2018 Summer Session

Listed below are short descriptions of the courses we plan to offer during the 2018 Summer Session. The instructor will post the actual course syllabus for registered students shortly before term begins or distribute them on the first day of class.  View the full course schedule here.

Pre-Major & 2nd-Year Courses

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
TTh, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

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 Macbeth; 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 (The Medieval Period, The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century, The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century), Third Edition
  • William Shakespeare, Macbeth (Signet Classic)

Literature in English to the 18th Century -
Term 2
MW, 3:00 - 6:00 PM

This survey course will trace the historical impact of religious and socio-economic changes on a handful of major figures – Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Swift, Pope, and Austen. We’ll look at, among other topics, the social preconditions for the emergence of satire; the changing nature of literary audiences; and the evolution of characterization.

Required Texts:

  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature (Package 1, Vols. A, B, C), 9th edition, ed. Greenblatt et al. (Norton)
  • Austen, Sense and Sensibility (Penguin)

World Literature
Term 1
WF, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Our World Literatures class has three Units, all in dialogue with each other: a Unit on gender, a Unit on race and class, and a Unit on place (and rootedness, postnationalism, dislocation, naming, and bounding).

Our World Literatures class has writers from the world: Vancouver, Australia, Jamaica, Britain, Canada, Nigeria, Virginia, Brooklyn, the USA, Antigua, and Kenya.

Our World Literatures class will ask that you read, a lot, and you will be rewarded for doing so.

Our World Literatures class will ask that you write, and your writing will be rewarding.

Term 2
MW, 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

We commonly think of poetry as hard, and it can be, but it can also be fun! One of the fabulous things about poetry is how feels in our bodies: we take it up with our breath when we read it out loud; we see, feel and hear images and sounds; we move to its rhythms. This course will help you to learn to read poetry more skillfully and experience its pleasures. We’ll look at contemporary as well as historical poems and pay attention to various techniques, tropes and traditions that help us to understand them. We will spend some time in our course reading walking poems and then we’ll go outside and walk together—taking in what’s going on around us, listening, taking notes. With that material, we may write some poems—this is optional—as well as responses to poems. Students will recite a poem and give a short talk about it. Students will also write short essays. If you’re interested in writing poetry and reading it, and learning more about how to write critically about it, this is the course for you!

Participation and creative work, 10%
Recitation and short talk, 20%
Short Close Reading, 20%
Research-based close reading, 25%
Exam, 25%

Course pack of poems as well as essays
How to Read (and Write About) Poetry by Susan Holbrook

Language & Rhetoric

Term A
Distance Education

The course description for this course will be posted here shortly.


Shakespeare and the Renaissance
Term 1
TTh, 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

This third-year literature course focuses on a selection of William Shakespeare’s sonnets, and five of his plays, in historical context. In addition to analyzing texts through the practice of close reading, we will focus on the ways in which Shakespeare’s work engages with the social and political relations of early modern (Renaissance) England. Paying particular attention to forms of ownership (of land, of property, of persons), we will consider intimate relationships as structured not only by personal inclinations, but by social and political conditions as well.
Students will complete a sonnet close-reading exercise; a creative project (dramatic reading or movie review); an in-class essay (with the option to revise); a research essay (complete with proposal and peer draft workshop); and an exam.

19th-Century Studies
Term A
Distance Education

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

Studies in Prose Fiction
Term 2
TTh, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

This course will look at the complexities, wonder, and intense angst of teen romance through an examination of several prominent YA novels. Whether in dystopian worlds at peril due to global warming, or in social settings that create alienation, YA characters manage to forge connection and intimacy, however fraught. The course will begin with Eleanor and Park and consider the depiction of “misfit” identities and the intricacies of the high school social landscape. It will then look at Turtles All the Way Down and mental health representations before moving onto two dystopian texts (The Marrow Thieves, More Happy Than Not) that consider how teens locate agency in societies that are actively trying to control and eradicate parts of them, often in horrifying ways. We will also look at concerns of race, sexuality, (post)-colonialism, technology, and ecology, as we delve into the roles that romance and desire play in YA narratives. Secondary criticism will supplement our primary readings.

Children's Literature
Term A
Distance Education

The story of the child’s world, vision and experience has only recently become the object of serious scholarly attention; this is an exciting period for studying this topic, as new knowledge is being made all the time. In this senior course on Children's Literature, we will be examining a variety of genres, from fairy tales and fantasy, to domestic realism, sexuality, adventure and war. Most of our texts are written about or from the point of view of a child or youth who challenges expectations and thus places the norms of a society under scrutiny. Readings of scholarly essays on genres and texts will support the understanding of the concepts and genres, and weekly discussion forums will provide opportunities to build our knowledge together as a community. This course is a prerequisite for programs in Education and Library/Archival Studies.

Canadian Studies
Term 2
TTh, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

This section of English 470 will focus on representations of immigration in a range of contemporary Canadian novels. In discussions and written assignments, students will be asked to engage with varying ways that Canadian writers represent the dislocation and cultural disorientation which so often accompanies immigration, both for immigrants themselves and their children. The tentative course list includes Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Café, Lawrence Hill’s Any Known Blood, Kim Thúy’s Ru, Gurjnder Basran’s Someone You Love is Gone and Sharon Bala’sbThe Boat People. As well as focusing on the core texts, we will engage with theoretical perspectives on cultural hybridity, border-crossing and post-colonialism. 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. 

American Studies
Term 1
MW, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

This section of English 472 will focus on the contemporary graphic memoir as a literary genre. We will consider this popular autobiographical genre as a space for articulating identity and difference and new subject-positions within American discourse in relation to issues of immigration and transnationality, ethnicity and race, gender and sexuality, and psychological or neurological difference.  We will examine coming-of-age stories and narratives about family dynamics within the genre, as they often focus on these subjects.  The class will apply principles from genre, media, and cultural studies—examining formal and technical elements of the genre, the materiality of graphic novel as medium, and its cultural work.  We will proceed at a brisk pace, studying one novel per class, in order to effectively survey the genre.  Course requirements include a final exam, a scholarly research paper, and two literature reviews.   Students may also respond creatively by writing a graphic memoir as an alternative to the last assignment.

Note: Students are advised to buy books second-hand in advance or to purchase book aps to reduce textbook costs. 


Technical Writing
Term A
Distance Education
The course description for this course will be posted here shortly.