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Featured Course

Our featured course, which is updated once a year, is a course that is longstanding and popular at the BISC. It is meant to highlight how we incorporate experiential learning into your academics through field studies and assignments based on individual research.

ENGL 278/3.0 Literature and Place: Mapping the Metropolis

Instructor: Dr Christian Lloyd
Email: c_lloyd@bisc.queensu.ac.uk
Phone: 4531
Office: Room 149
Office Hours: open door policy or by appointment
Classroom: Dacre Room (Seminar 3)
Class Time: Thursdays 15:30-18:20

A map of the London area

 

London itself perpetually attracts, stimulates, gives me a play & a story & a poem, without any trouble, save that of moving my legs through the streets...

Virginia Woolf

A city is just a whole lot of doors, and if you walk through the right ones anything can happen

Alex James

One never sees Paris for the first time; one always sees it again

Edmondo De Amicis

Course Schedule (457KB)

Sample Writing Assignment (354KB)

Course Description

In this class we will consider the ways a wide range of writers have ‘mapped’ the territory of the first metropolis of modernity: London. We'll examine the different ways this city has been conceptualized and represented in literature in order to think about the inflection of the urban landscape by gender, class, and race (and other issues). We will read and discuss texts written in a variety of genres (including novels, songs, short stories, graffiti, autobiography, and poetry) and written from a variety of standpoints. Consequently, we will see how the city in modernity generates new modes of writing and new intellectual paradigms. To underpin the literary work, will discuss some key theories of cultural geography to understand the ways ‘subjective’ literary representations of urban space can counter ‘objective’ mappings by cartographers, etc.

We will also examine the cultures of London’s nearest rival metropolis, Paris. We will think comparatively about how mappings of the two capitals by writers elucidate the experience of living in the modern city where the scale and heterogeneity of the population can be both alienating but also generative of explosive creativity.

All French texts will be given in translation or in parallel text form, so there is no need to be proficient in French.

The course will mix classroom work with experiential learning. Our efforts will be centred on field trips in London and Paris where we will ‘read’ a variety of sites pertinent to the set texts. We will think about what these sites tell us of the original moment of the texts to which they are connected, but also how they represent the city’s past to our culture. The readings will be supplemented with screenings of relevant films to foster comparative thought about representations of urban space in that medium.

I will endeavour to keep the volume of reading manageable and to make the material accessible. It is vital that students come to class having read the set texts carefully and with ideas to contribute to the discussion. Evaluation will be based on a term paper, two field study related assignments, and full participation in all class activities. Students will be encouraged to write assignments on texts and issues that interest them. I will give you background information to prepare you for the field studies, and we'll discuss our reactions to them afterwards. Attendance is a course requirement. The attached syllabus should be understood as a provisional plan for what we will do in class. I hope you will enjoy the course!

Christian Lloyd, January 2012

Expected Learning Outcomes

Students will develop an understanding of key elements in the histories and cultures of London and Paris from the nineteenth through to the twenty-first centuries. You will develop strategies for thinking about the strengths, weaknesses, and agendas behind different modes of representing urban space. You will develop some sophisticated theoretical frameworks for analyzing cities.

Field Studies

There will be two field studies for the course:

  1. A walking tour of London and visit to Dennis Severs’ House
  2. A walking activity in Paris on the midterm trip
Primary Research Expectations

Please think of each field study as an opportunity to engage with primary materials, and to learn to process such with the guidance of your instructor. Reading the urban landscape on the walking tours relies on careful first-hand observation and analysis of what you see.

Grading

The evaluative grades for all courses offered by the Queen’s University Faculty of Arts and Science are:

A+

Exceptional

A

Outstanding

A-

Excellent

B+

Very Good

B

Good

B-

Reasonably Good

C+

Acceptable

C

Minimally Acceptable (Honours)

C-

Minimally Acceptable (General)

D+

Unsatisfactory Pass

D

Unsatisfactory Pass

D-

Unsatisfactory Pass

F

Failure - No Course Credit

A more detailed guide to what each letter grade signifies:

A+

Indicates exceptional performance that exceeds the highest standards. The course content has been mastered, the ability to apply the material in new ways has been demonstrated, and an understanding of the wider context is evident, all to an exceptional degree.
Consistent performance at this level leads to placement on the Dean's Honour List with Distinction (see Academic Regulation 12).

A

Indicates outstanding performance that meets the highest standards. The course content has been mastered, the ability to apply the material in new ways has been demonstrated, and an understanding of the wider context is evident.

A-

Indicates excellent performance that meets very high standards. Mastery of the course material and ability to apply the material in new ways have been demonstrated.
Consistent performance at this level leads to placement on the Dean's Honour List (see Academic Regulation 12).

B+

Indicates very good performance that meets high standards. The course content has been mastered, with a comprehensive understanding of concepts and techniques.

B

Indicates good comprehension of the course material. The expectations set for the course have been met.

B-

Indicates reasonably good comprehension of the course material. Most expectations set for the course have been met.

C+

Indicates an acceptable comprehension of the course material, meeting and in some cases exceeding basic standards.

C

Indicates a generally acceptable comprehension of the course material, meeting basic standards.
Consistent performance at this level is acceptable for an Honours Degree (see Academic Regulation 16).

C-

Indicates a minimally acceptable comprehension of the course material while falling short of basic standards in some areas.
Consistent performance at this level is acceptable for a General Degree, but not for an Honours degree (see Academic Regulation 16).

D+

Comprehension of the course material was unsatisfactory, but sufficient for credit to be granted.
Consistent performance at this level will lead to placement on Academic Probation and, potentially, further sanctions (see Academic Regulation 13).

D

Comprehension of the course material was unsatisfactory, but sufficient for credit to be granted.
Consistent performance at this level will lead to placement on Academic Probation and, potentially, further sanctions (see Academic Regulation 13).

D-

Comprehension of the course material was unsatisfactory; barely sufficient for credit to be granted.
Consistent performance at this level will lead to an automatic requirement to withdraw (see Academic Regulation 13).

F

Indicates that the minimum standards have not been met. Credit has not been granted.
Consistent performance at this level will lead to an automatic requirement to withdraw (see Academic Regulation 13

Faculty at the BISC will grade each assignment with a letter grade and the corresponding percentage, before giving an overall letter grade for the course calculated from each component of the evaluation. Fuller information is available on the Faculty of Arts and Science Academic Regulation 10 page.

Academic Integrity

According to the Centre for Academic Integrity, academic integrity may be defined “as a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. From these values flow principles of behaviour that enable academic communities to translate ideals into action.”The Senate Report on Principles and Priorities notes that the educational mission of Queen’s with its emphasis on “intellectual integrity”, “freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas” and “equal dignity of all persons” depends on an adherence to academic integrity in all its actions. In support of the concept academic integrity, students have the responsibility to familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations of the Faculty. Additional information for instructors and students can be found on the Academic Regulation 1 page.

In accordance with the Senate Report on Principles and Priorities, academic integrity provides a foundation for the “freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas” fundamental to the educational environment at Queen’s University. As a member of the Centre for Academic Integrity (CAI), Queen’s subscribes to the definition of academic integrity “as a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility.” In “The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity”, the CAI offers the following statements contextualizing these values:

  1. Honesty - An academic community of integrity advances the quest for truth and knowledge by requiring intellectual and personal honesty in learning, teaching, research, and service.
  2. Trust - An academic community of integrity fosters a climate of mutual trust, encourages the free exchange of ideas, and enables all to reach their highest potential.
  3. Fairness - An academic community of integrity establishes clear standards, practices, and procedures and expects fairness in the interactions of students, faculty, and administrators.
  4. Respect - An academic community of integrity recognizes the participatory nature of the learning process and honours and respects a wide range of opinions and ideas.
  5. Responsibility - An academic community of integrity upholds personal accountability and depends upon action in the face of wrongdoing.
Evaluation

Term Paper

Dennis Severs’ House assignment

Participation

London walk

40%

20%

20%

20%

Term Paper

The purpose of the term paper is for you to compare at least two different literary mappings of the city, considering your chosen texts both formally and thematically. I will encourage you also to utilize material from field trips, theoretical texts, and work in other media, such as the photographs and films we’ll study. I will hand out topics for the essays early in the semester, but if you have a particular area of interest I'd be happy to negotiate an individual essay topic with you. In any case, you must write a brief proposal for your term paper, complete with bibliography, to have your approach approved as soon as possible.  The suggested length is 7-8 double-spaced pages. The essay is due in class in week 11.  Without a prearranged extension, late papers will lose 5% per day.

Field Study Assignment 1

You should write 3-4 double spaced pages on walking down a particular street (or streets) in London.  Details will be given in class. You should hand in the assignment in class in week 9 at the latest.

Field Study Assignment 2

You should write substantial paragraphs in answer to the questions on the assignment sheet and hand them in 7 days after the visit to Severs’ House.

Participation

Given the small class size at Queen's BISC, there is a high value put on participation in this course, and I trust we can build up a supportive and friendly atmosphere. I expect everyone to think carefully about the assigned readings, to contribute fully to class discussions, and to respond thoughtfully to the field trips. Silent attendance of class is not enough for a good participation grade.  Where helpful I will lecture on difficult material, but I want us to proceed largely by discussion. I am always happy to discuss work or the readings with you out of class time: do drop by my office.

Required Texts and Recommended Reading

Required Text

The texts below should be purchased by students in the BISC bookstore:

Barnes, Julian. Metroland
Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist
Kureishi, Hanif. The Buddha of Suburbia
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs Dalloway
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Some readings for class will be made available to students on Moodle. Please consult the class site on Moodle frequently as we’ll add readings, links, etc. throughout the term.

http://biscmoodle.queensu.ac.uk/moodle/

Recommended Reading

There are a large number of texts about London on short loan in the BISC library.  Please ask me for recommendations in particular areas.