2019 Summer Session

Listed below are short descriptions of our course offerings for the 2019 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.

See Changes to Course Numbers Starting 2019W.

See Course Descriptions Archive

Pre-Major and Second-Year Electives

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
MW, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Exam period: June 24-28

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 (The Medieval Period, The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century, The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century), Third Edition
  • William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night (Broadview)
  • The texts will be available at the UBC Bookstore in a specially priced, shrink-wrapped package.

American Literature
Term 1

MW, 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

This course surveys some of the great innovators in American lyric poetry. We will examine the ways in which American poets like Emily Dickinson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, John Berryman, Frank O’Hara, CD Wright, Claudia Rankine and Terrance Hayes have contributed to the lyric form and the ways in which they’ve troubled the distinction between what Rankine in Citizen calls the “historical self” and the “self self” by making poetry that might be placed both inside and outside the Romantic terrain of the personal. What have been the major innovations in American lyric poetry in the last seventy years? Does lyric poetry have influence in this historical moment? What do these poets have to say about what they see in American culture and how they see it? How does their work both resist and reiterate lyric traditions? Students will write a close reading paper, recite a poem and give a short critical talk about it, write a research paper as well as a final exam. Texts are likely to include an anthology of American poetry, Terry Hayes’ American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin as well as additional poems and contextual readings.

Topics in the Study of Language and/or Rhetoric
Term 1
WF, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

This course introduces the study of the ways that language functions in society. We will be studying how language is used in different walks of life and how particular social factors determine the use of language. Some of the topics covered include dialect and register, language and power, language and gender, diglossia and bilingualism, lingua francas and code-switching, to name a few. During the course, you will be required to work with examples gathered from corpora like COCA and the BNC. You will also gather real-life data yourself in order to demonstrate and verify claims about social factors and their effects on language use. The course includes a collaborative assignment with a presentation on a prescribed topic such as analyzing a recorded conversation from a sociolinguistic perspective and one graded exercise on computer-mediated discourse, both aimed at demonstrating language use in contemporary society.

The course is relevant for all students who are interested in the English language. Since an understanding of language in society has implications for language used in literary texts, the course has value not only for students preparing to focus on language, but also for those who are mainly interested in literature.

Required texts:

  • Wardhaugh, Ronald. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. 7th ed. Blackwell, 2006.
  • Stockwell, Peter. Sociolinguistics: a resource book for students. 2nd ed. Routledge, 2004.

Grading structure:

  • Midterm test, 30%
  • Collaborative assignment with presentation, 30%
  • Graded exercise with class discussion, 10%
  • Final exam, 30%

Canadian Literature
Term 2

TTh, 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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, a work about a group of dogs granted human consciousness and language, the first novel by an Inuk throat singer, a poetic account of the Vietnamese refugee experience, and a First-Nations novel focusing on an unusual father-son relationship. 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.


  • Nancy Lee, Dead Girls
  • Kim Thúy, Ru
  • Richard Wagamese, Medicine Walk
  • Andre Alexis, Fifteen Dogs
  • Tanya Tagaq, Split Tooth

Science Fiction and Fantasy
Term 2
MW 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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

The near-future and alternate-reality landscapes of literary and popular culture are often terrifying places, and have been since Gothic and dystopian impulses intersected in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Shelley’s landmark tale evokes dread in the practical and ethical implications of Victor’s scientific generation of a humanoid Creature; this evocation echoes in the simulacra that haunt recent speculative fiction: clones, androids, artificial intelligences, cyborgs. Such texts conjure questions of gaze (why are these creatures so often attractive young women presented as the object of male desire?), of rights, of research ethics, and of fear, in the realization that these creatures are, ultimately, not human but posthuman. We will consider the perspectives both of the makers, who dread lost control over their creations, and of their offspring, as they discover what they are, in texts that often invite identification with the creature more than the maker, even as they suggest that humans’ time may well be ending. Core texts tentatively include Frankenstein, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Never Let Me Go, and Blade Runner (Final Cut edition); 2-3 core texts will be added. A list of supplementary recommended texts will be supplied (from The Island of Dr. Moreau and Brave New World to Ex Machina and Blade Runner 2049, and beyond). Please check my blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/ for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

Upper-Level Literature

Shakespeare and the Renaissance
Term 2
MW, 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Despite the popularity of Henry V and Richard III, Shakespeare’s history plays haven’t received the attention they deserve. We’ll therefore look at six of the eight plays from Shakespeare’s early English tetralogies. In these very topical plays, Shakespeare provides valuable insight into realpolitik and the fortunes of kings and the powerful. Henry Bolingbroke (Henry IV) is one of Shakespeare’s greatest creations – an opaque Machiavellian who dies haunted by the costs of his crooked path to power – and Henry V is Shakespeare’s most successful and efficient leader, deftly balancing policy, honour, and public relations. Shakespearean history is more than a history of Great Men, and his disparate cast includes Joan of Arc, the populist rebel Jack Cade, and the amoral life-force Jack Falstaff. We’ll address the waning faith in the Divine Right of Kings, the distinction between providential and secular history, and the ideologies (national, religious, personal) involved in justifying war.

* * Please read Richard II for the first class. * *

Required Texts (all from Oxford UP)

Richard II
Henry IV 1
Henry V
Henry VI 1
Henry VI 2
Richard III

Nineteenth-Century Studies
Term 1
TTh, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

As the 19th century grew into an age of doubt, brought on in part by shifting power positions in the lives of women and the working classes, and by new ideas about the fundamental nature of human beings, we see a fascination with forces that are beyond human control. The supernatural elements in the literature below all reflect an uncertainty about what is true and real and what is an illusion; most have life-changing encounters with the uncomfortable concept that there is a hidden dark and bestial element to many human beings. This course primarily focuses on British culture, but also includes important voices from early 19th-century American literature, and covers a variety of genres.

Readings will include:

  • Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843)
  • Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (1847)
  • George MacDonald, The Princess and the Goblin (1872)
  • R.L. Stevenson, Jekyll and Hyde (1886)
  • Oscar Wilde, Picture of Dorian Grey (1893)
  • Course Package

Studies in Fiction
Term 1
TTh, 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Complex sites that are marketed as incubators of innovation or disparaged as hothouses for bad ideas, universities (and, particularly, recent Canadian fiction set at a handful of them) are the focus of this early summer section of 406A. Novels under consideration include The Slip, Black Star, Theory, The Red Word, Oldness, and Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall. The list will be finalized by February.

The section will feature six texts, an assignment per, and no exam (midterm or final).

Children's Literature
Term 1

Distance Learning (Online)

In this course, we will begin by studying some well-known fairy tales before we move to a selection of texts produced over the last 150 years. We will approach them as cultural and literary productions, exploring their (sometimes) evolving generic features and audience assumptions, in terms of age, gender, content, and perceived boundaries. Students will be introduced to relevant theoretical material and encouraged to develop independent critical responses to the texts.

Readings include The Hobbit (Tolkien), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Lewis) Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Carroll), Parvana's Journey (Ellis), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling), Anne of Green Gables (Montgomery), The Nicest Girl in the School (Brazil) and The Golden Compass (Pullman).

Canadian Literature
Term 2

TTh, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

“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, The Artist and the Moose: A Fable of Forget 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/politics of reimagining the nation 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 (Wayde Compton’s The Outer Harbour; Sachiko Murakimi’s The Invisibility Exhibit). Critical/theoretical selections will frame our conversations.


Technical Writing
Term 1

Distance Learning (Online)

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

Note: Credits in this course cannot be used toward a major or a minor in English.

Language & Rhetoric

English Gramar and Usage
Term 1
Distance Learning (Online)

The English 321 course is designed to introduce students to the sentence structure of English and to the way in which grammar functions in various communication situations differing in register, dialect or mode. The course is built upon a sequence of (a) explanation in the lessons and textbooks, accompanied by (b) demonstration in the lessons, followed by (c) application in activities and exercises, (d) journal postings and online discussion applying the principles to new material and data gathered from corpora.

The description of grammatical units at every level is four-pronged, addressing

  • the internal structure of a unit,
  • its syntactic role,
  • its meaning, and
  • its discourse function.

By the end of this course, students should have acquired:

  • linguistic tools necessary for studying and understanding English grammar, as explained systematically in the lessons and reading;
  • analytical skills specific to English grammar including tree diagrams and labeled bracketing; and
  • empirical experience, having become familiar with numerous examples of English grammar in actual usage.

Prescribed reading:

  • Börjars, Kersti & Kate Burridge. Introducing English Grammar, 2nd edition. Hodder Education, 2010.
  • Leech, Geoffrey, Margaret Deuchar and Robert Hoogenraad. English Grammar for Today: A New Introduction. 2nd ed. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Grading structure:

The course consists of 12 lessons, four postings in a language journal, ten self-testing exercises and three tests. All assessment and assignments are online, including the final exam.

  • Exercises (participation), 10%;
  • Language journal postings, collaborative 1-4 (5% each), 20%;
  • Tests 1 & 2 (20% each), 40%;
  • Final exam, 30%