2020 Winter Session

 

Listed below are short descriptions of our 2020 Winter Session courses. View the full course schedule here.

See:
Changes to Course Numbers Starting 2019W
Course Descriptions Archive
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Pre-Major and Second-Year Electives

Principles of Literary Studies
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM

 

ENGL 200 is a collaboratively- taught exploration of key scholarly, theoretical, and critical approaches informing the study of literatures in English at UBC. Students in the course will work closely with one faculty instructor in a small-class setting. These small classes will join together for one lecture on each week’s designated texts and topic. As English classes will be online in the Fall, we anticipate the course will combine synchronous and asynchronous teaching involving live lectures, taped lectures, small group live discussions and discussion boards.

This grouping of the course begins with the acknowledgement that we inhabit an image-saturated world. That is, we look at pictures all the time — often as we read. We will consider texts that ask readers to imagine pictures or to think in pictorial terms and we will consider visual material that begs to be read. We will also compare private reading to the experience of public viewing, and we will explore how writers and artists have conceptualized the differences between word and image. This class is team-taught by a specialist in Asian diasporic cultural production and critical race studies; a specialist in eighteenth-century and children’s literature; and a specialist in Renaissance literature and book history. All three of us have an interest in what is called “material culture” and think of literature in relation to the physical environments, entities, and bodies that produce and are produced by it. Given this common ground, our course will bring literature together with images on a number of historical, aesthetic, and theoretical planes in a way that is fascinating in its own right and that will prepare students for success in upper-level literature courses across UBC.

Texts will include:

  • Francesca Lia Block, The Rose and the Beast  (HarperCollins)
  • David Henry Hwang, M Butterfly (original edition, Plume)
  • Alan Moore and David Lloyd,  V for Vendetta (DC Comics)
  • William Shakespeare,  Titus Andronicus (Oxford, World’s Classics)
  • Joshua Whitehead,  Full-Metal Indigiqueer  (Talon Books)

 

Principles of Literary Studies
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

 

ENGL 200 is a collaboratively-taught exploration of key scholarly, theoretical, and critical approaches informing the study of literatures in English at UBC. Students in the course will work closely with one faculty instructor in a small-class setting; these small classes will join together for one lecture on each week’s designated texts and topic. ENGL 200 is a graduation requirement for students declaring an English Literature Major or Minor, though the class is open to all students interested in exploring the fields of literary study.

This section of English 200 will take a broad approach to literature and cultural studies. The professors’ areas of specialization include eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literatures, contemporary world literature and postcolonialism, and theory and cultural studies. Employing a variety of critical tools and strategies, we will look at poetry, fiction, and prose from a range of periods and regions. Our focus will be “literary worlds”: the various ways that literature helps us unsettle ideas of the Earth or globe as permanent, unchangeable, or infinitely exploitable. In the first half of the course, we’ll focus on texts that imagine alternative perspectives on a material world that we know—or think we know. In the second half, we will focus on three texts from the African diaspora that explore the ways that the global histories of slavery, migration, racism, protest, and resilience have shaped its literary culture.

Texts will include:

  • Margaret Cavendish’s A Description of the Blazing World (1666)
  • Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative (1789)
  • Claudia Rankine’s Citizen (2014)
  • Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing (2016)
  • A selection of poems by Seamus Heaney (including parts of his translation of Beowulf)
  • A selection of short stories by Canadian writers

As English classes will be online in the Fall, we anticipate the course will combine synchronous and asynchronous teaching involving live lectures, taped lectures, small group live discussions and discussion boards.

Principles of Literary Studies
Term 2
MWF
, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

 

The course description for this section of ENGL 200 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

An Introduction to English Honours
Terms 1 - 2
TTh, 9:30 AM-11:00 AM

This course will introduce students to a wide range of literatures written in English, and to the ways that creators and critics have responded to these texts, both in the past and in the present. The arrangement of the course is broadly chronological, from the Middle Ages to the present, though throughout we will pair texts that are in some way in conversation with each other: so, for example, early in first term we will read some of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales alongside excerpts from two modern responses, Nigerian poet Patience Agbabi’s Telling Tales,and British fantasy writer Neil Gaiman’s World’s End, from his graphic novel series The Sandman. As we read our way through canons and counter-canons, we will think about the making, breaking, and rebuilding of networks of influence and engagement. We will think about what we read; how we read; how we talk and write about what we read; and why we often turn to the literary as a way of thinking through the “big questions.”

Should it happen 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 occasional synchronous (real-time) activities in our designated time slot.

 

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

This survey course will concentrate on a handful of major figures and explore their responses to contemporary historical pressures. We’ll look at, among other topics, the role of anti-feminism in Chaucer and Milton, gender and cross-dressing in Shakespeare, Defoe’s account of the Great Plague of London, and the rural concerns of Austen’s landed gentry.

Required Texts:

Joseph Black et al., eds., The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Concise Edition, Volume A Third Edition (Broadview eBook)
Defoe, The Journal of the Plague Year (Penguin)
Austen, Persuasion (Penguin)

 

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 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 King Lear; 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: two quizzes, 20% each; research essay (1500 words), 30%; final exam, 30%

Texts:

  • 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, King Lear (Broadview)

The texts will be available at the UBC Bookstore in a specially priced, shrink-wrapped package.

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

 

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
TTh, 5:00 PM-6:30 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 King Lear; 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: two quizzes, 20% each; research essay (1500 words), 30%; final exam, 30%

Texts:

  • 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, King Lear (Broadview)

The texts will be available at the UBC Bookstore in a specially priced, shrink-wrapped package

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

 

Literature in Britain: the 18th Century to the Present
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

 

English 221 surveys British poetry, drama, fiction and non-fictional prose from the 18th century to the present. This section spans the upheaval of the Revolution in France (1789) to the “War on Terror” launched by the United States (2001-). We will read a rich array of texts from The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: Concise Volume B (3E) by writers ranging from Edmund Burke to Warsan Shire. By situating British literature in its historical contexts, we will analyze the dynamic interrelationships between cultural tradition and social change, extending to the reinterpretations afforded by selected adaptations, documentaries and performances. Throughout, students will cultivate skills in literary criticism through close engagement with texts as they also compare and contrast forms, issues and styles within and across historical periods. The course requirements may include participation, a midterm, an essay, and a final examination.

 

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

 

 

Literature in Britain: the 18th Century to the Present
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

This course focuses on selected writers of British poetry, drama, and prose from the late eighteenth century to the present.  It covers four periods of British literary history: “romantic,” Victorian, modern, and post-modern.  We will study each work by paying particular attention to its treatment of social, political, and economic issues of its historical era: for instance, slavery, the Woman Question, the Condition-of-England Question, colonial­ism, and post-colonialism.  A provisional reading list includes short poems by Blake, Wordsworth, Hemans, Tennyson, Kipling, Eliot, and Larkin; Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market”; short fiction by Conrad, Mansfield, Achebe, and Adichie; prose nonfiction by Orwell; a play by Shaw or Beckett.  All readings are included in the course text: The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Concise Edition, Volume B, 3rd ed. (The Age of Romanticism, The Victorian Era, The Twentieth Century and Beyond).

Course requirements: two quizzes, each worth 20%; research essay (1500 words), 30%; final exam, 30%

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

 

Literature in Canada
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

The section will focus on contemporary prose (fiction and non-fiction). The course texts will include a memoir (Drunk Mom, by Jowita Bydlowska), speculative fiction (Oryx & Crake, by Margaret Atwood), crime fiction (The Break, by Katherena Vermette), and a linked short story collection (Frying Plantain, by Zalika Reid-Benta).

Adult themes include: addiction, sexual violence, Weltschmerz, and human end times.

 

Literature in Canada
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

The “peaceable kingdom” is one of the widely accepted official narratives of Canadian identity despite the fact that violent conflict is a foundational and ongoing reality of the Canadian nation. In this course we will explore dramatic representations of Canadian conflict that underscore the connections between myth, memory, and nationalism. Reading from a selection of plays that depict Canada’s participation in wars at home and abroad from the perspectives of women, immigrants, and Indigenous peoples, we will consider how these plays endorse and/or complicate the national narrative and what can we learn about Canada by reading it critically as a nation of conflict. Students will participate in this critical rethinking of Canada by constructing essays that respond to the works we study.

 

Literature in Canada
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

This course is an introduction to the reading, enjoying, and critical study of Canadian Literature—poetry and prose fiction (and non-fiction)—from the earliest examples to the present.  Since well before the Confederation of 1867, various versions, visions, and constructions of the nation of “Canada” have been debated.  The amorphous beginnings of what is now both a “nation” and a “national” literature began to coalesce after 1867 and solidified during Canada’s involvement in World War I.  The vexed question of “Canadian identity,” however, has become an ongoing and unanswered riddle.  The nature and definition of the country, its literature, and its identity constitute a philosophical, psychological, political, cultural, and emotional debate which often finds literary expression.

A close critical reading of several examples of Canadian poetry and prose will highlight important thematic and technical concerns.  The multiple cultural and geographical influences—French, British, American, Native, ethnic, regional—of which the country consists and the political and historical background will also be examined and discussed.  The reading list consists of:  An Anthology of Canadian Literature in English (4th ed., 2019), Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water (1993), and Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version (1997).

Literature in the United States
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

This course will introduce students to the literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth-century United States, with a particular emphasis on the fraught political climate of the country in this period. The first unit of the course will look at the literature of slavery, abolition, and the Civil War. In this section we will read from works by Phyllis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman. The second section will focus on writing about gender in the nineteenth-century U.S., including poems and stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Henry James. The third unit will look at literature dealing with capitalism and colonization. Here we will read works by, among others, Herman Melville and William Apess. Students do not need to have a prior knowledge of U.S. literature to take this course.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will proceed with a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and assignments and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

Literature in the United States
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

 

One of COVID-19’s effects has been to complicate our relationship with work. In the US, unemployment rates have shot up, “essential” labour is being redefined and in many cases coerced, and labour activism is on the rise. This course will shed light on current struggles by looking to the US’s rich history of literature about work by writers like Harriet Jacobs, Upton Sinclair, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ling Ma, and others. Texts will be drawn from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, and will take an intersectional approach to labour history, exploring how changing regimes of work speak to issues of sex/gender, colonialism, migration, and political economy. Students will write literary-critical papers, and will also contribute to a class archive that tracks and reflects on the narratives about work and labour that circulate today. Students do not need prior knowledge of US literature to take this course.

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

World Literature in English
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

This course delves into the wonder, pain, and possibilities of storytelling in works set in Australia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Jamaica, and India, as well as in spaces of transit and transformation. Each of these locations embody complex legacies and continuances of colonialism, racism, migration, and fraught conflict. We will read works of fiction (Taboo by Kim Scott, House of Stone by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Augustown by Kei Miller, Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh, and The Theory of Flight by Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu) that consider the place of intense personal and collective history in the present, as well as the potential for reconfigured future paths. The use of magic realism, myth, and speculative fantasy will take us on a journey to a variety of worlds, where borders blur and new voices and agencies emerge. Ghosts from the past and their lingering material traces will haunt our discussions of the works even as the shape of new ways of being become clearer.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all B.A. courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will use a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

World Literature in English
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM

By the early 20th Century, the British Empire was the most extensive in world history and covered almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area. In this introductory course, we will read texts that articulate what scholars like Lisa Lowe and Hazel Carby have named imperial “intimacies,” texts from Africa, Asia and the Americas that are commonly entangled in histories of dispossession, displacement, migration, alienation and relation to and from England and Englishness. To understand the role of writing and the writer in colonized societies, we’ll start by studying language and its role in colonial societies. We will read musical and oral traditions for alternative, embodied narratives and consider the physical and cultural borders transgressed by artists and writers who've inhabited hyphenated identities.

 

Poetry
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM

"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

Canadian identity “is less perplexed by the question ‘Who am I?’ than by some such riddle as ‘Where is here?’”--Northrop Frye

“The city as we imagine it, the soft city of illusion, myth, aspiration, and nightmare, is as real, maybe more real, than the hard city one can locate on maps, in statistics, in monographs on urban sociology and demography and architecture.”--Jonathan Raban

How do poets make sense of Vancouver? How do we make sense of here? How does space become place? How does place become home? How does place influence us? How are we constituted by home, by homing? How do we constitute home? What are the versions of here? Where is here?

 

Prose Fiction
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

This section will focus on short story collections, recent publications by U.S. and Canadian authors.
Coconut Dreams, by Derek Mascarenhas; Sour Heart, by Jenny Zhang; Lot, by Bryan Washington; Making Nice, by Matt Sumell; 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, by Mona Awad.

Adult content includes: sex, violence, explicit language, moral ambiguity, and so on.
Reading at least one of these before the semester begins is highly recommended.

 

Prose Fiction
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM 

"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

How do we belong in place? How do we make sense of here? How does space become place?  How does place become home? How does elsewhere function here? How does place influence us? How do stories constitute us? How are we constituted by home, by homing?  How do we constitute home?  How do we consume here?  How do we embody place and home?  What are the versions of here?  Where is here?

Topics in the Study of Language and/or Rhetoric
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

This course provides an introduction to the history, theory, and use of rhetoric: the study of the persuasive effects of language. In other words, this course explores how verbal, written, and visual language persuades us to believe, think, and act in particular ways.

Given our current local and global circumstances (Covid-19, Trump, climate change, among others), it is crucial to understand how people persuade and are persuaded not only through public speech, but also through campaigns, advertisements, technologies, research, social media, and everyday communication.  We will survey classical rhetoric, 20th and 21st century rhetorical theory, and rhetorical criticism in a variety of contexts. Readings will be articles and book chapters available through Canvas.

This course will provide you with a set of tools and vocabulary that will enable you to 1) understand the goals and assumptions of texts (broadly defined) that you encounter in everyday life, and 2) engage the world in a critical and reflexive manner.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020,this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot

 

Topics in the Study of Language and/or Rhetoric
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

This course introduces techniques and approaches for the analysis of spoken discourse in English.  The focus will be on analyzing language events involving interaction between two or more speakers, with an emphasis on considering language in context.

The course begins with a general overview of the subject including practices and considerations for the collection and transcription of spoken discourse.  We will then consider a number of approaches to discourse analysis; ethnography, pragmatics, conversation analysis, sociolinguistics and critical discourse analysis (CDA).  Students will learn how to design and conduct their own research projects. The main textbook, Working with Spoken Discourse, will be supplemented with lecture materials and some additional reading.  Throughout the term we will work toward learning and applying a “toolkit” to collected texts.

Examples of both spoken and written discourse will be examined but the emphasis will be on spoken discourse.  Students will be encouraged to collect and analyze their own data.

In general, the goals of the course will be:

  • Developing skills in the analysis of naturally occurring spoken texts
  • Developing skills in seeing pattern frequency and functional variety in spoken texts
  • Designing and producing a research project involving the collection and analysis of spoken data.

There will be two written assignments, a group presentation, a final paper representing 40% of the course grade and a final exam. Students will also present their proposed work for the final paper to the class.

The textbook for the course will be Deborah Cameron’s Working with Spoken Discourse (Sage Publications, 2001).

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 recorded and online materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

Introduction to Indigenous Literatures
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 PM-2:00 PM

ENGL 231 explores the ways that Indigenous peoples have sought to overcome the legacy of colonialism and achieve self-determination through literary and other forms of cultural production and critique. This course will examine contemporary articulations of Indigenous identity, politics and cultural traditions in the field of literature, through the genres of the novel, poetry, plays/drama, film, and other modes of resurgent cultural expression. We will be examining both critiques of mainstream representations of Indigenous peoples in scholarly articles and readings, as well as Indigenous perspectives on popular culture, urban Indigeneity, history, politics, and contemporary struggles for decolonization.

 

Approaches to Media Studies
Term 1
MWF, 3:00 PM-4:00 PM

Media are everywhere—ubiquitous—and so it should come as no surprise that approaches to understanding media are likewise all over the place. We’ll start with orality and end up with Twitter in this course, and along the way we’ll develop a sense of the complexity of mediation and why it now dominates the global village. By the end of this course, you will be able to answer the question: “If the pandemic is a medium, what is the message?”

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, we will combine modes of instruction that allow us to work together as well as individually. This will also present us with a living case study of the ubiquity of media and how they shape what we know and who we are.

Approaches to Media Studies
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

The digital revolution seemed to alter global media production and consumption in some fundamental ways – but what are those? To better understand the media changes we are living through, this class will put “new” digital media into dialogue with “older” mediated technologies including eighteenth-century automata, the nineteenth-century telegraph, and twentieth-century television. Further interrogating the rise of digital media and its consequences, we ask whether the late twentieth century’s global, near-instantaneous circulation of media brought issues of race, gender, orientalism, and post-colonial geopolitics into new political configurations. Do new circulations of digital media disrupt, resist, and rewrite earlier forms of media theory?

To understand the broader social meanings of mediated forms of political practice, we put media studies into conversation with feminist informatics, anti-racist technical practice, and postcolonial theory. Readings will include authors such as Stuart Hall on race and media cultures, Jeffrey Sconce on haunted media histories, Lucy Suchman on militarist games,  Lisa Parks on media infrastructure, Irani and Silberman on Amazon Mechanical Turk.

 

Shakespeare Now
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM

This course will focus on the relevance of Shakespeare to 21st century audiences. The issues addressed by Shakespeare – gender identity, sexual politics, colonialism, race – are, if anything, even more topical. We’ll look at film, filmed-stage, and graphic novel adaptations of Shakespeare. What is lost in such attempts to modernize Shakespeare? What is gained? And can the latter ever compensate for the loss of the historical specificity of the early modern English stage?

Required Texts (subject to change):

Shakespeare, As You Like It (Oxford UP)
Manga Hamlet 
Shakespeare, Othello (Oxford UP)
Macbeth The Graphic Novel: Original Text 
Shakespeare, The Tempest (Oxford UP)

Optional Text:
Shakespeare, Hamlet (Oxford UP)

Introduction to Children's and Young Adult Literature
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

This course will examine writing for younger readers from the 18th to the early 21st century. In our readings and discussions of British, American, and Canadian children’s and young adult literature, we will examine how changing understandings of childhood and adolescence are reflected in the literary genres that adults developed to socialize and regulate the conduct of the young. Texts will likely include fairy tales by Charles Perrault, Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, and the Brothers Grimm, as well as modern adaptations by Francesca Lia Block and Emma Donoghue; didactic poems by Isaac Watts and John Bunyan, and nonsense verse by Lewis Carroll, Shel Silverstein, and Dennis Lee; C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass; and Neil Gaiman, Coraline.

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.

 

Speculative Fiction
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 PM-2:00 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 implications of Victor’s generation of a humanoid Creature; this dread echoes in the creatures haunting 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?), rights, research ethics, and fear, in the realization that these creatures are, ultimately, not human but posthuman, yet often more sympathetic than their makers. You will write two short essays, a term paper requiring secondary research, and a final examination, and will contribute to discussion.

Core texts tentatively include William Gibson’s Neuromancer, the Wachowskis’ The Matrix: The Shooting Script, Madeline Ashby’s Vn, and a film: either Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott, Final Cut edition) or Blade Runner 2049 (dir. Denis Villeneuve) or AI (dir. Steven Spielberg); another core text may be added. A list of supplementary recommended texts will be developed (from The Island of Dr. Moreau to Ex Machina and beyond), and online readings will be put in Library Course Reserves.

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.

 

Environment and Literature
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

This introduction to animal studies theory examines how we define the human by excluding the animal, and how racial, sexual, and other forms of difference overlap with human-animal difference in contemporary literature and culture. Readings include stories, poems, and novels by Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe, Eden Robinson, and Larissa Lai.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, the course will proceed through a mix of asynchronous activities (discussions and materials on Canvas) and synchronous (real-time) meetings in our designated time slot.

 

Comics and Graphic Media
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

 

In this course, we will survey key texts in emerging canons of graphic media—hybrids and mixtures of comics, illustrated texts, cartoons, graphic novels, graffiti, visual media and other genres—with an eye to establishing our own workable critical reading practices. What do graphic texts tell us about the limits of literature, and about the relationships between art and popular culture? How has the emergence of mass-produced graphic forms and genres impacted on the ways in which we read, and on how we value and evaluate writing? What has become of our sense of what constitutes a book or even a page? How do graphic media encourage us to reflect on the visual, spatial and material forms of representation, in language and in other sign systems and mediums? How is graphic media's increasing popularity, its burgeoning readership, tied to certain conceptions of identity, subjectivity, sociality and literacy? This year, the corpus of comics and graphic media with which we will engage will likely include work by Ta-Nehisi Coates, G. Willow Wilson, Lynda Barry, Alison Bechdel, Hiromu Arakawa, Jeff Lemire, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, and Johnny Christmas.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all B.A. courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will use a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

Literature and Film
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

The above question has too often become the cornerstone of modern debates about adaptation. Our objective in this course will be to reframe the ways in which we might consider and discuss the many and varied relationships between various genres of literature and film. The scope of our discussion will range from detailed examinations of particular passages and scenes to the re-definition of concepts and re-shaping of terminology in an effort to explore how literature and film can speak to each other as different but equal partners. Instead of considering adaptation as a lit-centric field, in which the value of a film is based on its fidelity to the “original” text, we’ll look at the ways in which film and literature engage in fruitful and productive conversations with each other. We’ll consider how stories adapt to the aesthetic and commercial demands of multiple genres – novels, comic books, plays, short stories, and films. In the process, we’ll read some adaptation theory and study the cultural contexts surrounding both the source text and its adaptation. In so doing, we’ll explore the ways in which these two different media use diverse forms of technological representation to engage with a number of cultural and social issues. We’ll finish the course by considering more recent attempts within the field of adaptation to move beyond the unidirectional movement of literature to film, as content moves away from notions of a single, stable source and an identifiable author, and towards an era of transmedia creation by multiple entities and media conglomerates.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

Mystery and Detective Fiction
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

This course introduces students to representative texts in the British tradition of detective fiction that flourished in the genre’s formative era from the mid-Victorian period to the “golden age” of crime fiction in the 1920s and 30s. Often disparaged for its conventions and narrative contrivances (the eccentric detective, the isolated setting, the stereotyped characters, the baffling clues), “cozy” British detective fiction remains a popular genre with audiences – witness the extended run of Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap, which has been in continuous performance on the London stage since 1952. This course seeks to explore that enduring appeal by reading our texts with an eye not only to their historical and political frameworks, but also to their engagement with such concepts as knowledge, identity, truth, and rationality. Far from being merely a conservative force for reinforcing existing social norms, detective fiction, as we shall see, also raises some tantalizingly subversive possibilities. Authors studied include: Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, E. C. Bentley, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and others. Course requirements include 3 short papers, active and involved participation, 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 and Rhetoric

Studies in Rhetoric
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

Memes and the Art of Brevity examines the micro-texts that saturate our contemporary media-scape. From the latest dank meme to Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, people seem to have an insatiable appetite for incongruous imagery, ironic humor, unfiltered vitriol, and … tldr. Starting from the premise that motivating an audience does not require much, if any, proof, evidence, or logic, the course examines the technologies, forms, and contents of digital artifacts to understand how and why mass-mediated brevity captures our attention, goes viral, influences public opinion, and facilitates communication.

Rhetorical Criticism
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM

In Rhetorical Criticism: Rhetoric, Revolution, & Dissent students will learn the concepts and methods of rhetorical criticism, and apply them to assess how social movements use and design persuasive messages, images, artifacts, and events. By identifying and critically assessing the persuasive tactics, strategies, and genres used by movements such as the French Revolution, the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, Occupy Wall Street, and more, students will learn how communication strategies help to stimulate and maintain resistance and revolt (or not).

 

Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

The Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine examines the role of language, argument, and persuasion and how it affects the production, translation, and circulation of scientific and medical knowledge.

We will read articles from rhetorical theory and criticism, rhetoric of science, science and technology studies, rhetoric of health and medicine, and public news sources to explore the persuasive elements in science, technology, and medicine. We will see how argument is used to “manufacture controversies” despite scientific consensus (climate change; vaccination; radiation testing). We will understand how metaphor works in science and medicine (genes as a map or a blueprint; cancer as war) to communicate (and constrain?) different concepts. We will examine discourse around biomedical technologies; lived experiences with illness (physical and mental); and the role of medical diagnoses in meaning making. By the end of this course, we will understand that these issues are all approachable through the tools of rhetoric

No background in science or medicine is assumed. One of the topics of this course includes thinking about how experts communicate to the wider public, and how non-experts interact with science, technology, and medicine and their vocabularies. Although the primary role of this course is to provide students with the framework to understand the rhetorical dimensions or science, technology, and medicine, students will also gain skills to assess more critically scientific and medical literature and their popular translations.

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.

 

History and Theory of Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 PM-2:00 PM

Aristotle’s Rhetoric, appearing in the 4th Century BCE, described “the available means of persuasion” in ways that remain useful to anyone who wishes to influence other people and to understand how other people influence them: in politics, law, advertising, science, interpersonal relationships—and public health.

This course moves back and forth between ancient and contemporary readings in rhetorical theory, and between rhetorical theory and rhetorical practice. It seeks to answer questions like these: How, in daily life, are minds made up and changed?  What do people say to get other people to trust them?  What do audiences need already to believe in order to be persuaded by something new?  Can an emotional appeal also be a good argument?  It asks, as well, if and why it makes sense to study the careful plotting of arguments when political will is made real in tweets—and when, as many commentators have noted, public discourse seems to have abandoned civility. What counts now as rational argument—and how much does rationality matter?

There is no better way to understand theories and methods of persuasion than to study their history. The course will focus on key texts by Gorgias, Isocrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero—and consider the extent to which Classical terms of art apply to contemporary speeches, advertisements, and other rhetorical performances. We will be interested, in the age of COVID-19, in how people are persuaded, or not persuaded, to act responsibly in matters of life and death.  And, because our course will run through a U.S. Presidential election, we will be interested too in the rhetoric of political campaigns.

*This online course will use a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous meetings held in our designated timeslot. Adaptations will be made in the case of students for whom attendance in real time is impossible.

 

Discourse and Society
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

In pursuit of their goals, political movements organize themselves around language and through text. They introduce and repeat terms with which they position themselves and others in the political landscape. Political movements develop visions of a future via critical concepts, signal phrases, and images. They organize into political associations and networked groups through written genres. They interact with authorities through established and subversive use of text.

Given ongoing physical distance recommendations, this course will be delivered in a blended format: lecture material will be made available for self-study ahead of class, where will meet digitally for discussion and collaborative activities. In my course delivery, I will take extra care to help develop good relations so that we are able to know and trust each other and in what we think, write, and make together.

We will explore discourse analytic methods and apply them to historical and contemporary social and political movements. We will study and apply key concepts from genre theory, discourse analysis, counterpublic theory, and network analysis. Together with other students in the class, you will co-develop a lesson to help us work with 1 article from our required readings. With my guidance, you will develop a corpus analysis project. You will adopt one of the forms of analysis that the course introduces and apply it to a corpus of texts that you collect from a political movement of your choice. Along the way, we will engage with examples of current events that lend themselves to the forms of analysis practiced in the course. This course usually includes a local field trip, which in this digitally delivered version will ask you to look for public evidence of a political movement in the place where you physically reside.

Note: the research project for this course will include an option for an alternative form of the final project. The “Publish with Your Prof” alternative research assignment will be planned and carried out by a group of up to 5 students, together with the instructor. We will design a research project that can be dividied into component analysis parts to be carried out by the group’s individual members. In my recent version of the course, two students and I went on to deliver a conference presentation on the project; we are currently completing a manuscript to be submitted to a research journal.

Calendar description: Introduction to theories of language and culture, and to techniques for analysing discourses in their social contexts.

History of the English Language: Early History
Term 1
TTh, 9:30 AM-11:00 AM

When Chaucer made the observation "that in forme of speche is chaunge" he stated the self-evident, perhaps without knowing the principles of historical linguistics. He emphasized the fact that words change, but he had nothing to say on grammar, pronunciation, and syntax.

English has been written down for more that 1200 years, and the earliest written sources show the language in a form radically different from today's. Over the course of two semesters, English 318 and 319 trace the development of the language from Old English (about A.D. 500 to 1100) into Middle English (1100 to 1500) and Modern English (1500 to present). In this course, English 318, Emphasis will be placed on the evolution of pronunciation from Old English up to the present, on the changes in the meaning and form of words, and on changes in sentence structure. Attention will also be given to social and historical factors which bring about language change. In an excursus at the beginning of the course, the relationship of English to other Indo-European languages will be explored briefly.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

History of the English Language: Later History
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

The Later history of the English language course provides an overview of the historical evolution of English during the Middle English Period (1100-1500), the Early Modern English Period (1500-1800) and the Late Modern English Period (1800-21st Century). The course starts with a general introduction to the historical study of English, including an overview of the current structure of the language, the notion of language change and language typology. By following the development of English from the Middle Ages to the Elizabethan era, we study the changes in linguistic structure ranging from the level of sound and its relationship with spelling (phonology and graphology), the level of words, including principles of word formation (morphology), and loanwords, relevant aspects of word classes and word meaning (semantics) and the level of sentence structure (syntax) as each level reveals the dynamic, ongoing development and creative flexibility of the English language. The approach taken in the course is descriptive and is not situated exclusively in any specific linguistic theory.

You will be required to learn to use the International Phonetic Alphabet when describing the level of sound. You will also be expected to acquire a degree of familiarity with grammar that will allow you to understand changes from one historical period to the next. A highlight of the course is the collaborative project on Original Pronunciation (OP) using an extract from a Shakespeare play comparing it to Middle English pronunciation and present-day dialects.

Prescribed reading:

  • Brinton, Laurel J. & Leslie Arnovick, The English Language: A Linguistic History. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Grading structure:

  • Collaborative exercise and presentation-10%
  • Midterm 1-20%
  • Midterm 2-20%
  • Collaborative project on OP and presentation-20%
  • Final exam-30%

Note: The course is currently envisaged as an on-campus course, but in the event that measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 should continue to have an impact by January 2021, I will be offering the course online.

English Grammar and Usage
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 PM-2:00 PM

The immortal Ralph Wiggum (from The Simpsons) once uttered these famous words: “Me fail English? That’s unpossible.” The irony is, of course, not lost on anyone, but while we might laugh at his ungrammatical English, more difficult questions arise when we begin to question the underlying assumptions that make such a comedic bit work. That is, what exactly makes something grammatical or ungrammatical? What is grammar anyway? And if Ralph Wiggum is speaking ungrammatical English, why can we still understand him?! The rabbit hole of grammar widens!

The course takes some of these questions as its starting point, inviting us to assess and examine the nature of grammar, its form, function, history and usage. We will first adopt a descriptive approach to present-day English grammar, comparing it to traditional prescriptivism. We will then navigate the different levels of language, starting with the smallest unit of written language: the word. We then move to word classes (or parts of speech), identifying their grammatical functions. From there, we will consider larger units of English: the phrase, the clause and the sentence. As we progress through the content of this course, we will also discuss and analyze examples of English usage drawn from contemporary discourse (from political speeches to internet memes) that will challenge our notion of descriptive grammar.

 

Required Text

  • Börjars, Kersti & Kate Burridge. Introducing English Grammar, 2ndedition. London: Hodder Education, 2010. ISBN: 978 1444 10987 0.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

English Grammar and Usage
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

This course will introduce you to the basics of how English is described and used in both spoken and written forms. First we will consider and evaluate the notions of descriptivism and prescriptivism, and learn about standardization and the history behind modern English grammar rules (Unit 1). Next, we will discuss key parts of the English grammatical system: parts of speech; noun and verb phrases; clause structure; and tense, aspect, and mood (Unit 2). Finally, we will take a broader look at English usage and variation, from the evolving language of Internet English to variation in Englishes around the world (Unit 3).

Required texts:

  • Berk, Lynn, English Syntax: From Word to Discourse. (Oxford University Press, 1999.)Curzan, Anne, Fixing English: Prescriptivims and Language History. (Cambridge University Press, 2014.)McCulloch, Gretchen, Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language. (Riverhead Books, 2019).

Course assessments include a brief essay (Unit 1); a midterm exam and self-testing homework exercises (Unit 2); and a group project that explores some aspect of variation in English (Unit 3). The final exam is comprehensive.

In the event that we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will proceed with a combination of pre-recorded lectures and synchronous (real-time) discussion and activities in our designated timeslot.

English Grammar and Usage
Term A
Distance Education

The English Grammar and Usage (ENGL 321) course is designed to introduce students to the structure of English words, the classification of words, the sentence structure of the language and 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, and (d) journal postings and online discussion applying the principles to new material and data gathered from corpora.

Objectives:

The course expects students to

  • identify types of grammatical units at various levels of grammar (ranging from words to phrases to clauses and beyond) by considering their internal structure as well as their relations with larger structures;
  • describe the internal structure of a unit, its syntactic role, its meaning and its discourse function, by analyzing numerous examples.

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, 3rd edition. Hodder Education, 2019.
  • 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 twelve 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%

Stylistics
Term A
Distance Education

The stylistics course is an introduction to the linguistic analysis of poems, prose and plays. We make a close study of a variety of literary texts in each of the three main genres, looking at some sub-genres of each, and apply our knowledge of language in general and of specific techniques developed in linguistics to interpret the literary message. As students work through the course modules, they submit exercises to apply what they have learnt and receive feedback. Students also participate in two collaborative workshops. The one workshop is a replication of a published stylistic analysis of a poem to determine whether your reading differs or corresponds to that reading. The second workshop is on stylistically analyzing conversational strategies and humour in a dramatic text. In the term paper, students offer a thorough stylistic analysis of a short story of their own choice as approved by the instructor. There is a final exam contributing 30% of the final grade.

Distribution of grades:

  • Exercises - 15%
  • Workshops (15% each) - 30%
  • Term paper -  25%
  • Final exam - 30%

 

Prescribed reading:

  • Short, Mick. Exploring the Language of Poems, Plays and Prose. Routledge, 1996.
  • Simpson, Paul. Stylistics: A Resource Book for Students, 2nd ed. Routledge, 2014.More details are available on the course website on canvas.ubc.ca.

 

Varieties of English
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

Join the “course behind the book”, “the book that has been built on research grants”! In this course, we will explore the method of the written questionnaire in the social variation of English, a method that has been sidelined for most of the 20th century until quite recently (sociolinguists generally prefer interviews, but not so quick!) Your textbook, The Written Questionnaire in Social Dialectology: History, Theory, Practice, by Yours Truly, which has played a role in the method’s revitalization, will guide us through the process from start to finish. In this process, you’ll learn an awful lot about English in Canada: is eh Canadian? Is there Canadian English? Is toque really Canadian (what is it, anyway?). We will try our hand at real data collection and data in a well-defined manner to see which kind of question “works” better and why for your linguistic variable. Couch vs. chesterfield, parkade vs. garage, tom-EH-to, tom-AH-to? Let’s call the whole thing off and see what it’s really about. Every year, some of your research findings make it into the book, as the next generation of insights. Research ethics with human participants is part of the course: How may we treat our respondents? How not?

As a side effect, you’ll learn marketable skills such as Excel (4 commands), Qualtrics (the survey suite) and R (5 commands).

Prerequisites: none. Just a mild level of interest and/or curiosity is enough.

Textbook: see here for chapter 1 (URL: https://www.academia.edu/18162995/)

Deliverables:

  • Term paper (in pairs): 35%
  • Midterm exam: 20%
  • Final exam: 20%
  • Personal summary: 10%
  • Attendance and Participation: 15%

This class observes the Golden Rule and comes with an Instructor Promise

Golden Rule: Every contribution is a good contribution.

Instructor promise: I will take you with 0 knowledge of empirical work, Excel, etc. and guide you through the process.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020,this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot. All readings you have already available in the textbook.

Looking forward to working with you! What might you discover? More than you may think now!

Studies in the English Language
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 PM-2:00 PM

You’re in third or fourth year, or better, and you’re looking at the description of a course named “Studies in English Language”. Time to take a deep breadth, perhaps. What we’ll do in this course is a little different. We’ll take stock, for each of you, to see what you’ve learned so far, what you’d like to know going forward and what you might be missing (Assignment 1). Whether you’re a major or minor in English, or taking this course as an elective coming from elsewhere, Assignment 1 is all focussed on you, your educational and social hopes – filled or so far disappointed – and your aspirations. English Language Major? English Language/Literature Combined? English Literature with a focus on medieval times? PoliSci? Or Psych? All welcome! Based on this HAVE/NEEDS analysis, we’ll chart an individual course for your Studies in the English Language, for which we’ll initially cast the net very wide: interested in English loanwords in Egyptian Arabic? You got a topic! In Joseph Conrad’s prose language? Ditto! In the rhetoric moves of Shakespeare’s villains? Ditto! Can Foucault be read as a linguist? Ditto! You get the idea. In this course I’d like to put your wishes of what you’d like to do at the centre and I’ll bend over backwards to make it happen and figure out how I might support you. How does that sound?

We will be working lots in small groups, of folks that work on similar topics and at times with those who work on very different topics in order to get to know the wide field of Englsih Language and Linguistics a bit better. The only requirement is that the work needs to be related to the Linguistics of Contemporary English (Category C).

Get ready for a course of a different kind!

  • Assignment 1: 15%
  • Class presentation: 15%
  • Term paper prospectus: 10%
  • Term paper first draft: 10%
  • Term paper final draft: 30%
  • Attendance and Participation: 20%

This class observes the Golden Rule and comes with an Instructor Promise

Golden Rule: Every contribution is a good contribution.

Instructor promise: I will take you with 0 knowledge of empirical work, Excel, etc. and guide you through the process.

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. There will be smaller homework assignments as part of the classwork or online learning work.

Cognitive Approaches to the Study of Meaning
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Language use in literary texts builds on standard forms and concepts, while pushing their meaning potential to the limits by extending or re-designing what is available. Such mechanisms of creativity are the subject matter of this course. To understand the processes involved and learn how textual meaning is built and received, we study cognitive approaches to language and apply the concepts to literary discourse and other creative discourse genres. We study poetry, narrative fiction, and drama, also by putting these genres in the context of contemporary discourse and visual culture. The concepts investigated show students how to connect the study of language and literature to an understanding of how the human mind processes and creates meaning. This approach, combining the study of language, literature, and conceptualization, is known as Cognitive Poetics.

Metaphor, Language and Thought
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

We perceive our colloquial use of language as literal and descriptive. Recent research has shown, however, that all language use is pervasively figurative – it often relies on our understanding of one situation in terms of another. For example, if you talk about your claims being ‘attacked,’ ‘defended,’ or ‘defeated,’ you are relying on a conceptual pattern describing argumentative discourse in terms of combat. Colloquial language relies heavily on such patterns. In the first part of the course, we discuss various types of figuration (metaphor, metonymy, simile, and blending). In the second part, we apply concepts learned to a range of discourse types and to artifacts of popular culture, advertising, media, and various forms of internet discourse. Students are required to grasp the theoretical concepts and use them in their own analyses of data samples. All assignments rely primarily on analytical skills.

 

The Structure of Modern English: Sounds and Words
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

This course explores and examines contemporary English phonology, morphology and lexical semantics. It begins with the study of speech sounds in English. We apply methods for phonetic transcription and study distinct sounds and possible sound combinations in English (phonology). We study the processes of word formation and word classification in English (morphology). We also study word meaning (lexical semantics) using a variety of approaches.

Upon completion of this course, students will:

    • understand the English sound system, including sounds that are used in speech production and the rules and patterns governing their use;
    • understand the rules of English word formation and grammatical modification;
    • understand different approaches to representing and analyzing lexical meaning;
    • demonstrate the ability to formally or diagrammatically represent this knowledge;
    • appreciate the nuances of meaning in human language and the conceptual system underlying it

The written work required in this course includes two midterm exams and a comprehensive final exam. Students will also complete self-testing homework exercises.

Required textbook:

  • L.J. Brinton and D.M. Brinton, The Linguistic Structure of Modern English (Benjamins 2010).

In the event that we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will proceed with a combination of pre-recorded lectures and synchronous (real-time) discussion and activities in our designated timeslot.

 

The Structure of Modern English: Sounds and Words
Term 1
MW, 4:00 PM-5:30 PM

This course explores and examines contemporary English linguistic structure at the level of sounds and words.  It begins with a study of speech sounds.  We study the articulation of sounds in English, methods for phonetic transcription and the possible sound combinations in English (phonology). We then study words, and the processes of word formation and word classification in English (morphology).  Finally, we consider word meaning and look at a variety of approaches to appreciating the nuances of meaning in English words (lexical semantics).  Our focus will be on developing skills for analysing these three components of language, with an eye toward understanding how they belong to one communication system.

Upon completion of this course, students will have:

  • a knowledge of the English sound system, including sounds that are used in speech production and their patterning in use
  • an understanding of the rules of English word formation and grammatical modification
  • a knowledge of different approaches to understanding lexical meaning
  • the ability to represent much of this knowledge diagrammatically
  • an appreciation of the nuances of meaning in human language and an acquaintance with the conceptual system underlying meaning.

Course evaluation: There will be 3 tests, 1-2 quizzes and a class participation mark. The tests are not cumulative. A variety of in-class, homework and test questions will be given, including definitions, fill in the blanks, problem solving and short answer questions.

Required Text: L. Brinton. (2010) The Structure of Modern English. (2nd ed.). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Chapters 1-6. 

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will go ahead using a combination of recorded and online materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

The Structure of Modern English: Sentences and Their Uses
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

Join this key course for any English major! Do not opt out of it for fear, just give it a try! Often considered the “tough” stuff of English that everyone wishes they knew, but few actually do, let’s together unlock the beauty of syntactic analysis. Use it for English, to teach, in your own writing, just to show off when you need to. Use it for any of your other languages (and learn to adapt it to these). With a brand-new textbook by very nice and capable linguists, we will explore the idea of the word, the subject, the object, how the “play” together and, for instance, how the latter is different from an object complement (spelled with an “e”).

Prerequisites: none. Just a mild level of interest and/or curiosity is enough.

Textbook: Börjars, Kersti and Kathryn Burridge. 2019. Introducing English Grammar. Third Edition. London: Routledge.

Deliverables:

  • Quiz 1: 5%
  • Quiz 2: 5%
  • Presentation (in pairs): 15%
  • Midterm exam: 20%
  • Final exam: 30%
  • Personal summary: 10%
  • Attendance and Participation: 15%

This class observes the Golden Rule and comes with an Instructor Promise.

Golden Rule: Every contribution is a good contribution.

Instructor promise: I will take you with 0 knowledge of syntax and make you reasonable confident (or better) in the field.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot. All readings you have already available in the textbook.

Looking forward to working with you! Join me on this ride through the “mechanics” of English.

The Structure of Modern English: Sentences and Their Uses
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

This course focuses on the structure of modern English beyond the level of the word. We study how words and phrases are combined in English sentence structure (syntax) from a generative perspective. Our focus will be on both simple and complex sentences. We will also study meaning in sentences (sentence semantics) and how language functions in context (pragmatics).

Upon completion of this course, students will have:

  • a knowledge of the structure of simple and complex sentences in English and the ability to represent this knowledge diagrammatically
  • an appreciation of the nuances of meaning in human language and a knowledge of the conceptual system underlying meaning
  • an understanding of the use of language in context.

Course evaluation: There will be 3 tests, 1-2 quizzes and a class participation mark. The tests are not cumulative. A variety of in-class, homework and test questions will be given, including problem solving, short answer, and multiple choice questions, but the emphasis will be on representing English sentence structure diagrammatically.

Required Text: L. Brinton. (2010) The Structure of Modern English. (2nd ed.). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Chapters 7-11.

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 recorded and online materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

Literature

Approaches to Media History
Term 1
TTh, 9:30 AM-11:00 AM

In this course, we zoom out to do an overview of media history by looking at three interlocking regions. The first is the region of system, understood in terms of the relationship between media, social organization, and power, from the early writing systems that ordered agriculture to the nineteenth and twentieth-century relation between ideology and mass media such as television. In this region, we learn how the flow of communication organizes society and creates hierarchies of power. The second region is the region of matter or materialism. Here we look at the technologies themselves, such as pig skin manuscripts, paper, the substance of film, and the environmental implications of devices such as smartphones. The question is how specific “materialities” of communication shape the historical moments in which they take hold. The third region is the digital “platform,” like Google, Facebook, or Amazon. Because of their economic impact and wide social influence, platforms combine the regions of system and matter. While studying platforms, we also ask if they are as new and exclusively digital as they seem. Throughout the course, we alternate between 1) weeks that mix lecture with student research and presentation about topics in media history and 2) weeks for discussing readings that exemplify the very different theories and methods researchers have used, over time, to write the history of media.

 

Approaches to Media History
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

In this course, we zoom out to do an overview of media history by looking at three interlocking regions. The first is the region of system, understood in terms of the relationship between media, social organization, and power, from the early writing systems that ordered agriculture to the nineteenth and twentieth-century relation between ideology and mass media such as television. In this region, we learn how the flow of communication organizes society and creates hierarchies of power. The second region is the region of matter or materialism. Here we look at the technologies themselves, such as pig skin manuscripts, paper, the substance of film, and the environmental implications of devices such as smartphones. The question is how specific “materialities” of communication shape the historical moments in which they take hold. The third region is the digital “platform,” like Google, Facebook, or Amazon. Because of their economic impact and wide social influence, platforms combine the regions of system and matter. While studying platforms, we also ask if they are as new and exclusively digital as they seem. Throughout the course, we alternate between 1) weeks that mix lecture with student research and presentation about topics in media history and 2) weeks for discussing readings that exemplify the very different theories and methods researchers have used, over time, to write the history of media.

History of the Book
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 PM-2:00 PM

“Never judge a book by its cover,” we are often told, and yet we do judge books, not only by their covers, but also by their typefaces, their illustrations, and any number of other factors not apparently directly related to their content. This course will introduce students to book history, a discipline that unravels the complex relationships between particular books, the texts they contain, the cultures that produced them, and the readers who encounter them. We will explore how materiality and meaning interact, in a range of historical and cultural contexts. Along the way, students will learn about the many forms texts have taken over the centuries, from oral recitations to ebooks, and everything in between.

A unique feature of this course is that we will meet regularly in Rare Books and Special Collections. Here, students will have the opportunity for hands-on experience with a wide collection of rare materials dating from the Middle Ages to the present. Course assignments will present students with the opportunity for original research with our rich collections. Students will leave this course with both theoretical knowledge and practical experience concerning the history, and future, of media-text interactions.

Should it happen that we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver come January, this course will go ahead with a focus on the many digital resources for the study of the history of the book. We will turn our online experience into theoretical reflection on the technological mediation of objects and text - making digital lemonade out of COVID-19 lemons...

Text and Image
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

“What is the use of a book,” thought Alice,“without pictures or conversations?”

During the Victorian period there were more illustrated books and periodicals in circulation than ever before. Publishers exploited the power of the visual to attract readers, commissioning illustrators who were as well known – sometimes better known – than the authors. Many Victorian illustrations, including John Leech’s for Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and John Tenniel’s for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, have come to define the literary works in the popular imagination, inspiring generations of visual artists and filmmakers.

In this course we will explore the relationship between text and image in a selection of Victorian novels, poems, and fairy tales as originally published and as re-visioned by Victorian, twentieth-century, and twenty-first-century artists. How does the visual – illustrations, paintings, photographs, films, etc. – define the verbal? To what extent does the visual reinscribe, subvert, or revise the assumptions, both aesthetic and ideological (e.g., with respect to gender, class, race, sexuality, religion, ethics, politics, etc.), implicit in the literary texts and in our – and the Victorians’ – readings of them?

If we are able to meet on campus, approximately half of our classes will take place in UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections where we will work with the first and some of the later editions of our texts and situate them in relation to Victorian, twentieth-century, and twenty-first-century print cultures. If we are not able to meet on campus, the course will be conducted online and we will work with digitized editions. Synchronous (real-time) participation during our scheduled class time will be required.

Our texts (first illustrated editions): Charles Dickens and John Leech, A Christmas Carol; William Allingham and Arthur Hughes, “The Fairies”; Allingham and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “The Maids of Elfen-Mere”; Alfred Tennyson, William Holman Hunt, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “The Lady of Shalott”; Christina Rossetti and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “Goblin Market”; Lewis Carroll and John Tenniel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Thomas Hardy and Helen Paterson, Far from the Madding Crowd; Mary de Morgan and Walter Crane, The Necklace of Princess Fiorimonde and Other Stories; Clemence Housman and Laurence Housman, The Were-wolf; Evelyn Sharp and Mabel Dearmer, Wymps and Other Fairy Tales.

Digitized copies of the first illustrated editions of our texts are available on the Internet Archive or Google Books (links are posted on UBC Library Course Reserves). If you would like to purchase twenty-first-century editions with helpful introductions and notes, I recommend: A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings (Penguin); Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Broadview); Far from the Madding Crowd (Oxford World’s Classics).

A list of the later illustrated editions and the screen adaptations that we will be studying will be available in July.

 

Trauma and Memory: Literature Performance and Theory
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 PM-2:00 PM

English 339 focuses on three critical contexts pivotal to studies of trauma, memory, and literature: the Holocaust (1933-1945), the First World War (1914-1918), and transatlantic slavery (circa 1600s-1800s). We may read interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary scholarship to clarify key concepts and highlight relevant controversies for discussion. Short excerpts from documentary films and other audio/visual aids may also inform our investigations. In each section, we will analyze a trauma testimony [Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved (1986); Wilfred Owen, The Poems of Wilfred Owen (circa 1917-1918); Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861)] followed by a contemporary work that grapples with the legacies of historical trauma for successive generations [Art Spiegelman, Maus I & II (1986; 1991); Pat Barker, Another World (1998); Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)]. We will attend closely to the formal features and the social contexts of these hybrid texts and we will consider the distinct preoccupations of survivors and descendants in the transmission and reception of trauma. Finally, we will reflect on the shifting meanings of historical trauma in the present. The course requirements may include participation, a midterm, an essay, and a final examination.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will proceed with a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot. Synchronous (real-time) participation will be required.

Introduction to Old English
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

“You must remember we knew nothing of [Old English]; each word was a kind of talisman we unearthed…And with those words we became almost drunk.” –Jorge Luis Borges, “Blindness”

Old English provides an uncanny sensation: so different from present-day English that it must be studied as a foreign language, it is an ancestor whose patterns reveal themselves quickly to the learner. Old English literature is strange, intimate, and violent: an exile paddles in the ice with his bare hands, listening to birdsong; a feud erupts at a wedding; a tree, torn from the wilderness to become an unwilling instrument of torture, clings to Christ in what Borges calls a lovers’ embrace. This literature is usually read in translation, but in this class you will begin to read it in the original. You will learn the fundamentals of Old English grammar, syntax, and vocabulary; specialized poetic vocabulary and the basic rules of poetic composition; and unusual features that have been lost in the journey from Old to present-day English—like a set of pronouns that describes only pairs and couples.

The first third of the course will focus on grammatical study; in the remainder of the course, you will continue to learn grammar and vocabulary while focusing your attention on translating short passages of prose and poetry. The course will proceed through a mix of asynchronous activities (discussions and materials on Canvas) and synchronous (real-time) meetings in our designated time slot.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all B.A. courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will use a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

Anglo-Saxon and Early Medieval Literature
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM

The clash of blade on the shield-wall – Grendel’s monstrous form looming through the mist – the Dragon’s roar – Odin’s blood on the world-tree – the broken ruin of a Roman town - rumours of a new God from across the sea – the song of Raven and Wolf – the first sounds of a Te Deum in a new built church – the blood cries of the sea-wolves – the lament for the passing of an age.

The literary landscape of Early Medieval Britain (c. 497 AD – 1066 AD) is linguistically and culturally diverse, a record of profound cultural change over the span of five centuries. This course is designed to introduce students to the multilingual literatures of Early Medieval Britain, a period that saw the birth of English as a language and as a literature, but one that was always is dialogue with the other languages of the British Isles.  Primarily focusing upon the surviving literature of the early English (recorded in various dialects of Old English (cf. ENGL 340)), the course will also introduce students to selections of Welsh, Norse, and Latin literature from the early medieval period (all texts will be read in modern English translation).

The early British Middle Ages, often simplistically and problematically named the ‘Anglo-Saxon period’, was a complex geography of cultural and linguistic intermixture. While the colonizing pagan 'Anglo-Saxon' tribes (from the early sixth century onwards) eventually came to dominate the lowland areas of Britain that now encompass England, the culture and literature of the Celtic peoples survived and thrived in West (Wales) and the North. To this mix we add the culture of the Scandinavian peoples, who came first to burn and raid, but later to settle and conquer. Interweaving with all these vernaculars was the international language of medieval Europe, the Latin of the Church and (by default) of international intellectual culture. This course will seek to understand the origins of English literature in its profoundly multilingual and postcolonial contexts.

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.

 

Middle English Literature
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 PM-2:00 PM
King Arthur and the figures and objects associated with him - Lancelot, Guenevere, Merlin, Galahad, Excalibur, the Holy Grail - are embedded in our popular culture even today, hundreds of years after the story first began to take shape. This course will look at where the myth began, by studying the medieval British texts that created the king. It will draw on works in several of the languages of medieval Britain, emphasizing that Arthur arose from a multilingual, multicultural environment. We will begin with the medieval Welsh context, reading two explicitly Arthurian prose texts, as well as one of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, a foundational text of medieval Welsh literature. Then we will explore Geoffrey of Monmouth’s twelfth-century Anglo-Latin History of the Kings of Britain, which was the first text to present a whole career for Arthur. We will look at the fragmentary and mysterious medieval Welsh poems that might have given Geoffrey some of his material. Next, we will read the Middle English poem,The Alliterative Morte Arthure, in which Arthur goes to war with Rome. Finally, we will read selections from Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthure, the fifteenth-century prose text that attempts to arrange the whole world of Arthurian myth into one sequential narrative. Throughout the course, we will pay attention to the material aspect of Arthurian myth, looking at medieval manuscripts, objects, and places associated with the British Arthurian tradition. The Middle English material will be read in the original language; the Latin and Welsh material will be read in translation.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all B.A. courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and occasional synchronous (real-time) activities in our designated time slot.

Chaucer
Term 1
MW, 7:30 PM-9:00 PM

Written in the late fourteenth-century, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales reveals the myriad complexity and variety of late-medieval English social life. A society that had survived the outbreaks of Black Death of the middle of the century, and now flourished and transformed in the newly liberated world of the post-plague decades, late-medieval England was a world of piety and passion, courtliness and crassness; a world where knights and cooks rode side by side, pardoners verbally jousted with innkeepers, and millers and reeves traded literary blows on the wayside.

This course will introduce students to the writing (in Middle English) of Geoffrey Chaucer, and the nature of his Canterbury Tales. We will read (and ride) along with the pilgrims as they travel the worn path to Canterbury, undertaking our own journey of learning as we traverse the geographical, social, and spiritual contours of Chaucer’s literary landscape. A wry reader of Dante, Boccaccio, French romance, and Latin science, Chaucer brings much of the European literary accomplishment of the previous century back to England (and to English), creating a lasting and lurid literary masterpiece that still rewards careful reading to this day.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated time-slot.

 

Renaissance Literature
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

Did you ever wonder what cats got up to at night, when their humans are asleep? Are you interested in the secrets of alchemy? Have you ever made a list of all the things that you wish you knew but know that you don’t yet? If yes to any of these questions, then this is the class for you.

This course introduces students to discourses and practices of curiosity, ignorance, skepticism, knowledge-making, secret-keeping, and scientific and literary experimentation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We’ll examine texts by familiar figures (Thomas More, Francis Bacon, Montaigne, Margaret Cavendish) alongside writers you’re less likely to recognize (Hester Pulter, William Baldwin, Thomas Shadwell). Through our readings, which will include poems, plays, recipes, travel documents, and essays, we’ll investigate possible relationships among science, gender, domesticity, and colonialism in the Renaissance. We’ll also be particularly interested in thinking about the scientific practices of experiment – a word which derives from the Latin verb “to try” – as also tryings-out of new forms of writing.

There will be a midterm and two shorter writing assignments.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

Shakespeare
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM
Classroom: TBA See Canvas for details.

ksirluck@mail.ubc.ca      Office: Buchanan Tower 407

This course will focus primarily on the plays of Shakespeare, with some attention given to other Renaissance dramatic and non-dramatic works. We will discuss Shakespeare’s plays in the context of his particular moment in cultural history.  With the annual recurrence of the plague, the ever-looming possibility of war with France or Spain, and the instability of food supplies, together with rampant unemployment and homelessness amongst the lower classes, uncertainty in Britain was aggravated to a fever pitch during the decades Shakespeare wrote for the theatre.  The everyday uncertainty of practical life was matched by religious and intellectual uncertainty.  Renaissance Humanism had begun to falter, the emerging Sciences were challenging traditional knowledge in a number of spheres, especially the physical sciences, medicine, and astronomy.  Cartography and geographical knowledge in general were radically altering current ideas of the globe, nascent capitalism was displacing traditional ways of life, and the first colonies were being established in the Americas.  Simultaneously, religious, philosophical, and political controversy had become increasingly divisive.  To say there was ongoing epistemological crisis on numerous fronts is to understate the case.  If we add to this the change from Elizabeth I’s long reign to that of her Scottish successor, James Stuart, and the increasing tensions between the new King and the increasingly Puritan-influenced Parliament, we begin to get an idea of how uncertainty infiltrated nearly every arena of private and public life in the decades from 1590 to 1620. We will find similar unease manifesting in aspects of domestic, sexual and social interaction.  All of these are relevant for the study of Late Elizabethan and Jacobean drama.

Our readings of the drama will take into account the conditions influencing production, Elizabethan playing, and audience reception. We will consider what it means for our own reception that we cannot go into a real theatre now, because of the pandemic, and that English theatres similarly closed every summer because of plague.  How does watching plays on film while sitting alone change our experience? How does the change of media (from a live, sweaty, crowded theatre space thronged with actual bodies to solitary viewing through a cool, flat screen traversed by flickering images) change the nature of theatrical effects?  We will explore a variety of different critical approaches, including those of earlier decades, and those more current.  Shakespeare’s theatre can be seen as a commercial enterprise, licensed by the authorities, and dependent on royal patronage, involving complex negotiations of class and subjectivity. It can also be seen as a marginal or liminal space wherein the dilemmas of Shakespeare’s time and now of our own can be evoked and given form; where competing cultural voices find expression; where “things as they are” can be challenged by the very manner of their representation. The dramatic poetry of Shakespeare is both historical document and unfinished experiment - a boundlessly eventful experiential realm.

Film versions of the plays online will be recommended and discussed.

Plays: Shakespeare, Julius CaesarTwelfth Night, OthelloMacbeth, The Winter’s Tale; Thomas Middleton, The Changeling

Play texts will be available at the UBC Bookstore and online through the UBC library. At the current time, we are expecting Term 1 of W 2020 may begin online, and thereafter our class may either continue online or move to a real classroom, as the university decides.  While it is online, our primary meeting-place for virtual classes, supplementary recorded lectures, assignments, notes, conversations, and creative presentations will be CANVAS.  Via Canvas, we will use Collaborate Ultra for live classes, which will be recorded and made available for students who could not attend.  Depending on how many students are living in the BC time zone, we may stagger classes so that some are held at the regularly scheduled times (MWF 1:00- 2:00 pm.) and some are held at alternative times when students in other countries will be awake and able to participate live.  Accommodations will be made in a similar manner for live exam or essay sittings.  Films of most of our plays are available through the UBC Library, via the Indexes and Databases tab, in two online film libraries: Criterion and Canopy.

 

Shakespeare
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

Shakespeare was living in a time much like our own, but in reverse. Oral communication, which had been the cultural dominant for centuries, was rapidly giving way to literacy through the effects of writing and printing. As someone who wrote plays for oral performance, some of which were printed, Shakespeare was in the midst of this monumental shift, and the thesis of this course is that he dramatized that shift in plays as diverse as King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, and Othello. The course will introduce you to the basics of media theory and lead you in discussions of these plays (and others), and along the way you will arrive at a greater understanding of the media shift we are experiencing today, as we leave literate culture behind and enter into a form of secondary orality.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, we will combine modes of instruction that allow us to work together as well as individually.

Shakespeare
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

In the film Shakespeare in Love (dir. John Madden), Will sets about two tasks when he finds himself smitten with Viola: he effortlessly pens a sonnet for her and then he plots Romeo and Juliet. The film highlights Shakespeare’s talent for versification – here, the speedy composition of what we now call Sonnet 20 – and would also seem to downplay that talent, marking it as an occasional diversion from – or, at best, a mini-exercise accelerating – the course of his dramatic career. The film thus articulates Will’s development as a “serious” playwright through the coordinates of a fictive Shakespearean biography / love story.

With a cue from Shakespeare in Love, we chart in this class Shakespeare’s poetic career, attending mainly to the aesthetic qualities and historical backgrounds of Shakespearean poetry. Every now and then we will also have occasion to explore those traces of (pseudo-) Shakespearean biography we might discover in the publication history of his verse in the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries. We shall commence with the long narrative poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, both of which Shakespeare ushered through the press himself, and then turn to sonnets which were included (presumably without his permission) in The Passionate Pilgrim and to his puzzling contribution to the verse collection Loves Martyr. We’ll also break genre to study three plays from the mid- to late-1590s (As You Like It, Love’s Labor’s Lost, and Romeo and Juliet) to speculate about possible points of intersection among Shakespearean drama and poetry. We’ll conclude with an extended discussion about those Shakespearean poems that have so provoked, and yet so frustrated, biographical readings since their pirated publication in 1609 – Shakespeare’s sonnet sequence and its enigmatic companion poem, A Lover’s Complaint.

There will be a midterm exam and a final term paper.

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 timeslot.

Shakespeare
Term C
Distance Education

In this course, we will be reading 5 plays, including comedies, tragedies and history plays. Students who successfully complete ENGL 348A will have demonstrated an ability to read and to analyze the richness of Shakespeare’s language, dramatic characterization, and plotting; a familiarity with the economic, the intellectual, the political, the religious, the sexual, and the social conditions of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England and how these conditions may have informed Shakespeare’s plays; and a thorough understanding of the genres and theatrical conventions Shakespeare employed on the Renaissance stage. Students will thus be asked in this course to regard Shakespeare, a literary figure often acclaimed for the timelessness of his art, as a playwright, in the first instance, of his own time.

Please note that this course is a fully online, Guided Independent Study course; there is no synchrononous content, though there are firm in-term deadlines for readings and assignments.

 

 

Seventeenth-Century Literature
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM         

email: ksirluck@mail.ubc.ca

This course will seek to discover how the characteristic forms, attitudes and energies of popular festival culture in Renaissance England persist and transmute as they are passed down both from literature and popular festival to the urban culture and commercial theatres of Tudor and Stuart London.  The mimus, the comic morality play, the Feast of Fools, boundary-walking, mumming, wild men, harvest funerals, the hunting of the Wren, Robin Hood and other folk plays, Interludes, Saints’ days, the Lord of Misrule, bonfires, Maypoles, the Totentanz, jigs, ballads, mock-marriages, Skimmington riding, Morris dances and village processions all form a part of popular festivity in England.  Religious and secular festivals are generally localized, seasonal, and communal; they are rooted in ritual and tradition and thus may be said to possess a folk-centred authority supported by custom and centuries-old loyalties.  Whether sacred or subversive, they began as the productions and often the voice of the common people.  Early Seventeenth Century popular drama teems with variations of these folk rituals and festival practices, among them variations of the Battle between Carnival and Lent, Mock-Kings, festive “uncrownings”, Courts of Misrule, Robin-Hood flights to the Greenwood, obscene mock-marriages and mock-funerals.  Over and beyond their religious significance, Lenten elements in drama and cultural practice are frequently associated with aristocratic values and with repressive religious and political authority imposed from above, hostile to the festive ideals of liberty and social equality.  In the Stuart drama in particular, the monarchy, the aristocracy, and even the established church come under attack by means of reconfigured festive tropes.  Theatrical representations of the festive world articulate plebian dissent and interrogate aristocratic prerogatives.  They invoke carnal and comic energies to vie with the ascetic, the abstract, and the solemn.  They also emerge in the tragic drama through satire and savagery designed to expose the mayhem underlying “Order.” Festival themes and forms protest the disappearance of traditional life and the encroachment of the Age of Iron.  However, despite a certain nostalgia occasionally attaching to them, these forms include within themselves modes of resistance and interrogation crucial to our attempts to grasp the sociopolitical and imaginative dimensions of early Seventeenth century drama in England.

 

Primary Texts:

  • Mankynde
  • Robin Hood and the Friar, Robin Hood and the Potter
  • John Skelton, excerpt from “The Tunning of Eleanor Rumming”
  • William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1; Hamlet; As You Like It; Troilus and Cressida
  • Ben Jonson, Bartholomew Fair
  • Thomas Middleton, Women Beware Women

 

Very brief selections (online) from: 

  • Erasmus, from The Praise of Folly
  • Processio Assinorum (sound recording)
  • François Rabelais, Pantagruel and Gargantua
  • Thomas More, Utopia,
  • Paintings by Breughel the Elder and others
  • Various verses, accounts and representations of carnival and festive life.

Play texts will be available at the UBC Bookstore and online through the UBC library. At the current time, we are expecting Term 1, W 2020 may begin online, and thereafter our class may either continue online or move to a real classroom, as the university decides.  While it is online, our primary meeting-place for live virtual classes, supplementary recorded lectures, assignments, notes, conversations, and creative presentations will be CANVAS.  Via Canvas, we will use Collaborate Ultra for live classes, which will be recorded and made available for students who could not attend.  Depending on how many students are living outside the BC time zone, we may stagger classes so that some are held at the regularly scheduled times (MWF 1:00- 2:00 pm.) and some are held at alternative times when students in other countries will be awake and able to participate live.  Accommodations will be made in a similar manner for live exam or essay sittings.  Films of some of our plays are available through the UBC Library, via the Indexes and Databases tab, in two online film libraries: Criterion and Canopy.

Milton
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM

In this course we will read some of Milton’s early poetry (“On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity,” “A Maske,” and “Lycidas”) before making our way through his great epic Paradise Lost from start to finish. Our emphasis throughout the course will be on Milton’s poetry as poetry, rather than as theological or philosophical or historical texts.

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.

 

Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

Although many women wrote before the eighteenth century, this age marked the first time that women openly and sometimes profitably wrote for the burgeoning literary marketplace. Beginning with Aphra Behn, widely acknowledged as the “first professional woman writer,” and continuing through a tradition of woman poets, playwrights and novelists, women established themselves as active participants in a world previously reserved for men. Not only did they usually write under their own names (a practice not discouraged until the nineteenth century) but they appealed to a widening world of women readers. This development was not without controversy, and women writers found themselves under increasing pressure to produce the “right” kind of material. Moreover, they belonged to a world in which perceptions of women’s role in British society were transforming, a process in which they themselves participated. On the one hand, the eighteenth century marked the emergence of the first feminist movement, with authors from Mary Astell to Mary Wollstonecraft demanding, above all, greater participation by women in higher education and the professions. On the other hand, conservative men and also women resisted this trend, stressing that the proper place for women was in the home, or what we now call “the domestic sphere.”

In this class, then, we will explore the first great movement of women into public life, along with literary reactions to this revolution by women and men. The texts will span all the major literary genres – plays, poetry and novels – from Aphra Behn to the late eighteenth century. Evaluation will be based on in-class essays, a major research essay, a final exam and class participation.

Eighteenth-Century Literature
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

After the silence of the Puritan Commonwealth, London’s theatres burst into social, artistic and ideological prominence in the long eighteenth century. Through heroic drama, tragedy, burlesque, laughing comedy, weeping comedy, plays contributed to cultural dialogues on the relative identities of the nation and the individual through such conflicting elements as noble heroics, razor wit, political subversion, historical revisionism, and some rather explicit sex. Our approach will allow us to consider the ways in which English playwrights both echoed and reinscribed ideas of intellectualism and passion, heroic masculinity and femininity, sexuality and marriage, and violence and its burlesques, as well as the ways in which the dramatic genres of the era embraced both spectatorship and readership and made the political into the (very) personal. We will read one play every two weeks or so; they are brilliant and you will love them. If you want to get a head start, read William Wycherley’s smutty comedy The Country Wife or All for Love, or John Dryden’s powerful, tragic revision of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/online) materials and assignments + synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

Eighteenth-Century Literature
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

During the eighteenth century, Britain transformed from a relatively minor European country to a great economic power with a worldwide empire. British ships ranged the world, sending back reports of new peoples, and setting off a new discussion concerning the nature of “civilization” in contrast with the so-called “primitive” or “barbaric” peoples that British travelers encountered. The use of African slaves in British colonies became a major source of wealth, though this practice also sparked what is arguably the world’s first great humanitarian campaign, the movement to abolish the slave trade. These events had a major impact on eighteenth-century literature, flooding the literary marketplace with travel books and with fictional and non-fictional accounts of far-away places and non-European peoples. This section of English 358 will focus on the many ways that literature of the eighteenth century reflected an expanding world-view, the rise of empire, and a transformed understanding of humanity as comprised of multifarious races, nations and cultures. We will consider the first widely-read literature in English by non-white people as well as the struggles and adjustments precipitated by the rise of Britain as global colonial power. We will proceed chronologically through a selection of texts by Aphra Behn, Mary Rowlandson, Mungo Park, Jonathan Swift, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Olauda Equianao and others. Evaluation will be based on a mid-term text, a final essay, an exam, and class participation.

 

Romantic Period Literature
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

Following the 18th Century revolutions in France and the U.S., Romanticism is the original cultural response to the same conflicted set of socio-historical circumstances that define our world today, combining ideals of individual freedom, social democracy and environmental sustainability with global consumer capitalism, imperialism, racism and patriarchy.  Hence Romanticism has much to teach us about ourselves.  Whether or not we admit it, we are all Romantics to the extent that we identify primarily as ‘individuals:’  Romanticism initiated modernity’s paradoxically collective, social preoccupation with what it means to lead a unique life of one’s own.  Romanticism created global capitalism’s original ‘pop culture’ and simultaneously pioneered pop culture’s capacity for social critique.  Romanticism challenged readers to face socially taboo realities of suffering and desire, both as solitary readers and as members of a collective, literary ‘public’ composed of other such readers. Romanticism probed ambiguities and ironies of self-mediation and self-awareness, anticipating our experience today of social media.  Romanticism changed the basic function of literature from representing the world to re-creating it, heeding Karl Marx’s modern philosophical mandate long before he declared it:  “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.’  In John Keats’s terms, Romanticism fosters readers’ “negative capability” to live a “life of sensation rather than thought.” We will examine how sex, gender, race and national and economic identity are re-written in Romantic poetry and philosophy and in the fiction of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley.  As much as possible we will also explore echoes of course texts in popular culture today.

Required texts:

  • Romanticism: An Anthology, Fourth Edition, ed. Duncan Wu;
  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen;
  • Persuasion, Jane Austen;
  • Frankenstein (1818), Mary Shelley

 

Romantic Period Literature
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

“Expect poison from the standing water” – William Blake

Illness, disease, and health were concerns for a number of romantic writers. Sickness and health were not simply physiological states, however; multiple discourses – religion, colonialism, climatology, geology – defined what it was to be healthy and why people became ill. Topics to be discussed include the waning faith in a benign nature, Keats’ tuberculosis, Percy Shelley’s vegetarianism, the “othering” of diseases and addiction, and the apocalyptic “Last Man” visions of Byron and Mary Shelley.

 

Required Texts

  • Duncan Wu, editor. Romanticism: An Anthology. 4th edition.
  • Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (Penguin)
  • Mary Shelley, The Last Man

Early Canadian Writing
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

This course in early Canadian writing offers an introduction to some significant works in Canadian literary culture in English from its emergence in pre-Confederation colonial literature to its development until the end of the World War I. We will ask, how has Canada’s particular colonial history shaped what has been recognised as Canadian literature and culture? How have settlement patterns, geographical features, or political structures affected cultural production in Canada? With these questions in mind, the themes we will address in this course include: exploration, colonization and settlement; Indigenous and First Nations sovereignty; English-French relations; issues of race, class, gender and sexuality; literature and the telling of history; Canadian literary regionalism. We will address these themes and many other questions about the relationship between literature and national identification in an historically and culturally contextualised survey of selected English-Canadian poets, essayists, and writers of fiction.

 

U.S. Literature to 1890
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM

We’ll read works by Poe (selected stories), Hawthorne (selected stories, The Scarlet Letter), Melville (Benito Cereno, “Bartleby, the Scrivener”), Douglass (Narrative of the Life of . . . an American Slave), Jacobs (Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl), Twain (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn), Dickinson (selected poems), and James (“Daisy Miller,” “The Turn of the Screw”). All these works explore sources of American darkness in the realities of a history (Puritan Massachusetts, slavery, Civil War, westward expansion and war against Indigenous Peoples, urban capitalism and class warfare) represented sometimes in forthright but more often in formally vexed and psychologically distorted ways. Students will write short essays; do short informal close readings (aloud); write a longer research paper and a final exam. If we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will proceed with a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and assignments and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot. The final reading list will be confirmed and posted by November 2020.

 

Victorian Period Literature
Term 1
MWF, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

“Ghosts are real, this much I know” – Edith Cushing, Crimson Peak

 

“There are such beings as vampires; some of us have evidence that they exist” – Abraham Van Helsing, Dracula

Whether we take Edith Cushing or Abraham Van Helsing at their word, the 19th-century Gothic revival certainly emphasized possibilities for terror and horror in tales of the supernatural. However, these interventions of spectral and un-dead beings often take place in the recognizable present; they speak to its anxieties. Perhaps they speak to ours as well, given our recent fascination with Neo-Victorian representations of the 19th century, such as Penny DreadfulFrom HellCrimson Peak, etc. We will add to the chill of autumn’s darkening days as we examine stories addressing issues of gender and sexuality; class, race, and culture; realism and the supernatural; urban and rural settings, all in a century known for developments in science and technology, social upheaval, and a veneer of respectability, yet with monsters lurking in closets and under beds.

Our focus will also permit consideration of the boom in publication of popular literature in a variety of formats, as well as the rise of the professional writer during the 19th century. Core texts tentatively include Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, and short fiction by authors including (but not limited to) M.R. James, Margaret Oliphaunt, Charlotte Riddell, Elizabeth Gaskell, E. Nesbit, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, 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.

Victorian Period Literature
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

‘George Eliot”, the pseudonym of Mary Anne Evans, wrote the preeminent Victorian novel, the greatest novel of the novel’s greatest era.  But Middlemarch is praised more than it is read, and is actually a remarkably unusual book in many ways.  Longer than War and Peace, Middlemarch’s page count is second to only one other novel, Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.  Trollope called Middlemarch the first “psychologically realistic” novel, and Virginia Woolf, less technically but more precisely, said it was “the first novel for grown-up people.”  Both novelists read Middlemarch as uniquely ‘graduating’ beyond prior novels’ naïve scope, anachronistically aristocratic scenarios and fairy-tale happy-endings.  Middlemarch gives literary attention to a new, distinctly ‘modern’ experience of frustration and disappointment occasioned by impersonal forces of history and economic, political and cultural circumstances (and even, increasingly, random chance).  Yet Middlemarch calls itself a “home epic” because it grants Homeric attention to the routine tragedy of modern, mediocre, domestic life, and invites readers to view their own lives likewise. We will consider how Middlemarch depicts lives caught in the middle of emergent, modern forms of art, science, communication, transportation, and social, political, economic and sexual relations.  We will explore Middlemarch as a singular artwork that is also representative of several key points of transition from Romanticism to Modernism in poetry, fiction, philosophy, painting, film, and new media.

Nineteenth-Century Literature
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

Why is George Eliot’s Middlemarch, described by Virginia Woolf as “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people” and voted the greatest British novel in a BBC Culture poll, considered to be the quintessential Victorian novel? Why – and how – did Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre become one of the most popular English novels ever written, inspiring successive generations of authors, visual artists, and filmmakers? Why is the first line of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet XLIII, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” so well known when the remainder of the poem, the Sonnets from the Portuguese sequence, and Barrett Browning herself are not?

In attempting to answer these and other literary and cultural questions, we will explore the ideological assumptions – with respect to aesthetics, ethics, gender, class, race, sexuality, religion, politics, education, etc. – implicit in the literary works and in our (and the Victorians’) readings of them.

This course will be conducted online. Synchronous (real-time) participation will be required.

Victorian novels are not known for their brevity: please do as much reading as possible before the course begins.

Novels: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Oxford World’s Classics); George Eliot, Middlemarch (Oxford World’s Classics). Fairy tales: E. Nesbit, “The Prince, Two Mice, and Some Kitchen-Maids,” “Melisande: Or, Long and Short Division,” “Fortunatus Rex & Co.” (Nine Unlikely Tales for Children, available online).

Poems: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, selected poems, including Sonnets from the Portuguese; Christina Rossetti, selected poems, including “Goblin Market.” I have ordered Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Selected Poems (Broadview Press) and Christina Rossetti: Poems and Prose (Oxford World’s Classics): both are excellent editions with very helpful introductions and notes; however, both are also somewhat expensive so, if you wish, you may use online editions (links will be posted on UBC Library Course Reserves).

 

Nineteenth-Century Literature
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM

There is currently no course description available for this section of ENGL 364.

Nineteenth-Century Literature
Term A
Distance Education

This course offers the student the opportunity to encounter and engage with the works of some of the most successful writers of the Victorian period, and to be exposed to some of that period's central concerns: gender, class, religion and art. These subjects were at the centre of heated tension, so that much of the discourse about them – by politicians, clerics, scientists, novelists and essayists, among others – takes the form of oppositions and power struggles. These basic concerns can be then connected to larger issues of empire, industrialism, individualism, private and public domains, domesticity, religious doubt, decadence, and aestheticism, as seen in a variety of genres. Jane Eyre and Dr. Jekyll andMr. Hyde will represent gothic fiction, including the sub-genres of epistolary and sensation fiction; Hard Times will represent the 'condition of England'/industrial novel; Tess of the d'Urbervilles will represent the pastoral and 'fallen woman' novel; and The Picture of Dorian Gray will represent the aesthetic novel. Each novel's thematic concerns and genre are closely connected with the concerns of at least one other novel in the course. Each novel will be read not only in the context of the socio-political and critical concerns of its own period, but also of modern scholarly approaches to it. Formal course requirements include two essays, a proposal, weekly discussion posts, 2 peer review workshops and a final examination.

Please note that this course is a fully online, Guided Independent Study course; there is no synchrononous content, though there are firm in-term deadlines for readings and assignments.

 

Modernist Literature
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

Some descriptions of modernism are bloodless abstractions about formal experimentation, academic disruption, and reaction against a too-rigid bourgeois morality. This course concentrates on the wildly passionate commitment of moderns to changing the world, to finding new sensations and affects, to overcoming historical evils and biases, to appreciating with sincere admiration other arts, other cultures and languages, and other places.

Topics include Decadence, the New Woman, Expressionism, Dada, Manifesto Modernism, New Objectivity, Impressionism, the Surreal and Psychoanalytic, Gesamtkunstwerk and Encyclopedism, Minimalism, Montage, Technological Moderns, Graphic Modernisms. Writers include Conrad, Stein, H.D., Loy, Woolf, Joyce, Pound, Eliot, Breton, Beckett, Barnes, Stevens, Hughes, McKay, Rhys, others.

This course experience may include a blend of synchronous and asynchronous lectures and discussions, a research paper, a curated exhibition project, and other text-based forum and assignment work.

 

Twentieth-Century Literature
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

In 1903, W.E.B. DuBois began The Souls of Black Folk with a statement that would echo through the decades to come: “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.” Beginning with the DuBoisian color line as both a condition of narrative production and a spatial metaphor, this course offers students an introduction to reading race in twentieth century literature. While readings will focus largely on U.S. contexts, we will also follow writers of color in seeing the struggle against racism as a global crisis defining what has been called the American century. Our readings will draw from both literature and critical theories of race and ethnicity beginning with DuBois and leading up to the neoliberal multiculturalism that seemed to inaugurate a new ‘post-racial’ era in the 1990s. Along the way, we’ll encounter literary fiction and poetry that confronts some of the major racial flashpoints of the century: segregation, (de)colonization, the rise of ‘Third World’ social movements, and the struggle for environmental justice.

Course readings will tentatively include Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929), Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony (1977), and Héctor Tobar’s The Tattooed Soldier (1998), as well as shorter writings by James Baldwin, Lucille Clifton, Gerald Vizenor, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Audre Lorde.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will proceed with a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and assignments and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

Twentieth-Century Literature
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 PM-2:00 PM

Histories of post-WWII British drama often point to 1956 as a watershed year. The year marked the celebrated success of John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, a play which, in its examination and criticism of a post-war, still class-ridden British society, recorded the frustration of the younger British generation (the so-called “angry young men”) with the traditional values of the “Establishment,” and signalled the beginning of a dramatic revival in Britain. The late 1950s initiated an explosion of dramatic activity that gave rise to the most exciting age of British drama since the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. A growing interest in international theatre, increased government subsidies, the building of many regional repertory stages, and radical changes in the social structure of the nation all contributed to a revitalized theatre during the 1960s and 1970s. And though later cutbacks in public funding at times threatened their livelihood, British playwrights have continued to address in vital and exciting ways many of the important issues facing British society today. In this course, we will survey a cross-section of British drama since 1956, ranging from the plays of the angry young men and women (Osborne; Shelagh Delaney) to the work of such great playwrights as Joe Orton, Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard and Caryl Churchill to more recent attempts by playwrights such as Ayub Khan-Din, Mark Ravenhill, Sarah Kane, and Martin McDonagh to articulate new ways of exploring race, gender, and class as well as the issue of theatrical representation generally.

*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.

Twentieth-Century Literature
Term 2
Distance Education

In this course, you’ll examine developments in novel writing from the turn of the 20th century to approximately 1930. We’ll explore the major preoccupations of various British and Irish modernists – preoccupations both aesthetic (including narrative voice, experiments in reproducing individual perception, novel shape and focus, the influence of visual arts movements) and political (including first wave feminism, questions concerning gender constructs, anti-industrialism, the end of empire). We’ll also consider various constructions of the modernist canon, including the one created by the Leavisites and New Critics, the various revisions by feminists and post-colonial and race critics/historians in the latter half of the 20th century, and the versions presented more recently by the “new modernisms.” The course incorporates work from Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, D.H. Lawrence, and E.M. Forster – as well as work from a less influential but perhaps equally interesting writer: Vita Sackville-West. Some discussion of the visual and plastic arts is also incorporated.

Many of the required texts and the relevant supporting materials, including films, will be accessed through the wonderful UBC Library. The four novels you need to buy in the specific editions ONLY are available through the publishers as etexts, or by ordering ahead through the UBC Bookstore. The course lecture content is presented through written units. We “meet” via enthusiastic discussion board participation; no Zoom or livestreaming access is necessary.

See full description via Distance Education

U.S. Literature from 1890
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

This course will examine an under-studied and often misunderstood era in U.S. fiction, asking what kinds of traditions the great writers of the 1970s tapped into, what literary experiments they performed, and why. I will point us to some necessary historical background (on the Vietnam War, on countercultural legacies, on a racist society, on Nixon, etc.), but our main object of curiosity will be the undercurrents of paranoia, disillusionment, and “feel” for the times that these textual artifacts effect. It should be, like all deep reading experiences, a great adventure. Students will participate in discussions and write two analytical essays, each about 1500 words in length, and a take-home final exam. Texts will likely include: Joan Didion, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” and “The White Album” (essays); Don DeLillo, Great Jones Street; Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon; Octavia Butler, Kindred; James Tiptree Jr./Alice Sheldon, “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” (story); Tim O’Brien,Going After Cacciato; and Joan Didion, Democracy.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, I will run the class as a mixture of asynchronous teaching (recorded lectures) and synchronous teaching (live discussion classes occurring at the course’s designated time, perhaps about once per week).

 

U.S. Literature from 1890
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

Autobiography has played a central role in the African American literary tradition. In this course we will examine the relationship between language, memory and the self, through the act of telling one’s story. In the 20th century, following three centuries of deprived access to literacy, tools of citizenship, and legal rights to selfhood, African American narrative critique articulated Black consciousness and shaped public claims to personhood as a form of protest and empowerment. We’ll read essays and autobiographical novels by W.E.B Dubois, Malcom X, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and watch short films by Cheryl Dunye.

 

Literatures and Cultures of Africa and/or the Middle East
Cross-listed with AFST 370
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

      “The woman writer in Africa is a witness, forgiving the evidence of the eyes
      pronouncing her experience with insight, artistry, and a fertile dexterity.”  (Yvonne Vera)

 

Writing by African women may be a relatively recent development, 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 both the socio-political impact of colonization and challenges facing post-colonial African societies. Texts will include Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood, Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter, Ama Ata Aidoo’s Changes, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names and Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater.

Please note: This course is cross-listed with AFST 370. Both courses are identical.

Asian Canadian and/or Asian Transnational Studies
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

In this course, we will examine transnational and diasporic Asian cultural productions that interrogate, traverse, and are produced by nation-state borders. The course studies how such literature and media emerge within ongoing colonial and imperial histories, and how these texts carve out alternative or resistant realities, pasts and futures. In particular, we will consider the ways in which race, gender, sexuality, technology, and intergenerational, multispecies memory are narrated as diasporic or transnational experiences within the asymmetrical networks of Empire and globalization.

Students will engage scholarly discussions in Asian North American, transpacific, Asian diaspora, postcolonial, and critical race studies in order to develop critical analyses of the ways in which migration and diasporic subjectivities emerge on various scales of relation (the personal, local, national, global). Particular emphasis will be placed on Asian diasporic literature, media, and theory produced in North America.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

Asian Canadian and/or Asian Transnational Studies
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM
How do Asian diasporic writers and artists tell stories about migration, displacement, and identity? How do individual and communal stories engage with the past and imagine alternative futures? What ethical questions are raised when stories contend with histories of violence and discrimination? How can literature, film, and other forms of media help us understand a diverse city like Vancouver? This course examines a selection of literary and media texts representing different Asian diasporas. Authors and artists may include SKY Lee, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Ruth Ozeki, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Richard Fung, Ali Kazemi, and others. Topics for discussion will include settler relations, migration and displacement, family and kinship, language and translation, war and memory, refugee displacements and globalization. Throughout the course, you are encouraged to engage with local Asian Canadian cultural production both on and off campus. Course assignments will include formats such as social media, archival research, and digital media production (no previous experience required). In lieu of a final exam, students will complete a creative or critical project.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the format of this course will likely evolve in the months to come, including, if necessary, using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot. I am also considering how to adjust this class in response to the local and global dimensions of the current crisis, especially as it pertains to Asian diaspora cultures. Please feel free to contact the instructor this fall for further updates on this course.

Canadian Literature
Term 1
TTh, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

This course analyses narrative responses to illness and disease in contemporary Canadian fiction.  We’ll look at how authors engage illness in myriad ways: narrating the body, diagnosing the diseased society, and even enacting forms of sickness within the text itself.  These creative speculations unsettle normative ideas of health, illness and the body: rather than view sickness only as a negative condition to be escaped, authors explore how states of unwellness can be a source of creativity and connection, and the basis for powerful social bonds. The course will also provide an introduction to theories of ‘biopolitics’: a set of ideas that describe how modern state power controls people at the level of their biological existence. Critical accounts of biopolitics will orient our approach to theorizing biomedical citizenship, the immunological body and the entanglements of sex, race and kinship.

The course will be anchored in close analysis of three Canadian novels with supporting references to poetry and performance art. We’ll consider how literature and creative expression engage disease in ways that are formally experimental. How do surreal dreamscapes, spiritual life-worlds and speculative fictions allow writers to explore forms of care, healing and survival that counter the devaluation of life under biopower? If the biomedical language of disease tends to individualize illness, how do fiction writers explore embodied experience as relational and interdependent? In pursuing these questions, we’ll consider how disease is entangled with global capital, histories of colonial violence and the racialization of medicine.

Course readings (subject to change) may include: Lee Maracle, Ravensong (1993), Larissa Lai, Tiger Flu (2018) and Ian Williams, Reproduction (2019) as well as shorter readings and texts by Leanne Simpson, Michel Foucault, Rebecca Belmore, Frantz Fanon, Ed Cohen, Susan Sontag, Paula Treichler, Audre Lorde, Gayatri Spivak, Dian Million and Priscilla Wald.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

Canadian Literature
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

The metaphor contained in the title of Hugh MacLennan’s novel Two Solitudes  (1945), became, in the media and popular culture of the 1960s, emblematic of an  unbridgeable separation and mutual alienation between English- and French- Canadians.  The trope of the twin solitudes entered the lexicon of Canadian  cultural and historical discourse.  In a further qualification of the trope, poet Irving  Layton wrote of the French, English, and Jewish neighbourhoods in the Montreal  of his childhood as constituting “[t]hree solitudes.”  The genealogy of this new  concept of three solitudes has since been elaborated by Jewish Canadian  commentators to delineate the sense of Jewish marginalization in Canada.

This course is an introduction to the reading, studying, and enjoying of the  literature of Canada’s Third Solitude—Jewish Canadian literature—the  first of a growing number of ethnic minority literatures in Canada.  Beginning with  A.M. Klein (The Second Scroll), the course will trace the genealogy of this rich  literature from the mid-twentieth century to the twenty-first, reading the work of  authors such as Leonard Cohen, Mordecai Richler, Anne Michaels, and David  Bezmozgis.  Familiarity with—or knowledge about―Jewish literature, history,  culture, and religion is not required for you to enjoy and benefit fully from this course.

Canadian Literature
Term 2
TTh, 12:30 PM-2:00 PM

Speculative fiction allows for paradigm shifts that can have us begin experiencing and understanding in new, unsettling ways. They can disturb us, and can propel us beyond the conventions, complacencies, or determinedly maintained ignorance of the ideologically figured present into an undetermined future. – Hiromi Goto

The Japanese-Canadian writer Hiromi Goto asserts that the genre of speculative fiction offers a way of imagining ourselves and our world in ways that are troubling, uncomfortable, and unsettling. Speculative fiction takes on environmental, technological, and political issues in today’s world and reimagines these issues from perspectives that have been traditionally marginalized or culturally-othered by the literary canon. In Canada, speculative fiction has become popular among writers who wish to explore and complicate dominant narratives of identity, nationhood, and place. In this course we will explore the transformative potential imagined by writers of speculative fiction in the contexts of colonialism, gender, race, and LGBTQ2S+ communities. Moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar, we will wrestle with the following questions: What versions of “Canada” are imagined in these texts? What possibilities do they imagine for the future? What messages do they offer for the present?

 

Canadian Literature
Term C
Distance Education

See Distance Learning

This course provides a scholarly study of Canadian literature in a historical context with a focus on the intersections and departures between European and Indigenous traditions of literature and orature.

At the heart of this course is an examination of the power of stories, and in particular the stories we tell ourselves about being in Canada. We will examine story telling in literature and the stories we tell about literature; we will look at “whose stories” we listen to, and whose stories we cannot seem to hear – and why not?  Edward Chamberlin urges us that, “now, it is more important than ever to attend to what others are saying in their stories and myths – and what we are saying about ourselves.”  Students will read a range of literary texts, academic articles and relevant material. Students will be encouraged to develop independent critical responses to the texts as well as active participation in online discussions.

ENGL 372 is designed for senior students and requires analytical skills and written assignments as befits an upper level course. This course is of most interest to upper level students specializing in English, Education, First Nations, History. It requires regular and consistent engagement and the ability to work with an online community of fellow students. In return, this promises to be an engaging course designed to facilitate regular and lively dialogue between students and with the instructor.

The objectives of this course are to strengthen your critical and literary skills and to enrich your understanding of the complex historical and contemporary relationships between literature and storytelling. This includes an understanding of the historical relations between nation building, canonization and colonization. This course requires that students have a willingness to develop a critical awareness and sensitivity to the tensions created by
racism in Canada in the past and the present.

Through this course of studies students will:

  • Gain perspectives and develop a dialogue on the historical and critical process of developing a Canadian literary canon
  • Develop an understanding of the relations between nation building and literature.
  • Discuss, research, and write about the intersections and departures between literary narratives and oral stories.
  • Develop reading strategies for recognizing allusions and symbolic knowledge other than Western.
  • Learn to recognize and challenge colonizing narratives and representations
  • Gain some expertise in storytelling.
  • Cultivate the ability to create knowledge through social relationships
  • Developing expertise with collaborating in online spaces, writing for online spaces and presenting for an online conference.
  • Come to some conclusions on the state of literature in Canada today and offer up ideas for the future.

English 372 is offered as a fully online course. The use of a computer and ready access to an Internet connection are required

Indigenous Literature
Term 1
TTh, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL 373 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Indigenous Literature
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL 373 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

Post-colonial Literature
Term 1
MWF, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM

This course introduces students to postcolonial studies through key debates in the field and a mixture of classic literary works and more contemporary texts. We will explore how discourses of gender, race and cultural identity are reflected in colonialist narratives, and we will study the ways marginalized voices have challenged the scripts of empire and settler colonialism in recent texts about today’s hybridized and globalized world. The theme of nostalgia, in particular, will allow us to closely consider the roles of history, remembrance, and desire in postcolonial writing. Literary authors to be studied include Joseph Conrad, Derek Walcott and Jamaica Kincaid; critical texts include essays of Frantz Fanon, Edward Said and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will use a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

Global South Connections
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL 375 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

World Literature and Social Movements
Term 2
MWF, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM

This course places world literature next to complex, diverse social movements, with their internal tensions and contradictions, and their uneasy relationship with the popular as a category and the people as a formation. The course looks at literary writing as an imaginative exercise in expressing democratic social change and utopian desire, which cohabits alongside popular and crowd-based movements for instantiating those demands.

Readings will depend on availability but may include fiction, poetry, and drama by Henrik Ibsen, Mulk Raj Anand, Bapsi Sidhwa, J. Coetzee, Wole Soyinka, Seamus Heaney, Jean Rhys, Etel Adnan, Ahmed Saadawi, Sam Selvon, and critical work from Said, Shih, Walkowitz, Hooks, Huyssens, Singh, Spivak.

Depending on public health conditions, this course experience may include a blend of synchronous and asynchronous lectures and discussions, a research paper, a special reporting project, and other text-based forum and assignment work.

Contemporary Literature
Term 1
MWF, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

At 10:00 AM on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) in Israel, sirens sound throughout the entire country.  People stop whatever they are doing to observe a minute of silence. Even on the busiest and most congested highways, traffic stops. Drivers park, exit their vehicles, and mark the moment with silent contemplation and remembrance.

The antisemitism which precipitated and fueled the Nazi German attempt to annihilate the world’s Jews during the Shoah (Holocaust) is the planet’s oldest hatred.  It is a virus which, barely seventy-five years after the end of World War II, is resurgent.  In a CODID-19 pandemic world, the irrational and odious centuries-old stereotypes of Jews as carriers of disease, infection, contagion, bubonic plague, and Black Death have resurfaced.

In 2020, the theocratic state of Iran regularly threatens to annihilate the six million Jews resident in the democratic state of Israel. Antisemitic tropes have become almost commonplace on university and college campuses throughout the world, on the cartoon page of The New York Times, and on the lips of certain Democratic members of the US House of Representatives.

The enormity of the Shoah—the catastrophic destruction of 6,000,000 Jewish men, women, and children in Eastern, Central, and Western Europe; the annihilation of an entire Jewish world; the incineration of continental European civilization—is overwhelming.  Writing can be an outcry in response to the Shoah.  This course will examine some of the finest examples of the various literary forms such representation has assumed—novel, short story, poetry, autobiography, survivor testimonial—and the problems incumbent in writing such a catastrophic and “fundamentally unintelligible” event.  We will look at works by both authors who experienced it directly and those who did not, including Primo Levi’s The Drowned and the Saved, André Schwarz-Bart’s The Last of the Just, Art Spiegelman’s Maus: A Survivor's Tale I and II , and Anne Michaels’s Fugitive Pieces.

 

Contemporary Literature
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

“Creating her YouTube account had been a gesture of allyship” (Vivek Shraya, The Subtweet). This course considers literary representations that speak to the present moment in all its disorientation, as well as glimmers of possibility. The intention is to support students in processing 2021, while also finding agency and location within its events, day-to-day realities, as well as big picture issues. It will look at Ling Ma’s plague narrative, Severance, as a way of considering implications related to race, consumerism, community, and survival. It will also examine other dystopic texts (e.g. William Gibson Agency, Cory Doctorow’s Radicalized) that pose productive questions related to virtual realms, social stratification, and dissent. Finally, Shraya’s novel and the film Her will get us thinking about dis/connection and shifting identities in the midst of new 21st century technologies.

 

Contemporary Literature
Term 1
TTh, 12:30 PM-2:00 PM

Coming-of-age narratives are often understood to capture the passage from innocence to experience, depicting youth progressing from the institutions of family and education through to work and marriage. In this course, we will ask how meaningful this genre’s template of social reproduction is for the lives of racialized subjects, for whom smooth passage through these conventional milestones on the path to adulthood is not guaranteed. We will investigate literary portrayals of particular figures who typify the charged figure of the model minority, such as the student, the community organizer, the moderate Muslim, and the entrepreneur, and consider whether their subjection to this stereotype neutralizes what David Theo Goldberg calls “the threat of race” to the political status quo. Our archive will be contemporary British texts contextualized by increased racism both before and after the 2016 Brexit vote, as well as the decline in employment prospects and redistributive social policy due to the acceleration of neoliberal capitalism. Texts may include novels by authors such as Diran Adebayo, Monica Ali, Xiaolu Guo, Hanif Kureishi, Gautam Malkani, Tessa McWatt, Fumio Obata, Helen Oyeyemi, Kamila Shamsie, or Zadie Smith. We will supplement the literary texts we read not only with critical readings on the topics of coming-of-age narratives and the cultural politics of race in Britain, but also with recent British TV such as Beautiful People, Misfits, and Skins.

 

Migrations, Movements and Transnational Networks
Term 1
TTh, 7:00-PM - 8:30 PM

 

How is the cultural figure of 'the refugee' produced and circulated? What creative narrative forms are artists using to reimagine the diversity of refugee experiences? This course uses a cultural refugee studies approach to understand cultural production—specifically contemporary literature and experimental media—in relation to the role of the international refugee regime in globalization. Studying the cultural interventions produced by people in displacement will give students a sense of what Long Bui calls “the refugee repertoire,” which exceeds and disturbs common tropes and forms of popular representations. We will ask what can be learned from refugee literature about the systems that structure the daily lives of forcibly displaced people, including grappling with Tendayi Achiume's reframing of migration as decolonization and learning how literature is produced by people in spaces of containment and detention, like Behrouz Boochani. The tangled routes of forced migration are represented in the wide geographical origins and homes of the authors and media makers whose work we will study. Possible texts include Thi Bui's The Best We Could Do, Behrouz Boochani's Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time, Tings Chak's Undocumented: The Architecture of Detention, short texts by Madeleine Thien, Wayde Compton, Khaled Hosseini, Manu Chao, and Shad. We will also view some media exemplifying the way humanitarian and political communication produce the cultural figure of the refugee. This course is web-based. It is comprised of asynchronous online modules, including collaborative annotation, short audio lectures, and creative writing exercises, in combination with a weekly synchronous discussion in Collaborate. Students will choose one of the course texts to focus on for a final research paper. Successful completion of this course will provide students with the skills and confidence to understand and critically analyze central issues in the production of refugee narratives.

 

Theory: Anti-/De-/Post-Colonization
Term 2
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

In this course we will consider the intersections between critical theory and Indigenous Studies. To do so, we will read and discuss a selection of diverse literary and cultural texts that engage with both critical theory and Indigenous thought and practice in nuanced and creative ways, from short stories and poetry, to films and art installations. This will include examinations of historical and contemporary texts, tensions, and dialogues, which is intended to foster an understanding of the broader social, political, and historical contexts from which these critical and theoretical productions emerge. We will investigate not only engagements between Indigenous and Western thought, but also between Indigenous and other non-western thinkers, including from the traditions of Black Studies and other anti-colonial traditions of critical analysis.

 

Theory: Bodies
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Oh, when a body's in trouble
Who who who do you talk to?

—Mary Margaret O’Hara, Miss America

With the emergence of a global pandemic in early 2020, human lives—depending on levels of access and privilege—have moved more fully on-line, rendering our presences more virtual and intangible, while also increasing moments of physiological stress and even burnout. We find ourselves stretched, altered and refigured in our interactions with technology and media networks. This course offers students an opportunity to encounter, and to engage with, a corpus of approaches to the contemporary body: recent theory and poetics emerging—late and lately—from significant, provocative thinking about how bodies are framed and shaped in the contemporary world, even as those bodies and selves also resist and refigure such appropriations. Each week, we will read a key essay by a prominent thinker—including work by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Judith Butler, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Hélène Cixous, Saidiya Hartman, Byung Chul-Han, Michel Foucault, N. Katherine Hayles, Fred Moten, Petra Kuppers, Donna Haraway and Dylan Robinson—and use that reading as a starting point to consider concepts and formations like the assemblage, black study, writing the body, the interface, the prosthesis, ability and access, gender and gender-fluidity, flesh, listening, the cyborg, indigeneity and autochthony. We will also draw on creative and artistic work from popular and literary cultures (television episodes, comics, documentary film, poetry, short fiction, popular song—all accessible on-line) to think through the ways in which theorizing the body might also be bound up in creative practices: part of our weekly class time will be focused on developing forms of practice-based research, to begin to think through and to enact our own theoretically-informed work. Students will be invited to produce a podcast and to create a short video, as well as to write a critical essay, as part of their assignments for this course.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all B.A. courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will use a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

Children's Literature
Term 1
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

This section of English 392 will focus on a range of Canadian young adult novels from the mid-nineteenth century to the present which explore the theme of survival in a variety of guises. We will begin with Catharine Parr Traill’s classic Canadian Crusoes and then consider a range of 20th and 21st century novels, culminating in The Marrow Thieves, the award-winning 2017 work by Métis writer Cherie Dimaline. In discussions and written assignments, students will be asked to consider the extent to which social, historical and environmental factors have influenced the production of these novels, as well as whether they should be considered part of a unique Canadian literary canon. In addition to focusing on the core texts and YA fiction in general, we will engage with theoretical perspectives on the genre of Robinsonades, adventure novels, coming-of-age narratives, vampire novels, science fiction and graphic novels.  Students will be encouraged to develop independent critical responses to both texts and theoretical approaches to children’s literature.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will include both synchronous and non-synchronous components. Students must be available to participate in live Collaborate Ultra discussions during the assigned class time, to complete timed online writing and a synchronous final examination. Non-synchronous elements will include viewing taped pp/lectures, participating in online discussions, submitting written journal entries and completing a term paper.

Children's Literature
Term 1
MWF, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

“You are always in danger in the forest, where no people are.”
Angela Carter, “The Company of Wolves”

From The Turn of the Screw to The Others, creepy children frequently haunt Gothic texts. But what of Gothic texts assuming a young audience? Children’s/YA literature so often focuses on successful (or not so successful) negotiation of threats and learning opportunities in the intimate and public worlds around the child that “children’s” tales are often scarier than adult fiction.

In this section, we will study a variety of texts through a literary/cultural studies lens, exploring their (sometimes) evolving genre features. We’ll start with familiar (and not-so-familiar) oral-tradition folk/fairytales, to consider how their recurring devices establish tropes still frequently recurring. Then we will stray from the path and consider how a selection of novels might challenge or subvert perceived boundaries and conventions, especially in engaging with Gothic themes and motifs, ending with a graphic novel examining the adolescent engagement with Gothic culture.

Evaluation will be based on two short essays, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, and an essay-based final examination, as well as participation in discussion.

Core texts tentatively include Martin Hallett and Barbara Karasek, eds. Folk and Fairy Tales, 5th Edition. (Broadview); Roald Dahl, The Witches; Alan Garner, The Owl Service; Neil Gaiman, Coraline; Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, Skim.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, 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.

 

Children's Literature
Term 2
TTh, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

Much fantasy literature for children focuses on a child or adolescent's quest to gain ascendancy in the battle between good and evil. Instead of attempting a survey of world literatures in English, which will not allow us to explore in depth, the literature we will explore in this course will focus on British children’s fantasy literature, which relies on British and European national myths of adventure, religion and selfhood. As we examine these quest narratives, we will trace the ways in which patterns and continuities of history and memory, the force of nostalgia in creating an idealized past, and the reliance on an assumed framework of common cultural community combine to form potent ideological perspectives about nationhood, which are both maintained and challenged by the authors we will study.

 

Children's Literature
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

“If there is one scenario that characterizes children's experience as represented in literature, it is adults not stopping to hear out a child's distress.” -- Mary Galbraith, “Hear My Cry: A Manifesto for an Emancipatory Childhood Studies Approach to Children's Literature”

What children appear in books written for children and young adults? Who is missing? (Or, if present, might be readily dismissed?) Why are some childhoods considered fit for representation, and for reading by young people, and other childhoods less so? What social and cultural forces determine whether marginalized childhoods appear in fiction and how they will be shaped for the reader’s consumption when they do? Who tells these stories, and who is the intended audience?

This course centres childhoods often pushed into the margins of both literature and society, focusing chiefly on children with disabilities, transgender children, and Indigenous youth. While the children and youth we are reading about have the potential to disrupt the ableist, cissexist, and colonialist norms which inform much children’s literature, we may also encounter recuperative and assimilative impulses in some of these books, insisting on reabsorbing such children into the norms they resist and disrupt; we, as readers, may be tempted to do the same. But who is served by such “fixes”? What cultural work is being accomplished when the texts we read, and perhaps the way we read them, erases the children and youth within them? Furthermore, what might such erasures signal to the young readers who encounter these books?

While the reading list isn’t yet finalized, texts we will certainly read include El Deafo by CeCe Bell, Zenobia July by Lisa Bunker, and The Outside Circle by Patti La-Boucane Benson. Other possible texts include J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy (and Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens), Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, and Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves.

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.

 

Children's Literature
Term 2
MWF, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

This section of ENGL 392 will examine recent children's and young adult writing that addresses the effects of human action on the environment, with particular attention to climate change, extinction, and geopolitical conflict. We'll begin with Philippe Squarzoni's award-winning Climate Changed (2012), a graphic memoir that has attracted attention from both teens and adults. From there we'll turn our attention to an environmental novel aimed at younger readers, Carl Hiassen's Hoot (2002), followed by Dry (2018), Neal Shusterman's young adult novel about the collapse of society during a water shortage.  We'll then consider dystopian representations of post-crisis worlds including Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines (2001)  and M.T. Anderson's Feed (2002), before rounding out the term with a graphic novel, likely Adam Rapp's Decelerate Blue (2017). Along the way, we'll consider how YA literature represents questions of resource extraction, personal and generational responsibility, and environmental activism.

 

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. Authors will include Montgomery, Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling, and Pullman. 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 requires 3 written assignments, weekly discussion posts, 2 peer review workshops and a final examination; it is a prerequisite for programs in Education and Library/Archival Studies.

Please note that this course is a fully online, Guided Independent Study course; there is no synchrononous content, though there are firm in-term deadlines for readings and assignments.

 

Ecocriticism
Term 2
MWF, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

On 27 September 2019, it is reported that (at least) 100,000 British Columbians, including UBC students, went on strike, marched to Vancouver City Hall, holding signs protesting against climate injustice and calling for immediate action in response to climate emergency. This was, of course, not a local event. The strike was global in scope. Nor was it a singular event: other such actions occurred in March, May, and September 2019. These events garnered media attention, were supported (or not) by politicians and organizations the world over, and were also not without controversy. It will be the business of this course to reflect on the climate strikes of 2019.

We’ll examine the various media of the climate strikes, from social media, print reportage, TV appearances, and even homemade signs. We’ll also review the specific environmental goals of the strikes as well as their critiques, from the right and from the left. Importantly, we’ll want to explore what a strike is. Some guiding questions for us on this topic will include: what is the history of the labour strike as a collective action? What are its parameters of inclusion and exclusion? How have general strikes been represented in literature and film? What might the future hold for such actions during a global pandemic?

Readings will include writings, speeches, and media recordings by Karl Marx, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Autumn Peltier, Greta Thunberg, Audre Lorde, among others. We’ll also have occasion to look at an account of the 1919 General Strike in Winnipeg and to read excerpts from Kim Stanley Robinson’s cli-fi novel, New York 2140, which features a “rent strike” in a city submerged by heightened ocean waters.

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

Canadian Environmental Writing
Term 2
MWF, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

This course is an introduction to the reading, enjoying, and critical study of Canadian environmental writing.  Nature, the environment, and the diverse landscapes of the country have been a feature of Canadian writing from the pre-Confederation period until the present.  A close critical reading of several examples of Canadian poetry and prose fiction (and non-fiction) will highlight important thematic and technical concerns.  The reading list is in process, but such works such as Martin Allerdale Grainger’s Woodsmen of the West (1908) and Jack Hodgins Broken Ground (1998) are under consideration.

Studies in Prose Fiction
Term 2
TTh, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

This section will look at pairings of contemporary fiction. 
Genres might include Bildungsroman, speculative fiction, memoir, comedy, or historical fiction.  Specific texts will be announced as soon as they are decided.

Upper-level Writing

Technical Writing
Term 2
TTh, 9:30 AM-11:00 AM

Now with added grammar! While 301 is not a course in remedial grammar, this section will provide online Canvas-based writing resources and a series of workshops, designed to help identify writing and proofreading problems, and to provide strategies to address them.

English 301: Technical Writing examines the rhetorical genre of professional and technical communication, especially online, through analysis and application of its principles and practices. You will produce a formal report, investigating resources and/or concerns in a real-life community, as a major project involving a series of linked assignments. This project will involve the study (and possibly practical application) of research ethics where human subjects are involved (e.g. in conducting surveys or interviews).

Think of this course as an extended report-writing Boot Camp: intensive, useful preparation for the last phase of your undergraduate degree, as you start applying to professional and graduate programs, and for the years beyond of work and community involvement. Note: this course was designed and written as a blended course, with both classroom and online components and requirements. Technical Writing is closed to first- and second-year students in Arts, and cannot be used for credit towards the English Major or Minor.

Course Text:

  • Lannon et al, Technical Communications, 7th Canadian Edition, Pearson, 2017. (Hard copy and e-text versions are both available and acceptable. The 8th edition might be available by Term 2.)

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.

Technical Writing
Term A
Distance Education

English 301 99A 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.

Prerequisite: six credits of First Year English or Arts One or Foundations

English 301 is offered as a fully online course. The use of a computer and ready access to an Internet connection are required. This is a Guided Independent Study course with required teamwork; there is no synchronous content, though there are firm in-term deadlines for readings and assignments.  

Intended Audience

This course should be of interest to students in a variety of disciplines such as commerce, science, education, and the health sciences. It may also be of interest to students in Arts Co-Op and other Co-Op programs.

Technical Writing
Term C
Distance Education

The course description for this section of ENGL 301 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Majors and Honours Seminars

Seminar for English Honours
Term 2

MWF, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

This problem- and play-based approach to general literary and critical theory studies what counts as knowledge, and why do we think so, how we find meaning and where, how humans adapt, respond, and resist in the face of changing conditions in the world, and how we have determined communication and interpretation. You might think of critical theory as consisting in the arguments which justify the work of the arts and humanities, and expose the measure of their worth. It asks what function critics and creatively-thinking theorists play in the processes by which a society reproduces itself, and how to advocate most effectively for those in the world who face social and political barriers to thriving and flourishing.

We will read and discuss a rich selection of short fiction and poems in conjunction with narrative theory, ecocriticism, studies in media and communication, critical race theory, feminist literary criticism/gender studies/queer theory, old and new materialisms, studies in the workings of the mind and psychoanalysis, decoloniality, post/structuralism, and cultural theory.

Depending on public health conditions, this course experience may include a blend of synchronous and asynchronous lectures and discussions, a research paper, a brief solo presentation, and other text-based forum and assignment work.

Language Majors Seminar
Term 1
W, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

Discourse analysis is an important area within language study that typically involves exploration of a variety of linguistic features and functions to understand meaning making in texts.  Aspects of language use examined can include semantics, syntax, phonological and phonetic structures, lexical choices, conversation skills and narrative structure. Analyses typically involve systematic descriptions of texts or corpora, with a focus on understanding how language is used in context.  Analyses of discourse may also highlight how language use functions to construct and maintain social understanding of the world.  In this seminar, students develop skills in performing discourse analyses and in evaluating discourse analysis research.  Readings include classic and recent research papers in linguistic discourse analysis, with emphasis on information structure, conversation and interaction, hesitation phenomena, narrative analysis, multimodality and indirectness. A key part of learning discourse analysis is doing it.  Students will therefore collect and transcribe some data at the beginning of the term. 

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will use a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous meetings held in our designated timeslot.

Language Majors Seminar
Term 2
M, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

Mental health has become a major focus of clinical, institutional, professional, academic, public, interpersonal, and individual attention—increasingly now, when so many people are experiencing emotional and mental distress.  Because so much of the understanding and experience of mental health and illness has a discursive element, often a very strong one, it is not surprising that rhetoricians are among the scholars who have weighed in on their complexities and meanings.

Studies of mental health/illness discourses are multi- and inter-disciplinary, and the theories and methods of interest to our seminar come not only from Rhetorical Studies itself (e.g., Emmons, Price, Yergeau), but also from Philosophy (e.g., Hacking), History (e.g., Harrington), Anthropology (e.g., Martin), and Psychiatry (e.g., Frances) among other disciplines. Our course will cover a range of theories, methods, and perspectives on mental health/illness, attending especially to what, in a field of complex problem(atic)s, is most saliently discursive/rhetorical—and why it matters that it is.

This course is adapted from a 2020 graduate seminar by the same name.  The reading list for the current course will be an updated—and reduced—version of the reading list for the graduate course. Students do not need a background in rhetorical theory.  Our readings will exemplify a range of rhetorical-analytic approaches, and we will fill in theoretical terms and concepts as needed. A partial (and tentative) list of readings follows.  All readings will be posted on Canvas.

Note: If we are not able to hold classes on campus, this course will proceed using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous meetings held in our designated timeslot.

  • Emmons, Kimberly. Excerpt. Black Dogs and Blue Words: Depression and Gender in the Age of Self-Care (2010).
  • Frances, Allen. Excerpt. Saving Normal: An Insider’s Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life (2013).
  • Hacking, Ian. “Making up People.” Historical Ontology (2002).
  • Harrington, Anne. Excerpt. Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness. (2019).
  • Jamison, Kay Redfield. Excerpt. An Unquiet Mind (1996).
  • Martin, Emily. Excerpt.  Bipolar Expeditions: Mania and Depression in American Culture (2007).
  • Price, Margaret. Excerpt. Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life (2011).
  • Wurtzel, Elizabeth. Excerpt. Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America.  A Memoir (1993).
  • Yergeau, Melanie. Excerpt. Authoring Autism / On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness (2018).

 

Language Majors Seminar
Term 2
F, 12:00 PM-2:00 PM

What is rhetoric, and how does rhetoric work? How can you persuade your friends, family, colleagues, and strangers? Some of the most infamous intellectuals in the history of European thought vehemently disagree about the answers to these questions, but taken together, their answers provide a blueprint for rhetorical theory. By reading and applying major rhetorical theories advanced in the major epochs of western intellectual history, students will learn how writers such as Erasmus, Vico, Nietzsche, and Kenneth Burke (among others) conceived the arts of persuasion, argumentation, and style. And to think beyond Europe, students will read Yamamoto Tsunetomo's Hagakure, a manual of samurai decorum that doubles as a manual of samurai rhetoric.

 

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
M, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

In this section of English 490 we will study contemporary life narratives that challenge hegemonic norms in the stories they tell or the way they choose to tell them. We’ll analyze how these counter-narratives use personal testimony to challenge whose stories are heard (and believed), and whose lives matter. We will analyze these texts as representing experience in order to resist dominant norms and, in the process, articulate new kinds of cultural memory, critical practices, institutional knowledges, even potentially legal frameworks. How do these writers deploy the political potential of life narratives, by bearing witness to their own lives and experiences? How do these texts, in the stories they tell and how they choose to tell them, make space for representation of historically marginalized communities and subjects?

In taking up these questions, we’ll study a series of life narratives in different forms, including lives being represented on stage, page, and screen. Readings will include Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: An American Musical, Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, David Chariandy, Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter, essays by Alicia Elliot, Roxane Gay, and Clemantine Wamariya, and stand-up comedy specials (Gadsby’s Nanette, Minhaj’s Homecoming King), as well as relevant theoretical materials. Assessment will include research papers and projects, collaborative roundtables, and contributions to discussion.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

 

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
T, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

This seminar’s title—“I want to live in a world where everyone has to choose their gender”—comes from Torrey Peters’ Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones, a hauntingly topical 2016 novella about a viral pandemic. If Peters’ novella seems a story for our time, so too are works by scores of other trans and non-binary writers in a time when some governments are moving towards recognizing the citizenship and belonging of gender-diverse people while others claw back freshly won, fragile human rights, and when any Tom, Dick or Harriet with access to the internet is likely to have an opinion about the legitimacy of trans identities and lives. These are, indeed, times of both turmoil and exciting change for gender-diverse people, which may partially explain why the last decade has seen an astonishing flowering of work by trans and non-binary authors. In 2010 it would have been difficult to imagine the trans and non-binary literary landscape of 2020.

These writers work across an array of genres—science fiction and fantasy, children’s picture books and YA novels, graphica, slice-of-life realism, historical fiction, and experimental fiction which collapses boundaries between genres. Their rapidly growing body of work has appeared in publishing venues ranging from self-published cult fiction, to small and mid-sized presses (some specializing in trans authored books), to large, commercial publishers (including Random House, Viking, and the venerable sci-fi/fantasy imprint, Tor). This literary landscape will be our playground for this majors seminar, where we’ll read selected recent work by trans and non-binary authors, taking in writers of colour, Indigenous writers, and white settler writers.

While the reading list is not yet finalized (there is an embarrassment of riches to choose from!) we will certainly read the Peters novella referred to above and Vancouver writer Hazel Jane Plante’s genre-busting Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) (which is at once encyclopedia, television show, and novel). Other titles may include Jordy Rosenberg’s Confessions of the Fox, Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater, Sassafras Lowrey’s Lost Boi, either Casey Plett’s A Safe Girl to Love or Little Fish, and selections from Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers. And, while our focus will primarily be on prose fiction, the seminar will also likely include a small selection of poetry, including work by the Anishinaabe-Métis poet Gwen Benaway.

Students who wish to get started reading can order Plante’s Little Blue Encyclopedia from the publisher, https://metonymypress.com/, Amazon, or through your local bookstore. Peters’ Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones is available as a free PDF download at https://www.torreypeters.com/ or as a print copy (not free!) from Amazon. Although not yet confirmed texts, free PDFs of Plett’s A Safe Girl to Love, and the collection Meanwhile, Elsewhere, are available at https://caseyplett.wordpress.com/free-pdfs-of-a-safe-girl-to-love-and-meanwhile-elsewhere/.

The seminar format of this course relies on face-to-face discussion. To approximate the seminar experience in an online environment, we will use our designated class time (Tuesdays, 10-12) for synchronous meetings, supplemented by brief asynchronous video lectures and other online material. Between now and September I will investigate alternatives to Collaborate Ultra which will allow us all to be visible on screen simultaneously.

 

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
W, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM
              

email: ksirluck@mail.ubc.ca

This course will explore the complex way in which certain literary and dramatic works use the figures of the marginalized, the criminal, the subordinate, the exiled and the abject to challenge and interrogate the status quo of the surrounding world.  In these texts, the perspective of the subject is visibly influenced by his or her position within the social and ideological continuum.  Servants, Roman plebians, outcasts, women, Jews, Moors, Muslims, sodomites, catamites, cross-dressers, adulterers, pimps, whores, murderers, the impoverished, the mad, the rebellious and the foolish populate the turbulent underworld of Renaissance literature, articulating dilemmas which are inconceivable or unspeakable within the nexus of privilege and propriety.  We will examine how various forms of political and religious discourse come under scrutiny in some works, allowing for a contestation of things that seem unquestionable: Tudor and Stuart claims to absolute monarchy, prescriptions regarding domestic and social hierarchy, religious orthodoxy, gender roles, and sexual behavior.  Even absolute assertions of ethnic difference and other markers of subordinate or outcast status are sometimes undermined. We will also consider the theatre’s increasing hostility to the appropriation and distortion of relatively egalitarian sacred texts to serve the agendas of the established Church, the State, and the patriarchal domestic realm.  Some of our works show how Early Modern commercial, colonialist, and marital discourses, together with codes determining personhood and citizenship, are implicated in the appropriation of the sacred in service of the secular, legitimating exploitative practices under the umbrella of Christian sanction.  In the literature of the English Renaissance, medieval ideas concerning sin and death merge with carnival and satiric elements and other popular forms of subversive, anti-authoritarian and egalitarian cultural expression, often producing ambivalent effects. Whether these works function as liberating and reforming art, or mystify as they subvert, or offer an apocalyptic vision of the damned, they provide an extraordinarily rich and provocative field of inquiry.

Texts:

  • Christopher Marlowe, Edward II
  • Thomas Middleton, “Satire 5: The Ingle” from Microcynicon (UBC Library ebook)
  • Michel de Montaigne, Selections from The Essays “On Cruelty”  (Project Gutenberg online)
  • William Shakespeare,Henry IV, Part 1, Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, Coriolanus
  • Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, Women Beware Women
  • Fulke Greville, Chorus from Mustapha (luminarium or Norton online)

Play texts will be available at the UBC Bookstore and online through the UBC library.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, our primary meeting-place for live virtual classes, supplementary recorded lectures, assignments, notes, conversations, and creative presentations will be CANVAS.  Via Canvas, we will use Collaborate Ultra for live classes, which will be recorded and made available for students who could not attend.  Depending on how many students are living outside the BC time zone, we may stagger classes so that some are held at the regularly scheduled times (MWF 1:00- 2:00 pm.) and some are held at alternative times when students in other countries will be awake and able to participate live.  Accommodations will be made in a similar manner for live exam or essay sittings.  Films of most of our plays are available through the UBC Library, via the Indexes and Databases tab, in two online film libraries: Criterion and Canopy.

 

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
Th, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

According to science educators and some environmental writers, plant blindness is a condition unique to Homo sapiens. In a nutshell, the concept describes humanity’s alienation from the botanical world in modernity; it is an inability to see – and so to care for – the plants that surround and provide for them.

We’ll spend our time examining this universalizing statement about humanity’s constitutive incapacity. In this ecocritical seminar, we’ll first review the scientific literature as well as its uptake in more popular forms of environmental writing. Second, we’ll read samples from foundational critical texts in disability theory (Mel Y. Chen and David T. Mitchell and Sharon L. Snyder) and indigenous environmentalism (Robin Wall Kimmerer) that will help us to identify the underlying assumptions and limitations of this vision of humanity’s blindness. Finally, we’ll turn to representations of plants themselves, as they appear in cinema, in sound recordings, and in a bouquet of literary experiments, to investigate how these texts and technologies may have contributed to (or departed from) modernity’s alleged inattention to plants. We’ll watch the documentary The Secret Life of Plants, which features a soundtrack by Stevie Wonder, and we’ll read Roald Dahl’s “The Sound Machine,” John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Vaster than Empires and More Slow,” and Richard Powers, The Overstory.

Students will write short responses to each week’s reading, deliver a seminar presentation, and submit a final writing assignment.

As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will go ahead using a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2
T, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

This course will explore various definitions of “Britain” and “Britishness” since the late 1970s, a period that has seen Great Britain attempting to negotiate its way, always ambivalently and anxiously, through its relationships with Europe, America, and its own colonial past. The texts we will be reading (or listening to) all suggest that the ways in which people in Britain have constructed national identities and come to understand themselves as national subjects are complex, various, and intersected with other understandings of identity. They are, as well, implicated in different histories. In our engagement with these texts, we will discuss such issues as place, language, ethnicity, gender, history, religion, values, and traditions, in order to consider how an idea of a stable, essential, unified national identity has been, and continues to be, contested on a number of fronts. Given the terms of inquiry here, we will begin by concentrating on the Thatcher years. The election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979 as prime minister of Britain ushered in a period of free markets, monetary control, privatization, and cuts in both spending and taxes, combined with a populist revival of the ‘Victorian values’ of self-help and nationalism. Wilfully oblivious to the long history of Britain as a site of contestation among the nations from which it was constructed, Thatcherism insisted instead on a vision of the unified nation. Not surprisingly, we find a significant number of writers at the time rising up against the politics of moral populism, with its insistence on a homogeneous definition of the nation state. Though the precise terms of such a definition shifted somewhat under subsequent New Labour and Tory governments, more recently Brexit has reminded us that the constitution of national identity has continued to be a pressing, at times violent, issue in British society. Through close engagement with the texts on our list (poems, lyrics, plays, novels, and sound recordings), we will look, then, at ‘Britain’ and ‘Britishness’ not as one imagined national identity but as a group of often competing communities seeking recognition of changed working terms for ‘England’ and ‘Britain’.

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.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2
T, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

This course analyzes African diasporic art forms in North America, Europe, Latin America through the conceptual lens of “black noise.” We will use the prism of black noise to highlight the dynamic relationship between African diaspora studies and sound studies. While critics have tended to frame black cultural production as noisy, derivative, simple, subversive, we will examine the themes of excess, anger, belonging, and desire. We will interrogate the transnational and transcultural mobility of specific aesthetics as well as ways racial, gender, and sexual identity categories function more broadly within them. Our aim is to use African-diasporic art forms such as music, film, literature and performance art to interrogate this conventional conception of racialized noise.

 

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2
W, 1:00 PM-3:00 PM

The century that separates the portraits of Montagu Drake and the Wood children saw deep changes in how children were understood and treated in the English-speaking world--and in the kinds of books that were published for them. By the end of the eighteenth century, for example, almost no one took seriously John Locke’s belief that children should be prepared for the demands of adult life through cold baths, hard beds, and leaky shoes. A gentler orientation towards childhood was accompanied by the emergence of a publishing industry aimed specifically at young readers. In this seminar, we will examine seventeenth- and eighteenth-century texts for youth, and some of the contemporary beliefs about childhood that informed them. We'll consider such matters as changing parent-child relations, the emergence of cross-over texts (books written for adults but appropriated by younger readers), the rise of children's  publishers, and the commodification of childhood. Our study texts will include Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver’s Travels, and a selection of early fairy tales, short stories, and poems for young readers.

 

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2
W, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

This course will examine the influence of photography and cinema on literary form.  Photography has become such a common aspect of contemporary life that camera technology is now routinely built into our phones, computers, and automobiles. The photographic recording of everyday life provides an unprecedented archive of visual memories.  Photographs and video records of violations of human rights serve a crucial evidentiary role in seeking justice, as illustrated in the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent mass mobilization of rightful protests.

We will explore some of the following central questions:  Given the increasing power of photographs and cinematography in the formation of private and public judgments, how have novelists, poets, dramatists, and film makers responded to these visual influences?   What happens to the articulation of the written self when it confronts the power of photography?  How have writers incorporated some of the techniques of photographic and cinematic ways of seeing into their forms of writing?

Readings will include Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida, selected essays by Walter Benjamin, and Susan Sontag's On Photography.  We will also consider works of fiction, drama, and cinema that respond to our increasingly visual culture such as Michael Ondaatje's Coming Through Slaughter, Le Thi Diem Thuy's The Gangster We are All Looking For,  Maaza Mengiste's The Shadow King, and films by Alfred Hitchcock (Rear Window), Michaelangelo Antonioni, (Blow-up), and Christopher Nolan (Memento).

Course requirements include a presentation, participation in weekly discussion, and a major essay.

Required readings/film viewings:

Theory: Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida (Hill and Wang); Kyo Maclear, Beclouded Visions: Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Art of Witness (SUNY) Susan Sontag, On Photography (Picador); plus selected  e-texts or handouts. Optional:  Geoffry Batchen, ed. Photography Degree Zero (MIT)

Fiction/Prose:  Michael Ondaatje, Coming Through Slaughter ; Le Thi Diem Thuy, The Gangster We Are All Looking For (Anchor); Maaza Mengiste, The Shadow King.

Drama: Kevin Kerr, Studies in Motion (Talon); Marie Clements and Rita Leistner, The Edward Curtis Project: A Modern Picture Story (Talonbooks)

Screenplay and Film: Marguerite Duras and Alain Resnais, Hiroshima, Mon Amour (Grove)

Films: Finding Vivian Maier (2013); Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window (1954);  Michaelangelo Antonioni, Blow-up (1966);  Christopher  Nolan, Memento (2000);

Poetry: Selections from Fred Wah, Sentenced to Light (Talon); Roy Miki, Mannequin Rising (New Star)

Literature Majors Seminar
Cross-listed with ENGL 492P-009*
Term 2
M, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

We'll explore a number of narratives in which America as a nation, an idea, a history, and a social reality is being imagined, (mis)remembered, suffered, dreamed, hallucinated, transformed. Contexts include Hollywood in the 1930s and the rise of global fascism, Cold War terrors, racial violence and struggle, feminism, the asylum, the militarized state, mass media and the image world, drugs, assassination (JFK, Malcolm X, MLK, RFK), the American war in Vietnam. I take my main title from Joan Didion with whom we'll start (Slouching Towards Bethlehem). Readings are also likely to include works by Nathanael West (The Day of the Locust), Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar), Thomas Pynchon (The Crying of Lot 49), Malcolm X (Autobiography of Malcolm X), Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), Don DeLillo (End Zone), Michael Herr (Dispatches), and Stephen Wright (Meditations in Green). Students will write short essays; do short informal close readings (aloud); give seminar presentations; conduct class discussions; write a longer research paper.

If we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will proceed with a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and assignments and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot. The final reading list will be confirmed and posted by November 2020.

Senior Honours Seminar
Term 1
T, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

In this class we will use Jane Austen and Mary Shelley’s novels as a basis to discuss global contexts of the Romantic period; foundations of post-colonial, feminist, and narrative theory; and principles of translation and adaptation in pop culture. Topics include colonial cultural influence and England’s imperial role in the late eighteenth century; nineteenth-century biographical depictions of Austen and Shelley and twentieth-century fan culture; translation practices over the centuries, in countries including Japan, Turkey, and Spain; and the lasting pop-culture power of multi-media adaptations. Assignments will include students pitching their own adaptation.

Readings may include selections from Austen’s works, such as Emma, Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, and Lady Susan; Shelley’s novels including Frankenstein and The Last Man; excerpts from foundational theoretical texts and recent criticism, such as Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Tendencies, and Claudia Johnson’s Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures; and a selection of adaptations and rewritings from works such as Clueless, James Whale’s Frankenstein, Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, Gurinder Chadha’s Bride & Prejudice, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and Soniah Kamal’s Unmarriageable.

Senior Honours Seminar
Term 2
Th, 2:30 PM-4:30 PM

“What a piece of work is man,” Hamlet says, suggesting simultaneously both “work of wonder” and “piece of shit.”  Marx said that people “make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past."  Both describe a tension inherent to modern life between ideals of freedom, desire, and imagination, on the one hand, and the alienating, unpredictable, impersonal conditions of real life on the other hand.  Hamlet and Marx remain iconic today because they were early prophets of the crucial but paradoxical role of media in modern life.

“Media” means mediators or means of interacting socially and expressing ourselves individually, procedures for turning ‘intention’ into ‘action’ and ‘idea’ into ‘event,’ like the rules of a game or the grammar of a language:  unspoken ‘social contracts’ or protocols for facing the unpredictability of time and of each other, for mediating identity and difference.

Especially since the Romantic period, literature has responded to the global violence of industrialism, imperialism, racism and patriarchy by questioning what it means to be a reader among other readers, an individual part of a ‘public:’   In John Keats’s terms, what kinds of “negative capability” might we cultivate?  What kinds of difference and suffering might we mutually, publicly acknowledge?  What capacities to disagree might we share?

To explore such questions, this class considers various media theories and examples of literary, cinematic and online media.  We will read lyric poetry from the Romantic period to the present; the novels Frankenstein, Dracula, The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and their film adaptations; fiction by Kafka, Borges and Coetzee; films by Hitchcock and David Lynch; the musicals Singing in the Rain and Do the Right Thing.  There will be challenging literary theory and philosophy to read every week, including Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, The Frankfurt School, and recent psychology, social science and memoire from writers like Malcolm Gladwell, Alison Gopnik, Rebecca Solnit and Ta-Nehisi Coates.  Above all, this course aims to develop your mastery of language media, especially writing.  300 word reading responses are required every week, which will serve to kickoff online discussion that can go wherever occurs to you/me to take it, and which I hope can serve to share and spark ideas that feed into your proper essay assignments:  a 3 page midterm and a 10 page final.

Senior Honours Seminar
Term 2
F, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

This seminar examines the multiple and intersecting meanings of "viral"-- biological contagion, online circulation, popular texts, and forms of late capitalism. The course engages critical race, new media, diaspora, queer, and affect theories, and situates contemporary and historical discourses about bodily and informational transmission within the ongoing legacies of colonialism and Empire. We will analyze how narratives about the racialized and gendered body surface in discourses about transnational contact, migration and globalization. By reading and screening a variety of cultural productions, we will consider how concepts of virality and mediation come to bear on the form, content and dispersal of different kinds of texts. Students will read novels, poetry, short stories, and screen other media, including films, visual art, and online productions.

Senior Honours Seminar
Term 1
F, 12:00 PM-2:00 PM

The recent Oscars awarded to Parasite and the emergence of the Bonghive, the Booker International prize for translation going to Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, and the social media and sales records set by Kpop bands such as BTS are a few of the ways in which Korea has become highly visible within the global landscape. But the immense popularity of Korean culture seems somewhat perplexing given that only a few decades ago, Korea was a relatively unknown entity for most of the West. And moreover, because the experiences of the Korean diaspora remain relatively underrepresented within Canada and the US. In this course, we will examine Korean diasporic literature for how it depicts topics such as model minority experiences, racialized feelings, the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, and class, the legacies of war, colonialism, and imperialism for generations removed from these events, and representations of North Korea and the aftermath of the Cold War. We will also ask what kinds of social, cultural, affective, and economic relations connect the Korean diaspora within Canada and the US to Korea, possibly by turning to other media such as film, television and music. Authors studied may include Chang-rae Lee, Krys Lee, Ins Choi, Cathy Park Hong, Alexander Chee, and others.

Senior Honours Seminar
Term 1
Th, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

One of the mainstays of gothic and horror fiction, as these emerged in Europe and Britain in the late eighteenth century was a preoccupation with regressive temporality: gothic and horror fiction fixated on a past that supposedly refused to die. Whether represented by ghostly figures that returned from the grave, ancient mansions infested with rot, or “folk” cultures that could not let go of tradition, the past of gothic fiction conjured societies that seemingly resisted Western enlightenment and modernity. This course will look at the origins and history of these gothic tales, beginning with Ann Radcliffe’s famous gothic novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho, and moving on to consider the work of Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, and H.P. Lovecraft. We will conclude by considering some contemporary films, including Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, Robin Hardy’s Wicker Man, and Jordan Peele’s Us. We will focus on both psychoanalytic and political accounts of the persistence of the past, from Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle to Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake: On Blackness and Being.

  As the Faculty of Arts has determined that all BA courses will be offered online in Fall 2020, this course will proceed with a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and assignments and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

Senior Honours Seminar
Term 2
Th, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

 The expectations of ‘close reading’ and ‘historical coverage’ that lingeringly beset students and teachers of English Honours at UBC in the early 2020s were already keynotes of an orthodoxy in English literary studies that was firmly in place at Anglophone universities such as this one by the middle of the last century. That robust disciplinary orthodoxy was the outcome of serial, not always subtle compromises between older (‘philological’, ‘aesthetic’) and newer styles of attention to ‘literary’ objects or texts, worked out in curricula of the North Atlantic cultural zone between the end of the Great War and the onset of the Cold War, in the service of western, industrialized, technocratic, colonial, secular (Christian) democracies. In essence and function, university English literary studies were an institutionalized, instrumentalized, re-mystified form of the Anglo-American literary Modernism that had T. S. Eliot for High Priest. To this day, no other rationale for a university subject of the same or similar name has come close to winning the general assent—within and beyond the university—enjoyed by that now obsolete disciplinary formation during the decades of its ascendancy.

While the archaeology of this spacious, outmoded but still-bedrock disciplinary formation is too complex to excavate site-wide in a single seminar, a slit-trench cut from Cambridge (UK) in the 1920s and ‘30s (I. A. Richards, William Empson, F. R. and Q. D. Leavis) to leading figures of the American ‘New Criticism’ in the ‘40s (John Crowe Ransom, Cleanth Brooks) will turn up sufficient high-quality artefacts to make it possible for us both reliably to sketch a map of the larger field and responsibly to put and answer some critical and historical questions, such as: Why did English literary studies take off as and when they did? What theoretical understandings and historical assumptions underlay the critical practices that were then popularized? To what extent have those understandings and assumptions been taken over—examined or not—by successor forms, sub-forms or off-shoots of the discipline since the 1970s? What might we still learn at this point from an empathic re-engagement with the work of university teachers who, beginning a century ago in the aftermath of global catastrophe and at the instant of The Waste Land, tried to plot courses of study and of life that would help secure a less lethal environment for future generations.

Weekly readings for the seminar will focus on items from a customized, chronological anthology of highly influential articles and chapters. Students will also be expected to read extensively in four major studies that between them cover most of the ground and many of the issues that we will address, namely: Gerald Graff, Professing Literature: An Institutional History (Twentieth Anniversary Edition, 2007); Rita Felski, The Limits of Critique (2015); Joseph North, Literary Criticism: A Concise Political History (2017, available online via UBC Library); Stefan Collini, The Nostalgic Imagination: History in English Criticism (Oxford, 2019, ditto).

Senior Honours Seminar
Cross-listed with ENGL 490-009*
Term 2
M, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

We'll explore a number of narratives in which America as a nation, an idea, a history, and a social reality is being imagined, (mis)remembered, suffered, dreamed, hallucinated, transformed. Contexts include Hollywood in the 1930s and the rise of global fascism, Cold War terrors, racial violence and struggle, feminism, the asylum, the militarized state, mass media and the image world, drugs, assassination (JFK, Malcolm X, MLK, RFK), the American war in Vietnam. I take my main title from Joan Didion with whom we'll start (Slouching Towards Bethlehem). Readings are also likely to include works by Nathanael West (The Day of the Locust), Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar), Thomas Pynchon (The Crying of Lot 49), Malcolm X (Autobiography of Malcolm X), Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), Don DeLillo (End Zone), Michael Herr (Dispatches), and Stephen Wright (Meditations in Green). Students will write short essays; do short informal close readings (aloud); give seminar presentations; conduct class discussions; write a longer research paper.

If we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will proceed with a combination of asynchronous (recorded/text/online) materials and assignments and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot. The final reading list will be confirmed and posted by November 2020.