2021 Summer Session


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

Classes will be held synchronously on Zoom.

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:

  • Quiz #1 -  20%
  • Quiz #2 -  20%
  • Home essay; 1500 words  - 30%
  • Final examination - 30%


  • Joseph Black et al., eds., The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Concise Edition, Volume A (The Medieval Period, The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century, The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century), Third Edition
  • William Shakespeare, King Lear (Broadview)
  • The texts will be available at the UBC Bookstore in a specially priced, shrink-wrapped package.  The anthology is also available as an e-book; King Lear is on its website.

Literature in Canada
Term 1
MW, 12:00 - 3:00 PM

This section of 222 will focus on recent novels and short story collections (whose titles will be announced in February).
The readings will average 1 book per week, which will mean 5 texts in total. Advance ordering - and reading - is recommended.

  • Margaret Atwood, Lady Oracle
  • Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women
  • Katherena Vermette, The Break
  • Zalika Reid-Benta, Frying Plantain
  • Mona Awad, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

(Any edition; ebooks are fine too. Having two books read by the first day of class is highly recommended. The reading order will be: Munro, Reid-Benta, Atwood, Awad, Vermette)

World Literature in English
Term 2
TR, 12:00 -3:00 PM

This summer course introduces students to questions of  urbanism, identity, and power in the rapidly-changing metropolises of 21st century Africa. Through novels, film, poetry and short stories, we’ll encounter and challenge preconceived notions of Africa by asking how cities shape modern African life.

From the eerie, ghostly Dakar of Mati Diop’s 2019 film Atlantics, to the decaying sprawl of Ivan Vladislavic’s Johannesburg in 2011’s Double Negative, we’ll interrogate what defines and defies the “global” African city through questions of labour, gender, and race. With Teju Cole’s 2011 Open City, we’ll ask what makes New York and Brussels fundamentally African spaces, and debate how histories of migration shape these global centres today. Short stories and poetry from Windhoek, Harare, and Cape Town consider how African cities provide new kinds of communities, shape new identities, and offer glimpses into both the past and the future of the continent.

This course will be conducted online, with synchronous and asynchronous components scheduled during our designated timeslots.

Television Studies
Term 2
WF, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

The full thematic title for this course is "True Fantasies: The Enduring Place of the Medieval in Modern Culture from Game of Thrones to Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla"

Our modern world returns, again and again, to the medieval. Film, TV, popular and literary fiction, graphic novels, video games, and board games continually recreate the experience of the medieval for the modern consumer of culture. As a continually reimagined idea, the medieval lies at the heart of many aspects of our contemporary world; as the historical other to both the classical world and to modernity, its abject nature has been deployed in the service of nation, race, colonialism, and many other discourses since the day that the Middle Ages ended.

This course will examine the manifestation of medievalism in our culture today. Topics will include the rise of medieval fantasy in 20th century fiction, historical medieval films and graphic novels, board games, TV phenomena such as Game of Thrones and Vikings, and the multi-billion dollar industry of modern video games such as Crusader Kings III and Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.

Technical Writing
Term A
Distance Education

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

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

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.

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English Grammar and Usage
Term A
Distance Education

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 The English 321 course provides an introduction to English grammar and its use in everyday communication. We take a descriptive stance when considering the rules of grammar, starting with the study of words and their parts, proceeding to word classes, phrases and clauses, and concluding with the different communicative functions that grammatical structures can perform when we package information in particular ways. This course equips students with skills to identify and describe the effects of derived or deviant structures in various communicative situations and provides a strong basis for further study of the English language and of literary and non-literary stylistics as well as for teaching English. The course includes numerous exercises analyzing sentences and chunks of discourse. There are four short collaborative assignments, two monthly tests, and a final exam counting 30% of the final grade. 

The prescribed books are Börjars & Burridge (2010) and Leech, Deuchar and Hoogenraad (2006). More details are available on the course website on canvas.ubc.ca. 

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The  Structure of Modern English: Sounds & Words
Term A

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 This course provides a comprehensive introduction to English phonology, morphology, parts of speech, and lexical (word) meaning. We start by studying the smallest units of language, speech sounds, and work our way up to larger structures until we reach the level of words and their meanings. Students are required to become proficient in phonetic transcription, including becoming familiar with the International Phonetic Alphabet as it pertains to present-day varieties of English. The course is offered from a descriptive perspective, an approach not situated exclusively in any specific linguistic theory. There are three collaborative assignments, six quizzes, and a final exam counting 40% of the final grade. The prescribed book is Brinton & Brinton (2010). More details are available on the course website on canvas.ubc.ca. 

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

This course will look at three early and two late works, paying special attention to the differences between the young and mature Shakespeare. We’ll look at the evolution of Shakespeare’s soliloquies and handling of characterization, the differences between comedy, tragedy, and romance, and themes such as honour, revenge, marriage, and friendship. 

This course will be conducted synchronously, but all classes will be recorded for those unable to attend live.

Please read Titus Andronicus for the first class

Required Texts (all from Oxford UP):

Titus Andronicus
Love’s Labour’s Lost
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Winter’s Tale

Victorian Period Literature
Term 2
TR, 6:00 PM-9:00 PM

“Ghosts are real, this much I know” - Crimson Peak

“Vampires do exist” - Bram Stoker’s 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 a chill to the bright summer evenings 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 (especially photography), 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 Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, and short fiction by authors including (but not limited to) M.R. James, Margaret Oliphant, Charlotte Riddell, Elizabeth Gaskell, E. Nesbit, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

This course will proceed in a fully online form using Canvas, and will involve a combination of asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides and videos) and synchronous (short live lectures and discussion) materials. I will make sure that the full course is accessible to all students, and that all texts are available in digital/online editions. Evaluation will be based on two essays, a take-home final exam, and participation in discussion on the course’s Canvas site.

Please see my blog (http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/2021/03/05/english-362-951-victorian-period-literature-summer-2021/) for updates

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

The description for this course is not yet available. Please check with us again after March 29.

Children's Literature
Term A
Distance Education

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

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Studies in Prose Fiction
Term 1
TR, 12:00 PM-3:00 PM

“In short, prizes matter. . .With only an appearance on . . . [a] shortlist, a book moves from total obscurity in the classroom and pages of literary criticism to respectable showings in both—and it gets a healthy popularity boost along the way.”
“As much as each prize is an institution unto itself, it also crystallizes a variety of other consecrating forces and actors, from the publishers who select and promote a title to the authors who blurb it and the reviewers who praise it.”
  -- Alexander Manshel, Laura B. McGrath, & J.D. Porter

In this class, we will discuss the five fictional works shortlisted for Canada’s 2020 Giller Prize: Gil Adamson’s Ridgerunner, David Bergen’s Here the Dark, Shani Mootoo’s Polar Vortex, Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel, and Souvankham Thammavongsa’s How to Pronounce Knife. We will consider the institutional components of the Giller Prize (evaluation criteria, selection of judges, procedures for submission & selection, history, past recipients) as well as what Manshall, McGrath & Porter refer to as “consecrating forces and actors.” In addition to writing a critical essay on one of the texts, students will participate as a jury member in an in-house “Fiction 2020” award committee to choose our own winner from the Giller shortlist.


Majors Seminar - Literature/Honours Seminar
Term 1
MW, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

This course gives students a chance to reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic by reading theories of "biopolitics." Between the decades immediately following WWII and present, biopolitical theory has addressed how power can exert control by protecting and sustaining life rather than directly oppressing it. Medical power at work in human and nonhuman populations have been central examples since Michel Foucault's work of the late 1970s, which pointed to phenomena like the collection of data about national birth and death rates. Course readings will include selections from Foucault’s History of Sexuality, Vol. 1, Roberto Esposito's Immunitas, Achille Mbembe’s Necropolitics, and Priscilla Wald’s Contagious, alongside chapters from Timothy Campbell’s Biopolitics Reader. We will also study popular articles from The AtlanticArt Forumn+1 and other publications, articles that discuss biopolitics in more accessible language to shed light on the politics of COVID-19. As recent critics have shown, however, biopolitical theory was anticipated in the novel, and it continues to evolve in fictional narrative, in both print and film. As Priscilla Wald and others have shown, mass media "outbreak narratives," often with nationalistic, xenophobic, and racist overtones, always accompany epidemics and pandemics. So by reading novels like Ling Ma's Severance and viewing film's like Wolfgang Petersen's Outbreak, we will study how narrative fiction has been both a vehicle of biopolitical theory and a symptom of real pandemics. Finally, while theoretical texts, popular articles, and fictions can all teach something different about the experience and mediation of large-scale viral infection, the seminar will also be a space for students to reflect on their own experiences of the pandemic - to write, as vaccinations continue, about this ongoing crisis.