2020 Winter Session

Listed below are short descriptions of our 2019 Winter Session courses.  View the full course schedule here.

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Literature

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MWF, 9:00 am - 10:00 am

In this course we’ll look at plays, short stories, and poems (in that order). The plays are Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. The short stories will be a selection from an anthology. The poems will be available online. We’ll consider how texts work and how we read.

In the event that we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will go ahead using asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials.

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 am - 11:00 am

 

“Together, apart” is a phrase we’ve heard often during the COVID-19 pandemic. To practice physical distancing is to be apart from other people even as we share, together, a unique experience. We have had to think a lot lately about the very idea of “connection”: how can we share our experiences and share in the experiences of others while we keep to ourselves?

In this class, we will look to literature for some answers to this question. You will be introduced to texts (a graphic narrative, a novel, a play, and a selection of poetry) that connect readers to different kinds of lives and experiences. Many of our texts convey marginalized identities and our authors invite us to think head-on about the challenges and rewards of literature as a remote mode of communication. They invite us to ask: How does literature transport us to worlds different than our own? What are the possibilities—and the limits—when it comes to “getting inside the head” of someone else? Who gets to speak and who may be silenced? Can literature bring us “together, apart?”

Likely texts include Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (the Play) by Mark Haddon and Simon Stephens, and a selection of poetry by Amber Dawn and others.

In the event that we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Download Course Description

"No dress rehearsal / This is our life" -- 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 conversations, text messages, novels, plays, poems, rock songs, films, political speeches, and health reports.  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, alt rock songs, 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? How does a storyteller assert persuasive power?  How do social groups use narrative to advance their belief systems?

These questions and others will be explored in lectures, lively small group discussions, and weekly readings in H. Porter Abbott's core textbook.  A special effort is made in this course to create a sense of community belonging and to respectfully include everyone's voices in different platforms.  This course will use a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

Course requirements include participation in online discussions, a narrative analysis, a short answer test, pop quizzes, and a final project or exam.

Want to get ahead in the readings this summer?  Read Madeleine Thien's brilliant and poignant stories set in Vancouver, Simple Recipes. Or sample Michael Ondaatje's dramatic representation of immigrant workers in Toronto in In the Skin of a Lion. 

Required texts:

  • Core E-Textbook (available online at the UBC Library): 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 such as Kuldip Gill, Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, and Rita Wong.
  • Film: Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (Isuma/NFB 2001), directed by Zacharias Kunuk and screenplay by Paul Apak Angilirk:The film is available as a streaming video at the UBC Library website.

 

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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 literature 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 Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters), and fiction (Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Toni Morrison’s Jazz).

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

*In the event that we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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? Do we just reflect reality with the stories we tell ourselves, or are we actually creating reality?

Discussing 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 pursue hands-on practice of methods of literary analysis.

Reading ahead? Choose HG Wells’ creepy mad scientist novel, The Island of Dr. Moreau or the boy and his tiger tale of Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi, or Shakespeare’s classic shipwreck play, The Tempest.

*in the event that we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MWF, 9:00 am - 10:00 am

How do we define ourselves – as Canadians, as artists, as lovers, as survivors? These are some of the broad issues of identity and belonging we will explore through a selection of fiction, drama and poetry in this section of English 110.  We will consider ways in which individuals craft and perform the "selves" they wish to be, and the multiplicity of ways in which writers convey these identities through literary texts. To what extent do we control the person we become and to what extent are we shaped by our community? How meaningful are the concepts of ethnicity, gender and nationality in the creation of identity? How can a writer convey the complex and shifting nature of individual and group identity through the permanence of written discourse? Texts studied will include a novel (Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese), a play (The Rez Sisters by Tomson Highway), and a selection of short stories and poetry. In lectures and seminars, students will engage with concepts of genre and form in literature and will pursue hands-on practice of methods of literary analysis. Students will be encouraged to develop independent critical responses to the works studied. Assessment will include two in-class essays, a term paper and a final examination.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Tales of horror and aberrant human (or non-human) behaviour form a consistent tradition from ancient times to the present. This section of English 110 will trace the history of what became known as “Gothic” literature in the 19th century, examining what human beings in general, and what particular historical periods, have considered most disturbing and abhorrent. We will consider the difficult problem of why we seem so attracted to themes and situations that should normally repel us. In keeping with the standard form of English 110, we will proceed through a series of texts under the headings of drama, poetry and fiction. Under drama, will be study Euripides’ Medea and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Following an examination of poems by Coleridge, Tennyson, Poe and Rossetti, will be look at a selection of stories from The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales and the original Dracula novel by Bram Stoker. Evaluation will be based on a mid-term text, a final essay, a final exam and class participation.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MWF, 12:00PM - 1:00 P M

Literature has always responded to major pandemics - as pandemics have always been with us. In this course we will read a number of texts that were produced in, or responded to, historical pandemics from our history.

We will be seeking to ask questions of why we write about them, how writing about real or imagined pandemics might help us deal with their consequences, and what literature may be spurred from our own pandemic moment. We will reading a range of narrative, including (but not limited to) Boccaccio’s Decameron, George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s graphic novel series Y the Last Man, Max Brook’s World War Z, and Colson Whitehead’s Zone One.

In the event that we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver due to the current pandemic, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated time-slot.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

In this section of English 110, we will read literary texts depicting ghosts, the fantastic, and strange science. The course will teach you to think and write critically about literature at the university level. It will also introduce you to contemporary literary theories. We will examine a range of approaches to the interpretation of literature, including psychoanalytical, Marxist, feminist, and postcolonial, and use the theories to analyze the literature we study. Texts read will include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, George Eliot’s “The Lifted Veil,” and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Before there is literature, there is a medium, be it speech or writing or printing or electronic media. This course explores the relationships of literature and media in a diverse set of works, from a play about the inventor of movies, to a graphic novel about  Ada Lovelace, the 19th century creator of the first computer program, to a series of poems about surveillance tracking. By the end of the course you will have gained a knowledge of the major literary genres and an understanding of how media interface with those genres.

*In the event that this course is delivered online, we will combine modes of instruction that allow us to work together as well as individually.

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

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.  Students will be taught methods of literary analysis that should enable them to read each work with care, appreciation, and (one hopes) enjoyment.

Course requirements: two in-class essays, 20% each; home essay (1200 words), 30%; final exam, 30%

Text: Lisa Chalykoff, Neta Gordon, Paul Lumsden, eds. The Broadview Introduction to Literature: Concise Edition, 2nd ed. (Broadview, 2019)

Provisional reading list:

POEMS

Emily Dickinson, “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant”; W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”; Ezra Pound, “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter”; Theodore Roethke, “My Papa’s Waltz”; Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art”; Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”; Margaret Atwood, “Death of a Young Son by Drowning”; Seamus Heaney, “Digging”; George Eliot Clarke, “Casualties”; Jackie Kay, “In My Country”; Karen Solie, “Nice”

SHORT STORIES

Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”; Chinua Achebe, “Dead Men’s Path”; Alice Munro, “Friend of My Youth”; Alistair MacLeod, “As Birds Bring Forth the Sun”; Margaret Atwood, “Happy Endings”; Thomas King, “A Short History of Indians in Canada”; Kazuo Ishiguro, “A Family Supper”

PLAYS

William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night; Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House

Collaborate Ultra and Canvas will be used if any or all of this course must be taught online.

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

The course description for this section of ENGL 110 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

The course description for this section of ENGL 110 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Approaches to Literature – Term 2 TTh 2 p.m.

Rey: “You are a monster.”
Kylo Ren: “Yes, I am.”
– Star Wars: The Last Jedi

“Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time into this breathing world” – Richard III 1.i

What is a monster? We know monsters from myths and legends, folktales, horror fiction and film. We know their variety: the grotesque, the beautiful, the terrifying, the pitiable, the sports of nature and the forces of evil. Dragons, werewolves, vampires, zombies, Frankenstein’s Creature, Dorian Gray, the Joker, many of the characters in The Walking Dead or Penny Dreadful or Game of Thrones: they’re everywhere, from under the bed to the battlefield, and right into a great deal of literature. Which leaves us here: in this section of 110 we’ll focus on how literary texts across the genres use representations of monstrosity to say a variety of things.

We’ll look at William Shakespeare’s Richard III (a play that both meditates on villainy and ambition, and demonizes its subject for Tudor audiences), then at clips from various film and stage adaptations, including Ian McKellen’s 1995 film, which shifts the setting to an alternate-reality 1930s England where fascism takes hold. Other core texts include Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Angela Carter’s “The Lady of the House of Love”, Charles Perrault’s “Bluebeard” (and possibly Francesca Lia Block’s retelling “Bones” and one or two other short stories), as well as selected poetry.

Evaluation will be based on three short writing assignments, participation in discussion, and an essay-based final examination.

In the event that we are unable to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will proceed in a fully online form, using Canvas, and a combination of asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides, and videos) and synchronous (short live lectures and discussion) materials. I will make sure as much material as possible is available in digital format (and will identify ebook options for course texts) and that the full course is accessible to all students.

Please check my blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/ for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

Approaches to Literature
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

The course description for this section of ENGL 110 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

Approaches to Literature
Term 1
TTh, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

The course description for this section of ENGL 110 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

Writing

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF, 9:00 am - 10:00 am

This section of 100 will examine four major texts (a play, a fictional journal, and two novels) and some shorter lyric poems. A variety of critical approaches – gender theory, ethical philosophy, affect theory, and psychoanalysis – will be used to explore the vexed relationship between literary texts and the theories used to interpret them.

Required texts:

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night (Oxford UP)
Austen, Persuasion (Penguin)
Defoe, The Journal of the Plague Year (Penguin)
McCarthy, The Road (Vintage)
Poems available through Canvas

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 am - 11:00 am

The course description for this section of ENGL 100 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF , 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

“What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber.”

The Devil’s Backbone (dir. Guillermo Del Toro)

Where is the fascination, even when the deepest mysteries of the universe are being scientifically unlocked, in stories of haunted houses? What accounts for the lure, and even the enjoyment, of tales of terror and horror, even in the 21st century? This course examines the Gothic influence in texts where collisions of past and present, and implications of the uncanny, allow fascinating investigations of social codes and their transgression.

Core texts include Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger, and The Others (dir. Alejandro Amenábar), as well as Gardner and Diaz’s Reading and Writing About Literature (4th edition). 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, and will contribute to in-class and online discussion.

In the event that we are unable to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will proceed in a fully online form, using Canvas, and a combination of asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides, and videos) and synchronous (short live lectures and discussion) materials. I will make sure as much material as possible is available in digital format (and will identify ebook options for course texts) and that the full course is accessible to all students.

Please check my blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/ for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

The course description for this section of ENGL 100 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

The course description for this section of ENGL 100 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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 Philip Pullman, Emma Donoghue, and Francesca Lia Block. We’ll end the term by examining a graphic novel that transports classic fairy-tale characters into modern-day New York. 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.

Because UBC has moved to online teaching for the fall semester, this course will rely on a combination of regular, synchronous (i.e. real-time) classes in our designated timeslot as well as asynchronous components (recorded lectures and discussion threads). Assessment will be through online submission.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
TTh, 9:30 am - 11:00 am

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

In this section of English 100 we will study a selection of poetry from the Renaissance up to the present (see the provisional list below).  Since one purpose of the course is to introduce students to literature’s various critical approaches, we will also examine scholarly articles (available online) on some of the assigned poetry.  In both their proposal for the research essay and the essay itself, students will be expected not only to offer their own interpretations of a poem not discussed in class, but also to cite, demonstrate their familiarity with, and above all respond to a minimum number of secondary sources.  Ideally, then, this course will teach students the skills they need to write research essays in upper-level English courses.

Course requirements: two in-class essays (each worth 15%), proposal for research essay (15%), research essay, 1200 words (25%), final exam (30%)

Texts: The Broadview Introduction to Literature: Poetry, 2nd edition (Broadview Press); Reading and Writing about Literature: A Portable Guide, 4th edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s)

A provisional list of poems: Shakespeare, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”; John Donne, “The Flea”; William Blake, “The Chimney Sweeper”; John Keats, “La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad”; Emily Dickinson, “Because I could not stop for Death—”; Christina Rossetti, “Goblin Market”; Ezra Pound, “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter”; T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”; W.H. Auden, “Musée des Beaux Arts”; Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”; Margaret Atwood, “Death of a Young Son by Drowning”; Jackie Kay, “In My Country”

Collaborate Ultra and Canvas will be used if any or all of this course must be taught online.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

The course description for this section of ENGL 100 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

This course teaches foundational skills in literary analysis and scholarly research by considering the role of voice in a range of literary works. How is voice crafted, what voices have been suppressed, and what voices are we to believe? We will consider these questions through texts in a range of forms, multiple narrators, and shifting points of view. Primary works may include Jane Austen’s Lady Susan, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, and Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky With Exit Wounds, supplemented by critical scholarship and essays on writing.

In this course you will learn research methods, close reading techniques, and various theoretical approaches, while crafting your voice through a series of written assignments, including reading responses, an in-class essay, a research paper, and a final exam.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 am - 11:00 am

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

In this section of English 100 we will study a selection of poetry from the Renaissance up to the present (see the provisional list below).  Since one purpose of the course is to introduce students to literature’s various critical approaches, we will also examine scholarly articles (available online) on some of the assigned poetry.  In both their proposal for the research essay and the essay itself, students will be expected not only to offer their own interpretations of a poem not discussed in class, but also to cite, demonstrate their familiarity with, and above all respond to a minimum number of secondary sources.  Ideally, then, this course will teach students the skills they need to write research essays in upper-level English courses.

Course requirements: two in-class essays (each worth 15%), proposal for research essay (15%), research essay (25%), final exam (30%)

Texts: The Broadview Introduction to Literature: Poetry, 2nd edition (Broadview Press); Reading and Writing about Literature: A Portable Guide, 4th edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s)

A provisional list of poems: Shakespeare, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”; John Donne, “The Flea”; William Blake, “The Chimney Sweeper”; John Keats, “La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad”; Emily Dickinson, “Because I could not stop for Death—”; Christina Rossetti, “Goblin Market”; Ezra Pound, “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter”; T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”; W.H. Auden, “Musée des Beaux Arts”; Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”; Margaret Atwood, “Death of a Young Son by Drowning”; Jackie Kay, “In My Country”

Collaborate Ultra and Canvas will be used if any or all of this course must be taught online.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Queer literature has reimagined (and continues to reimagine) history in the most inventive ways. Writers have found or invented queer and trans ancestors in the past (ancient Jerusalem, the 18th-century Asanti Empire, 19th-century China) imagined queer kinships between past and present, and used experimental forms to queer (in the sense of “trouble” or “bend”) apparently straightforward narratives and genres. In this writing-intensive course, you will read primary texts including Kawika Guillermo’s All Flowers Bloom, Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl, and Andrea Lawlor’s Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, and learn the craft of close reading.

Students will be evaluated on participation and on a sequence of short papers. The course will proceed through a mix of asynchronous activities (discussions and materials on Canvas) and synchronous (real-time) meetings once weekly in our designated time slot.

This course will prepare you for the English major and is a great choice for any student who enjoys literature.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

The course description for this section of ENGL 100 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

The course description for this section of ENGL 100 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
TTh, 9:30 am - 11:00 am

The course description for this section of ENGL 100 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

The course description for this section of ENGL 100 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

The course description for this section of ENGL 100 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Reading and Writing about Literature
Term 1
TTh, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

The course description for this section of ENGL 100 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

Approaches to Non-fictional Prose
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

The course description for this section of ENGL 111 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Approaches to Non-fictional Prose
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 am - 11:00 am

This section of English 111 will study how writers use personal experience – their own or others’ – in life narratives (or “non-fiction prose”) to make meaning of those experiences and make interventions in public knowledge. The life narratives we’ll study this semester show how individual stories can work to resist dominant norms and stereotypes – for example, of mental illness, refugee experiences, or global conflicts – and offer personal perspectives on historical events that may challenge or disrupt official versions. We will read four book-length memoirs -- Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah; Girl, Interrupted, by Susanne Kaysen; Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir; and Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter, by David Chariandy  – and several essays (TBD). 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.

In the event that we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

Language Elective

Language Myths (cross-listed with LING 140-002)
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

 

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 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 http://english.ubc.ca/first-year-english/frequently-asked-questions-faq/#1.

Prescribed reading:

  • Kaplan, Abby. Women talk more than mean … and other myths about language explained. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
    (An e-copy is available from the UBC library.)