Below is a list of our seminar offerings and descriptions for the 2020 Summer Session.
See our 2020 Winter Session course offerings.
Linguistic Studies of Contemporary English
MW, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
The course will introduce some interpretive tools developed within two related fields – cognitive linguistics and cognitive poetics. The tools – conceptual metaphor theory, blending theory, approaches to conceptual viewpoint, etc. – will then be applied in a number of creative contexts. All readings will aim at introducing and illustrating the theoretical concepts (there will be no primary texts), and they will all be available via electronic library resources. In class, we will spend much time modelling and developing interpretive skills, on the basis of shorter texts, poems and fiction excerpts, but also multimodal artifacts (dramatic and cinematic scenes, visual artifacts, etc.). Throughout, we will be looking at how choices of form (such as narrative structure, figurative form, or the combination of textual and visual elements) contribute to the interpretation. Our general goal will be a clear understanding of how various artifacts come to mean something to us (rather than what their meaning is). Participants will be expected to contribute to in-class analytical work and design a final research project, choosing an artifact or artifacts for in-depth analysis.
Studies in Literary Theory
TTh, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Concerns about the ongoing climate emergency have prompted many scholars in the humanities to formulate new ideas about how we might ‘think’ the environment in theoretical, philosophical, and ethical ways. Three prominent strands of this ecological concern are: (1) the ‘New Materialism’ which posits that every being or object in the world is dependent for its existence on the dynamic and restless existence of every other being or object: (2) ‘Posthumanism’ which uses similarly materialist conceptions of the dynamic interplay of objects to question the long-standing centrality of ‘the human’ in art, culture, and scholarship and to discover new ways of conceiving of the place of the human in a technologically-advanced, culturally-fluid, and ecological-traumatized world; (3) ‘Ecofeminism, which combines a radical empiricism with an impulse toward social justice derived from feminist, queer, indigenous, and anti-colonial ecologies to examine the intersecting implications of the climate crisis and its responses. In short, these theories ask, what does it mean to live and think in the Anthropocene?
As well as introducing students to these strands of contemporary ecological thinking, this course will prompt students to consider what reading, writing, and teaching theory and criticism can contribute to the environmental humanities broadly conceived as both an intellectual and an activist enterprise. Evaluation will be based primarily on conventional writing and reading assignments and classroom discussion on theory and literature (the reading list will be available prior to course beginning). But the course will also involve some experiential learning, including campus walks and talks, pedagogical reflection and praxis, and other creative engagements.