Graduate Course Offerings

Course Booklet

The 2012–2013 graduate course listing is also available as a PDF booklet.

MA students must take ENGL 803* (Research Forum), and are encouraged to take ENGL 800* (Introduction to Professional and Pedagogical Skills). MA students then choose two more courses for fall term, three for winter term, and one for spring term.

PhD students are required to take ENGL 900* and 903*. PhD students then generally choose two more courses for fall term, and three for winter term. Exceptions to this general pattern are possible, especially where such changes would facilitate taking a course in a student’s area of research interest.

All graduate students must select one course from each of three periods: Course Group 1 (medieval to 1660), Course Group 2 (1600–1900), and Course Group 3 (1900–present). Students make their course selections in late spring.

Important Note: This is a preliminary listing and is subject to change. Additional information will be posted here as soon as it becomes available.

2014–2015
CourseCourse GroupInstructor
ENGL 803* and 903* Research Forum I and IIVarious
ENGL 892* Literary InternshipGlenn Willmott
Fall Term 2014
CourseCourse GroupInstructor
ENGL 800* and 900* Introduction to Professional and Pedagogical Skills I and IISam McKegney
ENGL 811* Literary Theory I: “Signs of the Times”—Theory, Text, Event3Asha Varadharajan
ENGL 816* Topics in Literary Study II: Academic Web Design—Principles and Practice1, 2, or 3Scott-Morgan Straker
ENGL 825* Topics in Medieval Literature IV: The Morality Play in the Medieval and Tudor Periods1Ruth Wehlau
ENGL 851* Topics in Romanticism I: Austen and her Contemporaries2Robert Morrison
ENGL 856* Topics in Victorian Literature I: Ideology and Identity in British Children’s Literature of the Nineteenth Century2Shelley King
ENGL 866* Topics in Contemporary Literature and Culture II—International Indigenous Literature: Contemporizing the Traditional3Armand Ruffo
ENGL 876* Topics in Postcolonial Literature I: Remembering Slavery—History, Memory, and the Caribbean/Diasporic Novel3Chris Bongie
Winter Term 2015
CourseCourse GroupInstructor
ENGL 817* Topics in Literary Study III: Publishing PracticumGlenn Willmott
ENGL 818* Topics in Literary Study IV: The Art of Comics3Glenn Willmott
ENGL 831* Topics in Early Modern Literature and Culture I: Early Modern Political Theatre—The English History Play1Elizabeth Hanson
ENGL 854* Topics in Romanticism IV: The Romantic Sublime2John Pierce
ENGL 858* Topics in Victorian Literature III: Animals and Animality in Victorian Fiction and Culture2Maggie Berg
ENGL 863* Topics in Modernism I: Poetry in Crisis, 1798–19353Gabrielle McIntire
ENGL 865* Topics in Contemporary Literature and Culture I: Travelling in the Twentieth Century3Yaël Schlick
ENGL 873* Topics in Canadian Literature III: “carrying the burden of peace”—Exploring Indigenous Masculinities through Literature3Sam McKegney
ENGL 874* Topics in Canadian Literature IV: Alice Munro3Tracy Ware
Spring Term 2015
CourseCourse GroupInstructor
ENGL 844* Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature IV: Laurence Sterne in Context2Christopher Fanning
ENGL 864* Topics in Modernism IV: The Literature and Culture of the Spanish Civil War3Patricia Rae
2013–2014
CourseCourse GroupInstructor
ENGL 803* and 903* Research Forum I and IIVarious
ENGL 892* Literary InternshipLeslie Ritchie
Fall Term 2013
CourseCourse GroupInstructor
ENGL 800* and 900* Introduction to Professional and Pedagogical Skills I and IILeslie Ritchie
ENGL 815* Topics in Literary Study I: Imagined Ecologies3Glenn Willmott
ENGL 824* Topics in Medieval Literature I: Medieval Popular Culture—The Popular Literature of Late Medieval England1Ruth Wehlau
ENGL 842* Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature II: Literature in the Age of Sensibility and the Sublime2Christopher Fanning
ENGL 843* Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature III: The Garrick Stage2Leslie Ritchie
ENGL 867* Topics in Contemporary Literature and Culture II: Forging “Democratic Readers”—Ideology and Identity in the Works of Philip Pullman3Shelley King
ENGL 871* Topics in Canadian Literature I: Studies in Ontario Poetry3Tracy Ware
Winter Term 2014
CourseCourse GroupInstructor
ENGL 827* Topics in Medieval Literature IV: Drama and Devotional Culture in the Middle Ages1Margaret Pappano
ENGL 852* Topics in Romanticism II: Secret Witnesses—Abolition, Revolution, and the Transatlantic Imaginary2Chris Bongie
ENGL 853* Topics in Romanticism III: The Discourse of Illumination in William Blake2John Pierce
ENGL 857* Topics in Victorian Literature II: Queerness in Victorian Literature2Maggie Berg
ENGL 861* Topics in Modernism I: T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf3Gabrielle McIntire
ENGL 872* Topics in Canadian Literature II: Reconfigurations of Vancouver’s Urban Imaginary in Contemporary Literature3Petra Fachinger
ENGL 877* Topics in Postcolonial Literatures II: Postcolonialism—Hopes and Impediments3Asha Varadharajan
Spring Term 2014
CourseCourse GroupInstructor
ENGL 834* Topics in Early Modern Literature and Culture IV: Shakespeare and Early Modern Textual Culture1Marta Straznicky
ENGL 862* Topics in Modernism II: Modernist Elegy3Patricia Rae

2014–2015

ENGL 803* and 903* Research Forum I and II

Instructor: Various Speakers
Offered: Fall and Winter Terms

Description: A required presentation and discussion course in which first-year MA and PhD students, along with the Department as a whole, will be presented with a number of model research problems and methodologies by members of the English Department faculty and visiting scholars. The aim of the course is to provide and discuss a range of contemporary research models in literary and cultural studies drawn from different fields and supported by different methodologies. There will be twelve scheduled meetings of the forum throughout Fall and Winter terms. The course is graded on Pass/Fail based on attendance and the completion of required assignments.

ENGL 892* Literary Internship

Instructor: Various
Offered: Various

Description: This course is a pass/fail credit course which offers MA students placements in research, literacy, language, and arts-related community organizations, with the aim of providing those students with job experience that is directly related to literary studies. Sample placements may include such organizations as Kingston WritersFest, or the Strathy Language Unit at Queen’s University. To achieve a pass in ENGL 892*, the student shall submit to the Graduate Chair a time sheet (signed by his/her placement supervisor) stating that 50 hours of work have been completed satisfactorily, and hand in a brief written summary report (1200 words) on the experience to the Graduate Chair.

ENGL 800* and 900* Introduction to Professional and Pedagogical Skills I and II

Instructor: Graduate Co-ordinator
Offered: Fall Term

Description: This course is designed to train beginning graduate students in the skills they will need as Teaching Assistants and to help them make the transition to advanced literary study. Areas to be covered include essay-marking, academic counselling of undergraduate students, writing research papers, time management, academic and non-academic careers, and applying for grants. The course consists of a series of seminars and workshops involving faculty members and it is graded as Pass/Fail based on attendance and the completion of required assignments.

ENGL 811* Literary Theory I

“Signs of the Times”—Theory, Text, Event

Instructor: Asha Varadharajan
Offered: Fall Term 2014
Course Group: 3

Description: This course considers a random sampling of essays from leading critical/theoretical/public journals and magazines over the last decade or so to elaborate the temper of the times and to reflect on the future of thought, both academic and public, in Anglo-American, Australian, some Caribbean, Asian and African, and Canadian national cultures. Students fluent in languages other than English will be encouraged to interject news from academic and public cultures in Quebec, multicultural or indigenous Canada or Spanish-speaking US, Europe, Asia and Africa, and the Americas more broadly speaking. The aims of this course are both tangible and intangible: to foster erudition rather than narrow specialization, to acquaint students with the broad scope of debates in their fields and disciplines so that they recognize what their place and perspective might be, to take seriously funding agencies' demand that scholarship demonstrate its relevance and desire for socio-cultural transformation, to ponder the implications of what it means to be a public intellectual or what commitment, soul-making, and vision might mean, and to encounter models of exercises in imagination, dissent, original research, and innovative methodology that interrogate and alter the world as we know it and which students can both emulate and reinvent. This course takes “the essay as form” seriously. Academic journals from which some required readings are likely to be taken are New Literary History, Critical Inquiry, boundary2, Social Text, Public Culture, Dark Matters, Cultural Politics, Angelaki, Constellations, Journal of Visual Culture, Genders, Modernism/Modernity, Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Australian Literary Studies, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, University of Toronto Quarterly, Mosaic, PMLA, Exemplaria, Vectors, The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, and so on. Essays in the public sphere could come from magazines, newspapers, and books, underground, overground, and somewhere in between. Apart from the grade assigned to participation, evaluation will be based on two assignments. The short assignment will be an exercise in emulation that highlights the methodology, style, and voice of the student’s favourite essay on the course while addressing different subject matter. The favourite essay on the course could be the one that inspires students most or that offends, angers, or provokes them most. The final essay for this course moves from emulation to invention, pursuing “roads not taken” in the required readings in the context of a chosen historical/literary field and preferred disciplinary discourse and method.

ENGL 816* Topics in Literary Study II

Academic Web Design: Principles and Practice

Instructor: Scott-Morgan Straker
Offered: Fall Term 2014
Course Group: 1, 2, 3

Description: The internet is increasingly indispensable to our scholarly work both as researchers and as teachers; however, designing academic web sites poses challenges that are generally not addressed by our graduate training. This course is aimed at students interested in exploring ways in which the web can be integrated into teaching and research, and in getting hands-on experience of site design. It is primarily aimed at students with little or no experience in web design, but students with intermediate or advanced skills are also welcome.

This course will introduce students to the basic skills necessary to design and create an academic web site. I will offer advice and some practical assistance, but for the most part students will learn by doing. Shared experience and collective problem-solving are key parts of real-life web design, so students can expect to work both independently and in collaboration. Class time will be devoted to specific design fundamentals and basic technologies: HTML5, CSS, Javascript, but not PHP, ASP, JSP, or MySQL. We will also investigate what makes academic web sites distinct from commercial, governmental, or personal sites, and how those differences affect design. The rapidly evolving copyright regime in which our intellectual lives are increasingly lived, both on- and offline, will also be an important topic of conversation.

No prior acquaintance with medieval literature or with web design is required. Designing a good web site requires an array of skills, including research, writing and editing, page layout, graphic design, and coding, so even those with minimal computing skills will have valuable contributions to offer. Students can expect to come away from this course with a good grasp of the design process as a whole, and solid experience in one or two areas of that process.

Requirements: Seminar participation (5%), design exercises (10%), written assignment (25%), web site (60%).

ENGL 817* Topics in Literary Study III

Publishing Practicum

Instructor: Glenn Willmott
Offered: Winter Term 2015
Course Group:

Description: This seminar takes students through revision and submission stages from draft essay to article publication. The first section of the course will be devoted to discussion of the differences between coursework papers and published articles, and to a presentation and peer revision cycle of each student’s work. The second section of the course will discuss how to decide where to send article submissions, how to present them, and what to expect of the process. If there is time, we will build in a conference proposal/presentation stage. Students must have a complete draft essay to bring to the start of the course and be ready to welcome reading and response from peers. Success in the course requires regular attendance, constructive participation, revision responsive to instructor and peer review, and submission to an appropriate scholarly venue for publication.

Note: Doctoral students are strongly urged to enroll in this course, and while the course is open to all students, doctoral students will have enrolment priority.

ENGL 818* Topics in Literary Study IV

The Art of Comics

Instructor: Glenn Willmott
Offered: Winter Term 2015
Course Group: 3

Description: This course studies the history and aesthetics of comics, both as a changing art form and as a heterogeneous cultural institution. The first half of the course will survey this tradition from the modernist period to the present, encompassing such genres as the newspaper strip, the comic book, underground comix, and the graphic novel. The focus here will be on the American industry, but with reference to others, and on the formal analysis of comics. The second half of the course will study a range of contemporary comics artists, with special consideration for Canadian creators. The plan of the course is intended to provide an open framework to which students may bring, or within which they may explore and develop, their own generic, national, ideological, or other interests out of the very great variety of comics creation. Hence the second half of the course will itself be divided into study of works selected by the instructor (see syllabus below) and works selected and presented by students according to their own developing interests. The latter may delve further into the syllabus or range more widely, taking in contemporary strips, comics from around the world (e.g. European or Japanese: Hergé, Satrapi, Miyazaki, etc.), digital comics, and film animation.

ENGL 825* Topics in Medieval Literature IV

The Morality Play in the Medieval and Tudor Periods

Instructor: Ruth Wehlau
Offered: Fall Term 2014
Course Group: 1

Description: This course will examine the development of the morality play from the earliest recorded instance in the fourteenth century to the flowering of the genre in the later medieval and Tudor periods in the context of the changing religious and political culture of this time. Plays to be read include The Pride of Life, Wisdom, Mankind, Everyman, The Castle of Perseverance, The Satire of the Three Estates, Magnificence, Wit and Science, and King John. At the conclusion of the course, the class will present a reading of a play or of a portion of a play. All plays will be read in the original Middle English or Middle Scots, but students will receive help and instruction in acquiring the skills needed to read and pronounce the language.

Requirements: Essay: 45%; class presentation: 20%; performance / play reading project: 15%; class participation: 20%

ENGL 831* Topics in Early Modern Literature and Culture I

Early Modern Political Theatre: The English History Play

Instructor: Elizabeth Hanson
Offered: Winter Term 2015
Course Group: 1

Description: In this course we will consider the Elizabethan history play as a form of political theatre, a representation that intervenes in public life by inviting onlookers to engage with political questions and thus to simultaneously occupy the positions of political subject and audience member. Our approach will be twofold, considering both the political ideas and problems presented by the plays, and the difference that it makes when these ideas are presented in the context of the London public theatre of the 1590s. Thus in addition to the plays we will read some political theory and history as well as studying relevant aspects of theatre history and practice. At all times we will be investigating the intersection of the political, the commercial and the theatrical, asking, “What difference did it make to the political culture of England that a company of actors could imitate the actions of kings, their nobility and their people for an audience whose members had paid as little as a penny for the experience?”

ENGL 844* Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature IV

Laurence Sterne in Context

Instructor: Christopher Fanning
Offered: Spring Term 2015
Course Group: 2

Description: This course will engage with all of Sterne’s works: Tristram Shandy, A Sentimental Journey, The Sermons, and minor writings. Among issues to be considered are Sterne as precursor to the postmodern, as radical or conservative satirist, sentimentalist, Anglican minister, literary celebrity, etc. Approaches from all angles are welcome: theoretical, rhetorical, historical, political, obstetrical, etc. (most of ’em ending, as these do, in ical).

Requirements: Contributions to class (including individual close readings), 20%; seminar, 30%; and a 20-page critical essay, 50%.

ENGL 851* Topics in Romanticism I

Austen and her Contemporaries

Instructor: Robert Morrison
Offered: Fall Term 2014
Course Group: 2

Description: This course examines the six published novels of Jane Austen, as well as the novels of some of her major contemporaries. We will read Austen’s novels in the order of their composition (not their publication), setting them both against one another, and against novels such as Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian, Charlotte Dacre’s Zafloya, Maria Edgeworth’s The Absentee, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. We will assess the cultural restraints that these women both challenged and exploited, as well as their distinctive responses to issues ranging from romance, taste, and domesticity to class, sexuality, and imperialism.

ENGL 856* Topics in Victorian Literature I

Ideology and Identity in British Children’s Literature of the Nineteenth Century

Instructor: Shelley King
Offered: Fall Term 2014
Course Group: 2

Description: Long referred to as “The Golden Age of Children’s Literature,” the Victorian period expanded and developed the market for books designed specifically for a young audience that had emerged earlier in the century. Many of its classics have become staples in the juvenile canon: Treasure Island remains a perennial favourite, Black Beauty still gallops his way into the hearts of young readers, while the fantastic worlds of Alice in Wonderland and Peter and Wendy continue to delight generation after generation. Still, like all works for children, they reveal especially clearly the cultural imprint of the historical moment of their composition and of their immediate predecessors in the field. This course is designed to introduce students to the wide range of genres developed by Romantic and Victorian children’s authors in the context of the role played by contemporary cultural values and the formation of identity.

Requirements: Seminar: 20%; research paper (15–18 pages including notes and works cited): 50%; participation in a variety of modes (including responses to seminars, general discussion and exemplary attendance): 20%; reader’s journals (4 instalments, no more than 2 single-spaced pages each): 10%.

ENGL 854* Topics in Romanticism IV

The Romantic Sublime

Instructor: John Pierce
Offered: Winter Term 2015
Course Group: 2

Description: This course examines the use of the sublime in poetry, prose fiction and drama of the Romantic period. We will explore the discussions of the sublime as they emerge and develop through the mid to late eighteenth century, with emphasis on Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry Into The Origin Of Our Ideas Of The Sublime And Beautiful (1759). Poetical texts for study will include individual works by Blake, excerpts from Wordsworth’s Prelude, Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound, and works by Keats. Ann Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest and Matthew Lewis’s The Monk will also be included in the course.

ENGL 858* Topics in Victorian Literature III

Animals and Animality in Victorian Fiction and Culture

Instructor: Maggie Berg
Offered: Winter Term 2015
Course Group: 2

Description: This course will read Victorian novels in the framework of critical animal studies. It could be said that our current posthumanism originated in the Victorian critique of species. Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, published mid-century, epitomizes and confirms Victorians’ anxieties about the human-animal divide, and fears of human animality, which are explored in various ways in the fiction of the period. We will read modern and contemporary theoretical texts in animal studies, nineteenth-century documents on animal rights, and selected historical studies of human-animal relations. We will also examine a selection of visual representations of animals.

Texts will include The Animals Reader, and selections from Jacques Derrida, “The Animal That Therefore I Am (More to Follow)”; Carol Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat; Coral Lansbury, The Old Brown Dog; James Turner, Reckoning with the Beast; and Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species.

Novels may include Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights; Anna Sewell, Black Beauty; Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall; Thomas Hardy, Tess of the Durbervilles; Virginia Woolf, Flush; Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton.

Requirements: A seminar presentation, a presentation of a visual image, a term paper, and participation.

ENGL 863* Topics in Modernism I

Poetry in Crisis, 1798–1935

Instructor: Gabrielle McIntire
Offered: Winter Term 2015
Course Group: 3

Description: Stephane Mallarmé declared in the latter nineteenth century, “They have done violence to verse. Governments change: but always prosody remains intact: either, in the revolutions, it passes unnoticed, or the violent attempt upon it does not impose itself because of the opinion that this ultimate dogma can never vary.” Mallarmé’s insights frame the work of poetics in the language of violent crisis and instability, describing the effects of the rise of free verse as an epochal shift in poetic prosody that helped to signal the beginnings of the new avant-garde of modernism. This course will consider the psychological, emotional, and spiritual unrest reflected in poetry’s revolutions of form, subject matter, and aesthetics by reading poetry—and criticism about poetry—through nearly 150 years, from Wordsworth and Coleridge’s 1798 “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” to T. S. Eliot’s post-conversion experiments in Ash-Wednesday (1927) and “Burnt Norton” (1935). Other poets and critics studied may include John Stuart Mill, Matthew Arnold, Walter Pater, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Hardy, W.B. Yeats, Sigmund Freud, and Cathy Caruth.

Requirements: 4500-word paper (roughly 15 pages), 50%; seminar presentation, 35%; engaged participation and attendance, 15%.

ENGL 864* Topics in Modernism IV

The Literature and Culture of the Spanish Civil War

Instructor: Patricia Rae
Offered: Spring Term 2015
Course Group: 3

Description: A study of poems, memoirs, journalism, fiction and other forms of cultural production inspired by the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). Widely regarded as the opening act of the Second World War (though its veterans were derided as “premature anti-fascists”) the war against Franco’s Fascist-backed coup in Spain inspired volunteers from 53 nations to migrate to that country in support of the cause. As Auden famously put it, they heard the call of Spain “on remote peninsulas, / on sleepy plains, in the aberrant fishermen’s islands…”; they “heard and migrated like gulls or the seeds of a flower…. They floated over the oceans; / They walked the passes: they came to present their lives” (EA 211–12). They did so, however, in what rapidly became a lost cause.

This course will examine the literature and culture, primarily but not exclusively in English, inspired by this war. Authors considered will include George Orwell, Nan Green, John Cornford, Margot Heinemann, Tom Wintringham, Jack Lindsay, Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gelhorn, Edwin Rolfe, Langston Hughes, Norman Bethune, Dorothy Livesay and Ted Allen, and we will look at anthologies of elegiac poetry (many no longer in print) from Britain, Canada and the United States. We’ll also pay attention to the small newspapers and literary magazines publishing elegiac tributes to the veterans, most notably the soldiers’ own publication, Volunteer for Liberty. We’ll give some consideration, too, to the visual art inspired by the war (the paintings of Picasso, Miro, and Dali, the documentary photography of Robert Capa), and especially to the much belated memorials produced in memory of the volunteers across Britain, the United States and Canada. Theoretical and historical questions we’ll address include why so much about this war and its volunteer effort has been forgotten by governments and mainstream media; why it has been such an object of nostalgia on the political left; why the critical language devised for the literature of the Great War is so inadequate to account for it; the place of women both in the work of the war and in its iconography; the role of the war in changing the face of journalism and in inspiring a resurgence of certain modernist literary practices rejected by the political left in the 1930s.

ENGL 865* Topics in Contemporary Literature and Culture I

Travelling in the Twentieth Century

Instructor: Yaël Schlick
Offered: Winter Term 2015
Course Group: 3

Description: In Short Voyages to the Land of the People, Jacques Rancière describes the foreigner as an individual who “undoes the certainties of place” and displaces the usual angle of vision; similarly, Edward Said has written of the traveler as someone who suspends routine and “abandons fixed positions.” These are surely optimistic versions of the traveller, at odds with the notion that travel and travel writing are inevitably part and parcel of a colonial enterprise. In these descriptions, s/he is, rather, an individual capable of reworking, undoing, and rewriting. And travel writing itself—as Debbie Lisle has suggested—may therefore be viewed as a genre that possesses an important cosmopolitan or utopian potential, a genre that is well poised to consider the changing landscape of a global world. We will begin our exploration of twentieth-century travel writing with a brief historical overview of the genre and the reading of some classic travel accounts by such writers as Mary Kingsley, Apsley-Cherry Garrard, and J. M. Synge. This will be followed by a consideration of various attempts to rework and question diverse aspects of the genre by contemporary writers, among them Claude Lévi-Strauss, Martha Gellhorn, Julio Cortázar and Carol Dunlop, Robyn Davidson, Raja Shehadeh, Sara Wheeler, Elif Batuman, and Geoff Dyer.

ENGL 866* Topics in Contemporary Literature and Culture II

International Indigenous Literature: Contemporizing the Traditional

Instructor: Armand Ruffo
Offered: Fall Term 2014
Course Group: 3

Description: Contemporary Indigenous authors are increasingly including elements of their traditions in their work in order to demonstrate the dynamic and resilient nature of Indigenous cultures. As writers grapple with a legacy of diasporic upheaval, loss, disempowerment, poverty, residential/mission school experiences, and the like, they have begun to consider the nature of benevolent and malevolent forces/action (or in Christian terms “good” and “evil”), using culturally specific epistemological approaches. This seminar will explore how texts across a range of genres from a diversity of Indigenous cultures employ traditional knowledge to facilitate cultural renewal and healing from colonial traumas as they explore the overarching theme of in/human behaviour. In order to do so, we will by necessity examine concerns for land, language, community, ceremony, and storytelling itself, including aesthetics, using a combination of culturally specific and pan-Indigenous approaches. Because Indigenous authors are dealing with on-going issues close to them and their people, their work is provocative, if not often boldly confrontational, and students are therefore expected to come to the class with some basic understanding of European imperialism and the colonial domination of Indigenous peoples.

ENGL 873* Topics in Canadian Literature III

“carrying the burden of peace”: Exploring Indigenous Masculinities through Literature

Instructor: Sam McKegney
Offered: Winter Term 2015
Course Group: 3

Description: In the language of the Kanien kehaka or Mohawk, the most common translation for the English word “warrior” is rotiskenhrakete, which means literally “carrying the burden of peace.” Kanien kehaka theorist Taiaiake Alfred explains, “The word is made up of roti, connoting ‘he’; sken in relation to skennen, or ‘peace’; and hrakete, which is a suffix that combines the connotations of a burden and carrying.” Rotiskenhrakete is not simply an identity formulation but a social role; it doesn’t so much individualize as identify connection through absorption and synecdoche; it suggests what one does as much who one is.

Ironically, the image of the Mohawk warrior has been mobilized in popular Canadian culture to represent forms of Indigenous hypermasculinity delinked from contemporary community concerns and absorbed into a non-Indigenous representational tradition in which Indigenous male characters vacillate among stereotypes of the noble savage, the bloodthirsty warrior, and the drunken absentee. In a contemporary moment saturated by such dehumanizing and decontextualized simulations, and at a time in which traditional Indigenous male roles and responsibilities have been obfuscated by colonial dispossession and other factors, this course will examine the social function of depictions of Indigenous masculinities in recent literature and film. We will employ masculinity theory and contemporary Indigenous literary theory to study poems, novels, life-writings, films, and oral tales by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, with an eye to how these sources represent, foment, and/or intervene in contemporary crises of Indigenous masculinity. The reading list will include works by authors like Gregory Scofield, Richard Van Camp, Jeannette Armstrong, Daniel David Moses, Tom Porter, and Joseph Boyden.

Requirements: Course assignments will include oral teachings and a major written project, the parameters, scope, and execution of which will be determined by the class using consensus decision-making.

ENGL 874* Topics in Canadian Literature IV

Alice Munro

Instructor: Tracy Ware
Offered: Winter Term 2015
Course Group: 3

Description: Although in Canada and elsewhere short fiction is overshadowed by attention to poetry and the novel, Alice Munro’s recent Nobel Prize is the culmination of a long, unlikely, and splendid career. But even her admirers are sometimes perplexed by her recent work, which engages us in ways that we do not expect from short fiction; perhaps, as John Updike observes, Munro has gone from the art of the epiphany to the art of the panorama; perhaps, as Munro says, her characters reach a moment of insight, “and then they’re wrong.” If her early stories seemed fully mature, they also seem conventional when contrasted with the later work. We will consider five collections from various stages of her long career. We will look closely at six stories from each collection, three per week.

ENGL 875* Topics in Canadian Literature IV

Alice Munro

Instructor: Tracy Ware
Offered:
Course Group: 3

Description: Although in Canada and elsewhere short fiction is overshadowed by attention to poetry and the novel, Alice Munro’s recent Nobel Prize is the culmination of a long, unlikely, and splendid career. But even her admirers are sometimes perplexed by her recent work, which engages us in ways that we do not expect from short fiction; perhaps, as John Updike observes, Munro has gone from the art of the epiphany to the art of the panorama; perhaps, as Munro says, her characters reach a moment of insight, “and then they’re wrong.” If her early stories seemed fully mature, they also seem conventional when contrasted with the later work. We will consider five collections from various stages of her long career. We will look closely at six stories from each collection, three per week.

ENGL 876* Topics in Postcolonial Literature I

Remembering Slavery: History, Memory, and the Caribbean/Diasporic Novel

Instructor: Chris Bongie
Offered: Fall Term 2014
Course Group: 3

Description: In this course, we will be reading a number of Caribbean and Afro-diasporic historical novels that engage with the memory of slavery. Novelists examined in this course will include Alejo Carpentier, Edouard Glissant, Toni Morrison, Caryl Phillips, Andrea Levy, Dionne Brand, and Lawrence Hill. Literary readings will be supplemented by recent theoretical interventions on the memory of slavery, including discussions of the Haitian Revolution, recent commemorative celebrations of the abolition of slavery, and debates surrounding the value of modernist as opposed to postmodernist representations of the past. In the opening weeks of class, some attention will also be paid to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century slave narratives (notably, Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave and its recent cinematic adaptation).

Requirements (tentative): One term paper (12–15 pages), one research presentation, minor close reading assignments, excellent participation and attendance.

2013–2014

ENGL 815* Topics in Literary Study I

Imagined Ecologies

Instructor: Glenn Willmott
Offered: Fall Term 2013
Course Group: 3

Description: An ecocritical exploration of fantasy representations of human and nonhuman habitats and inhabitants in modern prose fiction, graphic narrative, and some poetry from the turn of the 20th century to the present. The focus is on “funny animals” and “dark ecologies.” Literary authors planned for the syllabus are H. G. Wells, H. P. Lovecraft, T. S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, D. H. Lawrence, George Herriman, Ray Bradbury, Dr Seuss, Alan Moore, Kurt Vonnegut, Junko Mizuno, Matthew Forsythe, Indra Sinha, Derek Winkler, and Adam Hine.

Requirements: One organized presentation-discussion (25%), one research paper (50%), and weekly critical reading responses (25%).

ENGL 824* Topics in Medieval Literature I

Medieval Popular Culture: The Popular Literature of Late Medieval England

Instructor: Ruth Wehlau
Offered: Fall Term 2013
Course Group: 1

Description: This course will investigate the notion of medieval popular culture (usually seen in opposition to either courtly aristocratic culture, or to the culture of the clerical elite), as it was manifested in a variety of literary forms from the 14th through the 16th centuries in England. During the course, we will examine works of popular literature, including lyrics, ballads, plays, and popular romances, especially those dealing with popular chivalric heroes such as Gawain, and outlaw heroes such as Robin Hood. Discussions will include the role of orality and performance in popular culture of the period, and of carnivalesque inversions of authority as found in festivals such as the Lords of Misrule. We will also devote some time to investigating medieval popular piety. All works will be read in the original Middle English, and instruction on the reading and pronunciation of Middle English will be provided. As one goal of the course involves the role of oral performance in popular culture, students will be expected to prepare (but not memorize) a text (a lyric, romance or part of a play) for performance.

Requirements: Essay: 40%; class presentation: 20%; performance project: 20%; class participation: 20%.

ENGL 827* Topics in Medieval Literature IV

Drama and Devotional Culture in the Middle Ages

Instructor: Margaret Pappano
Offered: Winter Term 2014
Course Group: 1

Description: This course will introduce students to the strange and fascinating world of late medieval popular religion, including vernacular plays, blood piety, relic and saint worship, visionary experience, ritual processions and pilgrimage. We will study what piety meant and did, how lay piety interacted with institutional religion, how heretical movements influenced devotional practices, how spiritual power can be situated in relation to social and economic power, how the gendered body figures in spiritual expression. We will use a wide variety of materials to address these issues: plays, poetry, chronicles, trial documents, treatises, civic records, visual culture, manuscripts. The course will concentrate on England and provide instruction in Middle English, but will cover some Continental material as well. In addition, by carrying our analysis into the sixteenth century, the course will consider how Reformation practices influenced relations between the spiritual and theatrical. There will be several screenings scheduled outside of class time.

Requirements: class participation, oral presentation, research paper.

ENGL 834* Topics in Early Modern Literature and Culture IV

Shakespeare and Early Modern Textual Culture

Instructor: Marta Straznicky
Offered: Spring Term 2014
Course Group: 1

Description: This course will approach Shakespeare’s plays and poems as texts circulating in the overlapping realms of oral, manuscript, and print publication. We will investigate the mechanisms and agencies through which Shakespeare’s works were constituted as text, how they were transformed across the realms of manuscript production, vocal recitation, print publication, and, frequently, back into manuscript or theatrical re-presentation. The course will focus on those works of Shakespeare, some apocryphal, that have a particularly interesting or complicated textual history: Venus and Adonis, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, Hamlet, A Yorkshire Tragedy, King Lear, the Sonnets, Pericles, and the manuscript fragment of Sir Thomas More in Shakespeare’s handwriting. Topics of study will include the uses of manuscript in the theatre (actors’ parts, rehearsal scripts, promptbooks, companies’ literary archives); the printing and publishing trades (licensing and censorship, copyright, papermaking, manufacture of books, social coding of formats, patronage, bookselling); and early modern reading practices (‘analogical’ reading, commonplacing, annotation, oral reading, coteries, bookbinding and patterns of book ownership). Students will work closely with facsimiles and become familiar with some major research resources in early modern studies (the Short-Title Catalogue, the Stationers’ Register, the database Early English Books Online, the Database of Early English Playbooks, and Greg’s Bibliography of English Printed Drama to the Restoration). Although focused on Shakespeare and early modern textual culture, the course will also be designed to provide an introduction to the methodologies of cultural bibliography and book history that should be of use to all students.

NB: If at all possible, students should read the above-mentioned Shakespearean works prior to the beginning of the course.

ENGL 842* Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature II

Literature in the Age of Sensibility and the Sublime

Instructor: Christopher Fanning
Offered: Fall Term 2013
Course Group: 2

Description: The great neoclassical satirists Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift died in 1744 and 1745, respectively. The passing of these writers, who had defined the forms and standards of literary expression for decades, marked a watershed in English poetry: “For who durst now to poetry pretend?” asked one anonymous writer in 1744. This course will examine the attempts of later eighteenth-century authors to fill this perceived void on their own terms. Rather than continue to emulate the traditional ideals of Augustan Rome, authors of the 1740s and subsequent decades sought to cultivate native British traditions, to define themselves against Pope in particular, and to define an aesthetic in tune with human emotion and the natural world, redefining and revaluing concepts of fancy and imagination, reorganizing the canon of English authors, elevating genres such as the lyric (the ode) and the novel.

Requirements: Class Participation: 25%, Seminar Presentation: 25%, Critical essay, 15-20 pgs, 50%.

ENGL 843* Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature III

The Garrick Stage

Instructor: Leslie Ritchie
Offered: Fall Term 2013
Course Group: 2

Description: Eighteenth-century actor David Garrick was, in the words of one of his contemporaries, “the Phoenix of the age”: a prodigiously talented innovator who changed acting technique forever. As the manager and part-owner of Drury Lane Theatre, Garrick also controlled the repertoire and the acting company at one of London’s two official theatres. His effects on the canon of English drama, and particularly upon the modern Shakespeare industry, cannot be overstated. This course will examine Garrick as actor, manager, writer, adapter, and media celebrity. We will read Garrick’s own plays, such as the popular farce Lethe; examine his adaptations of Restoration plays, such as The Country Girl (adapted for late-eighteenth-century tastes from Wycherley’s The Country Wife); consider his adaptations and popularization of Shakespeare’s work, including the Stratford Jubilee and the battle of the Romeos; and read excerpts from the critical pamphlet and newspaper wars that raged around the Garrick stage, as well as relevant criticism by contemporary and modern critics.

Requirements: Participation: 15%; Abstract: 15%; Seminar: 30%; Research Paper: 40%.

ENGL 852* Topics in Romanticism II

Secret Witnesses: Abolition, Revolution, and the Transatlantic Imaginary

Instructor: Chris Bongie
Offered: Winter Term 2014
Course Group: 2

Description: In this course, we will be examining representations of slavery and its abolition in a number of texts published on both sides of the Atlantic between the late 1780s and 1833 (the year the British Parliament passed the Abolition of Slavery Act). The course will proceed chronologically, starting with such founding texts of the abolitionist movement as Thomas Clarkson’s 1786 Essay on slavery and Olaudah Equiano’s 1789 Interesting Narrative, and proceeding at least as far as Mary Prince’s 1831 History. The goal of this course is two-fold. First, to gain an in-depth exposure to the complexities of abolitionist discourse, as expressed in the literary practice of a variety of Romantic-era writers and as analyzed in recent theoretical interventions concerned with understanding the genealogical origins of our own present-day “humanitarian moment.” The second main goal will be to examine some of the key (historical and fictional) representations of the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) from the first three decades of the nineteenth century (such as Leonora Sansay’s Secret History and Victor Hugo’s Bug-Jargal) in order to gauge the extent to which that world-historical revolution challenged the ideological assumptions of abolitionist discourse and the literary conventions upon which that discourse relied (e.g., those associated with the sentimental and Gothic novels).

Requirements: One term paper (12–15 pages), one oral presentation, active participation, and regular attendance.

ENGL 853* Topics in Romanticism III

The Discourse of Illumination in William Blake

Instructor: John Pierce
Offered: Winter Term 2014
Course Group: 2

Description: A study of the development of Blake’s poetry, with special emphasis on his use of biblical sources and experimentation with a variety of narrative forms. The evolution of his pictorial and poetic style will offer a focus for our examination of Blake, covering briefly the early works such as The Songs of Innocence and of Experience and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and concentrating more heavily on the latter works, including such works as the Lambeth poems, Vala or The Four Zoas, and Milton. This course will also consider the significance of conscious verbal and narrative obscurity as part of Blake’s attempt to present an apocalyptic vision of the world that challenges conventional modes of thinking, perception, and interpretation.

ENGL 857* Topics in Victorian Literature II

Queerness in Victorian Literature

Instructor: Maggie Berg
Offered: Winter Term 2014
Course Group: 2

Description: A great deal of attention has been paid to Oscar Wilde as a key figure in the rise of awareness of homosexuality in the late nineteenth century and to Michel Foucault’s claim that at this time “the homosexual became a species.” This course will trace literary representations of queerness beginning much earlier, with Charlotte Brontë’s The Professor, in order to question and problematize Foucault’s claim. We will read recent histories of gay identity in the nineteenth century, theory by authors such as Judith Butler and Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick, and a selection of authors including Charlotte Brontë, Oscar Wilde, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and John Addington Symonds.

Requirements: Seminar 30%, position papers 30%, research paper 40%.

ENGL 861* Topics in Modernism I

T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf

Instructor: Gabrielle McIntire
Offered: Winter Term 2014
Course Group: 3

Description: T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf were almost exact contemporaries (born in 1882 and 1888, respectively), readers and critics of each others’ work, and close friends for over twenty years. Although they are rarely considered together as a pair, Eliot and Woolf exemplify some of the most fascinating contestations at the heart of literary modernisms: aesthetic and formal innovation, cultural critique, gender troubling, and explorations of the sacred and the secular after “the death of God.” Together we will consider some of the striking correspondences and affinities that exist in Eliot and Woolf’s poetic, aesthetic, and thematic preoccupations as we read Eliot’s major poetry from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” through “Gerontion,” The Waste Land, “Ash Wednesday,” and Four Quartets, and engage with several of Woolf’s most important novels, including To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, and The Waves. Alongside these texts we will be reading some of the major critics of Eliot and Woolf, including David Chinitz, Wayne Koestenbaum, Jewel Spears Brooker, Jane Marcus, and Elizabeth Abel, while we will also consider philosophers and theorists who either anticipated or participated in literary modernism, including Sigmund Freud, Henri Bergson, and Friedrich Nietzsche.

Requirements: 35% seminar presentation, 45% 15–20 page final paper, 20% informed and active participation.

ENGL 862* Topics in Modernism II

Modernist Elegy

Instructor: Patricia Rae
Offered: Spring Term 2014
Course Group: 3

Description: This seminar will explore the discourse of elegy in British and American modernist literature (1914–1939). Our starting point will be the tension between elegy and “anti-elegy” in writing on loss inspired by the First World War: that is, between the kind of writing encouraging what Freud considered “success” in mourning, and the kind that disrupts closure, fostering melancholia. We’ll then go on to consider the ways in which modernist formal experimentation (for example, devices such as depersonalization, allusion, fragmentation, and ellipsis) reflect and develop this tension. While our starting point in war literature will lead us to consider the ways nationalism shapes mourning practices (and vice versa), modernism was a transnational movement, and elegy, as a genre, lends itself to cross-pollination across national divides. We will therefore be alert to the ways in which various cultural traditions inflect the injunctions to mourn (or resist mourning) in the works we study. As we move through term, we will also trace an increasing self-consciousness in the use of consolatory discourse during the 1930s, as the threat posed by Fascism intensifies and the prospect of another World War looms. We’ll see writers asking pragmatic questions about which consolations have a chance of surviving the repetition of World War, and adjusting their standards for truthfulness in elegy accordingly.

The seminar will encourage the close reading of poetry and both fictional and non-fictional prose. It will also incite discussion about the politics of mourning practices and about how the concepts of elegy emerging from World War I may have produced problematic distortions in the literary history of modernism as we know it.

Authors considered will include Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Vera Brittain, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, and Edwin Rolph, but students will be free pursue work in their term papers on other modernist authors of special interest to them.

Requirements: One seminar presentation, preparation of discussion questions, final research paper.

ENGL 867* Topics in Contemporary Literature and Culture II

Forging “Democratic Readers”: Ideology and Identity in the Works of Philip Pullman

Instructor: Shelley King
Offered: Fall Term 2013
Course Group: 3

Description: Visionary Romantic poet William Blake refers to writing as “the wond’rous art”: perhaps in deference to Blake’s vital influence on his own work, contemporary British author Philip Pullman describes reading, its counterpart, as “a subtle art.” Pullman's fascination with reading is evident in all aspects of his work: from the intertextual nod to his own wide-ranging literary experience given by the complex epigraphs scattered throughout his oeuvre, to representations of the interpretive act such as that figured in Lyra’s ability to read the alethiometer in The Golden Compass, to the concept of a “democracy of reading” used by Pullman to articulate his sense of reading as an ideological act, the works of this award-winning author present reading from multiple perspectives to an audience ranging from neophytes to seasoned academics. Beginning from the premise that Pullman treats reading not as a simple means of accessing ideological content, but rather as a sophisticated ideological act, this course explores the function of narrative, genre and intertextuality in the works of Philip Pullman through examining their role in his award-winning trilogy, His Dark Materials (1995, 1997, 2000) and its associated short fiction Lyra’s Oxford (2003) and Once Upon a Time in the North (2008), as well as in his works for younger readers: Spring-Heeled Jack (1989), Count Karlstein (1991,1998), The Firework-Maker’s Daughter (1995), Clockwork (1996, 1998), I Was a Rat! (1999, 2000), The Scarecrow and His Servant (2004), and the recent Tales from the Brothers Grimm (2012).

Requirements: Seminar 20%, research paper 50%, participation 20%, readers’ journals 10%.

ENGL 871* Topics in Canadian Literature I

Studies in Ontario Poetry

Instructor: Tracy Ware
Offered: Fall Term 2013
Course Group: 3

Description: This course will study the poetry of postwar Ontario, with a special interest in the region between Toronto and Kingston. Specifically, the course will read five or six poets in depth: Al Purdy, Michael Ondaatje, Gwendolyn MacEwen (depending on availability), Margaret Atwood, Don McKay, and Dionne Brand. Toronto is often regarded as a center against which the regions react, even within Ontario, and so we will need to be careful about the idea of “regionalism.” We will begin with Purdy, and so the course will raise questions about regionalism and nationalism, though other approaches are both possible and desirable, especially those based on gender, class, or ecocritical concerns. Is a regional identity more viable than Purdy’s kind of nationalism? If Purdy is so influential, why does Sam Solecki call him “the last Canadian poet”? Perhaps even Purdy needs to be liberated from the nationalist approaches that he encouraged. Could anything be further from Canadian nationalism than “The Cinnamon Peeler” and thirsty? Is nationalism more important for critics than for poets? How compatible are cosmopolitanism and regionalism? The selection of texts will depend on availability, but they will probably include Purdy’s Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets, Ondaatje’s The Cinnamon Peeler, McKay’s Camber, Brand’s thirsty, and a selection of MacEwen. For Atwood we will probably read The Circle Game and a recent collection.

Requirements: Marks will be based on a seminar presentation, a term paper, a final examination, and participation.

ENGL 872* Topics in Canadian Literature II

Reconfigurations of Vancouver’s Urban Imaginary in Contemporary Literature

Instructor: Petra Fachinger
Offered: Winter Term 2014
Course Group: 3

Description: This seminar will explore representation of Vancouver in contemporary Aboriginal and Canadian fiction, drama, and poetry. Vancouver, portrayed in the media as one of the world’s most liveable and one of Canada’s most multicultural cities, has been represented more critically in contemporary literary discourse. We will discuss how texts like Burning Water, Ana Historic, and The Komagata Maru Incident challenge historical master narratives, how the feminist urban poetry of Marlatt, Quartermain, and Robertson addresses the city’s colonization, gentrification, and commodification, how fiction set in the Downtown Eastside undermines the myth of Vancouver’s wealth and beauty, and how texts by Asian Canadian, African Canadian, and Indigenous writers present alternative histories and “remap” (Glenn Deer) the city. The seminar will be informed by critical race, decolonization, and urban and spatial theories.

Requirements: Students will be required to make one seminar presentation (30% of final grade), participate in seminar discussion (10%), and write a final paper of 15–20 pages (60% of final grade).

ENGL 877* Topics in Postcolonial Literatures II

Postcolonialism: Hopes and Impediments

Instructor: Asha Varadharajan
Offered: Winter Term 2014
Course Group: 3

Description: This course will serve as a broad introduction to the historical depth and geographical scope of what has come to be known as the “postcolonial” condition. We will read Anglophone fiction, poetry, and drama from colonies of the British Empire contending with the cultural, political, economic, and psychic legacy of imperialism with and against non-fiction, manifestos, historiography, theory, and visual, digital, performance, and aural/oral cultural production. The emphasis in this course will be on postcolonial “writing” as a passionate and tongue-in-cheek repudiation and rearticulation of colonial language, values, and systems. Some of the questions we might ask are: what does it mean for postcolonial subjects to describe themselves as “black skins, white masks?” how do postcolonial writers communicate in a language not their own, an experience all their own (Chinua Achebe)? how has the colonial experience contributed to the current shape of our world—its economic disparities and its social and cultural melange? what is the difference between mimic and creole identities? how do gender and sexuality intersect with postcoloniality? how has the long history of independence from colonization altered the literary forms and socio-political and cultural concerns of postcolonial writing? how has the shift to the environmental, the diasporic, the global, the multicultural, the cosmopolitan, the biopolitical and the animal (to name a few!) diluted or enhanced the force of anti-colonial struggle?

Requirements: Participation 20%, research paper 50%, seminar 30%.