ENGL 501 Methodologies: Critical Theory | Dr. Melissa Jacques
Course Description: In keeping with the theme of the English MA, this iteration of ENGL 501 will focus on critical theories of place and space. The course will be divided into three sections. In Section One, we will read canonical twentieth-century texts on space and place by such writers as Walter Benjamin, Gaston Bachelard, Henri Lefebvre, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault. In Section Two, we will focus on largely feminist contributions to this canon by Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, and Jacqueline Rose. In Section Three, we will focus on space and place through the lenses of post-humanism, new-materialism, Indigenous Studies, and Black Studies. Readings will include work by such writers as Donna Haraway, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Tracey Lindberg, Saidiya Hartman, and Christina Sharpe. Throughout the term, we will supplement the theories under discussion with a range of cultural texts and contexts including, but not limited to, graffiti, memorials, public parks, public assemblies, and tent cities. In other words, we will work to bridge the alleged distance between theory and praxis by bringing these into dynamic relation.
English 503 Practices in the Profession of Literary Studies and Related Disciplines | Dr. Aisha Ravindran
Course Description: The first half of this course is designed to provide learners with core skills in teaching. In coordination with the Centre for Teaching and Learning and FCCS faculty members, sessions will address equity practices, class design, discussion strategies, writing and critiquing exercises, and grading. Students will be given the opportunity to design and deliver short lessons in their field of expertise and will receive constructive feedback on their teaching. The second half of the course will familiarize scholars in Literary Studies with the profession’s expectations, practices, and responsibilities. Topics will include the teaching dossier, conference presentations, research strategies, the proposal and thesis/ research project, publication, and employment. The course will also offer information on and encourage attendance at workshops on applying for funding. Class discussions are intended to provide a forum for reflection on the professional opportunities and challenges that exist within graduate studies. Textbook: Kathy M. Nomme and Carol Pollock. (2022). The Successful TA: A Practical Approach to Effective Teaching. UBC Press.
ENGL 521B Feminist Forerunners: Early Modern Women’s Literature and Contemporary Theory | Dr. Margaret Reeves
Course Description: This course will examine the relationship between modern feminist thought and what could be called the “proto-feminist” thought of early modern women. The approach is both comparative and historical, in that we will read a selection of texts by seventeenth-century women writers and compare their ideas about gender, female subjectivity, race, and class to those found in modern feminist theory. Can early modern women writers, despite their very different social and historical circumstances and perspectives, be counted as feminist forerunners? Is feminism itself primarily a modern movement, or does it have a longer history than is often acknowledged? In what ways do the social and historical contexts in which a woman writes shape her ability to understand, challenge, and navigate social injustice and systemic oppression? Reading texts written during the seventeenth century (1600-1700) alongside selections by modern feminist thinkers such as Judith Butler, Donna Haraway Bell Hooks, Genevieve Lloyd, and Trinh T. Minh-ha will enable this comparison between early modern proto-feminism and modern feminist thought. We will investigate both the commonalities as well as important differences in women’s writing during these distinct historical periods. Possible areas of inquiry include the politics of literary and theoretical canons; representations of female subjectivity, sexuality, same-sex desire; and strategies used by feminist and proto-feminist thinkers to actively contest restrictive cultural and social codes.
ENGL 521T Fiction and Science: Animal Alterity | Dr. Jodey Castricano
Course Description: Everywhere in popular culture today, one finds deep‐rooted anxieties about science, technology, and the fate of the human. Thus, in recent films such as The Fly, Jurassic Park, Splice, Species, Godzilla, and Deep Blue Sea, the focus has been on biological mutations, experiments gone awry, and the creation of monstrosities in regards animals often as chimeric beings. Already, science has genetically engineered mice, cows, and pigs to use in research involving xenotransplantation, raising animals to transfer organs from one species to another, while de-extinction research is involved in the aim to clone a wooly mammoth. Yet the use of animals in contemporary society and biomedical and technological research is increasingly invisible: they are hidden away in laboratories and factory farms, weaponized in military applications and instrumentalized in other context all the while their mediated and idealized forms appear on Animal Planet or National Geographic television, but purged from city geographies. This course aims to bring constructive criticism to the use of animals in scientific contexts and will engage with this issue by considering the role of literature (and, possibly film) in determining an alternative truth of animal existence in relation to the official discourse of science which recounts their experiences primarily as objects in an anthropocentric world. In contrast to this world view, a differently-centered story can be told in literature, which enables us imaginatively to engage with the question of the animal’s place in philosophical systems and, therefore, calling into question what it means to be human. We will explore these issues in novels such as Wilkie Collins’ Heart and Science, H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr Moreau, Richard Adams’ The Plague Dogs and Don LePan’s Lucy and Bonbon, all of which raise extremely important ethical and philosophical issues regarding other animals and science.
ENGL 522C 18th Century Novel | Dr. Oliver Lovesey
Course Description: This course examines the beginnings of the realistic novel and its development from Haywood, Behn, and Defoe to Austen, emphasizing changes in formal narrative features and the novel’s engagement with social, historical, and cultural matters.
ENGL 523T Canadian Poetry & the Digital Archive | Dr. Karis Shearer
Course Description: TBA
ENGL 524E Individual Author Studies – CHAUCER | Dr. Martin Blum
Course Description: This course examines the diverse themes, genres, and voices of Chaucer’s unfinished Canterbury Tales. Chaucer’s Tales allow its readers a unique glimpse into the society and culture of late medieval England and the negotiation of its values, issues, and anxieties. A brief introduction to Middle English – the language of Chaucer – allows us to read the original medieval text with the help of a detailed glossary. Particular emphasis will be on Chaucer’s development of the narrative voice of both, himself, and that of his individual narrator-characters in order to discover the diverse themes, genres, and perspectives in his Tales.The format of this course will be based on lectures and discussions. Individual background topics that will be explored in seminar presentations. Tentative Reading List: Geoffrey Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales Complete. 2nd Ed. Robert Boering and Andrew Taylor. Peterborough, On.: Broadview, 2012. Please note: The complete Broadview edition of the Canterbury Tales has been selected as it covers also the minor tales discussed in class.
ENGL 525N Drag and Pop Culture | Dr. Cameron Crookston
Course Description: This course examines the evolution of drag as a queer cultural practice and form of popular entertainment over the last century. Drawing on examples from live performance, film, and television, classes will examine the relationship between drag and queer subcultures, mainstream representation of queerness, and trans visibility in the media. In particular we will consider the relationship between contemporary interest in drag and earlier historic instances of mainstream interest in drag. We will also consider how drag intersects with queer politics, the evolution of LGBTQ2+ communities, identity politics, and various sociopolitical influences. Readings draw on media studies, theatre history, queer theory, culturally and trans studies scholarship. Tentative Reading List: Selections from: Marlon Bailey. Butch queens up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit. University of Michigan Press, 2013. Mark Edward and Stephen Farrier. Contemporary Drag Practices and Performers. Methuen, 2020. Jack Halberstam. Female Masculinity. Duke University Press, 1998. Susan Stryker. Transgender History. Seal Publishing, 2008.
ENGL 531A Place and Power | Dr. Allison Hargreaves
Course Description: This course explores the primacy of place in contemporary Indigenous literatures and theory. Beginning with the premise that “Stories take place,” (Womack, Art as Performance 44), the course approaches place not from a thematic or setting-based perspective, but as a methodological precept and philosophical underpinning of Indigenous literary arts. Vanessa Watts (Mohawk/Anishinaabe) employs the concept of “Place-Thought” as a way to describe this “theoretical understanding of the world”—one in which “land is alive and thinking and [where] humans and non-humans derive agency through the extensions of these thoughts” (“Indigenous Place-thought” 21). Our task is to be curious about how literature represents and practices this aliveness—this agency—as a core mediating presence in relations between humans, land, and other non-human people. To that end, we will ask: how might literature help us to hear the thoughts that place is thinking? By what methods—literary and otherwise—might we best train our listening skills? What are the implications of this approach for our relationships with the non-human world? And what does place ask of us as readers, writers, storytellers, students, and dreamers?