Department of English


English Language and Literature

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English Undergraduate Course Offerings


Each year Queen’s English offers a variety of courses and approaches from which you can choose, whether you are building your degree program or looking for an intriguing elective.

Descriptions of the courses to be offered in the 2017-18 academic year are available below. These descriptions provide an idea of the readings and assignments for which students will be responsible.

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ENGL 218 001/3.0 Introduction to Indigenous Literatures in Canada


  • Would you like to experience Indigenous cultures through the eyes of Indigenous authors?
  • Would you like to understand the potential of literature to mobilize and inspire?
  • Would you like to learn to ask questions that will give meaningful answers?
  • Would you welcome the opportunity to engage directly with famous Indigenous writers?

As a Principal’s Dream Course, ENGL 218 is able to bring in the renowned Indigenous authors and creators of the material we will be studying. Literature gives access to the worlds of the characters and authors of the texts, and gives insight into a multitude of disciplines. We will look at the aesthetics and politics of the works with the goal of confronting expectations about Indigenous cultures and experience. Active engagement with the authors and texts will allow us to consider the role that Indigenous literatures play in shaping both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perceptions of culture and identity.

Prerequisites may be waived with the permission of the instructor. Please contact Heather Macfarlane at if you have any questions.

ENGL 467 001-2/3.0 Words in Place: Settler and Indigenous Stories of Kingston/Cataraqui


  • Would you like to learn more about the Indigenous history and culture of this part of Canada?
  • Would you like to work beyond your discipline, bringing together creative writing, historical research, Indigenous knowledge, arts, geography, and activism?
  • Would you welcome the opportunity to think in personal terms not just academic terms?
  • Would you like to do original research to contribute to public understanding of an important issue?

Are you interested in a challenging ‘capstone’ experience for your final year?

As a Principal’s Dream Course, ENGL467 is able to bring in Indigenous and settler visitors. Professor Murray and guests will provide an intensive introduction to facts, questions, and perspectives in the first six weeks, during which time students will keep personal journals. After that we will work on projects to further the work done in the first iteration of the course in winter term 2017. The idea is to foster a supportive environment for risk-taking, collaboration, and personal engagement. At the end of the course, our research will be shared online and in a public presentation.

Although this course is categorized as a fourth-year ENGL seminar, prerequisites can be waived for upper year students who have related experience or interests. Contact

This year’s students said:

“This class helped to make me more aware of what had been under my nose that I just hadn't personally noticed before… the connection to the specific space we live and carry out our day-to-day lives was… relevant, personal, and important.”

“By acknowledging that I am not an expert and am always learning, I was able to get somewhere.”

“It was exciting to be given the chance to explore a topic and issue that I am genuinely passionate about and have a personal connection to. This was such a special way to finish off my undergraduate degree.”



2017-18 Course Descriptions

100-Level Courses 2017-18


ENGL 100/6.0 Introduction to Literary Study

Term: full year

Instructors: Chris Fanning (100 001)  John Pierce (100 002)

Description: An introduction to literary study, with an emphasis on the formal analysis of a diverse range of poetry and prose. Specific content and approach vary from section to section, but all sections share the goals of developing sensitivity to genre, cultivating writing skills, and providing students with a set of literary terms and critical techniques as a foundation for further literary study.

Note: ENGL 100 is a prerequisite for all subsequent ENGL courses. This course is offered in two sections, each involving two lectures and one tutorial per week. Students must enrol in the same section and the same tutorial for the entire year. Enrolment preference is given to first-year students.  Also offered as an online course; first-year on-campus Arts students are excluded from the online section.


ENGL 160/6.0 Modern Prose Fiction

Term: full year

Instructors: Robert May

Description: This course is designed to promote interest in and appreciation for modern and contemporary prose fiction by introducing students to a selection of the most influential short stories and novels of the twentieth century. The course will provide students with a vocabulary for reading and discussing twentieth-century works of prose, and it will explore some of the most important themes, ideas, and preoccupations in modern and contemporary prose fiction. American, British, Canadian, and world authors will be represented.

Requirements: Evaluation methods will include written assignments, class attendance and participation, periodic quizzes, and a final exam.

Note: This course is intended for the non-major and does not contribute to an ENGL degree. Enrolment is limited to students not registered in an ENGL Plan, and preference is given to upper-year students. This course may not be used as a foundation for an ENGL Plan or a prerequisite for upper-year ENGL courses.

Exclusion: No more than 6.0 units from ENGL 100/6.0, ENGL 110/6.0, ENGL 112/6.0, ENGL 160/6.0.

200-Level Courses 2017-18


The prerequisite for ENGL 200–299 is a minimum grade of C in ENGL 100/6.0. Note that courses at the 200 level have limited enrolments. Students registered in an English plan applying to take these courses have priority over those applying to take them as electives.

Registration in a Major or Medial English plan is a prerequisite of the ENGL 290 seminar course (30 students max). The format of all other 200-level courses is lecture and discussion. These non-required 200-level courses are subdivided into broad Surveys (English 201–229) and courses in genre (230–249), authors in context (250–269), issues and themes (270–289), and theory and criticism (291–299). Grading is shared between instructors and teaching assistants.



ENGL 200 001/6.0 History of Literature in English

Term: full year

Instructor: Leslie Ritchie

Description: An historical survey of literature in English from the British Isles and beyond. Through the study of representative works in multiple genres, the course aims to familiarize students with the characteristics of literary periods from the Middle Ages to the present. Expect to encounter authors including Geoffrey Chaucer, Marie de France, William Shakespeare, Aphra Behn, Alexander Pope, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie.   

After completing this course, you will be able to identify and describe key authors and texts in the history of literature in English from the Middle Ages to the present, and identify major genres and literary techniques that have influenced the development of literature in English; recognize the characteristics of the major periods of English literature and of the literary movements associated with each period;  analyze the role of social and historical contexts in the production, reception and transmission of literature in English; explain the historical development of the English language from its origins in Britain to its contemporary role as a global language; demonstrate a capacity for sustained and logical argument that builds on textual evidence and manifests itself in a variety of written forms; apply critical thinking skills to a variety of written forms to reflect on and evaluate information.

Requirements: Essays, response writing and research assignments, and two exams of two hours, one at the end of each term.


ENGL 200 002/6.0 History of Literature in English

Term: full year

Instructor: Scott-Morgan Straker

Description: This course surveys the major periods, important developments, and most influential authors of literature in English from the Middle Ages to the present. It tells the story of how English literary culture began as the property of a small population in a remote corner of Europe and grew into the global phenomenon it presently is. Thus, the first half of the course will focus exclusively on British literature, and primarily on poetry, because that is what there was; the second half will feature increasing amounts of prose, and a broadening geographical scope.

Texts that are remote from us in time can be difficult to approach unless readers have a sense of the forms, styles, and preoccupations that obtained in different periods. This course aims to provide a set of orientation points that help readers to approach, say, an Augustan, a Romantic, a Modernist, or a Postcolonial text with with an informed sense of what to look for.

That said, this course is about more than just great books and famous writers. Literature always creates a relationship between writers and readers, and we will focus on both parties of that relationship by asking the following questions:

  1. Who is reading? Sex, social class, and race influence a reader’s access to literature in different periods.
  2. How do they read? The shift from manuscript culture to print culture, and then to global mass market, affect not only the number of people reading but also the type of text that becomes popular.
  3. Why do they read? The hardest question to answer, this one forces us to consider the different purposes literature can serve (instructional, entertaining, politically subversive, etc.), as well as the most basic question of what qualifies as literature in the first place.

Requirements: Essays, quizzes, participation (in class and online), and a two-hour exam at the end of each term.


ENGL 215 001/6.0 Canadian Literature

Term: full year

Instructor: Robert G. May

Description: Canada is home to a long and rich variety of literary traditions, making it impossible to speak of one Canadian literature. In order to determine what Canadian Literatures are, and how they influence our perception of Canada, we will examine both the similarities and differences between various communities’ literatures, as well as the contexts in which they were written. Starting with examples of traditional Indigenous literatures, we will look at novels, short stories, plays, poetry, songs and films from many communities, regions and historical periods with the goal of demonstrating the impact of literature on our understanding of diverse and shared experiences.

Requirements: 2 essays, 1 test, participation, 2 exams.


ENGL 218 001/3.0 Introduction to Indigenous Literatures in Canada

Term: winter

Instructor: Heather Macfarlane

Description: This course will demonstrate the capacity of literature to confront expectations about Indigenous cultures and experience. We will examine Indigenous novels, traditional stories, poetry, short stories and plays from various time periods, written by Métis, Inuit and First Nations authors. While a desire for answers can re-inscribe existing expectations, questions resist fixed perspectives and facilitate change; this course will thus be framed by inquiry. Classes will begin and end with a question, and students will master the art of inquiry by engaging in profound critical thinking about the literature they are studying. We will study the themes, aesthetics, and politics of the texts, using a combination of culturally specific and pan-Indigenous approaches. In order to develop a broader understanding of the powerful anti-colonial sentiment at the core of Indigenous cultural production, we will also consider the texts in the light of Indigenous authored criticism. We will examine textual and theoretical approaches to topics such as colonialism and resistance, storytelling and orality, traditional and contemporary stories, land and language, residential schools and “reconciliation,” sexuality and gender, spirituality, community and nationhood. We will also consider the role that Indigenous literatures play in shaping both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perceptions of identity.

Requirements: May include responses, essay, exam, participation.


ENGL 237 001/3.0 Children’s Literature

Term:  winter

Instructor: Suyin Olguin

Description: This course takes as its focus the history of children’s literature in Britain from the Middle Ages up to the Twentieth Century, with an emphasis on Nineteenth-Century works for children. Central to our study will be an examination of the construction of childhood across the centuries, and an investigation of how the world of literacy is imagined. The first half of the course will be centred on excerpts included in the anthology From Instruction to Delight, and it is designed to survey the development of a literature shaped specifically for children from its beginnings to the Golden Age of the nursery and the school story in the mid-nineteenth century. The second half of the class will look at a dominant genre in children’s literature that shaped the direction of the discipline from its beginnings with Thomas Hughes’s Tom Brown’s Schooldays to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: the School Story. We will pay attention to how education, especially through literature, is one medium through which cultural values are inculcated or perpetuated.

This course will be alert to the socio-political circumstances that shape the ideology expressed in children’s texts and will treat these works with as much intellectual energy and rigor as is commonly applied to other English texts. The lectures, however, will introduce students to historical and literary contexts using a variety of dynamic and stimulating approaches.  For example, we will investigate how food references and feasting fantasy literature for children both allure and instruct on moderation, discipline, table decorum, gender roles, socialization, and virtue.

Primary readings for this class may include: Thomas Hughes’s Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1857), Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess (1905), Carroll, Lewis’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902), Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass (1995), and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997).

Requirements: Assessments for this course may include several scheduled online discussion forum exercises, in-class responses, two essays, and a final exam.


ENGL 238 001/3.0 Comics and Graphic Novels

Term: fall

Instructor: Glenn Willmott

Description: This course teaches literary reading and interpretation skills proper to the unique poetics of comics and graphic novels, and also studies their history.  Our syllabus will focus on comic strips and alternative comics by independent artists rather than trade comics by collective authors.  Please note that the cost of printed comics and graphic novels is typically higher than for other literary texts. 

Requirements: Evaluation is based on a combination of close-reading and research assignments; attendance and participation; and a final examination.


ENGL 257 001/3.0 Elizabethan Shakespeare

Term: fall

Instructor: Andrew Bretz

Description: A study of eight of Shakespeare’s plays in relation to the social, intellectual, and political climate of the Elizabethan period and with reference to theatrical production.

Requirements: Quizzes, debate, seminar, annotated bibliography and research question, final paper


ENGL 258 001/3.0 Jacobean Shakespeare

Term: winter

Instructor: Emily Leach

Description: This course will introduce students to a selection of Shakespeare’s later work through a combination of close reading of the plays and an additional focus on performance. Along with critical and thematic readings of the works themselves, lectures will include analysis and discussion of selections from theatrical or cinematic productions of the plays. The goal of this is to encourage students to see Shakespeare’s dramatic works as dynamic and adaptable, rather than as static words on a page, and to think about how performance choices can change or even create new meanings within the playtext. By the end of the term, students will have acquired a basic knowledge of the historical and thematic contexts of Shakespeare’s dramatic works, including the conventions of Renaissance theatre and culture, as well as central themes such as nationhood, race, gender, and sexuality. Selected texts may include Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest.

Requirements: Assessment will include two short close reading assignments, one essay, and a final examination.


ENGL 271 001-7/3.0 Issues and Themes: Literature and the Devil

Term: fall

Instructor: Katie Hunt

Description: Mark Twain once said “We may not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talents … It may even be that I lean a little his way, on account of his not having a fair show … we never hear his side.” This class will focus on literature that explores, expands on, and transforms the devil as both a character and concept. We will engage with questions like: Is Satan the embodiment of malevolence or a misunderstood rebel? A comic trickster or a terrifying force of evil? Humanity’s destruction or salvation? Where do these various and often contradictory representations come from and how do we reconcile them? Readings may include texts by Christopher Marlowe, John Milton, Daniel Defoe, William Blake, Mark Twain, Tompson Highway, and Glen Duncan. We will also spend some time looking at the devil in other media – namely, film and television.

Requirements: Assessment will include quizzes, one or more essays and an examination.


ENGL 273 001-6/3.0 Literature and the Fantastic: Monsters in Fantasy Literature

Term: winter

Instructor: Nikolai Rodrigues

Description: This course will examine monsters in fantasy literature from its earlier permutations to its modern form. Students will explore how monsters metaphorically reflect anxieties about race, gender, and class, and how the representations of monsters differ in fantasy from other forms of literature. This course will introduce students to the study of monsters and to various subgenres of the fantastic through the fields of monster studies and fantasy criticism. Students will also learn how to distinguish between the different sub-genres of fantasy, and will gain insight into the often difficult process of identifying and differentiating fantasy from the related fantastic genres of science fiction and horror. Readings may include novels and short stories by J.R.R. Tolkien, H. P. Lovecraft, China Miéville, Peter S. Beagle, and Clive Barker.

Requirements: Assessment will include quizzes, one or more essays, and a final examination.


ENGL 278 001/3.0 Literature and Place: Stephen King’s Maine

Term: fall

Instructor: Jeffrey Dzogola

Description: Stephen King blends the realism of geographical reference points—such as Bangor and Portland—with fictitious towns and spaces—most notably, Castle Rock and Derry, the settings for several of King’s novels. Throughout King’s work, a comprehensive geography of Maine emerges which obscures the boundaries between factual and fictitious spaces while at the same time putting multiple texts into conversation with one another. Using the concept of metageography, students will explore the overlap between imagined or discursive space and so-called “real” or historical location. This course will trace the development of King’s Maine as a space which calls into question the ostensible stability of “real” geographical spaces, independent of imaginative and interpretational discourses. Students will use King’s novels and stories to develop an understanding of intertextuality, metafiction, and metageography. The primary texts for this course are three novels—Lisey’s Story, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and Insomnia—one novella—The Body—and two short stories—“The Man in the Black Suit” and “The Road Virus Heads North.” These texts will be paired with some minor secondary reading.

Requirements: Evaluation will be based on two essays and a final exam.


ENGL 290 001/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation – The Matter of Britain: Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur

Term: fall

Instructor: Ruth Wehlau

Description: The Morte Darthur of Sir Thomas Malory, written near the end of the 15th century, is a complete re-telling of the story of King Arthur, and of the rise and fall of his kingdom. Filled with tales of adventure, romance, and chivalry, and featuring characters such as Lancelot, Guenevere, Gawain, Mordred, and Morgan le Fay, the Morte Darthur marks both the culmination of medieval English Arthurian tradition and a point of origin for later interpretations of the tradition. The course will revolve around close readings of selections from the Morte. The latter part of the course will include discussion of later interpretations of the Arthurian legends by writers such as Alfred Lord Tennyson and T. H. White.

Requirements: Student assessment will be based on class participation, a group presentation and report, and a final exam. Students will also be assigned several short exercises to help develop their close reading and research skills.


ENGL 290 001/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation – Lyrical Ballads

Term: winter

Instructor: Mark Jones

Description: Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems, by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, was published anonymously in September 1798.  A second edition, published in 1800, bore Wordsworth’s name on its title page and included his famous “Preface.” Lyrical Ballads was not immediately popular—it was, in fact, belittled and reviled in many quarters—but it has become the most famous volume of British Romantic poetry and is often used to mark the beginning of British Romanticism.  As a collaborative work, as a cross-generic work, as an avowed “experiment,” designed to challenge existing critical assumptions, Lyrical Ballads still raises more questions than it answers.   ENGL 290-001 focuses on it to introduce critical and generic concepts for the analysis and interpretation of poetry; as a seminar in which discussion is almost entirely led by students, this course proceeds on the assumption that good critical discussion depends on knowing what to ask.  It seeks, accordingly, to teach methods of questioning. The reading list focuses on the best known works of the 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads, from Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” to Wordsworth’s “Lucy poems,” “Tintern Abbey,” and “Michael.”

Requirements: Eighty-percent attendance is required to pass.  Other requirements include regular preparation and participation, occasional reading quizzes, one individual or group seminar facilitation, two or three essays (2,500 words total), and a two-hour final exam.


ENGL 290 002/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation – The Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop

Term: fall

Instructor: Yaël Schlick

Description: Though our focus will be on Elizabeth Bishop’s poems, and though we will devote the majority of our time to a close reading of them, we will also use Bishop as a means of entering into discussions about gender and travel, about the nature of the self and of the animal world.  (In an interview she once said: “I think geography comes first in my work, and then animals.  But I like people, too.”) We’ll explore her depiction of specific places (Key West, Brazil, Nova Scotia), situate her in the world of 1950s and 60s America when the confessional lyric began to dominate the poetry scene, and explore how our own contemporary moment appraises and treats her writings.  In short, Elizabeth Bishop will be our entry point to gaining close reading skills, exploring issues central to our own concerns today, and understanding the multiple interpretive possibilities that a writer’s works offer readers. 

Requirements: Coursework includes presentations, class participation, frequent written exercises, graded writing assignments, and in-class essays.


ENGL 290 002/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation – Moby-Dick

Term: winter

Instructor: Glenn Willmott

Description: This seminar introduces students to the analytic interpretation of narrative fiction, and specifically to formalist close reading of the novel.  Seminar discussion will be emphasized and regular attendance and participation required for success in the course.  Assignments are designed to teach and test basic literary analytic skills rather than full literary argument development and essay composition.  Our two required readings will be a formalist textbook, such as George Hughes’ Reading Novels (2002) or equivalent depending on availability, and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, or the Whale (1851).

Requirements: Evaluation is based on short tests normally every week, four close reading assignments, and a final examination.


ENGL 290 003/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation – “(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue”: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

Term: fall

Instructor: Asha Varadharajan

Description: In Unspeakable Things Unspoken: The Afro-American Presence in American Literature, Toni Morrison reflects, tellingly, on the “miscegenation” of the literary canon rather than simply its “range” or “flexibility” or, indeed, its “diversity.”  This provocation frames our interpretation of Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye.  Our discussions will ponder some of the following questions: if, as Morrison suggests, African-Americans have been condemned to “silence” and “unbeing,” why does her novel shape that silence and inhabit that unbeing rather than break the former and transcend the latter?  Why is Morrison’s focus a language worthy of the wealth and complexity of African-American culture rather than what she describes as a “lazy” realistic or sociologically revealing mode of representation?  Morrison asks: what makes a work “black?”  Could The Bluest Eye provide the beginnings of an answer?  The Bluest Eye invites intimacy by denying readers “safe harbors;” our aim, in deploying tried and true methods (deconstructive, narratological, psychoanalytic, feminist) of literary interpretation, will be to learn to respect the enigma that is Morrison’s finest novel.  If none of these forms of inquiry interest you, come and find out how The Bluest Eye nuances, perhaps even challenges, Lupita Nyong’o’s speeches and Lady Gaga’s 2016 performance at the Oscars! The course will be designed to interpret The Bluest Eye in light of socio-economic contexts and multi-media intertexts.

Requirements: Grades will be based on voluntary and assigned participation, writing assignments that reflect the progressive acquisition of sophisticated interpretive skills, and a final exam.


ENGL 290 003/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation – Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach

Term:  winter

Instructor: Sam McKegney

Descriptions: “Robinson is good,” writes Gail Anderson-Dargatz, “frighteningly good… She’ll shock you, anger you, tease you… [S]he’ll tickle and slap you with the same hand.” Indigenous Canadian author Eden Robinson burst on the literary scene in the 1990s with her debut novel Monkey Beach, a gripping coming-of-age tale set in the Rocky Mountains along B.C.’s coast. This majestic yet ruggedly realist story, described by some critics as “northern Gothic,” weaves traditional Haisla storytelling together with teenaged angst and dark humour to interrogate contemporary rural life in a Canadian nation shadowed by colonial violence. As such, Robinson’s novel provides rich and fertile ground for developing the tools of literary analysis. In this course we will mobilize techniques of close reading to consider such matters as race, gender, class, sexuality, ecology, cultural exchange, and decolonization, all the while reflecting upon how meaning is generated—and challenged—through language. Together, we will dig deeply into the terrain of Robinson’s tale and revel in what we uncover.

Requirements: One essay, a final exam, regular attendance and active class participation, and a seminar presentation; may include short written assignments.


ENGL 292 001/6.0 Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory

Term:  full year

Instructor: Mark Jones

Description: Introductory survey of literary theory from Plato and Aristotle to the twenty-first century.  ENGL 292 treats “theories” not only as deliberate constructs supporting more or less sophisticated critical practices, but also as unconsciously assumed metaphors and visual models that shape all understanding and judgment. It compares and contrasts such assumptions, e.g., whether writing is imitation, or expression, or invention; whether its purpose is primarily to entertain or to educate, to renew or just to refine “what oft was thought”; whether meaning is controlled by authors or by readers or by language;  whether literature consists of works or texts; whether “poetry should not mean, but be.”  The organization is both chronological and topical. The fall syllabus begins with Plato and Aristotle to consider key topics associated with both, such as representation, genre, plot, and pragmatics. It considers how theories may affect critical practice in both interpretation and evaluation. The winter syllabus focuses more exclusively on modern theory and criticism, especially formalism, Marxism, and discourse theory.  Brief forms of literature—short stories, sonnets, ballads—are introduced throughout to illustrate and test theories and critical practice.

Requirements: Eighty-percent attendance is required to pass.  Other requirements include regular course preparation, occasional in-class quizzes, one or two essays each term, and a final 3-hour exam. 

300-Level Courses 2017-18


To take 300-level English courses, one must:

  • be enrolled in an ENGL BAH program (Medial or Major),
  • have successfully completed ENGL 200/6.0 and ENGL 290/3.0, and
  • have obtained a minimum GPA of 2.4 in all previous ENGL units.

Minors with a minimum grade of B+ in at least 18.0 previous ENGL units may take 6.0 units at the 300 level, if space permits. Note that courses at the 300-level have limited enrolments. Students registered in an English Plan applying to take these courses as Core courses have priority over those applying to take them as Option courses.


ENGL 310 001/6.0 Medieval Literature of the British Isles

Term: full year

Instructor: Ruth Wehlau

Description: This course will survey literature composed in the British Isles before 1500, encompassing a wide variety of genres — epic, myth, romance and drama — and including literature written in Irish, Welsh, Old and Middle English and Middle Scots. Works to be read include Beowulf, The Mabinogion, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and selections from the lais of Marie de France, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, and Malory’s Morte Darthur. Literature written in the early Middle Ages will be read in translation; literature of the later Middle Ages written in Middle English or Middle Scots will be read in the original (except Sir Gawain and the Green Knight). Students will be given help in acquiring the skills needed to read and pronounce these dialects.  Approaches to the texts will vary, but attention will be given throughout the course to the individuality of and the interactions between the various nations of the British Isles as they participate in forming early British and Irish identities.  Classes will involve lecture and discussion.

Requirements: Student assessment will involve essays, a group presentation and report, class participation and a final exam.


ENGL 321 001/6.0 Renaissance Poetry and Prose

Term: full year

Instructor: Andrew Bretz

Description: The Tudor period saw titanic shifts in the intellectual and political culture of England as Renaissance Humanism’s devolution of authority to “the individual” supplanted “the household” as the primary object of governance. This devolution presupposed the governing/governable individual to be essentially masculine, thereby alienating women from participation in the creation of public culture. Indeed, both intellectual humanism and the Reformation were deployed as ideological justifications for the domestication of women within the patriarchal household, governed by the individual male. Despite this attempt over the course of the sixteenth century to limit the self-expression of women to a handful of chaste and patriarchally governed identities, women across social classes constructed self-representations that subtly or overtly challenged patriarchal hegemony. Through an accident of history and genetics, a succession of women ascended to the English throne, thereby querying what it meant to be a “prince;” finally, women as diverse as Jane Anger and Lady Mary Sidney Herbert interrogated the relationship between the categories of “masculinity” and “authority.” Masculine anxiety over the resistance of women to merely submit to patriarchal household rule can be seen in the popularity of the sonnet form, which, although introduced to England in the court of Henry VIII, really became popular in the latter years of Elizabeth I’s reign. Characteristic elements of the sonnet form, such as the blazon, the male gaze, and the homosocial erotics of patronage all point to the exclusion of the feminine from the poeto-political discourse. Finally, John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost, represents in itself the culmination of the religious and political events of the Reformation and the Renaissance in England up to that point, but it also interprets those events from within the historical moment of the restored monarchy. The ambiguous representation of the guilt and political leanings of characters like Satan and Eve trouble the political allegory of Milton’s text and problematize the reception of the Renaissance as a historical category. Assessment will be based on two midterms, a midterm essay, a final essay, and a final exam.

Requirements: fall and winter midterms, research reports, final exam


ENGL 340 001/6.0 Romantic Literature

Term: full year

Instructor: Robert Morrison

Description: This course explores the poetry, politics, and cultural transformations of the Romantic period (1789-1834). It considers the work of novelists such as Jane Austen and Mary Shelley, and of poets such as William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats.

Requirements: There are two formal essays, twelve unannounced quizzes, and an April exam. The fall-term essay is worth 20% of the final mark. A winter-term essay is worth for 30%. The quizzes are worth 15%. Participation is worth for 10%. The final exam is worth 25%.


ENGL 356 001/6.0 British Fiction of the 19th Century

Term: full year

Instructor: Sally Brooke Cameron

Description: The nineteenth century witnessed the rise of the novel as one of the dominant literary forms. The novel was a particularly popular mode for thinking through new and sometimes even radical ideas about the modern individual and his/her relationship to social environments or political agency. This course will chart the evolution of the novel form through a representative sampling of texts. Class lectures and reading assignments will position primary texts within their relevant historical contexts so that we can come to understand the role this new literary form played in the development of nineteenth-century ideas about class, gender, nationhood, and citizenship. We will, for example, look at the range in gendered and classed characters associated with an ever-growing range in novel genres, including domestic fiction, the bildungsroman, the social problem novel, and sensation fiction. Possible authors include (but are not limited to): Jane Austen, Maria Edgeworth, Walter Scott, the Brontë sisters, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Wilkie Collins, Marie Corelli, George Gissing, and Thomas Hardy.

Requirements: Two researched term papers, short response papers, regular participation and in-class quizzes, a midterm & final exam.


ENGL 360 001/6.0 Modern Literature

Term: full year

Instructor: Heather Evans

Description: “Only connect!” proclaimed E. M. Forster in his 1910 novel Howard’s End, hinting at a possible solution to some of the pressing social and aesthetic problems of the era.  “Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height.  Life in fragments no longer.”  While we may not achieve exaltation, our course will endeavour to connect fragments of literature and other cultural productions from the late nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century.

The period spanning the early 1890s to the end of the Second World War was characterized by a fading of the optimism that had buoyed the British people throughout much of the second half of the nineteenth century.  As Britain struggled with resistance in its colonies, lost its beloved longstanding monarch, and grappled with the collective trauma of the First World War, the sense that many of the foundations of British culture were fragmenting or in danger of collapse marked the literature and other cultural products of the period with a sense of desolation. But the period was also one of literary innovation of theme, form, content, and mode. Our course will explore the emergence of modern literature from the fin de siècle to the 1940s and investigate the representation of critical concerns such as tradition, imperialism, colonialism, spirituality and faith, consumerism and commodity culture, science and technology, the changing constructions of gender and sexuality, and the relationship between the individual and a seemingly increasingly alienating urban environment. Although we will concentrate primarily on British writers of the period, we will also consider contributions to modern literature and culture by Americans.  Readings will include poems, short stories, novels, and drama by such writers as George Egerton, Kate Chopin, Victoria Cross, Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, W. B. Yeats, D. H. Lawrence, and Ezra Pound. 

Requirements: Two short essays, one long essay, a final exam, regular attendance, and active class participation.  Short quizzes and/or online discussion activities may also be required.


ENGL 370 001/6.0 Contemporary Literature

Term: full year

Instructor: Yaël Schlick

Description: Focused on poetry and fiction from the 1950s to the present day, this course casts a wide geographical net to include writers from Australia, Britain, Ireland, Argentina, Israel, South Africa, and the United States. We will attend both to the formal innovations and the thematic concerns of contemporary writing, exploring metafictionality, the family, geographic and cultural dislocation, and the varieties of representation in postmodern fiction.

Requirements: Coursework includes class participation, two term papers, two in-class essays, two or three quizzes, and a final exam.


ENGL 375 001/6.0 American Literature

Term: full year

Instructor: Gabrielle McIntire

Description: How has an idea of “America” and all that this stands for emerged over the centuries? This course will begin with 16th and 17th-century indigenous oral culture—just before the Puritan settlers arrived from England—and conclude with a look at late-twentieth century and early twenty-first century film and media as we consider literary texts that have helped shape the meaning of “America.” Together we will develop our literary critical skills through examining major themes, literary innovations, and aesthetic desires that have affected self-definitions of the United States. Throughout the course we will also query the seemingly limitless possibilities offered by geographical and psychological “frontiers,” the “American dream,” and ideas of “freedom” and individualism while we investigate concomitant and prevailing racial and gender inequalities. Authors studied will include John Winthrop, Frederick Douglass, Henry Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, T.S. Eliot, Gwendolyn Brooks, and many others.

Requirements: In-class presentation; two term papers; attendance and participation; final exam.

400-Level Courses 2017-18


To take 400-level English courses, one must:

  • be enrolled in an ENGL BAH program (Medial or Major),
  • have successfully completed ENGL 200/6.0 and ENGL 290/3.0, and
  • have obtained a minimum GPA of 2.4 in all previous ENGL units.

Minors with a minimum grade of B+ in at least 18.0 previous ENGL units may take 6.0 units at the 300 level, if space permits. Note that courses at the 400-level have limited enrolments. Students registered in an English Plan applying to take these courses as Core courses have priority over those applying to take them as Option courses.

You may take these courses more than once provided that the topics are different, and all versions that you take will count toward your program and toward your GPA. The same is not true of non-repeatable courses: only one version of non-repeatable courses may count toward your program and GPA. If you have any questions about which courses are repeatable, or about how repeatable courses work, contact the Undergraduate Chair.


ENGL 411 001-4/3.0 Topics in Medieval Literature II – Premodern Gender and Sexuality

Term: fall

Instructor: Margaret Pappano

Description: This course will explore premodern constructions of gender and sexuality, seeking to locate both continuities and discontinuities with modern conceptions and practices. While labels such as “gay,” “genderqueer,” “transgendered” did not exist in the Middle Ages, medieval people imagined and engaged in types of gender shifting that help us to understand the necessity for labile terminology to describe identities linked with gendered and sexual practices. While focusing on medieval Europe, this course will delve into works from the Arab and Islamic context to compare the religious and contextual inflections of gender and sexuality. The course considers how aspects of medieval culture, such as religion and confessional relations, celibacy, imitatio Christi, knighthood, class hierarchy, court culture and medical ideas shaped notions of gender and sexuality. Though examining theological, medical, and legal writings, moral guidebooks, chronicles, artwork, and literary works, this course will engage texts from the early to late Middle Ages in dialogue with contemporary theoretical writing to attempt to articulate specificities of the medieval sex/gender system. 

Requirements: Requirements include regular attendance and participation, oral presentation, short response papers and a longer essay.


ENGL 421 001-4/3.0 Topics in Renaissance Literature I – Shakespeare's Plays

Term: fall

Instructor: Scott-Morgan Straker

Description: William Shakespeare’s plays are generally categorized in anthologies either as comedies, tragedies, or histories. Comedies and tragedies are pretty familiar, but what is a history play? How is a history play structured, and what purposes does it serve? Why might contemporary people have gone to see one, and why would they be performed today?

This course will focus primarily on a group of four linked plays, sometimes referred to as the Second Tetralogy, that Shakespeare wrote probably between 1595 and 1599: Richard II; Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V. These plays tell the story of a turbulent period in English history from 1399–1415, during which a king was deposed and murdered by his cousin, the new king had to survive rebellions and betrayals while his son had to prove himself to be a worthy successor, culminating in an ostensibly suicidal invasion of France that resulted in a stunning military victory. We will examine how each play selects events and characters from the historical sources to create a narrative that makes sense, allowing audiences to understand complex historical events in terms of plausible characters who do things for comprehensible reasons. We will also examine how these plays work together to tell a larger story about English nationhood and political power. The course will conclude with what was probably Shakespeare’s last play, Henry VIII, the only time Shakespeare ventures into the dangerous waters of recent history.

Requirements: One research essay, one short written assignment, one group presentation, participation, and a final exam.


ENGL 431 001-2/3.0 Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature – Gothic in Restoration and 18th Century Literature

Term: fall

Instructor: Leslie Ritchie

Description: This course examines the chilling delights and pleasing horrors of what came to be known as Gothic literature from its beginnings in the mid-eighteenth century. Key course texts will include novels such as The Castle of Otranto (Walpole), The Monk (Lewis), Northanger Abbey (Austen); selected poetry (Smith); essays, including “On the Pleasure Derived from Objects of Terror” (Aiken, Barbauld) and A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (Burke); plays such as The Castle Spectre (Lewis) and The Fatal Falsehood (More); and contemporary criticism.

Requirements: Course evaluation will include participation, a seminar, and a final research paper.


ENGL 441 001-5/3.0 Topics in Romanticism I – Romantic Elegiac Poetry

Term: fall

Instructor: Mark Jones

Description: This course uses the term “elegiac poetry” to include not only formal elegies and epitaphs but also outlying poems that are still about lament, consolation, and memorialization (poems such as Wordsworth’s “The Ruined Cottage” and “Intimations” Ode, Coleridge’s “Dejection,” Shelley’s Alastor, Keats’s Isabella, and even parts of Lord Byron’s Don Juan). The course examines Romantic writers’ practices in elegy and epitaph in connection with their explicit poetics (e.g., Wordsworth’s “Essays on Epitaphs”) and with their increasing tendency to refuse doctrinal consolation; it also asks why elegy spills over, in this period, into “elegiac” forms such as the self-elegiac ode and the anti-elegiac romance. 

Students may be interested in combining this course with ENGL 461 (“Literature and Culture Between the Wars”), which is largely about modern war elegy and memoir.

Requirements: Eighty-percent attendance is required to pass. Other requirements include regular preparation and participation, occasional reading quizzes, one individual or group seminar facilitation, two or three essays (2,500 words total), and a two-hour final exam.


ENGL 441 001-5/3.0 Topics in Romanticism I – Thomas De Quincey and the Literature of Addiction

Term: winter

Instructor: Robert Morrison

Description: This course examines Thomas De Quincey and his portraits of addiction and violence in works such as Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821) and On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts (1827; 1839; 1854). It then examines the ways in which De Quincey’s various self-representations are exploited, undermined, and appropriated in a series of texts, including Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), Arthur Conan Doyle’s Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892), Peter Ackroyd’s Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem (1994), and Carlyn Zwarenstein’s Opium Eater: The New Confessions (2016).

Requirements: The grade will be based on an essay, a final exam, class participation, and a series of unannounced quizzes.


ENGL 442 001-1/3.0 Topics in Romanticism II – Romanticism and the Visual

Term: fall

Instructor: Emma Rosalind Peacocke

Description: William Hone’s 1821 pamphlet, “The Political Showman,” concludes with an engraved image of repressive politicians cowering beneath the narrator’s gaze, and with the reassuring message that these ferocious creatures “cannot take a step beyond the reach of MY EYE” – the pupil of which is a printing press. Just as Hone makes vision inextricable from the written and printed word, this course will focus on Romantic literature and print culture’s imbrication in the visual – both in the visual arts and in ways of seeing and appreciating. Course texts will include illuminated books by William Blake, descriptive poetry by John Keats, William Wordsworth, and Felicia Hemans, passages from novels by Jane Austen, and visionary poems by Anna Laetitia Barbauld and Lord Byron. We will encounter less frequently taught authors like John Thelwall and John Clare, writers on the picturesque such as Uvedale Price, and illustrated books like the very funny Dr. Syntax’s Tour in Search of the Picturesque. Critics like John Barrell and Gillen D’Arcy Wood have established the political and social nature of Romantic vision, while more recent works by Elizabeth Fay, Christopher Rovee, and Sophie Thomas all use the idea of vision to establish the philosophical and ethical underpinnings of Romanticism. Note: “Romanticism and the Visual” will feature tours and seminars in the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the W.D. Jordan Library Special Collections.

Requirements: Reading Journal, Agnes Etherington Art Centre Short Assignment, W.D. Jordan Library Special Collections Short Assignment, Multi-stage Essay Assignment, In-Class Presentation and brief Written Report on In-Class Presentation.


ENGL 442 001-2/3.0 Topics in Romanticism II – Romantic Women Writers and the Cultural Context of the 1790s

Term: winter

Instructor: Shelley King

Description: This course takes as its focus women writers of the Romantic period [c. 1790-1830], with special emphasis on their relationship to contemporary ideology and market forces. We will explore topics ranging from the political thought of the Wollstonecraft-Godwin circle and the refiguring of Godwin's Political Justice in the fiction of Mary Hays and Amelia Opie, to the emergence of the Romantic construction of childhood and the concomitant rise of a market for literature for children dominated by women writers such as Maria Edgeworth, Eleanor Fenn, and Anna Letitia Barbauld.  Genres studied will include poetry, fiction, drama, and non-fiction prose.

Requirements: Essay (about 3,000 words--35%); seminar (15%); commonplace book (10%); Seminar participation (10%); and a Final exam (30%).


ENGL 451 001-1/3.0 Topics in Victorian Literature I – At Table with the Victorians: Nineteenth-Century Gastronomy and Food in Victorian Literature

Term: fall

Instructor: Heather Evans

Description: This course will offer an introduction to the history and literature of nineteenth-century gastronomy, the art of fine dining. Treating the long nineteenth century as a grand literary banquet, we will whet our appetites on gastronomic treatises by writers such as Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Grimod de la Reynière, William Kitchiner, Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, and Thomas Walker, and nibble our way through tasty essays, fiction and poems penned by both epicurean and abstemious writers, such as Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Lewis Carroll, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Sarah Grand. Along the way, we will snack on Victorian cookbooks and stir up issues such as vegetarianism, famine, the emergence of the restaurant, women cooks, tippling, temperance, and the importance of tea.

Requirements: One seminar presentation, one term paper, active participation, and a final exam.


ENGL 451 001-3/3.0 Topics in Victorian Literature I – Hooligans and Gutter Children of the Victorian Slums

Term: winter

Instructor: Sally Brooke Cameron

Description: This course will look at Victorian children’s literature on working-class poverty and slum reform. We will consider how the slum child’s body was contested ground for cultural reformers interested in ridding the nation of urban problems such as crime and chronic unemployment.  We will look at representations of cross-class friendships in works by LT Meade (The Princess of the Gutter) and Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist), and we will also discuss moral education and Christian redemption in fiction by Charles Kingsley (Water Babies) and the SPCK’s Sunday School books and temperance lit. The majority of class discussion and readings will focus on Victorian debates regarding the ethics of child education and salvation—questions about whom could be saved and how. We will compare novels by R. M. Ballantyne (Dusty Diamonds), Clarence Rook (The Hooligan Nights), and Arthur Morrison (A Child of the Jago) with non-fictional writings by Reginald Bray and CFG Masterman on Victorian youths and gang violence. Ideally, students will leave this class with an appreciation for Victorian children’s literature as a sophisticated participant in constructing modern economic and social subjectivities.

Requirements: Regular participation, a short group presentation, response papers, a final research paper, and a final exam.


ENGL 452 001-1/3.0 Topics in Victorian Literature II – Late Victorian Popular Fiction

Term: winter

Instructor: Chris Bongie

Description: Genre fiction as we understand it today (horror, romance, fantasy, science fiction, spy novels, etc.) first took shape in the closing decades of the nineteenth century, when the achievement of nearly universal literacy in Britain paved the way for a new mass readership and the consolidation of perceived boundaries between “high” and “low” culture. This seminar course provides an introduction to late Victorian popular fiction, examining the work of several bestselling authors such as George du Maurier (Trilby) and Marie Corelli (Ziska), as well as surveying a range of genres that gained prominence in the 1890s, such as detective fiction (notably, Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four), horror fiction (Richard Marsh’s The Beetle), and science fiction (H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds). Readings will also include a selection of literary and cultural criticism from the period that will provide students with a sense of the material conditions in which authors of the late Victorian period worked.

Requirements: Two minor (3 page) research assignments; one (8-10 page) essay; one final exam; class participation & excellent attendance.


ENGL 461 001-1/3.0 Topics in Modern/Contemporary British Literature I – War Literature Between the Wars: Elegies and Memoirs of the First World War and the Spanish Civil War

Term: winter

Instructor: Patricia Rae

Description: This seminar will concentrate on an important strain in the literature and culture in Britain between the First and Second World Wars (1919-1939). Its focus will be on examples of the elegy and the memoir, two important genres in an era marked by a “boom in sorrow” (W.H. Auden.)

In the first half of the course, we’ll think about the discourses of consolation deployed during the First World War and in its aftermath, starting with some poetic elegies. We’ll then turn to some poetic anti-elegies whose aim is to disrupt or prevent consolation. We’ll then turn to two famous war memoirs by Siegfried Sassoon and Vera Brittain, once again asking how these texts process, and model a response to, loss. In the course of our discussions we’ll study certain key concepts for the study of elegy, mourning, memory (both personal and collective), public monuments, and commemorative ceremonies.

In the second half of the term, we’ll begin asking questions about what happened to the consolatory (and anti-consolatory) discourses of World War I as the 1930s progressed and Fascism became a mounting threat in Europe. In this context, we’ll focus mainly on some poems and memoirs from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), a conflict widely regarded as a dress-rehearsal for the world-wide confrontation with Fascism in World War II. This conflict was a very different one from World War I – for British volunteers who supported the Spanish Government, a cause not recognized by their own government back at home. Looking at a parallel set of texts to those we’ve looked at from World War I, including two more war memoirs by male and female writers (George Orwell and Nan Green), we’ll ask what difference it makes to these texts that the cause was an “unofficial” one. Our study of this war’s writings will culminate in a wider reflection on war and “collective memory”: on the institutions that reinforce the memory of certain wars and not others.

Requirements: One group seminar, one research paper, final exam.


ENGL 466 001-7/3.0 Topics in Modern/Contemporary Canadian Literature I – Diaspora Writing in Toronto

Term: fall

Instructor: Heather Macfarlane

Description: Diaspora literature refers to works by authors who have left their ancestral homelands, voluntarily or otherwise, to make their homes elsewhere. As the most culturally diverse city in the world, Toronto is home to many immigrant writers who examine, directly or indirectly, the relationships of their respective communities to the urban Canadian community and landscape they encounter. Using Toronto as a platform from which to examine the similarities and differences between the texts and the experiences of the various authors or narrators in question, this course will study questions of displacement and cultural belonging. We will also consider what some refer to as Indigenous diaspora literature—works by Indigenous authors who have been displaced from their traditional territories within what we call Canada.

Requirements: May include seminar, image report, regular participation, essay, exam.


ENGL 467 001-2/3.0 Topics in Modern/Contemporary Canadian Literature I – Language, Culture & Politics: Words in Place: Settler and Indigenous Stories of Kingston/Cataraqui

Term: fall

Instructor: Laura Murray

Description: In this course, students will read and write in a deeply personal and local way, examining their own relation to the colonial history of Kingston and by extension Canada. The course will engage with the Indigenous history of Kingston via archival materials and community conversations, and by analogy to other places in Canada where Indigenous and settler discourses of “heritage” may be at odds. We will also reflect on our own personal relationships to the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory on which Queen’s sits, provoked and inspired by literary examples. In collaboration with graduate students in an Indigenous Public Art course, we will experiment with modes of inscribing or reinscribing the land, and practice unsettling writing about specific places, their inhabitants, and their histories. Thus this course is partly theory, partly creative writing, partly Canadian literature, and partly Indigenous literature. Students with backgrounds and interests in any of those areas are most warmly invited to join it. While as an advanced course in the Department of English the course has prerequisites, requests to waive those will be entertained in cases where a student can demonstrate other appropriate experience or knowledge.

Requirements: The course is based on active participation. Assignments will include journalling and writing in various genres, and a final group project in public space with an accompanying individual analytical or reflective component.


ENGL 476 001-1/3.0 Topics in Postcolonial Literatures I – Terra Australis: An Introduction to Australian Literature and Culture

Term: winter

Instructor: Asha Varadharajan

Description: Convicts, crocodile hunters, celebrity couples, kangaroos, and colourful slang....  Crikey!  Surely there's more to the land down under than meets the eye (or mouth that savours Foster's beer)!  This course traces the complex and contentious formation of Australian national culture in and through an eclectic selection of significant literary and cinematic works.  Some effort will be made to include art, music, and documentary film in our reflections on the shaping of Australian identity, socio-political and environmental concerns, and moral and cultural values.  These works probe, with both irreverence and insight, the "anxious proximities" of  settler and aborigine, including the founding of the nation as a penal colony, the colonial manifestations of gothic, romance, and adventure in tales, parables, and fables, the tropes of mateship, "the bush," and "the dreaming", the fantasy of "the white nation" and the meaning of tolerance,  the cultural cringe, and the antipodean I/eye. Some of the authors and poets under scrutiny are Marcus Clarke, Katharine Susannah Prichard, Henry Handel Richardson, Christos Tsiolkas, Sally Morgan, Christina Stead, Louis Stone, Jessica Anderson, Judith Wright, and Rohan Wilson. We will trace the representation of aboriginal culture, epistemology, and history in films such as Rabbit-Proof Fence, Walkabout, Samson and Delilah,; pair films such as Romper Stomper with Stone's Jonah or consider films such as Gallipoli and My Brother Jack  to explore urban violence and war and masculinity respectively;  consider adaptations of Tsiolkas'  Loaded and The Slap to reflect on class, ethnicity, the family, misogyny, and sexuality; examine The Chaser’s War on Everything among other examples of humour and anarchy on the Australian scene. 

Requirements: Evaluation will be based on assigned and voluntary participation, reaction pieces or journal entries, and a major research project using the resources of visual, aural/oral, and digital cultures.


ENGL 476 001-3/3.0 Topics in Postcolonial Literatures I – Zombies: A Post/Colonial History

Term: fall

Instructor: Chris Bongie

Description: Zombies are everywhere these days: as Sarah Juliet Lauro puts it in her recent The Transatlantic Zombie: Slavery, Rebellion, and Living Death (2015), “the zombie has been ubiquitous, ‘cultural common coin’… in the past decade.” As Lauro goes on to caution, the figure of the zombie “has been so prevalent in the entertainment of North Americans that the fact that the majority remain unaware of its extraordinary postcolonial significance indicates a surprising (if not malicious) cultural blind spot.” The purpose of this seminar course is to address that blind spot by restoring the walking dead to their original Caribbean context (the Haitian revolution and its aftermath) and then tracing the history of their appropriation by North American popular culture—a history that dates from the time of the U.S. Occupation of Haiti (1915-34). In charting the genealogy of the zombie, we will be guided in great part by Roger Luckhurst’s informative and accessible Zombies: A Cultural History (2015), which we will be reading in its entirety over the course of the semester. After an introductory unit examining “colonial gothic” and the ways in which Haitian culture (and notably, Vaudou) were portrayed in literature from before and during the U.S. Occupation, we will look at specific points of transmission through which, in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s the zombie entered into “our” popular culture, notably through pulp fiction (in magazines such as Weird Tales), films (such as White Zombie and I Walked with a Zombie), and horror comics (such as Voodoo) that helped solidify the myth. After this genealogical journey, we will move on to the present, focusing on a handful of Caribbean and African American novels—such as Erna Brodber’s Myal (1988), Colson Whitehead’s Zone One (2011), or Pedro Cabiya’s Wicked Weeds (2016)—that rework the figure of the zombie in ways which contest the racialized assumptions of mainstream North American popular culture: Although we will not have time for in-class study of more familiar manifestations of present-day zombie culture (video games, television serials, literary mash-ups of the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies genre, etc.), the main writing assignment for this course will be a research paper in which students are asked to write about any aspect of contemporary zombie culture that is of particular interest to them.

Requirements (provisional): One 8-12 page research paper; quizzes (on Luckhurst’s book); 3-hour final examination; some minor homework/in-class assignments; class participation & excellent attendance.


ENGL 481 001-5/3.0 Topics in Indigenous Literatures I – Transnational Perspectives

Term: fall

Instructor: Armand Ruffo

Description: Contrary to what current political leaders may advocate, the information age has made borders porous. Information cannot be contained. What were once national interests have become transnational. This seminar will examine a selection of contemporary literature by Indigenous authors from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. In considering the themes and aesthetics of these texts in light of cultural and historical specificity, we will look for linkages between the texts and consider how they have moved beyond national borders and “speak to each other,” facilitating and advancing common interests and goals. Issues such as disempowerment, trauma, resistance, nationhood, representation, gender, land and the environment, along with aesthetic concerns related to language and culture will be discussed.

Requirements: seminar, exam, essay, article review, and participation.


ENGL 482 001-3/3.0 Topics in Indigenous Literatures II – Contemporary North American Indigenous Literatures

Term: winter

Instructor: Petra Fachinger

Description: This seminar examines contemporary Aboriginal and Native American literatures. We will study the themes, aesthetics, and politics of novels, short stories, poetry, and plays written in English. While close attention will be given to territorial, tribal, national, and cultural diversity, as well as the heterogeneity of the texts, pan-Indigenous approaches will be considered where appropriate. We will discuss textual and theoretical approaches to topics such as appropriation; residential schools and intergenerational trauma; resurgence, activism, and decolonization; urban indigeneity and contemporary identities; gender and sexuality; and the environment. We might include texts by Sherman Alexie, Jeannette Armstrong, Cherie Dimaline, Louise Erdrich, Melanie Florence, Naomi Fontaine, Joy Harjo, Linda Hogan, Falen Johnson, Lenore Keeshig, Thomas King, Lee Maracle, Eden Robinson, Leslie Silko, Leanne Simpson, and Drew Hayden Taylor.

Requirements: TBA


ENGL 486 001-5/3.0 Group III Special Topics I – Travel Writing

Term: winter

Instructor: Yaël Schlick

Description: Travelogues seem rife with disappointment.  Consider Martha Gellhorn’s disaster journey to Kastelli, Crete: “I was seized by the idea of this book [Travels with Myself and Another], she writes, “while sitting on a rotten little beach at the western tip of Crete, flanked by a waterlogged shoe and a rusty potty.  Around me, the litter of our species.”  Geoff Dyer puts a somewhat more positive spin on disappointment by thinking of his enormous capacity for it as an achievement:  “The devastating scale and frequency of my disappointment,” he writes, is “proof of how much I still expected and wanted from the world, of what high hopes I still had of it.”  Such de-idealized descriptions of travel experience make one wonder why we travel at all, what propels us to visit distant places?  Conversely, what do those of us who stay put but read about other people’s journeys seek to experience vicariously through such accounts? This course on twentieth century travel writing will tackle such questions.  It will also explore important shifts and changes in the writing of twentieth-century travel narratives, examine the boundary between travel writing and fiction, consider the political potential of the travelogue and the rise of tourism, and discuss the relevance of gender to travel and travel writing.  Writers studied will likely include Emily Carr, J.M. Synge, Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, Robin Davidson, Julio Cortázar & Carol Dunlop, Sara Wheeler, and Geoff Dyer.

Requirements: Coursework includes seminar presentations and participation in class discussions, quizzes, a term essay and a final exam.


ENGL 487 001-4/3.0 Group III: Special Topics II – Energy/Literature

Term: fall

Instructor:  Brent Ryan Bellamy

Description: To what extent does contemporary literature tell the story of energy dependence? From the petrocarbons used in agricultural goods and smart phones to the fossil-fuel-reliant modes of shipping that deliver those goods, the modern world bursts with energy. How then do modern and contemporary modes of literature engage the subject of fossil fuels, nuclear power, or renewable energy? Using emerging critical work from energy humanities and looking at drama, long-form and short-form fiction, travelogue, and poetry, this course will study the indelible impact of energy culture on the development of selfhood, literary culture, and politics in the 20th and 21st century.

Requirements: Evaluation will be based on a combination of major in-class group projects, individual seminar presentations, a research paper, attendance and participation.


ENGL 487 001-3/3.0 Group III: Special Topics II – Speculative Fiction

Term: winter

Instructor: Glenn Willmott

Description: Why are contemporary writers breaking down boundaries between serious literature, future fantasy, and science fiction? No doubt, our everyday world is becoming more “science fictional” than ever, with a luxurious and risky permeation of our lives and futures by technology and manufactured environments, and with a morally and spiritually bewildering storm of scientific and technologically mediated knowledge about nature and about ourselves. How do we live safely and happily, writer Charles Yu has asked, in such a world? Writers of all kinds can no longer avoid this question. Using SF theory as a foundation, and looking at both genre speculative fiction and canonically literary fiction, we will study the impact of modern knowledge of natural history, natural sciences, and technology on the literary imagination of selfhood, morality, love, and politics. This is an evening course.

Requirements: Evaluation based on a combination of major in-class group projects, individual seminar presentations, a research paper, attendance and participation.


ENGL 489 001-3/3.0 Group III: Special Topics II – Hockey[,] Literature and Canadian Myths of Nation

Term: winter

Instructor: Sam McKegney

Description: The game of hockey has a steady grip on the Canadian national imaginary. According to literary scholar Jason Blake, “hockey envelops us like second-hand smoke, and, some would argue, it is just as dangerous because it beclouds other cultural options or more serious issues” (4). The game has been conceived as a breeding ground for social cohesion and civic virtue, as a source of national unity and pride, and, in poet Richard Harrison’s words, as a tool with which to make meaning out of winter. Yet the dominant mythologies that paint hockey as binding Canadians both to each other and to the landscape they inhabit serve simultaneously to entrench often problematic paradigms of gender, sexuality, race, and language that exclude as well as include. This course interrogates the role of hockey in supporting and disrupting discourses of Canadian nationhood; it examines how depictions of the country’s national winter sport serve to police Canadian identity by characterizing certain behaviours and traits as licit and desirable and others as illicit and aberrant. We will consider topics like gender, sexuality, nationalism, embodiment, play, mentorship, economics, regionalism, environmentalism, militarism, and violence by studying novels, poetry, life-writings, media representations, song lyrics, and films in which hockey plays a significant role.

Requirements: Oral Presentation, Close-Reading Assignment, Essay, and Exam.


ENGL 496 001-1/3.0 Topics in Literary Interpretation I – Reading Subjectivity

Term: winter

Instructor: Maggie Berg

Description: Most of us believe we have an essential, or core, self, but poststrucuralist theory challenges this idea. We will examine and consider the implications of a selection of theorists who maintain that the “individual” is a function of language and ideology. We will focus on how ideology, surveillance and normative social codes construct us as sexual and social beings. We will then examine two recent novels in the light of the theory.   
We will examine selections from the work of Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Judith Butler, and others. The fiction will probably include: Dave Eggers The Circle (2104), and Kathleen Winter, Annabel (2010).

Requirements: Assessment will be based on a presentation of discussion questions, a term paper, and a final examination. 


ENGL 590 001/3.0 Senior Essay

For details please see ENGL 590/3.0: Senior Essay.

Online Courses Summer 2017


ENGL 100 700/6.0 Introduction to Literary Study (CDS)

Term: summer

Instructor: Robert May

Description: This English course introduces you to the four main literary genres: fiction, poetry, drama, and the essay. It is also designed to improve your writing skills, and to develop your knowledge of literary terms and critical techniques as a foundation for further literary study. Why study literary genre? “We need poems and stories and novels and plays, as well as essays,” replies the great American writer Scott Russell Sanders. “Each genre offers us paths through the dark woods of this life, and we need all the paths we can find.”

Requirements: Essay 1, 10%; Essay 2, 10%; Essay 3, 15%; Essay 4, 15%; Close Reading Forums, 15%; 1 Live Online Symposium, 5%; Final Proctored Exam, 30%


ENGL 215 700/6.0 (CDS)

Term: summer

Instructor: Robert May

Description: A survey of Canadian literature in English from its beginnings to the contemporary period. Readings will include poetry, short fiction and nonfiction, as well as novels from various eras; authors to be studied may include Moodie, Atwood, Klein, Richler, Callaghan, Ondaatje, Laurence, Munro, Brand, and King.

Requirements: Online Discussions 10%; 4 Essays (10% each) 40%; Micropedia Article 10%; Symposium 10%; Proctored Final Exam 30%. **Evaluation subject to change**