2021 Winter Session

 

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. Three of these small classes will join together in a cluster for one lecture on each week’s designated texts and topic.

The topic we will explore in this cluster is Green Utopias. From Renaissance gardens to Romantic nature poetry to the "ecotopias" of twentieth-century science fiction, writers have often imagined ideal worlds as green worlds. We will study examples from several historical periods and ask what role they play in the environmental imagination today, in the climate change era, when utopia seems more distant than ever.

Text studies will include work by John Milton, Andrew Marvell, Margaret Cavendish, John Lyly, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Katherine Mansfield, Seamus Heaney, Alice Oswald, Ernst Callenbach, and Ursula K. LeGuin.

Principles of Literary Studies
Term 1
MWF,  1:00PM - 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. Three of these small classes will join together in a cluster for one lecture on each week’s designated texts and topic.

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

 

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

This team-taught course (led by Drs. Michael Zeitlin, Suzanne James and Bo Earle) examines how literature defines where we come from, where we are going and how the meagre yet crucial words “we” and “I” mean what they do.  Considering literary genres including lyric poetry, myth, the short story, the novel, science fiction, memoire and non-fiction history of society, science and nature, we will explore the construction and deconstruction of identity across the levels of the individual, the family, the nation, the species, the planet, the material universe and spiritual cosmos.

Course Texts:

  • Nine Stories, J.D. Salinger
  • As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
  • Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
  • "How to Pronounce Knife" by Souvankham Thammavongsa, Thomas King's  "Borders,” and other indigeonous Canadian short fiction
  • The Book of Eels,  Patrik Svensson
  • Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Selected poetry and prose from Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Mary and Percy Shelley and Lord Byron

 

An Introduction to English Honours
Terms  1 and 2
TR,  11:00AM - 12:30 PM

A year-long (6 credit) course, English 210 is designed to provide Honours students with a firm grounding in English-language literary studies. Its organization is largely chronological, beginning in the medieval period and continuing to the present day. It aims to introduce students to a wide sampling of literary works of poetry, fiction, and drama across the centuries, and to equip them with the analytical tools employed in the scholarly study of these genres.

Although these texts – and their authors – engage a diverse variety of topics, in reading and writing about them we will also want to keep in mind such themes as art and imagination, memory and history, the individual in society and freedom and repression. While taking care to situate our readings in their historical and cultural contexts, we should also, where appropriate, allow ourselves to approach them with a sense of openness and humour.

Seminar for English Honours
Term 2
MWF,  1:00PM - 2:00 PM

This problem- and play-based approach to general literary and critical theory studies what counts as knowledge, how we find meaning and where, how humans adapt, respond, and resist in the face of changing conditions in the world, the status of art as expression, 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. It asks what function critics and creatively-thinking theorists play in the processes by which societies and cultures reproduce themselves, and thinks about 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 juxtaposition with narrative theory, ecocriticism, theories 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.

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
MWF,  2:00PM - 3:00 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.
  • King Lear is available on the anthology’s website.

 

Literature in English to the 18th Century
Term 1
TR,  11:00AM - 12:30 PM

From the Anglo-Saxon clans to the monasteries of medieval England, from the court-cliques of Henry the 8th to the bloody factions of the Civil Wars, historical English literature was all about social networks and what held them together or broke them apart.  We’ll read literature defining and responding to the in-groups and outcasts of English cultures from 800-1700 CE: poetry about war and loneliness; plays mocking social injustices; diatribes pro and con on powerful women; colonizing fantasies; celebrity confessionals; cross-gendering comedies; and surprising stories about sex. We’ll use a custom Broadview anthology and do lots of collaborative work.

Literature in Britain: the 18th Century to the Present
Term 2
MWF,  2:00PM - 3:00 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 Nigerian Civil War and its aftermath (2009). 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 Chimamanda Adichie. 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, a major essay, and a final examination.

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

The major types of Canadian writing:  fiction, poetry, non-fictional prose, and drama.

Literature in Canada
Term 2
TR,  2:00PM - 3:30 PM

The course description for this section of ENGL 222 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

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

This course surveys some of the great innovators in the U.S. novel over the past 50 to 60 years, ranging across the stalwarts of realism, postmodernism, and the proliferation of important multicultural voices in the American canon. Questions we will address include: What have been the major innovations in fictional form in the U.S. in the past sixty years, and what forces seem to have driven them? What structures have writers developed in this era to demonstrate new layers of guilt, innocence, and moral complexity? Does the novel, as informational and imaginative medium, have authority in this era? If so, what sort of authority is it? What difference has the explosion in prominent ethnic writers within U.S. literature made for definitions of “American culture”? Students will write two essays (1500 and 2000 words), as well as a final exam. Texts are likely to include Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, John Edgar Wideman’s Hiding Place, Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays, Toni Morrison’s Jazz, Chang-rae Lee’s A Gesture Life, and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad.

World Literature in English
Term 2
TR,  11:00AM - 12:30 PM

The course description for this course is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Poetry
Term 2
TR,  9:30AM - 11:00 AM

In this course we’ll read poetry of many kinds and of many eras. We’ll be concerned with form, content, imagery, themes, and perspective.

Prose Fiction
Term 1
MWF,  10:00AM - 11:00 AM

This course is an introduction to the reading, enjoying, and critical study of prose fiction.  A brief discussion of the relation of narrative fictions to life will be followed by a close critical reading and examination of several diverse international examples of the genre.  The class will examine the function of fiction to depict and express human experience(s), including that construed as  marginal (in terms of ethnicity, gender, etc.) to what has been constructed as “mainstream” or canonical.  The class will investigate the formal aspects of fiction—point of view, characterization, diction, narrative structure, format, imagery, tropes, etc.—and the ways in which these aspects are conceptualized and expressed in different ways by authors.

We will be examining a variety of short stories, including two short-story cycles (interrelated or linked stories):  Tales from Firozsha Baag (1987), by Rohinton Mistry, and Natasha and Other Stories (2004), by David Bezmozgis.  We will also explore two novels:  Regeneration (1992), by Pat Barker, and Fugitive Pieces (1996), by Anne Michaels.  The texts have been chosen to demonstrate the richness and variety of the forms prose fiction takes as well as to illustrate its elements, techniques, and types.

Prose Fiction
Term 2
TR,  2:00PM - 3:30 PM

In this section of English 227 we will study an assortment of short stories by authors of various nationalities and historical eras.  After briefly exploring reasons for the emergence of the modern short story we will proceed chronologically by examining short fiction written over the span of roughly a century, from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries.  Apart from identifying each story’s literary elements, we will note how it may reflect one or more literary movements: for instance, realism.  How to define the term “short story” is a question that will almost certainly arise from our close study of so broad a range of short fiction.

The short stories we study in the course will be selected from the following list:

Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”; Guy de Maupassant, “The False Gems”; Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”; James Joyce, “The Dead”; Franz Kafka, “Metamorphosis”; Katherine Mansfield, “The Garden Party”; Ernest Hemingway, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”; Chinua Achebe, “Dead Men’s Path”; Alice Munro, “Friend of My Youth”; Alistair MacLeod, “As Birds Bring Forth the Sun”; Raymond Carver, “Cathedral”; Margaret Atwood, “Happy Endings”; Thomas King, “A Short History of Indians in Canada”; Kazuo Ishiguro, “A Family Supper”; Jhumpa Lahiri, “Interpreter of Maladies”; Hassan Blasim, “The Nightmare of Carlos Fuentes”; Madeleine Thien, “Simple Recipes”

Text: The Broadview Introduction to Literature: Short Fiction, 2nd ed. (Broadview, 2018)

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

Topics in the Study of Language and/or Rhetoric
Term 2
TR,  9:30AM - 11:00 AM

What’s a language, what’s a dialect? In this course we will look at one of the core notions of linguistics: our idea of what “counts” as a language and what not. We will see that the term is anything but agreed on, is subject to change and have since about 1800, most crucially, been connected to the types of “imagined communities” that we have come to call “nations”. It’s all beautifully complex and intriguing and in this course we’ll tackle important questions such as this one head on and from square 1 (the very beginning). We’ll show, how the 19th century still lives on today, if only in our perceptions of language, which are heavily tied to our concepts of which people is a nations – and which not. We will review the best texts on the topics since the early 1900s – Einar Haugen, Otto Jespersen, Max Weinreich, Michael Clyne, Wodak et al and Rudi Muhr – and we’ll see how today’s contemporaries, including some who call themselves linguists, fall prey to the chameleon called “language”. We’ll glimpse into a current debate on the issue, showing how many German linguists have a very different notion what “their” language, German, than others. In this exercise, we’ll critically assess the role of English linguistics and linguistics in English. We will see, how Canadian English was carved out of what used to be just “English” or “American English” some 50, 60 years ago, which will allow us to cut through the one or the other smokescreen. Ingrid Piller, for instance, makes a great deal about “language with a name”; as wel shall see, perfectly justifiedly so.

Prerequisites: none specific. Any and all welcome!

Focus: we will focus on the readings, discussion of the readings, asking questions on the readings and beyond, and on learning to detect and untangle the cultural, indidivual and discipline-specific biases in any writings on language.

Readings: A reader will be provided, in addition to this concise book (120 pages):

Dollinger, Stefan. 2019. The Pluricentricity Debate: On Austrian German and Other Germanic Standard Varieties. London: Routledge.

Some classes will be held over Zoom, though your presence on campus will be (at least on Tuesdays) required.

 

Topics in the Study of Language and/or Rhetoric
Term 2
MWF,  11:00AM - 12:00 PM

Expressing meaning is why we use language in the first place, but understanding how we choose the form of expression is not straightforward. In the course, we will learn how linguistic meaning emerges at the intersection of our embodied experience, our conceptual abilities, and our social and cultural context. To flesh out the meaning emergence mechanisms we will consider examples from grammar, structure of words, and multiple word meanings, but also visual communication and multimodal (text and image) artifacts. Through reading and analysis of examples, we will learn what it means to view language as a tool supporting conceptualization, in various communicative situations (advertising, internet discourse, commercial contexts, cityscape, and many more).

 

Topics in the Study of Language and/or Rhetoric
Term 1
MWF,  2:00PM - 3:00 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, speech functions, conversation analysis, sociolinguistics and critical discourse analysis.  Students will learn how to design and conduct their own research projects. The main textbook, Analysing Casual Conversation, 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 may 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 a number of short activities and assignments, a group presentation, a final paper representing 40% of the course grade and two short tests. Students will also present their proposed work for the final paper to the class.

The textbook for the course will be Analysing Casual Conversation, S. Eggins and D. Slade. Equinox Publishing, 2005.

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 online materials and synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot. If classes are held on campus, there will likely be some regularly scheduled synchronous online classes for specific activities.

Introduction to Indigenous Literatures
Term 1
MWF,  11:00AM - 12:00 PM

“I don’t write back. I write home.”
—Lee Maracle (Stó:lō)

In this course we will explore contemporary narratives by Indigenous cultural producers from Turtle Island north of the 49th parallel (Canada). As an introduction to Indigenous literatures and their study, this course will examine a diverse selection of forms and genres of Indigenous expressive cultures—orature, fiction, poetry, drama, graphic narrative, film—while also working to bring our interpretative practices into conversation with the theoretical approaches and cultures of criticism shaping the field of Indigenous literary studies. The fluid tripartite configuration of pasts, presents, and futures will structure our inquiry as we explore the strategies of representation Indigenous literary artists mobilize to not only contest ongoing histories of settler colonialism, but also to assert the personal and political complexities of the present, affirm the contemporary vitality of Indigenous ways of knowing, and envision resurgent decolonial futures. Our texts will compel us to consider, among other concerns, how literature responds creatively to the politics of history, land, identity, gender, sexuality, nationhood, urban Indigeneity, and ecology, and how these concerns variously relate to, resist, or reject the historical and political contexts of colonial Canada. Texts may include Cherie Dimaline’s novel The Marrow Thieves, Eden Robinson’s novel Monkey Beach, the films Rhymes for Young Ghouls and Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, Marie Clements’ play Burning Vision, Joshua Whitehead’s poetry collection full-metal indigiqueer, and a selection of short readings/viewings from Lisa Jackson, E. Pauline Johnson, Elizabeth LaPensée, Lee Maracle, Amanda Strong, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers.

Assignments will likely include one major essay, one or two short reflection papers, a creative project, and a final exam. Active and regular participation will be expected and emphasized in the classroom community (in person and/or online). Prior experience in Indigenous studies or knowledge of Indigenous literatures is not required, though students unfamiliar with Indigenous history in Canada are encouraged to check out UBC’s Indigenous Foundations website in advance.

 

 

Approaches to Media Studies
Term 1
MWF,  11:00AM - 12:00 PM

This course provides foundational understanding of media theory designed specifically for students in the Bachelor of Media Studies program. The outcomes of the course will enable students to negotiate media in terms of their theoretical foundations and distinguish the different effects produced by different media. The course will also allow students to understand media historically in terms of major media shifts. The outcomes of the course will have broad application within and beyond the study of media.

Shakespeare Now
Term 2
MWF,  12:00PM - 1:00 PM

Should Shakespeare be canceled? While Shakespeare’s works have long been understood as “necessary” reading, many question Shakespeare’s dominance within the study of literature written in English and his enduring cultural influence. On one side, some argue that there is still much to be gained from reading, watching, and studying Shakespeare; on the other side, some argue that Shakespeare’s works are carriers of racism, misogyny, and other forms of violence that we need to leave behind. We will read a number of Shakespeare’s plays—Taming of the Shrew, The Comedy of Errors, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Measure for Measure, and The Tempest—closely and use our close reading to examine debates on social media and in the news about canceling Shakespeare.

Introduction to Children's and Young Adult Literature
Term 1
MWF,  11:00AM - 12:00 PM (PST)
Online Delivery

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.

 

Speculative Fiction
Term 1
TR,  12:30PM - 2:00 PM

The term “speculative” refers to that which is "engaged in, expressing, or based on conjecture rather than knowledge.” Speculations, therefore, pertain to the conjectural, the theoretical, or the projected future. Often associated with descriptors such as “nonrealist,” “antirealist,” or “imaginative,” speculative fiction is sometimes described as a “super genre” of writing that includes a variety of different genres that contain speculative elements. Speculative fictions can imagine futures beyond the nation-state formation or extrapolate from current trends and developments into a dystopian future. In this course, we will examine one particular sub-genre of speculative fiction: dystopia. Etymologically derived from the Greek root dys (bad) + topas (place), dystopia is understood as an imagined state or society characterized by extreme suffering, injustice, violence, pandemics, and post-apocalyptic collapse. For many communities of migrants, refugees, Indigenous, and racialized peoples, however, the notion of dystopia is not some distant future to be anticipated and feared, it is carried as inherited memory, lived experience, and the here and now. Through reading works that take up the theme of dystopia in relation to the experience and condition of migration in particular, this course will both introduce students to the speculative fiction sub-genre of dystopia while exploring how contemporary writers of colour interrupt dominant, Euro-centric, universalists paradigms of dystopia.

 

Speculative Fiction
Term 2
TR,  12:30PM - 2:00 PM

“We make Angels. In the service of Civilization. There were bad angels once … I make good angels now.” -- Niander Wallace, Blade Runner 2049

The near-future and alternate-reality landscapes of science fiction 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 more recent products or accidents of science: clones, robots and replicants, artificial intelligences, cyborgs. Such texts raise issues of gendered exploitation, consciousness and rights, research ethics, and fear, in the realization that these creatures are, ultimately, not human but posthuman, yet often more sympathetic than their makers. However, despite their apparent superiority, such humanoids tend to be defined as commodities. In this course, we will consider the posthuman element of dystopian speculations reflecting on the present and recent past, especially concerning threats of mass surveillance, profit-motivated technology, environmental crisis, and redefinitions of human identity. Core texts tentatively include William Gibson, Neuromancer; Lauren Beukes, Moxyland; Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski, The Matrix: Shooting Script; Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go; Blade Runner 2049 (dir. Denis Villeneuve); and possibly District 9 (dir. Neill Blomkamp).

Evaluation will be based on a midterm essay, a term paper, a final exam, and participation in discussion.

Keep checking my blog (https://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/) for updates concerning texts and requirements.

Environment and Literature
Term 1
TR,  2:00PM - 3:30 PM

This course proposes that literature, broadly defined, has had a surprising impact on environmental policy and social protest movements in the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We’ll survey eco-activism in the US in the wake of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Dr. Seuss’s Lorax, and Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang. We’ll look at the impact of these texts on the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency, on the shaping of policy for fresh-water pollution, and on the establishment of Earth First! To contextualize more recent – and more local – environmental activism and climate change protests, we’ll examine poetry by Rita Wong, speeches by Greta Thunberg, actions by Greenpeace, and the social media lives of Extinction Rebellion and Climate Strike!

There will be a midterm and two papers.

Comics and Graphic Media
Term 1
MWF,  3:00PM - 4:00 PM

This course is an introduction to comics and other graphic media. In it, we will study some of the main forms--super-hero comics, fiction, science fiction, memoirs, and manga--with the goal of developing close reading practices that enrich our understanding of how texts and images work together. Although this course will emphasize longer narratives published after 1980, we'll make some brief excursions into earlier texts and short forms--comic strips, picture books, and graffiti. Readings will include Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (a ridiculously enjoyable study of comics theory presented in graphic form), Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire, Maus by Art Spiegelman, V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Other texts will be announced later in the summer.

 

Comics and Graphic Media
Term 2
TR,  2:00PM - 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? The texts for this course are likely to include Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze, LaGuardia by Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford, Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, A Girl Called Echo: Pemmican Wars by Katherena Vermette and Scott B. Henderson, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, and Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay by William Gibson and Johnnie Christmas.

Literature and Film
Term 1
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM (PST)
Online Delivery

The above question has too often become the cornerstone of modern debates around 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, short stories, screenplays, 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.

Television Studies
Term 2
TR,  9:30AM - 11:00 AM

This course takes up television (specifically, North American television) as an object of investigation and a subject for criticism. We will approach television in a number of different ways: by watching it and by reading literary, historical, and critical writing about it. Treatments of television are often characterized by sexual fantasy, political anxiety, intense excitement and contempt, and highly reflexive irony. We will try to understand why television is so provocative, why it has been so difficult to understand, and how we may develop tools and techniques to approach it critically. Warning: some of the materials for reading and viewing in this course feature strong language, sexuality, and violence. Viewer discretion is advised.

Learning objectives of this course :

  • to familiarize students with the history of network television in the United States
  • to introduce students to formal vocabulary to describe televisual experience
  • to communicate to students tools for critical thinking and writing about television

The course format will combine lectures, discussion, and group work.

The following required books will be available at the bookstore or as an e-text from UBC library:

  • Jeremy G. Butler, Television: Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture (2018)
  • Marshall McLuhan, The Medium Is the Massage (Penguin, 2003)

Other course readings will be available through the Canvas website.

 

A number of television programs will be required viewing for this course. Students are responsible for these viewings in the same way that they are responsible for the readings. Many of these are available through online resources (such as Netflix or YouTube) or will be on reserve at Koerner Library.

 

Language and Rhetoric

Studies in Rhetoric
Term 1
TR,  9:30AM - 11:00 AM

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. Memes & the Art of Brevity examines the micro-texts that saturate our contemporary media-scape alongside both recent and older theorizations of how and why people are drawn to concision. 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 concise artifacts to understand the mass-mediated brevity that captures our attention, goes viral, influences public opinion, and facilitates communication.

 

The Rhetoric of Science, Technology and Medicine
Term 2
TR, 12:30 - 2:00 PM

The Rhetoric of Science and Medicine examines the role of language, argument, and persuasion, and how it affects the production, translation, and circulation of scientific and medical knowledge. Our guiding questions for the course are based on what rhetorician of medicine Judy Segal identifies as the central questions of rhetorical criticism: “Who is persuading whom of what?” and “what are the means of persuasion?” 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 examine the persuasive elements in science and medicine.

We will interrogate how argument is used to “manufacture controversies” regarding issues like vaccination, and observe how metaphors work in science and medicine (genes as maps; the egg and sperm as romance; wars against Covid-19) to communicate concepts of biological processes. We will be attentive to the biased practices in medicine that discriminate against marginalized populations based on race, gender, class, sexuality, age, and ability. We will also examine the persuasive interactions between pharmaceutical companies and patient consumers, as well as the power dynamics between doctors and patients. Throughout the course, we will be thinking about how experts communicate to the wider public, and how non-experts interact with science and medicine with their own motivations and vocabularies. Given the prominence of health topics in public discourse, the course will pay special attention to the rhetoric of health and medicine.

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

When Aristotle published his Rhetoric in the 4th Century BCE, he described “the available means of persuasion” in ways that remain useful for anyone who wishes to influence other people and to understand how other people influence them: in politics, law, advertising, science, and interpersonal relationships.

This course moves back and forth between ancient readings in rhetorical theory and contemporary readings in rhetorical theory and analysis—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?  But it asks, as well, if and why it makes sense to study the careful plotting of arguments, when, in 2021, so many of us are so enraged and so afraid about so much, and when we are most of us living inside the truth of our chosen sources for news—and when, on many topics, many people are, pretty much, unpersuadable.

Rhetorical theory offers a procedure for studying the means of persuasion in public and in private life, in institutional and social settings, across a range of platforms and genres. There is no better way to understand rhetorical theory and method than to study their history. Students will read key texts by Gorgias, Isocrates, Plato, and Aristotle—and apply Classical terms of art to contemporary speeches, campaigns, advertisements, and other rhetorical performances.

History and Theory of Rhetoric: The Later Theory
Term 2
MWF,  1:00PM - 2:00 PM

What is rhetoric, and how do persuasion and influence work? How you can persuade your friends, family, colleagues, and strangers? Some of the most infamous intellectuals in 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 St. Augustine, Locke, Nietzsche, and Kenneth Burke (among others) conceived the arts of persuasion, argumentation, and style. And to think beyond the European tradition, students will read Yamamoto Tsunetomo's Hagakure, a manual of samurai decorum that doubles as a manual of samurai rhetoric, and excerpts from Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions and Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, which outline a theory of nonverbal North American indigenous rhetoric.

Discourse and Society
Term 2
MWF,  10:00AM - 11:00 AM

The course description for this section of ENGL 312 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

History of the English Language: Early History
Term 1
MWF,  11:00AM - 12:00 PM

The beginning of the English language is traditionally dated to 449 CE, with the invasion of Britain by Germanic tribes from the continent, including the Angles, for whom English is named (Angle + isc > English).

This course goes both backwards and forwards in time, back to the Indo-European origins of English and on to the end of the Old English period (449–1100 CE). In considering the origins you will come to understand how English is related to a wide set of languages, ranging from Europe to India. In focusing on aspects of the Old English language – including its sounds (phonology), spelling (orthography), forms of words and their endings (morphology), sentence structure (syntax), meanings of words (semantics), and vocabulary – you will come to see what underlies Present-day English. But you will also recognize that English has undergone massive changes, from a language that is highly “synthetic” (where grammatical meanings are expressed through a myriad of inflections) to a language that is largely “analytic” (where such meanings are expressed through independent words, with only eight inflections remaining). These changes are in part due to external influences, such as the influence of Latin, French, and Norse, but are to a greater extent due to internal influences which exploit gaps or weaknesses of the system and operate by “rules” which may be mechanically or cognitively motivated (such as the drive towards regularity known as “analogy”).

The course begins with an introduction to the phonetic alphabet, to attitudes toward language change, and to the nature and principles of language change. No formal background in language or linguistics is required.

Evaluation will be on the basis of online quizzes and in-class tests. The option to write a short essay on semantic change on a word of your choosing will be also be offered.

For a fuller description, see http://blogs.ubc.ca/laurelbrinton/teaching/engl-318/

 

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

In this course, you will come to understand how the English language has changed from the Norman Conquest (1066) to today. The course provides a chronological extension of the history of English begun in ENGL 318. It is not required, though it is recommended, that you take ENGL 318 in advance of ENGL 319. However, it is obligatory that you possess a working knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet, such as is taught in in ENGL 330, ENGL 318, or the equivalent.

The course begins with a description of the historical events leading to the growth of Middle English (1100–1500). The linguistic features of Middle English are studied, focusing on the rise of analytic features. We then trace phonological, grammatical, and lexical changes into Early Modern English (1500–1700), with an emphasis on the Great Vowel Shift. Grammatical and lexical changes in the Late Modern English period (1700-1920) are explored and the rise of prescriptivism in the eighteenth century is studied in depth. Finally, the course considers lexical and grammatical changes in Present-Day English and the effects of media and computer-mediated language upon the development of English. The concept of ‘global English’ is also explored.

Course evaluation consists of online quizzes and in-class tests. You are offered the possibility of writing an optional paper on historical dictionaries.

For a fuller course description, see http://blogs.ubc.ca/laurelbrinton/teaching/engl-319/.

English Grammar and Usage
Term 1
Distance Education
Distance Education Full Course Description

This course is an introduction to the sentence structure of English and to the use of grammar in various communication situations differing in register, dialect or mode. A characteristic of English grammar is that it is flexible – users can and do adapt grammatical structures according to their communicative requirements. This is true of spoken language ranging from, for instance, everyday informal conversation to formal presentations and in written language from informal uses in notes or text messages to formal papers. The dialect of the speaker or writer affects the grammar, too. By studying numerous examples across more than one regional dialect of contemporary (present-day) English usage, the course explores some of the prominent uses to which grammar can be put. The full course description is available through Distance Education.

Stylistics
Term 2
Distance Education
Distance Education full description

The ENGL322 course offers an introduction to the study of literary stylistics. This involves examining the language of literary texts in the three genres of poetry, prose and drama, with a view to helping students arrive at a fuller understanding and appreciation of these texts. By studying the language of the text, the course aims to help students describe in precise terms such things as the literary achievement of a particular literary text and the communicative strategies employed in it. Once the text has been described, the relative accuracy of critical and interpretative statements about a given text can be evaluated. The full course description is available through Distance Education.

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

Join the “course behind the book”, the book that has been built on research grants (tax-payer grants in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013-16, 2017-18, 2019 & 2020)! 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, has played a role in the method’s revitalization and it will guide us through the process from start to finish. In this process, you’ll learn an awful lot about English in Canada, what we call Canadian English: is eh Canadian? Is toque really Canadian (what is it, anyway?). We will try our hand at real data collection for what we grandiosely call the Questionnaire Survey of Canada in a well-defined manner to see which kind of questions “work” better and why for your linguistic variable. Couch vs. chesterfield, parkade vs. garage, tom-EH-to vs. 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 newest insights and the next generation of researchers that I have the privilege to showcase (look for the names T. Chambers, Hirota or Cheng in your textbook from previous classes). Research ethics with human participants is part of the course: How may we treat our respondents? How not? Why should we bother and why do some schools (UBC, UofT, UC) care more about research ethics than others (most continental European universities, for instance).

Textbook: Dollinger, Stefan. 2016. The Written Questionnaire in Social Dialectology: History, Theory, Practice. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Frontmatter, TOC & chapter 1 here: https://www.academia.edu/18162995/

The rest of the book: through your UBC library (e-book) or via the UBC Bookstore (paperback)

No prerequisites required beyond the "legal prereqs", no knowledge of Excel or even R needed. Your instructor never "lost" a student over Excel or R, so why don't you give this course a shot?

Some classes will be held over Zoom, though your presence on campus will be (at least on Tuesdays) required.

English Corpus Linguistics
Term 2
TR,  12:30PM - 2:00 PM

Corpus linguistics is one of the main methods in linguistics today. 50 years ago, however the choice of method was rather different but for about 10-20 years even the former “opponents” of corpus linguistics have conceded its overwhelming, I’d say unparalleled, usefulness. Sounds like a method any UBC Arts student should be familiar with, don’t you think? In this course you will be introduced to the method, its appeal (why is it so popular?), its underpinnings, its strengths and weaknesses. We will combine lecture segments with exercises on some popular (online) corpora of English, we will learn standard software, such as AntConc (easy) and R (mid-easy to very difficult, but we won’t go there), and learn to build our own corpus.

If you ever wanted to have a method you can almost always use, which is very hard to undermine, which will help you in a wide range of situations for a great number of research questions, check out this new course.

Readings: A course reader will be provided

Prereqs: none about the general requirements of standing (if not quite in 3rd year, please be in touch with me)

Focus: learning to understand the method, advantages and drawbacks of corpus linguistics. When to use it, when not. How to compile your own corpus for analysis. Learning how to extract samples and examples from corpora and how to interpret them in the context of a research question.

Some classes will be held over Zoom, though your presence on campus will be (at least on Tuesdays) required.

Studies in the English Language
Term 2
MWF,  1:00PM - 2:00 PM

There has been much interest recently in the impact that contemporary media (print news and TV, but also social media) have on public discourse and public trust in information. In the course, we will study a range of language forms and communication genres to better understand the nature of contemporary public discourse and to build an informed approach to the communicative universe we live in. We will start by discussing selected language phenomena and reading about some aspects of internet communication and the phenomenon of ‘post-truth’.  After establishing introductory concepts, we will focus on four areas of media discourse: 1. News coverage, 2. Political discourse (speeches, election campaigns, social media responses), 3. Internet discourse (memes, Twitter), and 4. TV news and humorous commentary (such as late night shows). Students will be expected to participate in in-class discussions and projects, collect their own media examples, and respond to take-home assignments.

 

Cognitive Approaches to the Study of Meaning
Term 1
TR,  11:00AM - 12:30 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
TR,  11:00AM - 12:30 PM

This class focuses on “everyday metaphors”: the figurative language that we use all the time, over the course of casual conversations and throughout our lives, often without even realizing it. While we may think our colloquial use of language is mostly literal, we rely on metaphors to talk about all sorts of ideas and situations. For example, we may talk about “fighting” crime, “waging war” on a pandemic, or “battling” poverty. In all these cases, we are describing one type of concept - a serious societal challenge - in terms of another concept, physical combat. But what does it mean to describe a pandemic as a “war”, versus a “wildfire” or a “journey”? Not only are these types of patterns pervasive throughout our language use, they also influence how we understand these concepts.

In this course, you will learn how to identify and analyze figurative language in a variety of texts and media, and also consider the persuasive role of metaphor as a cognitive phenomenon. In the first part of the course, we will learn about various types of figurative language (metaphor, metonymy, blending). In the second part, we will apply these theoretical concepts to a range of genres, from advertising to political discourse. We will also consider the role of figurative language beyond the written and spoken word, such as gesture, memes, and other forms of multimodality.

 

The Structure of Modern English: Sounds and Words
Term 1
MW,  4:00PM - 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, 3 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.

 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.

 

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

 Welcome to this key course for any English major! Do not opt out of it if you can, 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 a complement (spelled with an “e”).

The course works best, particularly in the beginning, when you ask any and all questions you may have. Don’t delay and think you can work it out at home – speak up if you dare! With some exercises I will wait, no waaaaaait, until I get an answer from the one who feels brave enough to take a plunge!

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.

Some classes will be held over Zoom, though your presence on campus will be (at least on Tuesdays) required.

 

The Structure of Modern English: Sentences and Their Uses
Term 2
TR,  11:00AM - 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, 3 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
MWF,  12:00PM - 1:00 PM

 

The course description for this section of ENGL 332 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

History of the Book
Term 2
MWF,  11:00AM - 12:00 PM

Ever since it came into being, the book has sought to escape the flatland of its boundedness. This course examines these books, from the Mayan accordion books to the 1570 edition of Euclid’s Elements of Geometry, with its 3D triangle, to Humphry Repton’s landscaping manuals, to everyone’s favourite: the pop-up book. This alternative history of the book will likewise provide an introduction to the visualization of information and to the study of media.

History of the Book
Term 2
TR,  12:30PM - 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, where they are filed in the bookstore or the library, and any number of other factors not apparently directly related to their content. This course will introduce participants 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.

D.F. McKenzie famously described bibliography as the sociology of texts. As we move through important moments in the history of book production, we will explore how materiality and meaning interact, in a range of historical and cultural contexts. Along the way, we 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 in the Barber Learning Centre. Here, you will have the opportunity for hands-on experience with a wide collection of rare materials dating from the Middle Ages to the present. You will pursue your own original research with our unique materials, informed by our discussions and readings focused on the role of modes of production, dissemination, and storage of text-objects in determining the reception and social function of texts.

 

Text and Image
Term 2
MWF,  1:00 - 2:00 PM

This course will be structured around our close reading of the horror-drama TV series Lovecraft Country, set in the Jim Crow era of the United States. Each week we'll analyze the script's abundant visual, cultural and literary references, introducing students to a range of 20th century African American narratives. We’ll look at the art of the Negro Motorist Green Book (a Black travel guide, published 1936-1966), Gordon Parks’ photography, debates with James Baldwin, and poetry by Toni Cade Bambara, to name a few texts and images on the syllabus. Lovecraft County (the television series by writer and producer Misha Green) engages us in a meta-literary study. The series is adapted from the novel, Lovecraft Country, by Matt Ruff, which itself references the horror writing of the genre’s racist influencer, H.P. Lovecraft. In the series, Lovecraft Country is a novel by George Freeman, who has fictionalized the events of the series, which is retrieved from the future in an attempt to change the story's narrative conclusion. Each Friday, students will watch a 60-minute episode of the series, while Monday/Wednesday sessions will be reserved for lectures in U.S. Black history, classroom discussions of our reference texts, and critiques of the series’ narrative construction.

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

As Jack Zipes has observed, the number of literary fairy tales published in Britain during the second half of the nineteenth century is astounding. Almost all of these fairy tales were illustrated. The illustrations often attracted as much attention – sometimes more attention – than the tales themselves and represent the earliest published responses to the literary works. In this course we will explore the relationship between text and image in a selection of Victorian fairy tales, both original tales and rewritings of traditional tales. How do the illustrations define the literary texts? To what extent do they 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 tales and in our – and the Victorians’ – readings of them?

Approximately half of our classes will take place in UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections where we will work with early editions of the tales and discuss them in relation to Victorian print culture. We will ask such questions as: To what extent does the dominance of George Cruikshank’s designs for the Fairy Library obscure his intention to promote the temperance movement? How does reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in the first edition, for which the placement of the illustrations was carefully planned by both John Tenniel and Lewis Carroll, influence the interpretation of the text? How do the binding, cover design, and decorations and illustrations by Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon define Oscar Wilde’s A House of Pomegranates as a work of the Aesthetic movement and/or a collection of fairy tales?

Our illustrated tales: John Ruskin and Richard Doyle, The King of the Golden River; George Cruikshank, “Hop-o’my-Thumb and the Seven-League Boots” and “Cinderella and the Glass Slipper”; Charles Dickens, Sol Eytinge, Jr., and John Gilbert, “Holiday Romance,” Part II (“The Magic Fish-bone”); Lewis Carroll and John Tenniel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Christina Rossetti and D. G. Rossetti, “The Prince’s Progress”; Christina Rossetti and Arthur Hughes, Speaking Likenesses; George MacDonald and Arthur Hughes, “The Light Princess” (Dealings with the Fairies) and The Princess and the Goblin; Mary de Morgan and William de Morgan, “A Toy Princess”; Mary de Morgan and Walter Crane, “The Necklace of Princess Fiorimonde” and “The Wise Princess”; Oscar Wilde, Walter Crane, and Jacomb Hood, “The Happy Prince” and “The Nightingale and the Rose”; Oscar Wilde, Charles Ricketts, and Charles Shannon, “The Birthday of the Infanta”; Kenneth Grahame, Maxfield Parrish, and E. H. Shepard, “The Reluctant Dragon” (Dream Days); E. Nesbit and H. R. Millar, “The Prince, Two Mice, and Some Kitchen-Maids,” “Melisande: Or, Long and Short Division,” and “Fortunatus Rex & Co.” (Nine Unlikely Tales for Children).

Digitized copies of most of our illustrated tales are available on the Internet Archive (links will be posted on UBC Library Course Reserves). If you would like to purchase twenty-first-century editions with helpful introductions and notes, I recommend: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Broadview); The Princess and the Goblin (Broadview); Oscar Wilde, The Complete Short Stories (Oxford World’s Classics); Victorian Fairy Tales, edited by Michael Newton (Oxford World’s Classics).

Anglo-Saxon and Early Medieval Literature
Term 2
MWF,  10:00AM - 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 342)), 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.

 

Middle English Literature
Term 1
MWF,  10:00AM - 11:00 AM

In the second half of the fifteenth century, Sir Thomas Malory (d. 1471) wrote a mammoth prose account of King Arthur and his knights, called the Morte Darthure. Malory was not the first Arthurian writer: his problem was precisely that by the time he set quill to parchment, there had been so many Arthurian stories, about so many characters, in so many languages and traditions. Even in Britain, where Malory was writing, Arthurian poetry and prose - in Latin, Welsh, English, and French - had been circulating for centuries. So while Malory’s Morte is in some ways an encyclopedia of the medieval Arthurian tradition, it is also inevitably a partial glimpse of that tradition, as Malory had to pick and choose in order to create a coherent, compelling story that centred on Arthur himself as a great British king.

Malory’s version of the story was enormously influential in later literary history in the English-speaking world, and so a good deal of our popular lore about Arthur and the Round Table comes to us, ultimately, from Malory. For this reason, we will start our exploration with Malory, with a story whose outlines might be familiar to you already. We will then move backwards to consider earlier Arthurian texts from medieval Britain, some of which Malory certainly knew, and some of which he most likely did not. Our reading will include the “fairy” romance of Sir Lanval (in both Marie de France’s French version and Thomas Chestre’s Middle English one); the great fourteenth-century alliterative poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; the Welsh prose romances of Gereint son of Erbin and Peredur son of Efrog; Geoffrey of Monmouth’s twelfth-century Latin History of the Kings of Britain; the strange Welsh prose story called How Culhwch won Olwen, and the handful of cryptic Welsh poems that might contain the earliest seeds of the legend.

In his 1938 Arthurian novel The Sword in the Stone, T. H. White explained Merlin’s abilities by saying that the magician lived backwards in time: he could prophesy the future because he had already seen it. By reading backwards through medieval British Arthurian narrative, we will be able both to appreciate Malory’s craft, and see the many forking paths he did not take.

The Morte Darthur, Sir Launfal, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight will be read in Middle English. The Latin, French, and Welsh material will be read in translation.

 

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

With the help of a reader-friendly edition and a series of structured but gentle lessons, you will acquire facility in reading Chaucer’s Middle English. More importantly, you will learn how Chaucer makes use of his language’s power in assembling a series of narratives ostensibly told by the diverse company of pilgrims he met on the way to Canterbury. The pilgrims’ tales create a conversation about many themes, including class, love, sex and gender, work, language, the nature of narrative itself, and the pleasures and travails of studenthood, and our class meetings will reflect the collection’s spirit with regular sessions of open discussion. We will consider the linguistic and literary innovations that led readers to consider Chaucer the “father of English poetry” together with the sense of humour – by turns satirical, bawdy, and self-deprecating – that makes reading his poetry a constant joy.

 

Renaissance Literature
Term 2
MWF,  2:00PM - 3:00 PM

How does literature affect how we feel about and respond to the suffering of others? How do literary texts inspire or impede compassion in readers and audiences? What literary and cultural resources do authors draw from in the hopes of inspiring or impeding compassion? These questions will guide our exploration of literary texts written in Renaissance England. We will examine the various ways that English Renaissance authors represented people suffering from poverty, racial and religious discrimination, mental and physical illness, grief, social isolation and exile, and love, and consider as well what effects those representations might have on readers and audiences. We will read plays by Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, tales of martyrs, religious poetry, and love poetry alongside recent literature from the social sciences and cultural theory on emotions.

 

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

This course provides a unique approach to selected plays by Shakespeare through its focus on Shakespeare’s media--orality, script, and print--and the dramatization of these media, during a period when the dominant medium was shifting from orality to literacy. In addition to this media history and its unique focus on the plays, the course also provides students with an introduction to media theory.

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

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.  During Shakespeare’s lifetime, 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.  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, rampant commerce and nascent capitalism were 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 reign to that of her Scottish successor, James Stuart, and consider 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, and in the succeeding decades leading to the English Civil War. We will find similar unease and instability manifesting in aspects of domestic, sexual and social interaction.  All of these are relevant for the study of 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 contributing aesthetic lineages and popular traditions, and finally we will explore a variety of different critical approaches to the plays, including those of earlier decades, and those more current.  Students’ own responses and interpretations will form a crucial part of our class discussions.

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.

The Six Plays: ShakespeareHamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest

Shakespeare
Term 2
TR,  11:00AM - 12:30 PM

In our scholarship and program notes, we used to describe many of Shakespeare’s comedies as transvestite dramas. In As You Like It and Twelfth Night, young women cross-dress (a vernacularizing of the Latinate transvestite) as young men to secure safety in unfamiliar lands, while other gender non-conformers, like an Amazon warrior in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a fat man disguised in woman’s clothing in The Merry Wives of Windsor are publicly humiliated for their transgressions. How, this course asks, are scholars and theatrical practitioners updating the gender coordinates of these comedies in light of the demands and experiences of the twenty-first century trans people? We’ll contextualize these plays with a range of period documents about the relation between gender and the body (Montaigne and Ovid in translation, a speech by Queen Elizabeth I, and some hateful treatises that normalize codes of gender expression) as well as with the most recent – and vital – Shakespearean scholarship by trans scholars and their allies (Simone Chess, Colby Gordon, Joseph Gamble, Will Fisher, and Sawyer Kemp). Finally, we’ll explore how theatre practitioners are reimagining Shakespeare’s plays as studies in trans performance.

There will be a midterm and two papers.

 

Shakespeare
Term 2
Distance Education

The course description for this section of ENGL 348 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Seventeenth-Century Literature
Term 1
TR,  11:00AM - 12:30 PM

This course introduces students to some of the earliest literary experiments in science fiction. In our readings, we’ll investigate the effects of expanding European colonialism on English scientific and literary practices. We’ll examine why it was that this “new science” – and its institutions, especially the Royal Society (1660) – came to be the object of ridicule and satire. Our survey of seventeenth-century science fiction will include prose like Bacon’s New Atlantis, Godwin’s Man in the Moone, and Cavendish’s The Blazing World; poetry by Donne, Pulter, Marvell, and Cavendish; and plays, such as Shadwell’s The Virtuoso and Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which we’ll read while also watching a classic sci-fi film, from 1956, that it inspired, Forbidden Planet.

There will be a midterm and two papers.

Milton
Term 2
TR,  11:00AM - 12:30 PM

In this course we’ll read Paradise Lost at the rate of one book per week. Our focus will be on the poem as a poem.

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

This section of “Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature” concerns one of the most important phenomena of the period between 1660 and 1800, an era of far-reaching change in British literature and culture. This was the entrance of women into the publishing market for the first time. Whereas women had previously written for coteries of private friends, women now gained access to the reading public. We will examine how women’s published writing both reflected and changed attitudes towards women in British society, generating the first proto-feminism but also considerable resistance from male authors and conservative women. We will also explore how the boundaries between “women” and “men” became harder, creating a rigid binary or “two sex” model of gender that persisted until recent times.

Texts: Aphra Behn, The Rover; Susanna Centlivre, Bold Stoke for a Wife; Mary Wollstonecraft, Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman; Inchbald, Nature and Art; a selection of poetry from Roger Lonsdale (ed.), Eighteenth-Century Women Poets: An Oxford Anthology.

Assignments: two short essays, a final term paper, and a take-home exam

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

 

Early Canadian Writing
Term 1
TR,  2:00PM - 3:30 PM

 

The course description for this course is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

U.S. Literature to 1890
Term 2
TR,  2:00PM - 3:30 PM

This course will study nineteenth-century U.S. gothic texts and some of the films they inspired, beginning with Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne and ending with H.P. Lovecraft and Jordan Peele. The course will open by reading Sigmund Freud’s famous essay, “The Uncanny,” to account for some of the gothic genre’s signal features. The readings thereafter will be organized around themes of traumatic doubling, gender and disability, and a U.S. national unconscious that was forced to reckon with and repress a violent past whose abuses were in most cases ongoing. Assigned texts will include several short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, the film Crimson Peak by Giuillermo del Toro, short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne and the film The Witch by Robert Eggers: poetry by Emily Dickinson, the autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, short stories by Herman Melville, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Robert Chambers, H.P. Lovecraft and the film US by Jordan Peele.

Victorian Period Literature
Term 1
TR, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

“No, I haven’t read it – but I saw the movie!” Throughout the twentieth century and continuing in the twenty-first century, Victorian novels have figured in the popular imagination in large part because of film and television adaptations. In the nineteenth century, stage adaptations helped to create and to sustain a novel’s popular success. In this course we will explore how adaptations from the Victorian period to the present have contributed to the cultural production of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, and Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. How do the adaptations define their source texts? Why does a particular adaptation come to be considered “the” adaptation (“but I saw the movie”)? Why are some novels more frequently adapted than others? To what extent do the adaptations reinscribe, revise, and/or subvert the ideological assumptions – with respect to gender, class, race, sexuality, aesthetics, ethics, religion, politics, education, etc. – implicit in the novels? In attempting to answer these and other questions we will move beyond issues of fidelity to explore how adaptations productively engage with their source texts.

Victorian novels and their adaptations are not known for their brevity. Pre-reading and pre-viewing of the following are highly recommended.

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Oxford World’s Classics); 1848 play, Jane Eyre or The Secrets of Thornfield Manor, adapted by John Courtney (Jane Eyre on Stage, 1848-1898, UBC Library); 2006 BBC miniseries, directed by Susanna White (UBC Library); 2011 film, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (UBC Library); 2015 play, directed by Sally Cookson (Drama Online, UBC Library).

George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (Broadview); 1994 play, adapted by Helen Edmundson (Drama Online, UBC Library); 1997 BBC telefilm, directed by Graham Theakston (UBC Library purchase requested).

Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd (Oxford World’s Classics); 1882 play, adapted by J. Comyns Carr and Thomas Hardy (to be posted on Canvas); 1967 film, directed by John Schlesinger (UBC Library purchase requested); 2015 film, directed by Thomas Vinterberg (UBC Library).

Nineteenth-Century Literature
Term 1
TR,  2:00PM - 3:30 PM

Without overlooking the French sources of a literary movement characterized by Alfred Tennyson as “Art with poisonous honey stol’n from France,” this course focuses on the theories and practices of aestheticism and decadence in late nineteenth-century Britain.

The Aesthetic movement posed a strenuous challenge to high-Victorian moral certainties with turn away from the social toward a self-enclosed realm of the imagination. In calling for the autonomy of art, Decadence delighted in the perverse, the arcane, and the artificial; instead of looking purposefully forward, it was often self-consciously and theatrically nostalgic for the past.

With a view to developing a sense of the period’s cultural and intellectual context(s), the course will explore the styles and thematic preoccupations of writers whose work has been labelled “Aesthetic” or “Decadent” by themselves and others. In so doing, it will also investigate the relationships between decadent writing and other literary modes, including parody and satire, the gothic, and the emergence of modernism. Writers to be studied include: Algernon Swinburne, Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, Vernon Lee [Violet Paget], Ada Leverson, Arthur Symons, Michael Field [Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper] and Robert Louis Stevenson.

*WARNING: THIS COURSE CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT SOME STUDENTS MAY FIND OFFENSIVE*

Nineteenth-Century Literature
Term 1
Distance Education

The course description for this section of ENGL 364 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

Modernist Literature
Term 1
MWF,  2:00PM - 3:00 PM (PST)
Online Delivery

“in the middle of my party, here’s death, she thought” - Mrs. Dalloway

“in the middle of my party, here’s death, she thought” - Mrs. Dalloway

Modernism was born out of seismic, revolutionary shifts in society and culture. World wars, political revolutions in Europe and beyond, murderous civil and colonial/imperial wars, economic depression, and successive waves of technological modernization offering mixed psychological and social benefits and injuries laid siege to assumptions that the world was in any way well-ordered or reliably understood. Its literature both reflects conscious innovation and experiment and sometimes opposes these passions for change. Its obsessions respond in complex ways to those seismic shifts in its representations of gender and sexuality, social structures, race and culture, in all cases often in terms of transgression.

And yet, in its drive to make things new, Modernist literature is often a haunted place: spectres of ancestry, of war, of places escaped from collide with the present moment, creating a dark, Gothic modernity. This troubled place will be our focus in the darkening days of autumn.

Core texts include Henry James, The Turn of the Screw; Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison; D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; short fiction by James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield.

The course will be fully online and will combine synchronous (live video lectures with discussion) and asynchronous (Canvas-based discussion, notes, online resources) material. Evaluation will be based on a midterm essay, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, a final exam, and participation in discussion.

Keep checking my blog (https://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/) for updates concerning texts and requirements.

Modernist Literature
Term 2/C
Distance Education

Some descriptions of modernism offer bloodless abstractions about formal experimentation, academic disruption, and reaction against conventional 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. High modernism may be a kind of cosmopolitanism of the arts, opening borders between different aesthetic media, traditions, and forms, to correspond with the opening up of the planet’s borders through technologies of speed in movement and communication. This course analyzes modernism through the lens of its discrete experimental movements, networks, manifestos, and performances. Topics include Decadence, the New Woman, Expressionism, Manifesto Modernism, Impressionism, Surreality, Psychoanalysis, Minimalism, Technological Moderns, Graphic Modernisms. Writers include Stein, Yeats, Rhys, Woolf, Joyce, Eliot, Conrad, others.

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

English 366 is dedicated to studies in twentieth-century literature. This section engages with canonical as well as controversial American and British novels on interwar social crises. Between World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945), many intellectuals confronted a world that seemed to be in ruins: the unsettling epoch stimulated aesthetic innovations and ideological risks in prose fiction. Attending closely to the contested issues of the era, our discussions will encompass topics such as war and peace (Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway and Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises); industry and ecology (D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover); and fascism and democracy (Richard Wright, Native Son and George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four). The questions raised by the interwar novel continue to resonate today. Hence, this class also invites students to consider how these compelling fictions may illuminate contemporary struggles to re-imagine forms of collectivity in the midst of protracted military conflicts, accelerating environmental degradation, and persistent civil divisions. The course requirements may include participation, a midterm, a major essay, and a final examination. Please note that discretion is advised: this course focuses on mature subject-matter.

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

Main texts will include the following:

  • Henry James, Daisy Miller (1879)
  • Sigmund Freud, excerpts from The Interpretation of Dreams (1899)
  • Jean Toomer, Cane (1923)
  • T.S. Eliot, "Ulysses, Order, and Myth" (1923)
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)
  • Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (1926)
  • Nella Larsen, Passing (1929)
  • William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)
  • H.D. [Hilda Doolittle], Tribute to Freud (1933/44/56)
  • William Faulkner, Pylon (1935)

Assignments will include informal oral presentations, short essays, and a final exam.

U.S. Literature from 1890
Term 1
TR,  11:00AM - 12:30 PM

“Our offering is language.” –Don DeLillo, The Names

 This course will both study in depth key works by novelist Don DeLillo and trace his tremendous influence on contemporary U.S. writing, in the latter case going beyond the usual suspects and into fresh critical territory. Texts will include: DeLillo’s The Names (1982), Libra (1988), Mao II (1991), and a few of his short stories; Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room (2018); Jennifer Egan’s The Keep (2006) and a few short stories; and Porochista Khakpour’s The Last Illusion (2014) and a few essays. Students will write two essays and a final exam.

Literatures and Cultures of Africa and/or the Middle East
This course is listed as both ENGL 370 and AFST 370. Both courses are identical.

Term 2
MWF,  11:00AM - 12:00 PM

After the fall of South Africa’s racist apartheid regime in the early 1990’s and the first free elections of 1994, Nelson Mandela’s government faced the daunting task of building a new democratic society. Arguing that the injustices of the past needed to be confronted in order to move forward, and that “[i]t is only by accounting for the past that we can become accountable for the future,” the South African parliament passed an act creating a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The goal of this TRC was “to bring about unity and reconciliation by providing for the investigation and full disclosure of gross violations of human rights committed in the past.”

We will begin our exploration of literary responses to this ambitious enterprise with Country of My Skull, Antje Krog’s powerful first-hand account of the hearings of the Commission, followed by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela’s memoir, A Human Being Died That Night. We will also discuss a play, selected poems, and several novels. Texts will be discussed in the context of South Africa’s historical legacy, in terms of the specific impact and legacy of the TRC, and as literary explorations of broader issues of social justice and reconciliation.

Please note: This course is listed as both English 370 and African Studies 370. Both courses are identical.

Asian Canadian and/or Asian Transnational Studies
Term 1
MWF,  11:00AM - 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 and lived experiences of violence and discrimination? How can literature, film, and other forms of media help us understand a diverse global city like Vancouver? These questions are especially urgent at a moment of resurgent anti-Asian racism around the world as the current global pandemic continues to reveal and exacerbate existing social inequities and vulnerabilities.
This course examines a selection of literary and media texts representing different Asian diasporas. Throughout the course, you are encouraged to engage with local Asian Canadian cultural production both on and off campus. Authors and artists may include SKY Lee, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Phinder Dulai, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Ling Ma, 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. Course assignments may include activities 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.

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

Hidden in wonder and snow, or sudden with summer,
This land stares at the sun in a huge silence
Endlessly repeating something we cannot hear.
Inarticulate, arctic.
--F.R. Scott, “Laurentian Shield” (1945)

 

Now, I'm going to tell you something
This stump—you think it’s a stump—but that’s my grandfather.
He’s very, very old man.
Old, old man.
He can talk to you.
--Harry Robinson (Okanagan), “You Think It’s a Stump” (1992)

 

The distinction between reading the land as an “inarticulate” space of “silence” and identifying with it as a living relation reflects differences between Western and Indigenous approaches to land and ecology. The historical formation of Canadian literature was supported by writers and critics who mapped onto ostensibly “new” territory ideas about the sublime beauty or terror of a vast, unpopulated landscape—ideas like “wilderness” and “the North” that became tied to national identity, supported the work of “developing” lands and resources, and remain powerfully sedimented in national thought to this day. These prevalent narratives displaced not only the storied knowledge of Indigenous peoples who have lived on and with the land for millennia, but other complex relations to place expressed by (im)migrants and diasporic peoples positioned in different ways within Canada’s physical and social landscapes. As Margery Fee argues in Literary Land Claims, the way land and non-human “nature” become represented and read in literature as either “kin or dead matter, home or territory, spiritual resource or real estate” (8) is not only mediated by these differences, but produces cultural sensibilities that naturalize the political claims to land of some while disavowing those of others. How has literature in Canada (and “Canadian Literature” as an institutional formation) functioned as a discourse in the stabilization and destabilization of colonial claims to land and belonging? How do contemporary writers in Canada configure land and human relations with it in terms of environmental and social justice?

These questions will ground our course as we collectively, after a year of studying by distance in cyberspace, develop a historical perspective on the relationship between literature and the land beneath our feet. We will explore a diverse range of Canadian texts from settler, Indigenous, and Black and Asian diasporic writers—crossing multiple genres, spanning the early 20th century to the present, and ranging from the Pacific coast to the Arctic—that invite us to consider how land and literature intersect with (among other critical concerns) the politics of place, colonialism and decolonial resurgence, (im)migration, race, gender, urban space, ecocriticism, and environmental activism. In particular, our selections will invite us to consider what it means to read the land from our current location in “green” Vancouver and “beautiful” British Columbia, sites of natural beauty as well as complex struggles over land, sovereignty, and displacement.

Likely texts: Novels by Howard O’Hagan (Tay John, 1939) and Eden Robinson (Monkey Beach, 2001); films by Isuma Igloolik Productions; poetry collections by Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott (Decomp, 2013) and Rita Wong (Undercurrent, 2015); life writing by David Chariandy (I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter, 2018); and selected short prose/poetry/films from Earle Birney, Di Brandt, Warren Cariou, Wayde Compton, Marilyn Dumont, E. Pauline Johnson, F.R. Scott, A.J.M. Smith, Fred Wah.

Likely assignments: One term paper, one creative project, one group presentation, and a final exam. Active participation will be expected and emphasized (in the class and/or online).

Canadian Literature
Term 2
MWF,  12:00PM - 1:00 PM

“There is a simple recipe for making rice” (Thien, “Simple Recipes”). Consider the act of preparing rice: the shock of the cold water, the grains of rice between fingers, and the alchemy of the cooking process. This course will delve into food as metaphor and material dis/locator in a variety of contemporary Canadian texts. We will collectively engage with the functions of oolichan roasting over a fire (Monkey Beach), margarine containers from No Frills (Frying Plantain), and the unceasing hunger of being marginalized within a wealthy urban space (Cockroach). We will end the course by considering questions of over-consumption, corporatized food, and industrial agriculture (Oryx and Crake) in a near future dystopian space. The role of food in relation to memory, eco-culture, colonial nationalism, and, ultimately, restoration at a personal and community level will be examined over the span of the term. The course will also forge connections within the class through experiential exercises that get us theorizing our relationship to various food cultures within Canada and local sites of food production.

Canadian Literature
Term 2
Distance Education

 

The course description for this section of ENGL 372 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

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

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

 

Post-colonial Literature
Term 2
MWF,  10:00AM - 11:00 AM

In On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis, Walter Mignolo and Catherine Walsh write that the definitions of “decolonality" should be understood as “multiple, contextual, and relational; they are not only the purview of peoples who have lived the colonial difference but, more broadly, of all of us who struggle from within modernity/coloniality’s borders and cracks, to build a radically distinct world” (5). In this course, we will focus on one instrument of colonial power and decolonial worldmaking: the border. Borders might take the form of lines and partitions separating countries; enclosures such as asylums, refugee camps, prisons, spaces of domestic labor, quarantine zones, and walls; forced displacements such as deportations, transfers, and renditions; they might also include practices of divide and rule; split and fragmented psyches; and inter-generational divides. This course will consider how literature and culture invites us to think about the topic of borders, violence, and decoloniality. Through interdisciplinary engagement with works of creative expression (namely, novels, short stories, poetry, films, and the graphic novel), we will also reflect on the theme of transgressing borders through modes of refusal, resistance, and freedom. Students will be invited to make connections between the course readings and a wide range of issues and contexts.

 

Global South Connections
Term 1
TR,  9:30AM - 11:00 AM (PST)
Online Delivery

This course investigates the global connections between politics, development and literature sparked by the wave of decolonization that occurred in the middle of the twentieth century.  Taking up South Asian decolonization as an exemplary case study, we will read speculative fiction from the region, paired with essays on Global South histories of decolonization, development, and political radicalism. What did decolonization mean, politically and culturally? What kinds of literary and cultural movements did it inspire? How did dreams of political freedom influence theories of utopia and experiments in fiction? We will read texts by Nalo Hopkinson, Uppinder Mehan, Amitav Ghosh, Mimi Mondal, Vandana Singh, Sami Shah, Yudhanjaya Wijeratne, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, Robin D. G. Kelley, and others.

World Literature and Social Movements
Term 2
MWF,  1:00PM - 2:00 PM

Since the nineteenth century, literature has provided a forum for protest against oppression of all forms in every part of the world. This course will focus particularly on works that explore racial and gender discrimation, revealing the challenges of navigating worlds of prejudice and persecution against racial minorities and people who outside gender norms. We will consider the question of how literature can best contribute to cause of promoting social justice. The course beings with a brief theoretical introduction to issues of race and gender in the works of Judith Butler, Sylvia Wynter and a few others.

Texts: Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas; Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray; James Baldwin, Another Country; Saleem Haddad, Guapa; Qui Miaojn, Notes of a Crocodile; Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes; a selection of poetry by Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich and others.

Assessment will be based on two short essay, a term paper and a take-home exam.

 

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

The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to existing racism (e.g., anti-Asian sentiment), as well as systemic inequities related to race and socio-economic status. In response, this course will draw upon texts from the Asian diaspora in order to explore depictions of racialized/alienated bodies as they intersect with questions of migration, forced assimilation, labour, class, and science/technology. The course will encompass different genres (e.g., novel, short stories, science fiction, fantasy, film, manga), considering how they allow for alternate possibilities for representation and agency. We will begin with stories from Souvankham Thammavongsa’s How to Pronounce Knife, discussing in/visible workers at chicken processing plants, nail salons, and furniture companies, and their racialized labour. It will then consider fantastical paper animals and internalized shame in Ken Liu’s The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories before moving onto the film Parasite and its play with class, education, social ascendancy, and violence. The final unit of the course will be devoted to the machinic, exploring the manga Battle Angel Alita (Yukito Kishiro) and the science fiction novel Klara and the Sun (Kazuo Ishiguro) as we consider human/technological meshings of the feminine. Ultimately, what hybrid bodies emerge from these works and how do they open up new ways of considering embodiment, subjectivity, and location/movement?

Contemporary Literature
Term 2
TR,  2:00PM - 3:30 PM

There has been a tendency among some critics to see post-1945 British literature as lacking in power and scope compared to the great age of modernism that preceded it. This course will set out to strongly refute such a perspective by considering this period as one of the most complex and fascinating in British literary history. The texts in this course represent both a continued interplay of modernist (and postmodernist) experiment and an impulse towards social realism and political commitment. They’re informed by a range of concerns centring on moral responsibility, individual freedom, personal, social and national constructions of identity, and the status and definition of the literary text itself. With these contexts in mind, we’ll read works by four novelists (Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jeanette Winterson, and Zadie Smith), two playwrights (Caryl Churchill and debbie tucker green), and one short story writer (Angela Carter), as well as a selection of short poems (by Linton Kwesi Johnson, Tom Leonard, Philip Larkin, and Jackie Kay) and a prose/poetry text (by David Dabydeen). We’ll also watch a film by Hanif Kureishi and Stephen Frears. In their work, these artists are engaged in an ongoing analysis of contemporary culture and social process, and throughout, we’ll be alert to the following issues, among others: the struggle between radicalism and conservatism; the relationship between aesthetics and politics; and the role of gender, class, race, and sexual identities in the construction of the self.

Migrations,  Movements,  and Transnational Networks in Literary and Cultural Production
Term 1
MWF,  11:00AM - 12:00 PM

We live in a time of mass migrations. Large numbers of people are on the move, seeking refuge and opportunity in a world of war, political instability, shrinking economies and environmental stress. Meanwhile, more privileged tourists are travelling in increasingly large numbers, feeding tourism-related businesses that together make up one of the world’s largest economic sectors. In what ways are these trends connected and how are they represented? How do differences in the right to travel and cross borders reflect constructions of race, gender, sexuality and social class? Who travels and why? To explore these questions we will study some of the cultural, historical, and economic drivers of tourism and migration. We will discuss concepts of exile, asylum, human rights and diaspora while giving special attention to language, cultural linkages and transnational identities. Our reading list includes modern travel literature, non-fiction essays, refugee narratives and video testimonies, including texts by such authors as Jamaica Kincaid, Audre Lorde, Edward Said and Behrouz Boochani.

Theory: Anti-/De-/Post-Colonization
Term 2
TR,  2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

The course description for this course is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

Theory: Critique,  Intervention and Dissent
Term 2
MWF,  10:00AM - 11:00 AM

 

The course description for this course is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

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

YA fiction addressing the lives and concerns of Black youth, both in Africa and the African diaspora, is a flourishing sub-genre. In this course we will explore a range of contemporary texts: Akwaeke Emezi’s Pet, Kacen Callender’s Felix Ever After, Ben Philippe’s The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, Jason Reynolds’ Long Way Down, Jacqueline Woodson’s, Brown Girl Dreaming, Elizabeth Acevedo’s With the Fire on High, Adaobe Tricia Nwaubani’s Buried Beneath the Baobob Tree, Tendai Huchu’s The Hairdresser of Harare, Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give, and Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch. These very diverse texts explore issues of identity, black representation, police violence, trans and queer experience, and include works of realism, fantasy, and two novels in poems.

As well as focusing on the core texts, we will engage with theoretical perspectives on children’s literature and YA fiction, and its increasingly fluid contemporary incarnations. Students will be encouraged to develop independent critical responses to both texts and theories. Assessment will include a critical response, an in-class essay, a term paper and a final examination.

 

Children's Literature
Term 1
MWF,  12:00PM - 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 adolescent engagement with Goth culture. Core texts tentatively include Folk and Fairy Tales (Broadview, 5th ed.); Alan Garner, The Owl Service; Francesca Lia Block, The Rose and The Beast; Neil Gaiman, Coraline; and Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, Skim.

Evaluation will be based on a midterm essay, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, a final exam, and participation in discussion.

Keep checking my blog (https://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/) for updates concerning texts and requirements.

Children's Literature
Term 2
TR,  12:30PM - 2:00 PM

 

The course description for this course is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

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

This section of ENGL 392 course offers the unique opportunity to investigate an entirely new body of children’s and YA literature as it is emerging—fiction about trans and nonbinary (trans/nb) children and youth, written by trans/nb writers. Gender-diverse children and youth are not new; their historical existence is well documented. However, the idea that transgender childhoods might be legitimate childhoods is comparatively new in western culture, gradually emerging into broader cultural discourse and awareness only over the last two decades. This shift, welcomed by many and passionately resisted by others, has placed trans and non-binary children and youth in the centre of a political battleground being fought out in legislatures and courts across the US and in the UK. Against this backdrop—indeed, almost certainly because of it—we have seen an extraordinary flowering of trans/nb children’s and YA fiction. Five years ago there was still only a handful of such books, but they are now appearing with increasing speed and urgency. In our course, we will investigate some of the picture books, middle grade books, and young adult fiction which comprise this vital body of literature, as well as consider the cultural context out of, and against which, it has emerged.

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

What happens when young adult literature, which has traditionally guided adolescent readers through the task of identity formation, confronts technologies that trouble long-standing assumptions about what it means to be a self—or even a human? We will explore this question by examining recent novels, many of them dystopias, in which non-human beings can lay claim to selfhood and human subjects are surgically, mechanically, and computationally altered in ways that call into question the very idea of human nature. Our texts will include Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, Peter Dickinson’s Eva, Bernard Beckett’s Genesis, Neal Shusterman’s Unwind, Robin Wasserman’s Frozen, M.T. Anderson’s Feed, and Jeff Lemire's Descender (Vol 1: Tin Stars).

Children's Literature
Term 1
Distance Education

The course description for this section of ENGL 392 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

 

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

The notion that our present way of life is unsustainable is all too familiar, yet what such unsustainability actually means, and what it practically entails, is very hard to say or conceive. How should the economic, let alone ethical, costs of mass extinction be measured?  As the reality of unsustainability becomes harder to ignore, the question of what the end of the world as we know could even mean becomes increasingly pressing.  Whatever projects we may pursue, our lives become increasingly predicated on implicit or explicit bets on apocalypse.  No wonder that anxiety, depression, anger and conspiracy theory run rampant today.  This course explores the currently (ironically) burgeoning discourses (in theory, creative literature and other media) addressing questions of how to live in the face of the end of the world.

 

Studies in Poetry
Term 2
MWF,  12:00PM - 1:00 PM

This course welcomes poetry lovers, poetry haters, or those ambivalent poetry readers looking to graduate with more experience in the genre. Our goal will be to assess poetry’s place in our lives and cultures and we will do this through close readings of select poems as well as through discussions of films, novels, and essays about poetry. We will consider how poems respond to crisis—public crises (eg. terrorism, war) and personal ones—as we also consider whether the genre is, as some warn, itself “in crisis.” Is poetry dead, as critics seem perpetually to declare? Where does it lurk, on what occasions does it emerge, and how does it function in our social and political landscapes?

One place we will look to explore poetry’s place in our time is the classroom itself: how are attitudes toward poetry shaped by the ways that poetry is taught? What role do teachers and their pedagogies play in what we read—and in what we understand poetry to be?

To answer these questions, we will read a broad range of texts spanning the last century. This will include poetry in a range of styles by authors like Wilfrid Owen, John McRae, Carolyn Forché, Amiri Baraka, Juliana Spahr, Claudia Rankine, Jordan Abel, and Amber Dawn. It will also include films (like Dead Poets Society, dir. Peter Weir), novels (like Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner--Lerner is also the author of the book The Hatred of Poetry that gives our course its title) and poetry criticism.

 

Upper-level Writing

Technical Writing
Term 2
TR,  9:30AM - 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. Technical Writing is closed to first- and second-year students in Arts, and cannot be used for credit towards the English Major or Minor.

The course text will be Lannon et al, Technical Communications, 8th Canadian Edition, Pearson, 2020.

Please note that this is a blended course, and will require both participation in synchronous lectures and workshops as well as asynchronous independent work of the sort done in a conventional online course (e.g. Canvas-based textbook exercises and peer feedback on drafts).

Keep checking my blog (https://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/) for updates concerning texts and requirements.

Technical Writing
Term 1
Distance Education
Distance Education full course description

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.

The full description for this course is available through Distance Education.

Technical Writing
Term 2
Distance Education

Distance Education
Distance Education full course description

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.

The full description for this course is available through Distance Education.

Majors and Honours Seminars

Language  Majors Seminar
Term 1
Tuesdays, 12:00 - 2:00 PM

How did Buddha compel his smartest acolytes to seek enlightenment without simultaneously confusing the masses? How did the rhetorical theory of Lao Tzu’s Dao De Jing become transformed into a manual of influence that became mistaken for a Daoist military strategy manual? How might one logically prove the veracity of reincarnation within the Vedic system? Can the fictional, roguish exploits of an Arabian petty-criminal help to theorize non-Islamic Arabic rhetoric? What barriers to persuasion inhibit traditional First Nations’ communication with non-indigenous audiences? This course seeks to answer these questions and more by looking at rhetorical theories that have emerged across time and space – including (but not limited to) The Lotus Sutra, Guiguzi (“China’s first rhetorical treatise”), Gotama’s Nyaya Sutras, al-Harīrī’s Impostures, and Lawrence Gross’s Anishinaabe Ways of Knowing and Being.

 

Language  Majors Seminar
Term 2
Tuesdays, 2:00 - 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.

In the event that we are not able to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will go ahead online with synchronous (real-time) classes in our designated timeslot.

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

“Artists have voices,” author Lawrence Hill states in an interview, “and their voices can help influence—profoundly, sometimes—the way we see ourselves, and the way we see our country and the world and our roles in them.”  Studying a selection of books published in Canada over the past decade, in this class we will look at how some artists have used their creative voices to reflect on a wide range of topics and issues, including belonging, race and racism, mobility, family, decolonization, gender, sexuality, violence, technology, migration, history, and the climate emergency. These writers tell stories where private lives and public histories often merge. We will examine the intersections of politics and art in texts from a range of geographies, genres, and cultures. These include a graphic novel/ “Haida Manga,” a book of poetry that reflects on the Rwandian genocide, a young adult dystopian novel, a collection of short stories about a Laotian family new to Canada, a novel that time travels between the west coast of Canada and Japan, a narrative about the legacy of violence for a family in Ontario, a collection of Facebook posts, and a novel about a friendship between a song writer and an internet cover artist.  This course will centre the voices of BIPOC writers.

The provisional reading list (subject to slight modification):

  • David Chariandy, Brother
  • Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves
  • Cliff Eyland and George Toles, Status Update
  • Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Red: A Haida Manga
  • Juliane Okot Bitek, 100 Days
  • Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being
  • Vivek Shraya, The Subtweet: A Novel
  • Souvankham Thammavongsa, How to Pronounce Knife

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 1
Tuesdays, 10:00 AM - 112:00 PM

“Marxist” literary criticism does not imply advocating the ideas of Karl Marx. It refers rather to a tradition of thinking about literary works that stresses their relationship to the societies that produced them – the systems of power in those societies, their endorsement or subversion of class and other hierarchies, and the “ideology” or assumptions about power that these literary texts propagate. More than ever it seems that this tradition is relevant when people are questioning the economic and social inequalities of our time, and when society is demanding accountability from our institutions, including universities and departments of English. The design of this seminar is to introduce students to the approaches of Marxist literary criticism. We will then go on to apply these approaches to a series of texts in order to reveal what they imply about social power, inequality and exploitation.

Texts: Some basic theoretical readings from theorists in the Marxist tradition including Marx, Raymond Williams, Louis Althusser, Ellen Meiksins Woods, Pierre Bourdieu, and Terry Eagleton. A series of literary texts in all genres including poems by William Blake; Inchbald, Nature and Art; Dickens, Hard Times; Miller, Death of a Salesman;  Orwell, Animal Farm; Welsh, Trainspotting; Ellison, The Invisible Man; and selected contemporary poetry.

Assessment will be based on a seminar presentation, a term paper and a take-home exam.

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

In January 2020, the cartoonist Ivan Brunetti published an essay in The Paris Review blog called “Comics as Poetry,” in which he carefully explained what he called the incantatory “beckoning” and lyricism of Lynda Barry’s graphic art. Taking a cue from this essay, this seminar will invite students to investigate the “surprising density, layers, and multivalence” of comics, including work by Lynda Barry (Ernie Pook’s Comeek), Tove Jansson (Moomin), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), Margaret Atwood and Johnnie Christmas (Angel/Catbird), Anne Carson and Rosanna Bruno (Euripides, The Trojan Woman), Hiromi Goto and Ann Xu (Shadow Life), and Damian Duffy and John Jennings (Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower). We will consider how graphic media have impacted the nature and experience of reading, and will think about the tensions and intersections between popular and literary culture, and between image and text (especially around the embodied representation of race, gender and sexuality). We will learn about the international history of comics and comic form, and the evolution of the graphic into an engaging and powerfully poetic medium.

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

This course will introduce students to digital scholarly editing theory and techniques. We will ground our exploration of “digital humanities” (DH) in a survey of literary recovery projects that expand and diversify the North American literary canon, paying particular attention to efforts to recover unknown works by the first Chinese North American authors: Edith Eaton (1865-1914), author of Mrs. Spring Fragrance (1912), is known as the “good” Eaton sister because, writing as “Sui Sin Far,” she penned sympathetic fictional and journalistic portraits of diasporic Chinese in Montreal and cities in the eastern and western US during the Yellow Peril era. Her sister Winnifred Eaton Babcock Reeve (1875-1954), by contrast, is known as the “bad” Eaton sister, because she published her best-known work, bestselling novels set in Japan, masquerading as Yokohama-born Japanese author “Onoto Watanna”. However, recent scholarship reveals that in addition to writing these popular romances, Winnifred Eaton spent more than a decade in Hollywood as head of Universal Studio’s scenario department, writing and editing screenplays. She also spent over 30 years in Alberta, championing Canadian literature and writing literary works and journalism about life on the Canadian prairie. The oeuvres of Winnifred Eaton and her sister can teach us much about early Asian Canadian history, early 20th-century women writers and journalists, and literary recovery work.

Students will learn how to transcribe, encode, and write peer-reviewed headnotes for short stories, screenplays, and journalism by Winnifred Eaton. Several course meetings will be “labs”; we will meet in the Research Commons at Koerner Library and learn how to use xml, Oxygen Text Editor, and the Text Encoding scheme (TEI). No prior experience necessary. Students’ work will be peer-reviewed and featured on the Winnifred Eaton Archive www.winnifredeatonarchive.org, an accessible fully searchable digital scholarly edition of Winnifred Eaton’s work.

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2

In the first few weeks we read a number of the most important influential Canterbury Tales in a modern English translation. One focus of our discussion will be the range of sources and traditions, from Europe and beyond, that informed Chaucer’s writing of the Tales. We then consider some of the best-known modern and contemporary adaptations, focusing on particular pilgrims and tales (the Miller, the Wife of Bath, the Pardoner) and areas (including the African diaspora in Britain, America, and the Caribbean). Works we read together may include, for example, Patience Agbabi, Telling Tales; Zadie Smith, The Wife of Willesden; Marilyn Nelson, The Cachoeira Tales and Other Poems; two collections of Refugee Tales by various writers. Students develop projects exploring the many ways that Chaucer is represented around the world in the 20th-21st centuries: adaptation in fiction, including for children and young adults; stage, film, animation; translation; illustration; various kinds of allusion such as dramatic monologues based in Chaucer’s work and life. In the latter part of the of term, they present on research that will form the basis for their term papers.

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

This seminar will examine U.S. fiction (novels and short story collections) of the first twenty years of the twenty-first century. Topics will include postmodernism and its putative end; new forms of experimentation such as autofiction; 9/11, its aftermath, and the U.S.’s place in geopolitics; and neoliberal economics as the dominant logic of contemporary capitalism. Students will write a seminar paper based in close-reading, a final research essay, and some online posts, as well as lead and participate in discussion. Texts are likely to include all or most of the following: David Foster Wallace’s Oblivion (2004); Toni Morrison’s Love (2003) or A Mercy (2008); Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers (2013); Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea (2014); John Edgar Wideman’s God’s Gym (2005); and Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (2019).

Literature Majors Seminar
Term 2
Wednesdays, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

King Lear as a comedy. Anthony and Cleopatra as romantic melodrama. Classical epistle as erotica. Moralist fiction as cultural subversive. Jane Austen and zombies. Eighteenth-century literature adapted classical and conventional literary forms in ways that interrogated contemporary cultural practice, and in recent years, the era has been a rich source of revisionism in historical fiction and film. In this seminar we will examine the significance of the theory and practice of literary adaptation in and of the eighteenth century. First, we will first use a combination of both modern and historical theorizations of adaptation to examine practices of adaptation in the eighteenth century, including poetic forms like the classical imitation, dramatic adaptations of well-known plays, and literary-critical hissing matches like the one involving Richardson’s Pamela, Fielding’s Shamela, and Haywood’s The Anti-Pamela. Once we have come to terms with the cultural work being performed by the period’s own re-invention of its narratives, we will skip ahead to the vogue in recent decades for adaptations of eighteenth-century narratives. Audience response to Lord of the Rings films aside, adaptation studies long ago left behind worrying about fidelity to source texts and came to address both the critical implications of the choices made by adapters and the revisionist engagements of culture that are embodied in these acts of artistic dialogue.

Want to get ahead with summer reading? Start with Austen’s P&P and Graeme-Smith’s PPZ and/or the first 150 pages of Pamela plus Fielding’s short Shamela

Likely texts:

Two of

Dryden, John. All for Love, or, The World Well Lost, with Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra

Tate, Nahum. The History of King Lear, with Shakespeare’s King Lear

Behn, Aphra. Oroonoko, with Thomas Southerne’s Oroonoko

Plus

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice, with Seth Graeme-Smith. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Fielding’s Shamela, with Samuel Richardson’s Pamela (excerpts)

Hutcheon, Linda. A Theory of Adaptation. 2nd ed.

Sanders, Julie. Adaptation and Appropriation.

Two modern adaptations of eighteenth-century texts, chosen by the group.

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

The course description for this section of ENGL 490 is not yet available. Please check again shortly.

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

The seminar will focus on viewpoint as a conceptual mechanism and show its role in guiding the choices speakers and writers make in everyday communication and in literature. In the first part of the course we will study the conceptual nature of viewpoint by looking closely at some selected linguistic forms specializing in viewpoint construction. Then, we will build on the concepts introduced to look closely at viewpoint phenomena in literature. The discussion will be supported with examples from other creative narrative genres, such as comics and film. All readings will be articles and chapters available via library e-resources. There will be no primary texts, but various examples will be made available for discussion. Students will be required to participate in analytical work, in class and in homework assignments, and will work on their own projects, where they will focus on the examples (genres or areas of usage) of their choice.

Senior Honours Seminar: Theory
Term 2
Thursdays, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

The Gothic and its many generic descendants (horror, thriller, mystery, science fiction, fantasy) have thrived in the literary scene, and nowhere more prominently than in Scotland. Scotland is often seen as a “Gothic” nation, or the ghost of one, often characterised as the mysterious, twisted double of the more proper, controlled, and controlling England. Gothic tropes like the dismembered body, suspense and secrecy, history, memory, and trauma, decadence and drugs, dreams and nightmares, ghosts and monsters, religion and superstition, have all played a part in defining the Scottish “national character.” Just as the Gothic is not quite literature, so Scotland is not quite a nation. In this seminar, we will employ recent gothic theory to investigate various tropes and themes in Scottish fiction from the early 19th century to the present. By the end of the class, students should be familiar with theories of the Gothic have acquired some familiarity with the way it engages with British and especially Scottish politics and have broadened their thinking about gender, nationality, culture, identity, and society in the modern world.

Authors to be studied include (but are not necessarily limited to): James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, Margaret Oliphant, Muriel Spark, Iain Banks, Irvine Welsh, Janice Galloway, Alan Warner, Ali Smith, Michael Faber, Jenni Fagan, James Robertson

 

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

The first sonnets were written in the fourteenth century. The form has never gone completely out of style, but the golden age for sonnets in English was during the Renaissance. In the last two decades of the sixteenth century, numerous poets produced sonnet sequences (generally concerned with generally unrequited love). In this course, we’ll read the sonnets of Sir Philip Sidney and William Shakespeare, in that order. These two sequences are typically considered the greatest. Sonnets are short, but I think you’ll do better in the class if you read both sequences before class begins.

Senior Honours Seminar: Literary Research
Term 2
Fridays, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Generations of scholars have observed the repeated references to bear-baiting and to other “sports” and hunting or taming techniques involving animals in the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.  Recent scholarship has focused on the proximity of the bear-baiting house to the theatre: the most important bear garden was situated directly opposite the Globe playhouse on the south bank of the Thames.  By 1614, the Hope Theatre on the Bankside was doubling as a bear-baiting arena and a playhouse.  To some degree, this suggests that the two kinds of entertainment shared an audience, and spectators would have brought the experience of one kind of spectacle to their enjoyment of another.  This course seeks to explore the interconnections between these neighboring spectacles, both of which presented acts of cruelty, and to a greater or lesser degree generated compassionate responses.  Records from the period reveal that there were diverse sorts of theatrical “shows” at the Bear Garden, and conversely, bears were sometimes brought into the public theatres.  The tragic theatre in particular includes elements that are not merely coterminous but interchangeable with those of the bear-baiting house.  This course seeks to explore questions of the ethos and pathos connected with both kinds of public entertainment, and to investigate how the Renaissance theatre developed in relation to its rough twin.

Adopting an Animal Studies approach, this seminar course will focus equally on changing ideas regarding the nature and inter-relation of humans and animals, on shifting paradigms governing their status and role, beginning in classical antiquity and moving forward through medieval Europe to England in the Renaissance. We will note how the definition of the human is closely tied to the definition of the animal, and how at one extreme species exist hierarchically, and in tension with each other, while elsewhere the borders between humans and animals are being crossed, and even erased.  We will examine how some literary works use animals and animal imagery, especially in order to interrogate, exalt, degrade, or otherwise mediate the contentious category of the human.  We will also reflect on how representations of animals, humans as animals, or human-animal hybrids figure in the plays we study.  To this end we will examine both theatrical texts and non-dramatic documents, from medieval bestiaries and legal reports to accounts of martyrdom and natural histories, observing the changes in cultural, scientific and literary representations of animals, and especially of animals and humans suffering in similar ways.  We will attempt to ascertain how some of these changes reflect or influence the possibility of inter-species and same-species empathy.

Primary Texts:

  • William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, Coriolanus, The Winter’s Tale
  • Ben Jonson, Volpone  
  • John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi

Supplemental Texts:

Brief selections from Aristotle, De Anima, and De Animalibus Historia; Albertus Magnus’s Questions on De Animalibus Historia; selections from Bestiary, trans. & ed. Richard Barber and The Great Medieval Bestiary, Remy Cordonnier and Christian Heck, eds. (I will circulate illuminations from these hard copy texts), selections from The Book of Beasts, Being a Translation from a Latin Bestiary of the Twelfth Century, ed. & trans. T. H. White; selections from the York Corpus Christi Plays; selections from Geoffrey Chaucer; “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale”; selections from John Foxe, Actes and Monuments; selections from Michel de Montaigne, Apology for Raimond Sebond; Margaret Cavendish, “The Hunting of the Hare”;  Plutarch, Gryllus.

Assignments:  one seminar paper (30%), one response paper to another student’s seminar (10%), participation and a creative presentation in response to one of our texts or themes (5%), one fully researched term paper (40%), and one short final reflection paper to be written in class (15%). 

Senior Honours Seminar: Literary Research
Term 1
Thursdays, 2:00 - 4:00 PM

Why is Jane Eyre one of the most popular English novels ever written, inspiring successive generations of authors and artists of every description? How did Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland become a culture-text, a text that occupies such a prominent place in the popular imagination that it is collectively known and “remembered” even when the original work has never been read?

We will attempt to answer these and other questions of cultural production in our discussions of the novels and some of their adaptations and reimaginings. We will also explore the ideological assumptions – with respect to gender, class, race, sexuality, aesthetics, ethics, religion, politics, education, etc. – implicit in the original works and in their reimaginings, and in our (and the Victorians’) readings of them.

Our discussions will be wide-ranging: from Jean Rhys’s famous Jane Eyre prequel, Wide Sargasso Sea, to Paula Rego’s lithographs, Sujata Bhatt’s Rego poems, and Patricia Park’s Re Jane, described by Park as “updating Jane Eyre to contemporary New York and the world of organic produce and identity politics”; from Walt Disney’s 1951 Alice in Wonderland, which continues to define Carroll’s novel in the popular imagination, to Charles Blackman’s Alice in Wonderland paintings, Damon Albarn and Moira Buffini’s musical wonder.land, Tara Bryan’s tunnel book Down the Rabbit Hole, and the “Alice industry.”

Reading and viewing list: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Oxford World’s Classics); Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Modern Classics); Patricia Park, Re Jane (Penguin); Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Broadview); Alice in Wonderland, Walt Disney, 1951 (UBC Library); Alice in Wonderland, directed by Jonathan Miller, 1966; wonder.land, directed by Rufus Norris, lyrics and text by Moira Buffini, music by Damon Albarn, 2015 (Drama Online, UBC Library). We will also discuss several student-choice adaptations and reimaginings of the novels, as well as examples of Alice in Wonderland as a culture-text.

Senior Honours Seminar: Literary Research
Term 2
Thursdays, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

“Of hem that writen ous tofore/ The bokes duelle”

At the opening of his Confessio Amantis, the Middle English poet John Gower reflects on the role of old books in informing the present, and the future. Gower is thinking in part about the contents of those old books - the stories, histories, and exempla that informed his work - but he is also, like many medieval poets, highly conscious of the impact that a manuscript culture, with all the variation in transmission that implies, has for his poetic project. Gower’s contemporary and friend Geoffrey Chaucer reflects similar concerns, chiding his scribe Adam, for example, for failing to copy Troilus and Criseyde faithfully.

In this course, we will explore texts by Gower and Chaucer in the context of their manuscript (and in some cases early print) history. We will make use of digital facsimiles to relocate texts we encounter today in modern scholarly editions, into their many “original” contexts (and we will have to think through what, exactly, “original” might mean). Our first few weeks will be a paleography “boot camp,” where a series of hands-on exercises will equip seminar participants with some of the tools needed to work with medieval manuscripts. Our theoretical lens will be book-historical, as we read examples of materially-inflected criticism of Middle English texts. The course will include a visit to Rare Books and Special Collections, to see some of UBC’s manuscript and early print material.