including the short stories of Lovecraft, and with China Miéville’s “New Weird” novel The City & The City.

Term 2
Mon & Wed, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.

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

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
Tue & Thu, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

This section of English 110 will introduce students to basic elements of university-level literary study by examining a wide range of works in three genres: poetry, prose fiction, and drama.  These works are of various literary eras and by authors from diverse cultural backgrounds; a few were not originally written in English. Students will be taught methods of literary analysis that should enable them to read each work with care, appreciation, and (one hopes) enjoyment.


  • Two in-class essays, each worth 20%
  • One home essay (1000 words), worth 30%
  • Final exam, worth 30%

Text: Kelly J. Mays, The Norton Introduction to Literature, Portable Twelfth Edition (W.W. Norton, 2016)

Tentative reading list

Poems: William Shakespeare, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”; William Blake, “The Tyger”; Christina Rossetti, “In an Artist’s Studio”; Emily Dickinson, “She dealt her pretty words like Blades—”; Theodore Roethke, “My Papa’s Waltz”; Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”; Margaret Atwood, “Death of a Young Son by Drowning”; Li-Young Lee, “Persimmons”; Amit Majmudar, “Dothead”

Short stories: Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”; Anton Chekhov, “The Lady with the Dog”; Gabriel Garcia Márquez, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”; Toni Morrison, “Recitatif”; Jamaica Kincaid, “Girl”; Amy Tan, “A Pair of Tickets”; Jhumpa Lahiri, “Interpreter of Maladies”

Plays: William Shakespeare, Hamlet; Henrik Ibsen, A Doll House


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.

200-level Courses

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
MW, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

This course focuses on selected English writers of poetry, drama, and prose from the late 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%


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)

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 2
MW, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.
email: Kim.Trainor@ubc.ca
office: Buchanan Tower 421

This survey will concentrate on expressions of sacred and secular love and desire in the medieval and early modern periods. Texts we'll study include "Caedmon's Hymn;" "The Wife's Lament;" the writings of the mystics Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe; poems from Donne's Songs and Sonets and Elegies; Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. As a case study in form, we'll trace the evolution and scope of the sonnet in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Wyatt, Surrey, Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne, Wroth, Milton).

We'll also acquire a technical knowledge of the mechanics of poetry: metre and rhythm, syntax and line, diction, metaphor, rhetoric. We'll approach these poems and plays from the perspective of working poets—as if we were writing them. For your term paper you'll have the option to write your own sonnet.

Required Texts:

  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors Vol. A. The Middle Ages through the Restoration and the Eighteenth Century. General Ed. Stephen Greenblatt
  • Twelfth Night, Oxford UP

World Literature in English
Term 1
TTh, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.

“Strange how unimportant eyebrows can be, so long as there are two of them”: Place, the Other, and Cognitive Schema in Homemaking

"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

 We live by stories, we also live in them.  One way or another we are living the stories planted in us early or along the way, or we are also living the stories we planted – knowingly or unknowingly – in ourselves.  We live stories that either give our lives meaning or negate it with meaninglessness.  If we change the stories we live by, quite possibly we change our lives.” – Nigerian storyteller, Ben Okri

“Let no one say the past is dead.
The past is all about us and within.
Haunted by tribal memories, I know
This little now, this accidental present
Is not the all of me, whose long making
Is so much of the past.”   – Oodergoo Noonuccal (formerly Kath Walker), “The Past”


“Strange how unimportant eyebrows can be, so long as there are two of them,” says the omniscient narrator about Gemmy in Remembering Babylon, perhaps arguing for how obvious or natural conformity of behavior and visual similarity are to belonging.  The claim also incites an examination of the mechanisms, criteria and actions by which we do belong or feel at home.  We’ll investigate three core texts (Michael Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost, David Malouf’s Remembering Babylon, and Shaun Tan’s The Arrival) – set in the post-colonial/post-empire countries of Sri Lanka, Australia, and an imaginary New York, respectively – and two short stories and a selection of poetry.  We’ll discuss the role of outsiders (or ‘the other’), place, and cognitive schema in homemaking, modes of belonging and versions of home, and more importantly, come to some understandings of how the ideas of Empire – difference, the unknown, human-centric place, race (among others) – inform, condition, and construct place-specific belonging today, both in Vancouver and the places you call home. We’ll watch the Masterpiece Theater production of Andrea Levy’s Small Island too.

Canadian Literature
Term A
Offered Online

This section of ENGL 222 is offered online. Click here  to view full description.

300- and 400-level Courses

Technical Writing
Term A
Offered Online

This section of ENGL 301 is offered online. Click here to view description from Distance Education.

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

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

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

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.

Shakespeare and the Renaissance
Term 1
MW, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.

“For who so firm that cannot be seduced?” This course will focus on the dark art of rhetoric and the seduction scene. Over the course of these plays, we’ll see Shakespeare developing a more nuanced understanding of the rhetoric of lying. There are the lies of omission and the simple, easily exposed lies that rely on a gullible audience; there are the lies that eloquently appeal to higher principles; there are the cunning exercises in equivocation and double sense that release our subterranean vanities and resentments. Shakespeare shows that, in the mouth of a skilled practitioner, lies can be almost impossible to defense. We’ll read (in order) Henry VI 3, Richard III, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and Othello.

Nineteenth-Century Studies
Term A
Offered Online

This section of ENGL 364 is offered online. Click here to view full description.

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

American Studies
Term 1
TTh, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

In 2016, Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for “having created new poetic expressions with the great American song tradition.”  This section of English 472 explores the intersection between the literary and the musical in Dylan’s works by examining them within a bardic tradition that combines poetry with song.  We will take a cultural studies approach to the literary Bob Dylan, situating Dylan in his historical and material context, including the media culture of his time.  We will explore formal aspects of Dylan’s work--including musical and literary genres and bardic, epic, and lyric poetry--and theoretical frameworks for understanding his works and performances, including intertextual and versioning theory and performance theory.  We will also examine thematic elements in Dylan’s songs including nation and self, love and romance, social protest and religious conversion.  Course requirements include a short oral presentation, two research papers, and a blog or artist’s notebook.

Studies in Prose Fiction
Term 2
TTh, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Writing by African women has gained increasing prominence in the 21st century, but as Ama Ata Aidoo reminds us, “African women struggling both on behalf of themselves and on behalf of the wider community is very much a part of . . . [African] heritage. . . . So when we say that we are refusing to be overlooked we are only acting as daughters and grand-daughters of women who always refused to keep quiet.” The readings we will explore in this course, drawn from a range of countries, are entertaining, disturbing and disruptive, challenging the status quo and engaging with the socio-political impact of colonization as well as the difficulties facing post-colonial African societies and women.

Canadian Studies
Term 2
MW. 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

“Dear Pimple: There’s a WASP at the bottom of every Frontier Simile. If you don’t flush’em out they’ll surely knee-cap you. Otherwise, appropriate their awesome guile” (Kiyooka 14).

This course considers questions of “race,” culture, (post-)colonialism, and subjectivity within Canadian national space. To begin, the concepts of history, reconciliation, and justice will be complicated as we engage with the ambiguities and ambivalences of history, erasure, and hauntings (Lee Maracle’s Celia’s Song). We will then look at acts of re-membering and re-claiming and the ways that alternate readings can disrupt and open up the national past. The course will explore the poetics of hauntings (Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost) before moving onto discussions of diaspora, here/there, and global crossings (Dionne Brand’s What We All Long For, Kim Thúy’s Ru). A look at Vancouver as a contact zone for race, capital, violence, and global/local interactions will be our last line of critical/textual flight (Sachiko Murakimi’s The Invisibility Exhibit). Critical/theoretical selections will frame our conversations.

Children's Literature
Term A
Offered Online

This section of ENGL 468 is offered online. Click here to view description from Distance Education and here for the instructor's fuller description of the course.

“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. 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 contribution to online discussion. Please check my blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/ for a fuller description of the course, its texts, and its requirements.

500-level Courses/Graduate Seminars

Studies in the Victorian Period
Term 2
Tue & Fri, 11:00 a.m.

In this seminar, we will explore Victorian fiction’s fascination with the uncanny, the occult, the monstrous, and extraordinary visions of the future. In recent years, scholars have come to appreciate that the non-realist fiction that was once critically undervalued is central to the literary culture of the period. The major writers of the age wrote supernatural and Gothic works, and the genres of ghost, occult horror, and science fiction fully emerged in the period. The revaluation of this fiction has been driven largely by a shift toward interdisciplinary modes of literary criticism: the Victorian fantastic draws on scientific, psychological, and biomedical ideas that emerged in and transformed nineteenth-century culture. The literary texts we will read speculate on the nature of the body, the powers of the mind, the finality of death, the impact of new technologies, and the shape of the future. We will encounter ghost-seers, mind-readers, shape shifters, and automatons. Examining the fiction’s literary and cultural contexts, we will discuss such topics as evolutionary and degeneration theories, entropy, mental causation at a distance, gendered and colonial bodies, contagion theories, and the Urban Gothic. We will also look at some theoretical and critical texts that consider the relations between the literary texts and the non-literary discourses that informed them. Our readings will extend from the mid-Victorian age through the fin de siècle, ending with a taste of early Modernism.

 Assignments and Other Requirements

  • Seminar paper (roughly 20 pages)
  • Presentation (roughly 25 minutes)
  • Three sets of informal questions/comments on the readings

Texts will include:

  • Charles Dickens, “The Signalman”
  • George Eliot, The Lifted Veil
  • Thomas Hardy, “The Withered Arm”
  • Somerset Maugham, The Magician
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds

Stories (ghost, fantastic, weird, and science fiction) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Arthur Conan Doyle, J. S. Le Fanu, Elizabeth Gaskell, Rudyard Kipling, May Sinclair, and others.

Topics in Science and Technology
Term 1
Tue & Thu 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Over the past decade, theory has shifted from a concern with discourse and language analysis to interpretive systems which incorporate the vibrant material, actant object, and articulate nonhuman. For example, assemblage theory, drawing from Deleuze and Guattari, Foucault, Latour, DeLanda, and others, claims to offer a new frame for articulating contingent, ephemeral, and complex dynamic schemata, functions, or exchanges, transcending a unitary realm of totality and difference. At the same time, some ideations which predate (and perhaps prefigure) the current period seem to have successfully transferred to the new context. Judith Butler’s performativity, once conceived as discursive (e.g., “citational”), now in her recent book (Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, HUP 2015) approaches an emergent agencement self-organized from within heterogenous groupings. As well, Karen Barad has theorized that through an “agential realist account, all bodies, not merely human bodies, come to matter through the world’s performativity—its iterative intra-activity” (Qui Parle 19.2, 125. Also see Meeting the Universe Halfway and “Posthumanist Performativity”). Here she examines phenomena such as the “nonlocal communication” between ground and lightning and the queerness of atoms’ materializing entanglements.

This course explores recent work in new materialisms, with a focus on those which are distinctively fluid, relational, or performative. It queries the matterings, discontinuities and contradictions among a new generation of theorists who aim to understand a more lively version of materiality. This rich competition among materializing systems accounts opens wide critical spaces around questions of coding and territoriality, assembly, expression, and scale.

Some proposed readings:

  • Deleuze and Guattari, 1000 Plateaus
  • Foucault, “Security, territory, population” et al.
  • Latour, Reassembling the Social
  • Butler, Notes toward a Performative Theory of Assembly
  • Brian Massumi, Parables for the Virtual
  • Elizabeth Grosz, The Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution, and the Untimely
  • Miguel DeLanda, from A New Philosophy of Society, A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, War in an Age of Intelligent Machines, “Deleuze and the Social”
  • Mel Chen, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect
  • Karen Barad, “Posthuman Performativity,” Meeting the Universe Halfway
  • Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter
  • More doubtfully: some writings in object oriented ontology