Introduction to College English

Students whose placement scores suggest that they need more help with their reading and writing will be placed in Composition and Literature. English 101 is intended to help students develop the critical abilities they need at the college level. Although the content of various sections vary somewhat, all emphasize writing skills and reading comprehension.

If you do not receive notification of placement, register for a course from the Literature section below.

Composition and Literature Courses
INTRODUCTION TO COLLEGE ENGLISH: VOICES ADMIDST ADVERSITY

Like most good stories, conflict and growth are central to the history of humanity civilization. Moreover, individuals caught up in this greater drama have shared the insights of their individual journeys through oral and written expression. In this way, voices of past and present adversities pass on individual experiences of downfall and victory, folly and wisdom, anguish and hope as fertilizer for the enrichment of others. If, as individuals, we are able to find transcendence amidst adversity, then we can contribute to our collective hope for the positive transformation of our world. In this course, we will read and listen to voices of adversity in a variety of literary genres such as memoir, argumentative speech, short fiction, film and poetry.

RITES, PASSAGES AND OTHER TRANSFORMATIONS

Within a broadly defined theme of transformation (initiation, rite of passage, coming of age, and other variations on character transformation), this course will introduce you to literature through a variety of accessible texts including a novel, short stories, non-fiction prose, and film. You will acquire an understanding of basic technical literary terms, learn tools for successful close readings of texts, analyze the techniques and devices used to construct a work of literature, and learn how to make use of effective writing strategies in your own analytical response essays.

SHORT STORIES, POEMS, AND THE NOVEL

In this course we will read three genres in American literature: short stories, poems, and a novel. Edgar Allan Poe, Kate Chopin, Eudora Welty, and Kurt Vonnegut will introduce us to Gothic Romanticism, turn of the (nineteenth) century feminism, racial discrimination during the segregation era, and a dystopian view on equality. We will look at a number of poems including Edgar Allan Poe’s – The Raven, Emily Dickinson’s – Because I could not stop for death, Native American writer Louise Erdrich’s, Dear John Wayne, and Beatnik Gregory Corso’s Bomb. The novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald will allow us to dip into the prohibition era and Jazz Age of the American 1920s. Three film screenings will also be included. We will look at the sociohistorical contexts of these works and their place in literary history, as well as the literary devices that make them unique works of art. Much emphasis will be put on writing exercises that will contribute to sharpen your analytical skills and capability to write effective responses to texts.


Literature Courses
THE AMERICAN SOUTH & OTHER SITES OF INJUSTICE

In this course we will read three genres of literature: short stories, poems, and plays. Short stories will span the nineteenth to twenty-first century and include realism, American gothic fiction, and a look at contemporary Canadian fiction. We will read poems from the time of Blake and Keats to the Contemporary period in Canada and the US. Finally, we will read two plays: Susan Glaspell’s Trifles and Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. In our analysis of these works we will pay attention to the basic elements of short fiction, poetry, and drama, such as plot, character, setting, point of view, rhythm, rhyme and symbolism. We will also explore their ideas and themes, and look at the position of these works in their literary and social contexts. Much emphasis will be placed on writing exercises that will contribute to sharpen your analytical skills and capability to write effective responses to texts.

AS SIMPLE (OR COMPLEX) AS ABC

This course is designed to introduce students into elements of fiction within three major genres: prose (through a selection of short stories), poetry (through a representative sample of formally diverse poems), and drama (with the help of seeing, discussing and analyzing a classical, medieval and contemporary play). In engaging with these literary texts, students are expected to acquire techniques of research, note taking, outlining and essay writing with a clarity of expression and a coherence of thought. By the end of the course, students will have acquired not only a certain familiarity with major forms of literature, but also a better appreciation of it.

BROKEN ORDERS

In Charles Baudelaire’s poem “The Bad Glazier”, the narrator, frustrated with his mundane life in a dirty city, throws a flower pot from his window, watching it shatter violently into pieces as he shouts: “Make life beautiful! Make life beautiful!” According to Baudelaire, this act of destruction generated creativity. The dropping of the flower pot, as metaphor for the disturbance of social stability, is the theme that guides this course: we will study texts which examine both the creative and destructive consequences of broken social orders.

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

There are hundreds of variations of the fairy-tale “Cinderella”. This course seeks to discover what it is about this story and others like it that resonates so strongly with people of varying ages, cultures, and backgrounds. Students in this class will learn to analyze classic children’s fairy-tales, poems, and novels from a variety of program-specific perspectives. That is, we will practice thinking critically about children’s stories as literature (uncovering symbolism, rhetorical devices, and poetic effects) and as world texts (considering each story’s connections to history, education, psychology, religion, and commerce). The creative project and final essay will, in particular, encourage the student to relate the fiction studied to his/her own career interests.

CLOSE READING

This first-semester English course will help students develop practical college-level skills in reading comprehension, literary analysis, oral communication, and written expression. We will learn to read attentively, to identify the techniques/devices writers use to affect understanding, to consider literal and connotative meanings, to engage in open discussions about the readings, and to write an organized thesis-driven essay. Students can expect to read works of literature taken from different historical periods and cultural locations.

COMPOSITION AND LITERATURE

This course will introduce students to reading and writing at college level. Together, throughout the term, we will work on thinking and writing about literature at the college level. This course will allow us to explore three literary genres and write two college level essays—in stages and via organized revising and editing activities. We will read a selection of short fiction, poetry, and a play. I will help you articulate in clear, correct English composition as you learn to read a variety of literature on various topics. Students will learn to use the terms and forms they may find useful for future literature courses, and we will work on the construction of a college level essay. By the end of the term, successful students will be able to analyze literature and write a 750-word literary essay.

CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN LITERATURE

The objective of this course is to examine works of American literature and develop connections, both orally and in writing, to the culture and history surrounding their publication. Themes such as the “American Dream,” “identity,” “race” and experimental literary forms will be reflected by many of the texts we will read. Throughout the term there will be an emphasis on the distinction between critical expression, as opposed to paraphrastic writing; and the provision of practical and mechanical tools to develop this critical expression.

DARK FICTION

Though we like to think of ourselves as the most highly evolved species on the planet, we are constantly confronted with the fact that we are also capable of shockingly violent, animalistic acts. The aim of this course is to examine the ways in which writers choose to portray the darker side of human nature. In order to do so, we will examine such topics as vengeance, madness, violence and self-destruction in order to address both the ways in which writers deal with humanity‘s dark side and the ideas these writers are attempting to communicate to their audience(s).

THE DESTRUCTION OF WORLDS AND WORDS: FROM THE ABSURD TO THE POSTMODERN

How does literature generate meaning? What happens when language itself is rendered unstable? What if silence speaks louder than words and meaning is primarily conveyed through subtext? ‘The Destruction of Words and Worlds’ focuses on postwar European and North American literary works and is intended as an introduction to various forms of modern and postmodern literature. Students will examine and write about short stories, plays, and poems. Great emphasis will be placed on students acquiring good skills in critical thinking, proper expression, and effective strategies for writing college level essays.

DIGGING DEEPER

“Introduction to College English” is the entry-level course in which students learn to read, analyze and write about literary works at the college level. This course exposes students to the genres of short stories, essays, poetry and a novel. Students learn the basic principles of analysis through lectures, discussion, and practice in writing. Grammar and composition form the backbone of the course, which is expanded through study of the variety of writing styles provided in the selected texts. Students are encouraged to bring their own experience and individual style to the work at hand.

THE DREAMSCAPE

The dream in literature can work as a plot device, as a portal into a character’s inner world, or as a contemplation of an alternative, topsy-turvy modality. Some poets suggest that dreams are a creative response to the world, as where Shakespeare writes that we “are such stuff as dreams are made on.” Our work in this introduction to college English is devoted to poetry, drama, and other fictional texts where dreams and dreaming are significant. The writing assignments include analytical essays, journal responses, and some creative responses in which the writer works with his or her own dreams.

ENGLISH EXPRESS
Strong literacy skills are an essential ingredient for success in education, as well as in life. This course will help students develop their reading, writing, and critical thinking abilities. It will also introduce students to three literary genres and to a number of well-known authors. The emphasis will be on learning to write a successful literary analysis. The train metaphor of the title is a reference to the journey-like nature of the course: we move fast and cover a lot of terrain. Students who embrace the ride and put in a lot of effort are rewarded by arriving in a place where they can confidently deal with the demands of college level English.
ENGLISH IN MANY TONGUES

English is spoken in many countries across this planet. Voiceless people are now using the English language to create an evolving global culture. The new literature is refreshing ― and often controversial. This introductory course will focus on minority poets, dramatists, fiction and non-fiction writers who deal with social issues that arise from being “different”.

EPISTOLARY WRITING

This course is designed as a writing-intensive introduction to the analysis of poetry and prose, with a special emphasis on the form and representation of the letter. With the aim of improving our skills as readers and writers, we will work with a variety of texts from different traditions and periods, most of which feature the letter as a part of the form of the work or as a thematic representation. The writing assignments for the course include analytical essays, journal responses, some creative work, and an anonymous correspondence with a member of another section of 101. The calendar of readings includes short fiction (Unit 1), poetry (Unit 2), the novel (Unit 3), and Shakespeare’s drama (Unit 4).

FAMILY TIES

This entry level course introduces students to think, talk and write about literature at the college level. The literary pieces include short stories and a novel (or a play) on the themes of family and filial relationships. These reading materials aim to initiate students into the experiences of beauty, pleasure, imagination, and ethical reflection that are inherent in encounters with cultural and literary expressions.

FICTION, DRAMA AND POETRY

In this course we will read fiction, drama and poetry. The examples chosen will demonstrate the basic tools and concepts involved in understanding literature. Students will write a number of short essays based on the readings in order to develop their understanding of literature and improve their writing ability as a practical skill.

GOLDEN AGE

The early modern period (1500-1660) has been heralded as a “golden age” of English literature. Together we will investigate what made this time so remarkable, engaging our literary past with an eye toward improving our writing in the present. This class prepares students for college-level essays through writing workshops that provide a foundation for success: essay structure, critical vocabulary, organization techniques, and thesis formation. This class will also introduce students to defining examples of multiple genres (poetry, prose, and drama). Together we will question how this culture in flux in many ways anticipates our modern experience. Class time will include discussion, lecture, games, group work, films, performance, and close-reading.

GROWING PAINS

Prepare to enter the rough and tumble and sometimes sweet journeys of ‘growing pains.’ At some stage in life, everyone experiences growing pains though, arguably, the toughest times seem to be the teenage and early adult years. Usually with growing pains come loss of innocence, anxiety, transformation, and sometimes—though not always—wiser ways. This course looks at texts that engage with the trials, pains, and joys of growing up too fast or too slow, or refusing to grow up at all. The works that students will engage with explore topics experienced by many youth: family dysfunction, religious beliefs and conflict, sex, depression, death, substance abuse, friendship, gender, forms of discrimination, and of course, love and heartbreak. Some questions we will explore: Can we claim to understand or share similar experiences? What are the costs of youthful rebellion and conformity? And, what of those youth trapped by circumstances beyond their control—what recourse do they have, if any? What are the ways of dealing with the aches and pains that bring positive growth?

HEROIC JOURNEYS

Why are some people emotionally and intellectually affected by the image of the hero in pop culture, literature, and movies? What is a hero, anyway? Is it someone who gains admiration through courage and strength, or is it someone who influences others intellectually? Is it a person who remains self-serving or someone whose actions benefit others? Is a hero always a law-abiding citizen or can it be a rebel who is willing to rock the collective boat in order to affect a change in behavior and thinking? In order to address these questions effectively, this course will introduce students to the heroic journey as an archetypal motif of storytelling. Students will read sample works of literature that cover several literary genres, including fiction, drama, and verse. One recurring question we will ask ourselves is: How does the idea of the journey help us to simultaneously construct and challenge an understanding of what constitutes heroism? Students will learn to apply active reading strategies and to put into practice the methods of analysis learned in the classroom.

HOUSE AND HOME

This introductory course will challenge its students to read, write, and think critically. It will explore the ways that our physical houses and concepts of home work together to shape personal and communal identities. Students will read works from a variety of literary genres, including film, as they examine how authors employ the elements of fiction to bring meaning to their texts.

HOW TO DO THINGS WITH WORDS

This course will introduce students to the study of English at the college level: we will read good writing, think about it, talk about it, and express those thoughts in writing. More importantly, the course will introduce students to some of the strategies and techniques that help make written communication effective, artful, and even pleasurable.

HOW TO READ SHORT STORIES, POEMS AND NOVELS

In this course we will read three genres of literature: short stories, poems, and a novel. Short stories will span the nineteenth to twenty-first century and include realism, gothic romanticism, and science fiction. We will look at poems from the time of Shakespeare to the Contemporary period. We will read one twentieth century novel, The Enormous Room, by e.e.cummings. In our analysis of these works we will pay attention to the basic elements of short fiction, poetry, and the novel, such as plot, character, setting, point of view, rhythm, and rhyme. We will equally explore their ideas and themes, and look at the position of these works in their literary and social contexts. Much emphasis will be put on writing exercises that will contribute to sharpen your analytical skills and capability to write effective responses to texts.

IDENTITY AND BELONGING

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” Dorothy Parker.
The theme of this course, identity and belonging, will be explored through a variety of accessible texts including non-fiction, short stories, and a novel. You will learn to analyze non-fiction and fictional texts, acquire an understanding of basic technical literary terms, learn tools for successful close readings of texts, improve your individual reading strategies, analyze the techniques and devices used to construct a work of literature and learn how to make use of effective writing strategies in your own analytical essays. Through your encounters with the chosen intriguing texts and the ensuing class discussions and written efforts you will hopefully improve your understanding of the world and your own place in it.

IDENTITY AND NARRATIVE POWER

Who are you? Who defines you? How do you define yourself? How have you been allowed to exist? How have you been denied? In this course, we look at authors and works of literature that seek to answer these questions. We look at pieces that emphasize the importance of writing about and defining a self, the power in ‘narrating’ an identity. We take a critical look at who gets left out from usual stories and why it’s important to listen and to witness these narratives. We think about assumptions, stereotypes, and lived experience. We think about reclaiming narratives, failing narratives, silenced narratives, and always back to that question and ever-moving challenge of the ‘I.’ We will be looking at a variety of texts in this course — poetry, short fiction, film, mixed media — with an eye towards the way that the characters and authors of these works explore the aforementioned topics (and the devices they employ to do so!).

FROM INNOCENCE TO EXPERIENCE

This course takes beginning college English students from a condition of “innocence” about literature and formal literary essay-writing to one of “experience” through the progressive study of fairy tales, short stories, a play, poetry, and a novel, all of which deal with various facets of the process of coming of age. As students learn how to identify the strategies used to make a work of literature, they will also be making use of effective writing strategies in their own critical, analytical response essays.

INNOCENCE LOST

What is innocence? As a state of being, we cannot know innocence until we lose it. As a social judgement, innocence is far from stable, since what constituted innocence at one point in history may later be the very be the very condition of guilt. In this course, we will begin with religious myths, examining humankind’s fall from grace as it is figured in Judeo-Christian, Ancient Greek and Indigenous stories. We will then look how this theme presents in a variety of modern poems and short stories, looking at how the loss of innocence is figured as both painful wound and necessary step on the path to maturity. Students will also be expected to read a novel which engages with the theme of innocence lost.

INTRODUCTION TO CANADIAN LITERATURE

Since the dawn of time human beings have been telling stories and singing or reciting poetry to each other. The tribal storyteller, the medieval wandering minstrel, the café poet, the film director, the best-selling novelist, and the comic book artist are all incarnations of an essential figure in human society. Why have such people, storytellers in a broad sense, always existed in every human society, Canada included? What do they do, and what do they say, that makes them so necessary? And why don’t they use a more common form of discourse, e.g. regular conversation, to say what it is that they want to say? And, most importantly, what do their works tell us about Canada in the time in which they lived?

INTRODUCTION TO COLLEGE ENGLISH

This course helps students develop college-level skills in reading comprehension, critical analysis, and written expression. Students will learn strategies for active reading and methods of analysis to apply to a variety of literary genres. They will also learn basic literary concepts and the role of techniques and devices authors use to create meaning. A major goal in the course is to learn how to write sensible and well-organized analytical essays about literary texts. The course also includes regular grammar practice to correct basic errors in expression.

INTRODUCTION TO COLLEGE ENGLISH

Introduction to College English is a course designed to help students develop college-level skills in reading comprehension, critical analysis, and written expression. Students will learn strategies for active reading and methods of analysis that will be applied to at least two literary genres. They will also learn other elements such as how authors employ techniques and devices to create meaning in their texts.

INTRODUCTION TO COLLEGE ENGLISH

This course is an introduction to the study of literature in English at the college level: students will read good writing, think about it, talk about it, and learn to clearly express their thoughts in writing.

INTRODUCTION TO COLLEGE ENGLISH: Identity vs. Society
“Introduction to College English” is the entry-level course in which students learn to read, analyze and write about literary works at the college level. This course exposes students to the genres of poetry, short stories, essays, and a novel. Students learn the basic principles of analysis through lectures, discussion, and practice in writing. Grammar and composition form the backbone of the course, which is expanded through study of the variety of writing styles provided in the selected texts. Students are encouraged to bring their own experience and individual style to the work at hand.
INTRODUCTION TO COLLEGE ENGLISH: Reading the City

Humanity has created a body of literature that explores, converses with, and is shaped by the ongoing cultural flourishing of our beloved – and not so beloved – cities. Used as a metaphor for religion and the body, or seen as a place of refuge and menace, the city encapsulates our identities in its thrum and threnody. The often shifting meaning of the city is clear, especially in the COVID era, when keeping close together becomes a source of danger. Older than any person, sometimes lonely and desolate, sometimes pulsing with energy and excitement, our cities persevere and reshape themselves continually.

In this introductory literature class, we will read writers across genres who use the city and cityscape as a vehicle for expression. This class will equip students with the language and tools to thrive in the ‘city’ of English literature. Students will be urged to look at the global village with a critical eye through positive intellectual engagement.

INTRODUCTION TO CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE

This course explores the relationship between contemporary stories and the society which informs them.  We focus on current fiction and poetry and analyze the human truths illuminated within these works as a means to develop strong critical thinking and to learn how to respond to fiction in writing.

INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE

In this course, students will read works in the genres of poetry and narrative fiction. We begin by studying the work of an American poet, Mary Oliver, paying close attention to the way her poems about real moments in life – events in the natural world, personal discoveries, personal meditations – provide examples of linguistic grace and power in the service of personal expression and self-examination. We then turn to a novel by emerging British writer Stephen May, paying close attention to his expert use of narrative voice and point of view to create a fictional world remarkably close to our sense of the actual world, but skilfully shaped to make us intensely aware of the meaningful potential of existence. Students are encouraged to develop skills in reading, or being able to place or situate a text, to understand it from the inside, sympathetically, and to step away from it and see it from the outside, critically. In order to develop these skills, we will examine rhetorical devices used in personal writing, poetry, and fiction, such as voice, metaphor, imagery, and symbol. Finally, students will put these skills to use in learning to produce discourse and essays suitable for the college level.

INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE

This is a first-semester English course where students will read a variety of genres: short stories, poetry, film, and a novel. An important aim of this introductory English course is to help students develop college-level reading skills by engaging in critical thinking, literary analysis, and written expression. Students will learn effective active reading strategies and literary analysis. They will learn to identify literary, rhetorical and filmic techniques (symbolism, metaphor, etc.) that writers use to create meaning. Students will also learn how to write well-organized interpretive essays.

INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE

The problem with the real world, frankly, is that it is the only one we have. The fantastic worlds of literature, when we first enter it, whether with the sigh of relief or the gasp of terror, come alive for us as alternatives to the real world. The real world is a messy place where dust accumulates, people die for no good reason, crime often pays and true love doesn’t conquer much. In one sense, all art is fantastic simply because it offers us worlds in which some order prevails. Certain questions seem universally to have occupied people’s minds since prehistoric times. Where did we come from? How can one explain the feelings of awakened sexuality? Why must there be death? Is there an afterlife? Fantastic worlds dramatize answers to these real questions for the ease of the questioners. We will therefore explore the answers provided in creation stories and fairy tales, as well as horror and science fiction stories.

INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE

This course helps students develop college-level reading and writing skills by introducing them to texts from a variety of literary genres, such as the short story and poetry. The course places strong emphasis on the experience of literature by allowing students to respond to creatively and critically to literature.

JOURNEY THROUGH THE 20th CENTURY

The 20th century was a turbulent one, packed with political conflicts, technological innovations and cultural revolutions that profoundly affected the world we live in. It was also rife with  literary innovations, as writers had to come up with new ways of talking about this new world. In this class, we will use 20th century literature as our backdrop to think about the function of literature. Moving through one decade at a time, we will read short stories, poems and a play, and learn to write productively about texts, ideas, and arguments. 

LABYRINTHS

Labyrinths and mazes figure prominently in poetry and fiction. Sometimes the literary labyrinth is a key setting, a circuit of mysterious paths that a disoriented hero might set out to navigate. Elsewhere the labyrinth might appear as a metaphor for confusion, complexity, or contemplation. At yet another level of abstraction, the act of walking the labyrinth can be likened to the puzzling practice of reading and interpreting a text. Thought itself, after all, has a labyrinthine structure. We will address these and other labyrinth-related topics as we wind our way through a diverse set of texts that range from classical epic to contemporary fiction.

LIFE AS NARRATIVE

Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi has said, “When we reject a single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.” The focus of this course is narrative. A narrative tells a story, offers a description of a series of events. The term “narrative” can also mean a particular way of explaining or understanding one’s history, one’s culture, oneself or others. In this latter sense, one story risks becoming the only story. By examining diverse narratives in prose and poetic forms, this course will examine the various ways in which questions of value are shaped by the formal qualities of narrative structure.

LITERARY ANALYSIS

This course is designed to provide students with the critical tools necessary for thinking and writing about literature. Our literary analysis of selected works will involve examining their basic elements, themes, as well as their historical positioning. Through a series of development assignments, students will learn how to develop interpretive claims, support these claims using textual evidence, and structure their analysis into coherent arguments.

LITERARY LANDSCAPES

The course will provide instruction and practice aimed at improving students’ reading and writing skills. One of the goals of the course is to introduce students to the conventions and best practices related to writing about literature. By reading a variety of genres, including fiction, nonfiction and poetry, we will also explore how landscape is used both as setting and symbol to develop themes. Some of the writing fundamentals that will be covered in the course include sentence structure, paragraphing, quoting, essay structure and the writing process.

LITERARY THEMES: LITERATURE AND SOCIAL PROTEST

One view of literature sees its role as method to raise awareness about the world we live, so that we will hopefully rise to the challenge of making it a better place for all.  With this view in mind, we will explore a variety of books and films that have played a major role in captivating the hearts and minds of those who have go on to make major changes in our world.  The texts we will explore will examine our relationship to slavery, labour, gender, consumerism, and the environment, etc.

LITERARY THEMES: THEMES IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE

This course introduces students to common themes in medieval literature, including the inconstancy of this world we live in, the life of the mind, the pursuit of ideals, and the corruption of authority. We examine the development of these themes in a variety of stories from popular medieval genres: dream vision, hagiography, Arthurian romance, and fable. The course should prepare students to recognize common medieval ideas, to understand differences among narrative genres, and to understand the value of situating a text in its cultural and historical moment. All texts are in translation.

A LITERARY HISTORY OF LOVE

Students will learn how to think and write about literature by studying the depiction of romantic love by authors as varied as Plato, Shakespeare, Hemingway and others.

LOVE

This course focuses on some of the best love literature from the Western and Eastern worlds which deals with positive love relationships. Students will read fairy tales, short stories, essays, poems, and a short novel on love in the face of social obstacles, love in the face of psychological obstacles, seduction, ideal love, celebration of the beloved, and celebration of lovemaking.
Special attention is paid to strategies students can use to increase their pleasure in and understanding of literature and their ability to write about it.

LOVE AND OTHER TRAGEDIES

From our earliest memories to our last moments on earth, the word “love” is used by us – and by everyone around us – dozens of times a day; it is also non-verbally reflected before us even more times than that. Perhaps no other word has such a consistent impact throughout our lives yet, somehow, its actual definition remains as elusive as its perpetual pursuit. Love comes in – and takes – many forms such as romantic, juvenile/youthful, sexual, mature, immature, familial, narcissistic, friendship, infatuation, idealized, delusional, corrupted/inverted, simple, complicated and unrequited. We certainly love people (including ourselves) but also things, ideas and places – often in the exact same way. By looking at prose, poetry and non-fiction, we will consider such issues as whether a universally-accepted definition of the word is even possible; whether there is something thematically common in all of its depictions; whether its usage is often standing in as a metaphor for something else; whether all stories of love, by definition, have beginnings as well as endings.

METAFICTION AND ARTIFICE

A metafictional work of literature is one that draws attention to its own status as artifice. When a character in a television show, for instance, turns to the screen and speaks directly to the viewers, they draw attention to the fact that there is a camera in their presence. This is cunning move on the part of the actor; without completely destroying the fictional world of the show, they still manage to draw attention to the fact that they are, after all, only acting. In this class, we will study a series of literary texts which, through use of metafictional devices, pose questions about the delicate relationship between reality and fiction. The syllabus will include works by Alison Bechdel, Junot Diaz, William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, Edgar Allan Poe and Jorge Luis Borges.

MYTHOLOGY

This course introduces students to the study of literature at the College level through a study of mythology.  Students will read a variety of material, with emphasis on Greek myth, epic and dramatic literature, as well as reading, thinking and writing strategies necessary for the College.

MYTHOLOGY - FROM GILGAMESH TO OVID

This class is a survey of Western mythology ranging from the epic of Gilgamesh to Ovid’s Metamorphosis. During the course of the semester the class explores the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh, Greek creation myths as well as the greater and lesser gods of Olympus. The class also reads Greek Drama (tragedy and comedy) and heroic epics such as the Iliad and the Odyssey. Finally, seminar groups present chapters of Ovid’s Metamorphosis to the class as a whole. By the end of the semester students have a comprehensive survey of Western (principally Greek) mythology. Evaluations are: group presentation to the class beginning on the last third of the semester, a group written presentation on a selected section from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, in class essay type of examination, reading tests and 750 word essays. By the end of the semester successful students are able to read the texts critically, work together as groups and write competent college level essays which indicate critical thought, understanding of techniques and devices, annotation and organization. The course readings and evaluations are the same as those for Liberal Arts 101.

NAVIGATING DISPLACEMENT AND BELONGING

We constantly shift how we view ourselves and our surroundings. This comes with both discomforts, sometimes even trauma, and the excitement of new beginnings due to our desires to belong either to a place, to family, to nation, and even to our own bodies. In this course, we will focus on how individuals navigate their sense of belonging when displaced from what is familiar. Course texts will include short stories, a novel, and film/news reports, such as Sandra Cisneros’ “Monkey Garden”, Thomas King’s “Totem”, Kim Thuy’s Ru, and Jeff Barnaby’s Rhymes for Young Ghouls, amongst other texts.

OUTCASTS

This course provides an introduction to literature through poetry, prose, and drama by looking at characters who have been exiled from their communities, forcibly or by choice. These outcasts often seek companionship in unconventional ways and rely on themselves in order to battle worlds hostile to their beliefs. Isolated and plagued by physical and mental barriers, characters studied in this course struggle to express (and exorcise) their demons, revealing the power and limitations of language.

THE OUTSIDER IN LITERATURE

This course will introduce the student to short fiction, lyric poetry, the informal essay, and the novel. Generational clashes, sexuality, murder, racism, self-hatred, doubt, alienation, pride, courage, goodness: these forces can estrange individuals, creating a tension between them and society. This tension makes the individual an outsider; this tension is the focus of the course. Grammar and essay-writing skills will also be studied, practised, and tested.

READING REALITY

How have literary artists throughout the twentieth century (and at the dawn of the twenty-first) chosen to represent real historical events in both nonfiction, fictional, and graphic texts? This introductory course will examine real historical events through the lens of works by major authors such as Wilfred Owen, Ernest Hemingway, Toni Morrison, Tim O’Brien, Art Spiegelman, and Marjane Satrapi. Students will try to make sense of the various tools writers use to record and remain faithful to memory not only through critical reading but also through creative practice.

RITES (AND WRONGS) OF PASSAGE

BLENDED LEARNING

Growing up may seem like a chaotic and confusing process, but many coming-of-age stories follow a common pattern, derived from the anthropological concept of “rites of passage.” This course begins with a brief examination of rites of passage and then applies that structure to stories about the lives of young people. Early in the course, the stories will follow the structure quite closely, but some narratives later in the course, especially those about girls and women, will complicate it and even move away from it all together to form entirely new understandings of identity shaped by cultural forces of gender, ethnicity, and politics. The course also builds composition skills and considers problems with grammar, mechanics and style as they arise.

This course is delivered in a blended-learning format, with some lectures and/or other activities online and some in person, on campus. A webcam and microphone are required as well as a computer and reliable Internet connection. The course runs on the Moodle learning management platform.

RITES, PASSAGES AND OTHER TRANSFORMATIONS

Within a broadly defined theme of transformation (initiation, coming of age, and other variations on character transformation), this course will introduce you to a variety of literary genres including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and film. You will practice the skills for successful close readings of texts, acquire a working knowledge of basic technical literary terms, analyze the techniques and devices used to construct a work of literature, and learn to apply effective writing strategies in your own analytical response essays.

THE SCIENCE OF LOVE

This course will provide students with an introduction to literature through texts that look at how human relationships are affected by science and how the language of science can be used to write about love.

SELECTIONS FROM NORTH AMERICAN LITERATURE
The selections for this course – sometimes chosen for their thematic similarities and sometimes, I admit it, chosen because I love them, were all written during the twentieth century by writers from Canada, the Unites States, and the Caribbean. We will read three genres of literature: short stories, poems, and a novel. The course essentially focusses on developing your skills as a reader, a writer, and a critical consumer of the written word.
SNAPSHOTS OF LOVE

This is a foundational course designed to introduce students to a variety of genres and time periods of English literature, connected thematically by the idea of romantic love.  From the seductresses of Gilgamesh,  to the rebellious adulteresses of Chaucer, to the irreverent musings of modern song writers, this course aims to give the student a snapshot of love seen through the literary lens.  In addition, students will learn essay writing and research skills as they hone their abilities to critically analyse what lies before their eyes.

STORIES IN MULTIPLE COLOURS

This course aims at introducing the students to College English through the symbolic value of colour in literary narratives and poetic works. The texts at the core of our inquiry belong to different genres, including Tony Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye, Zora Neale Hurston’s essay “How It Feels to Be Colored Me”, selected poems (such as Anne Sexton’s “The Red Shoes” and E. E. Cummings’ “All In Green My Love Went Riding ») chosen short stories (including Anton Chekhov’s « A Pink Stoking’ and Edith Wharton’s « The Portrait ») a film (Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Red), and a song : Judy Garland’s version of « Over the Rainbow ».
Our analysis will consider how colour is symbolically used not only with reference to natural beauty and to the visual arts that influenced many of these writers, but also as a means to unveil highly complex social issues, such as racism, and homophobia.
The variety of the texts in question will also allow us to reveal how different stylistical features and devices are applied when colour is described in narratives developed through fiction, essays, poetry, film and music.

STORYTELLING

In Storytelling we consider the impulse to tell stories and the various creative methods and the beats, the ticks, the pulses that rouse people to activate the heart and share human and other-than-human experience: oral, written, and visual storytelling. We explore stories from different cultural perspectives, with emphasis on, but not exclusive to, Indigenous storytellers. Expect to encounter both fiction and nonfiction (essays and memoir), poetry, short stories, film, and drama. The course will introduce students to the cultivation of reading, critical thinking and college-level writing skills (and hopefully, the enjoyment in at least one, if not all these activities!).

STUDIES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE

The aim of this course is to engage in the culture of a country often disliked: America. Throughout this course we will read and discuss various forms of mostly contemporary American literature (short fiction, novel) and the themes reflected by them. Your job is to read, be critical, and actively express your opinion on the themes and issues you’ve identified, in both voice and print. Class discussion and participation is strongly required in this course. My job is to mediate and stimulate the discussion necessary to point out the relationships between these themes, the theories possibly suggested, and the language, the literary terminology you will need to articulate them.

TALES OF FRIENDSHIP

This course aims at introducing the students to College English through the symbolic value of friendship in literary narratives and poetic works. The texts at the core of our inquiry belong to different genres, including a novel (The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini), a novella (Reunion, by Fred Uhlman), chosen poems (such as Anne Sexton’s “Demon,” and Gertrude Stein’s “Por-trait of Picasso”) and short stories (including Alice Munro’s “Friend of My Youth” and Truman Capote’s “A Lamp in A Window”), as well as a film (the cinematographic adaptation of Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth). Our analysis will consider how friendship is represented, celebrated and fictionalized as one of the most important and archetypal relationships in human life. The variety of the texts in question will also allow us to reveal how different stylistic features and devices are applied when friends and their memories are described and developed through fiction, poetry, and film.

THEATRE WORKSHOP ENGLISH

The all-round, all-in-one, magic theatre course for all horses. This course is ideal for students studying or just plain interested in theatre: Theatre Workshop students, Professional Theatre students, scientists who really want to go on the stage etc. Designed to meet the requirements of students in the Professional Theatre Program and those enrolled in the Theatre Workshop, Theatre English accommodates students in all stages of the CEGEP English curriculum. All students work together on theatrical projects, while doing other assignments specific to their college level. In Theatre Workshop English, students can expect to develop facility in reading, watching and interpreting a variety of texts (dramatic, fictional, poetic, and cinematic) as well as improving written and oral expression in English. The Final Showcase offers an opportunity for dramatic writing to students in the Playwright Stream and group performance to all participants.

ULTRAVIOLENCE

Despite what many might like to think, it is clear that the Western world is still far from being an entirely peaceful place. For instance, many of us believe that violence must sometimes be used to enforce laws and protect human rights. Although we may consider the former uses of violence unfortunate necessities, many of us still enjoy watching contact sports and even the more explicit forms of violence found in action or horror films. However, sometimes the violence found in fiction is so gruesome that it is not easily accepted, let alone enjoyed. Figuring out what authors hope to accomplish by depicting acts of extreme violence will be one of our main goals. In order to reach some conclusions, we will examine a variety of texts containing such forms of violence. Each work will be considered in relation to its appropriate cultural and historical context.

Seeing as this is an English 101 course, the second aim will be to develop skills necessary for students to be effective readers and writers. The cultivation of these abilities will not only aid students in their exploration of violence in literature, but in any other analytical work they may need to do in the future.

VOICES AMIDST ADVERSITY

Like most good stories, conflict and growth are central to the history of humanity civilization. Moreover, individuals caught up in this greater drama have shared the insights of their individual journeys through oral and written expression. In this way, voices of past and present adversities pass on individual experiences of downfall and victory, folly and wisdom, anguish and hope as fertilizer for the enrichment of others. If, as individuals, we are able to find transcendence amidst adversity, then we can contribute to our collective hope for the positive transformation of our world. In this course, we will read and listen to voices of adversity in a variety of literary genres such as memoir, argumentative speech, short fiction, film and poetry.

VOICES AND VISIONS

“Voices and Visions” introduces students to the power and pleasure of reading and writing critically about literature at the college level. Students develop their own voices as writers, and their vision as critical analytical readers, through engagement with the visions and voices of others, with a focus on texts by Indigenous writers. We will explore the power of the spoken and written word, how this power affects us, and how we can access it effectively, both in speaking and in writing, as well as the pleasures of exploration, new experiences and discovery that the world of reading and writing opens to us.

WATERWORKS

This introductory course will challenge students to read, write, and think critically as they explore the theme of water in literature and consider current water-related issues around the world. In this course, students will study works from a variety of literary genres, including non-fiction and film, to discover the literary significance of water, one of our essential needs for survival.

WEIRD WORKS

A soul-devouring monster appears in your kitchen and demands a peanut. You have no peanuts—you’re allergic. Do you laugh? Cry? Ask how it would feel about an almond? Such a situation would not be too out of place in any of this course’s texts, many of which readers could rightfully label “weird.” The novel, short stories, and poems we will consider draw from horror, fantasy, and science fiction, but do not always fit neatly into a single genre. While examining these “weird” works, you will develop the skills necessary to properly read and write about literature at the college level.

WITCHES AND WIZARDS

Thanks to the monumental success of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, many young adults now wait in hope of receiving their invitation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Yet, while magic today is often celebrated in literature, or even used as a metaphor for imagination and the power of childhood, witches and wizards have long been the subject of visceral horror and violent persecution. The witch trials of early modern Europe, King James’ Daemonologie, and “Newes from Scotland” legal record, for example, flesh out the very real fear of occult practices. Bearing in mind this dark past, this course will pursue the objectives of the 101-literature requirement through study and debate of issues pertaining to magic in literature. Students in this class will read drama, short poetry, novels, and selections from contextual non-fiction to discover multiple genres. In this course, students will enhance their writing proficiency, enrich their oral skills, and develop close-reading abilities that can easily be adapted to achieve success in any field.

YOUTH GONE WILD

To go wild is to break free of restraints, live life outside of the norms. But what gets, or who gets, left behind when ‘gone wild’? What are the costs to breaking the rules (and who makes those rules, anyway, and why)? In this course we examine stories about those wayward souls who find themselves willingly and not so willingly inhabiting the fringes. They often wear their wildness as nonchalance, contempt, rage, boredom. Some enact senseless violence and vandalism, others take extreme risks; always, though, they seem to meet with some form of tragedy. Yet, within this tragedy something survives, something seeds and grows. In this course, we will explore the positive things that survive and thrive in this wildness. We will explore why writers are compelled to include these glimmers of hope and what that says about moving from the ‘freedoms’ of adolescence into the ‘responsibilities’ of adulthood.


LITERARY GENRES

Prerequisite: 603-101

The main focus of these courses is to study the relationship between form and meaning. The broadest literary ‘genres’ (or kinds of literature) are poetry, drama and prose (fiction or nonfiction). There are numerous sub-genres within these broad categories. In these courses, the focus may be on either one genre (e.g., short fiction, comedy) or on a variety of genres. Students learn to identify and analyze such structural elements as plot, character, point of view, tone, symbol, diction, rhythm, rhyme, metaphor and how these devices interact to produce meaning. The courses will focus on helping students recognize the patterns that enrich the works, the themes that these patterns suggest, and the relationship between the significant elements of the work and the themes. To pass these courses students are expected to write a 1,000 word essay that meets specific criteria.

18TH AND 19TH CENTURY LITERATURE

In this course we will study texts from a variety of genres, written in Europe and North America during the 18th and 19th centuries. We will encounter some of the well-known issues of this era, such as the Enlightenment, Romanticism, revolution, Symbolism and Transcendentalism. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to develop their own understandings of the readings and to strengthen their writing skills. Originally designed for students in the Liberal Arts program, this course is open to all students who are interested in Enlightenment and Romantic literature.

ADAPTATION AND RESISTANCE (Transforming Texts)

How have fans changed the course of literature? How do our reactions and interpretations change the course of a text? What happens when the reader takes over and becomes the writer? How do they transform and resist the source work? Do we, as readers, actually have far more power over the narrative than we thought?

In this course, we will explore and complicate the roles of authors, fans, and readers. We will examine the ways that ‘readers’ and ‘fans’ have sought to interpret and transform works, producing new texts through adaptation, reimaginings, and fan work/fan fiction. In particular, we will be focusing on the texts and adaptations that resist the canonical work in some way and what value those resistant transformations can have — not just for the texts themselves, but for people writing and reading them, making space for themselves where the canon did not.

AFRICAN SHORT STORY

This course will introduce students to modern African short stories. A variety of stories by authors from different African countries will be analyzed; specific attention will be paid to how each writer makes use of the conventions of the genre to reflect upon the present-day realities across the continent. The selected short stories by both world-renowned and new African writers often have a strong social content and share “a pervasive atmosphere of pain and life’s injustice” (Chinua Achebe). Through the study of these diverse tales of African people – children and adults, men and women – we might be able to shed damaging stereotypes and gain knowledge and appreciation of the diverse and colourful literature from that far-away continent.

AMERICAN GOTHIC

While the term ‘Gothic’ often conjures up images of ruined castles, damsels in distress and supernatural forces, the genre referred to as American Gothic is an entirely different beast. By examining literature, art and film from the early 19th Century to the present, we will examine how writers and artists create a means through which they can address specifically North American cultural concerns, including issues surrounding national identity, religion, race relations, and the urban environment.

THE AMERICAN SHORT STORY BETWEEN TRADITION AND INNOVATION

This class will introduce you to a variety of traditional and innovative American short stories. We will attend to the particular formal elements that make a story appealing and incite an emotional response from readers. In the process, we will meet people, ideas, different ethnic communities, and have a glance at the process of writing itself.

From Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” to Kate Chopin’s “The Storm,” from Woody Allens’s “The Kugelmass Episode” to Joyce Carol Oates’ “How I Contemplated the World…” we will encounter numerous characters and their struggles, and be introduced to new ways of thinking about what we call reality. By the end of this course, we will have discovered the potential of the short story as a vehicle for literary creativity and the exploration of what it means to be human.

APPROACHING POETRY: AN ANALYTICAL WORKSHOP

When we break something into its parts so that we can examine it & understand it better, we are analysing it. When we do this with a poem, the result of our analysis can lead to an analytical essay in which we introduce, argue, provide evidence, explain, & conclude our inquiry. But the noticing, studying, & discussion of the poetic craft can also be used for another purpose: to create our own poems.  This course is an introduction to the analysis of contemporary poetry & the craft used to create it. If you enjoy inquiry, if you like to write, & if you are curious about poetry, this is the class for you.

THE ART OF POETRY

Why do people read and write poems? What role do poems play in our individual and collective lives? Isn’t getting the “meaning” out of poems really hard? Why don’t poets just say directly what they mean? In order to address such questions thoughtfully, students in this course will be introduced to poetry as an art that uses language deliberately and playfully, challenging its readers to see, hear, and understand the world with open hearts and minds. By encountering various types of poetic forms—closed (e.g., haiku, sonnet, pantoum, and villanelle) and open (e.g., free verse, concrete, and prose poem)—students in this class will get the chance to flex their creative and intellectual muscles by honing their recitation and literary analysis skills. Specifically, they will learn to read poems closely and confidently by investigating how poets use form, rhetorical devices, and literary techniques to communicate ideas meaningfully and memorably, with emotional power and intellectual scope.

THE CANADIAN SHORT STORY

Contemporary Canadian short-fiction writers are much bolder than their literary ancestors.  Issues of sexuality and violence and ethnicity, for example, are being treated in frank and disturbing ways, while humour often winks from a footstep away.  Apart from provocative content, our writers are ambitiously experimenting with form and technique.  This course will survey the best of the “new” writers, fitting their work into the Canadian short-fiction tradition.

THE CARNIVALESQUE

“Carnivalesque” refers to a mode of literature that is bawdy and decadent. Francois Rabelais, for instance, describes Gargantua, a young prince who “let his snot and snivel fall in his pottage, and dabbled, paddled, and slobbered everywhere”, who regularly “would drink in his slipper”. This is clearly grotesque but it is also, as the theorist Bakhtin argues, somewhat subversive: it describes events that are outside of “regular” society, that provide a moment of escape from the structures of authority. In the carnivalesque, we see that the comedic and the profane can often provide a critique of society. In this course, we will study literary texts which work in the mode of the carnivalesque: they examine the delicate balance between breaking an order and reinforcing it.

CHANGING THE WORLD ONE POEM AT A TIME

In this course, we will think the unthinkable; some would say the impossible: poetry can change the world. One poem at a time, we will discuss how poets influence our lives through global perspectives of love, desire, beauty, nature, lamentation, death, translation, metamorphoses, war, foul language, dissent, protest, and miracles. The poems in this course are literal and symbolic expressions of difference, survival, and innovation. They affect our ways of thinking about, representing, and enacting human relationships in surprising and predictable ways. What will emerge over the course of this class are the ways in which poetic perceptions shift our own thinking, shock us out of our complacency, and motivate us to want to change the world too.

CHICK LIT

In this class, we read women’s literature in two ways: first, we will look at some of the “greatest hits” written by women, focusing on literary techniques and tropes common to women’s fiction. Then, we will study one genre of commercial fiction, “chick lit,” looking not just at its conventions, but also at the role of the publishing industry in creating the genre. At the end of the semester, we will test our knowledge of the genre by writing and workshopping our own “chick lit” fiction.

COMEDY AND THE BODY

One of the presuppositions of this course is that fart jokes are funny. Indeed, we shall presuppose that buttocks, boobs, boners, and bodily images of all kinds are perfectly hilarious. Anyone who disagrees with these presuppositions will have to enjoy the exceptional rarity of his or her sense of humour in silence. The fact is, there is a long tradition of literature that delights in foregrounding the body in its comic aspect, and our purpose in this course is to try to understand why. Why do fart jokes exist? What is the function of this kind of humour, psychologically, socially, and artistically? Why is the body so closely and so easily associated with laughter? These are a few of the questions we shall attempt to answer as we study a sampling of comic literature from the 14th century to the present.

THE CONTEMPORARY SHORT STORY

This course is designed to allow students to explore the genre of the short story in greater depth. We will concentrate on Contemporary American short fiction analyzing the relationship between the contemporary author, his or her work, and the literary elements he or she uses to explore themes that illuminate the world in which we live.

CUBAN MEMOIRS

Fernando Ortíz, Cuba’s major anthropologist, saw the island’s culture as double – divided between the individualism of the cigars, and the communitarian nature of the sugar grains. Similar is the nature of the narratives about the island, its traditions, and its changing history; these fictions are a mixture of peculiar, individual literary voices and collective accounts.
Focusing on the memoir genre, we will consider how Cuba and its culture have been the centre of increasing personal narratives created by authors (both Cuban and international) whose identities have been shaped both from outside and inside the country. Three examples of this production will be the basis of our course: Dancing with Cuba, by Ana Guillermoprieto (the memoir of a young dancer enrolling into Cuba’s National School of Dance) Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy, by Carlos Eire, and the film Memories of Underdevelopment, a cinematographic adaptation of a fictional memoir by Edmundo Desnoes, which follows a middle-class man struggling to accept the changes occurring after the Cuban revolution. A series of parallel literary texts, essays and articles, collected in the course pack, will allow us to create the proper historical, literary, musical and filmic framework in order to address how Cuba has been described and discussed in the memoir genre (both literary and cinematographic) and how these particularly personal narratives have revealed some of the most interesting and hidden aspects of the evolution of Cuban culture from the Fifties to today.

DETECTIVE FICTION

How can we account for the powerful appeal of mysteries and detective stories? Why do people find detectives and their ability to investigate, solve, and be baffled by crime fascinating? Students in this course will read classic detective stories, learn to detect the basic literary devices and techniques that writers use, and attempt to understand the mysterious attraction of this very popular genre. In addition to developing their analytical reading and critical thinking skills, students will also be expected to learn how to write a well-organized thesis-driven essay.

EARLY MODERN DRAMA

In late sixteenth-century England, a burgeoning theatrical culture emerged. This course focuses on the golden age of English theatre, with attention to four plays from the period. In addition to studying the dramatic and literary form of the plays, we will concern ourselves with such contexts as the early modern history of London’s playing companies and culture of playgoers. Other topics include the representation of gender, popular culture vis à vis court entertainment, antitheatrical opponents to the theatre, and the modern-day relevance of the early modern play.

THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT

BLENDED LEARNING

Imagining the end of the world has been a central preoccupation of Western culture for over two thousand years in both high culture and popular entertainment. This course briefly looks at one of the ancient sources of apocalyptic writing before examining some poems, short stories, a novel, and a film that draw on apocalyptic plots, images, and ideas. The course also builds composition skills and considers problems with grammar, mechanics and style as they arise.

This course is delivered in a blended-learning format, with some lectures and/or other activities online and some in person, on campus. A webcam and microphone are required as well as a computer and reliable Internet connection. The course runs on the Moodle learning management platform.

Literary Genre: FABLES ETC.

This course presents a formal introduction to the fable as a genre of moral tales with talking animals and other fantasy elements. In particular, the class aims to study the repetition and transformation of a key set of fables from century to century via the genre’s major authors, and to approach them via several different forms: short prose fiction, poetry, basic literary criticism, novel, cartoons, drama and film. We will also trace the major themes common to these fables: anthropomorphism, comedy, trickery and moral relativism, satire and political allegory, the porous boundary between animal and human, animal intelligence and rights, and the capacity of children’s imagination versus the adult world.

Literary Genre

In this course, students will learn to read fiction of a particular genre as well as non-fiction prose.The non-fiction prose will be commentary on the fictional texts, and will serve to enhance students’ understanding of the fictional texts and the themes they explore. Students will be exposed to diverse examples of the genre in question and explore its parameters. 

THE LITERATURE OF NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador contains 520 553 people spread out over 405 212 square kilometres of rock, forest, and fog, yet it rivals any country in the world for its artistic productivity and unique culture. Indeed, the English language in this isolated and insular place is distinctive enough to merit its own Dictionary of Newfoundland English, a 770-page tome in which the lexically curious can become acquainted with words such as “slinge” and “bullamarue.” This course is an introduction to the literature of Newfoundland & Labrador. Students will study representative examples from different genres of Newfoundland literature (e.g., fiction, poetry, drama, song) and will learn how they have been shaped by the province’s unique history, geography, climate, and culture.

FAERIE & FANTASY

Dressed in garish book covers, some fantasy literature may be considered formulaic and lowbrow, but this genre has its roots in the oldest and most influential forms of literature of all times: myths, legends, hero tales and fairytales. Loved by young and old alike, these tales have been handed down from parent to child throughout the ages. Moreover, along with the symbols and archetypes of the oral tradition, cultural beliefs, values and the most universal hopes of humankind are woven into the fabric of these ancient stories. In this course, students will read, tell, analyse and respond to ancient and modern examples of these stories of faerie… that place of imagination and inspiration… just beyond the border of our physical reality.

FAIRY TALES, ETC.

This course will examine the role that certain famous fairy tales have played in society from the time when they were first told up to the present day. We will look not only at how works in this genre and related ones reveal our changing desires and anxieties but also at how we might use these varied generic forms to address the new fantasies and fears that we will face in the future.

THE FAIRY TALE TRADITION

For many, the expression “fairy tale” brings to mind images of Disney princesses and goofy sidekicks and the feel-good promise of a happy ending; for others, a fairy tale is a euphemism for an experience or idea that has little bearing on reality. Consequently, few people are made aware of the classic fairy tale as a form of storytelling that boasts a rich history, from its development through oral transmissions and modern textual expressions of the past to its present cultural and literary manifestations. In addition to identifying the archetypal motifs, storytelling techniques, and didactic underpinnings of such stories, this course will investigate the manner in which fairy tales introduce readers to a varied (and often explicit and sophisticated) thematic universe imbued with rich psychological and symbolic significance. We will explore ideas such as the nature of individuation, heroism, subversion, and violence, and ask ourselves whether or not the tales challenge or sustain the readers’ preconceived notions of childhood innocence and adult experience. Students will also be introduced to different interpretative modes of reading fairy tales in order to address, question, and understand their lasting appeal.

THE FORMAL PROPERTIES OF SCIENCE FICTION

This course offers an introduction to the genre of science fiction, focusing on the conventions and reading protocols that distinguish science fiction from mimetic (realistic) fiction. Students will see that the way science fiction treats character, plot, and setting, is quite different from treatments in mimetic novels that strive to represent reality.

FROM THE PAGE TO THE STAGE: IDENTITY AND PERFORMANCE

How are identity and performance linked? What if the line between reality and performance gets blurred? To what extent does life imitate performance and performance imitate life? This class will explore what happens to the dramatic text as it travels from the page to the stage. We will look at various definitions of identity and performance through an exploration of the main currents of modern and postmodern drama.

GENDER IN THE SHORT STORY GENRE

This course is aimed at revealing the complexities of gender as depicted in the short story genre. The works of four major Anglophone authors of the Twentieth and Twenty-First century (Hemingway, Salinger, Munro and Smith) will allow us to highlight how the concepts of masculinity, femininity, queer, androgyny, gender and sexual identity have evolved through the years (especially from 1930 up to today) and how the literary representation of these complex subjects has sometimes mirrored, sometimes questioned the dominant discourses of the cultures/historical moments in which the authors were and are writing. Alice Munro’s women characters, for example, are profoundly rooted in the feminist Canadian context. Hemingway and Salinger’s perspectives on American-ness and masculinity, on the other hand, are particularly linked with their era, while Ali Smith is a British writer who won the Scottish Saltire First Book Award with a collection that addressed issues faced by queer identities in Europe. The short story genre, which often relies on the beauty of the unsaid, or on the minimalism that its limited number of pages requires, will be scrutinized as a perfect literary medium to reveal how difficult are the definition and narration of gender.

A GODLIKE SCIENCE

Frankenstein’s Creature is a product of his maker “playing God” with science, yet it is when he discovers language for the first time that he comments: “This was indeed a Godlike science.” While scientific discovery expands the boundaries of what people are able to do, science fiction (or literature about science) often questions what people should do with these discoveries. In this course, we will study how literature engages with the potential or actual effects of science on humanity.

GOLF LITERATURE: READING AND VISUALIZING

Golfers love to read greens, and study fairways. Students who love to read books, and study literature, will enjoy this course. Golfers practice constantly, and students will do weekly exercises to develop their reading and writing skills especially. This course is designed for pupils who are interested in science, history, and metaphysics.

THE GOTHIC

Themes of madness, the supernatural, death, incest, and the repressed will haunt our readings and our discussions.  This course will explore how authors use the conventions of the short story genre, as well as the novella and film to express their horrific tales.  In addition, we will analyze the different classifications of the gothic, such as the female gothic, ghost stories, vampire tales, tales of madness, the uncanny, science & the supernatural, and crime, including their own sets of literary traditions.  We will also investigate, through secondary critical readings, reasons for our fascination with the gothic and the power of story-telling.

THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

This course focuses on the relatively recently identified genre of the graphic novel, or the comic book as serious literature. In surveying a selection of these texts students will explore not only the range of this literary genre, which includes fiction, memoir and non-fiction narratives, but also the distinctive artistic techniques which distinguish the graphic novel form from that of purely textual works.

GREEK TRAGEDY

Think of the word “tragedy” and you’re sure to conjure up images of grief, misfortune, and suffering. Watch the evening news and you’re bound to hear reports of “tragic” road accidents, violent crimes, or even natural (and human-made) disasters. For the Greek (Athenian) playwrights of the fifth-century B.C.E., the word meant a serious drama that typically described a conflicted protagonist whose character was tested (by the gods and/or other humans), and in which spectators found a great deal of emotional tension and moral ambiguity. The philosopher and first drama critic, Aristotle, argued that the purpose of performing tragedy on stage was to promote feelings of pity and fear in members of the audience who tended to be sympathetic to characters in the plays, seeing in them their own strengths and weaknesses. It is an old art form that remains relevant and vibrant to this day; the ideas presented on stage continue to challenge, disturb, and provoke readers/audiences. In opening ourselves up to the “harsh and unforgiving glare” of tragedy, we just might get a glimpse into what the philosopher Simon Critchley calls “the burning core of our aliveness.”

HAUNTED HOUSE TALE

This course explores the major themes and techniques of the haunted house tale in American Gothic and horror stories. Students will read haunted house stories from the 19th and 20th century and together we will identify genre-defining features which reappear in film and television. Through a combination of short lectures, guided discussions, film analyses and individual writing (creative and analytical) the course will examine Gothic terror as an expression of societal, political and psychological anxiety in order to then study the haunted house in its function as a metaphor for the oppressive nature of domestic, normalizing value systems. Together, we will outline the rise of the Gothic home as narrative force which emerges within haunted tales in moments when the values embodied in the home possess the bodies and minds of those who dwell within it. We will also view three films, The Amityville Horror, The Shining and The Exorcist, as well as the television series American Horror Story.

(HI)STORIES – THE NOVEL

This genre course explores the twentieth century novel. In the second half of the twentieth century, the writing of history became particularly questioned as just another form of fiction. Novelists during this period focus on historical themes but take license in retelling them or exploring them in invented worlds. The rather funny novel The Evolution Man: How We Ate My Father (1963) by Roy Lewis rewrites the evolution period of the human species and poses questions such as whether humans should have suppressed the use of fire for the greater good of humankind. Ursula Le Guin said in an interview in 2014 about the writer that is needed today, “We need the realists of a larger reality.” Her own novel The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) depicts a society of androgynous humans who can assume a female or male gender, exemplified by the sentence, “The King was pregnant.” Jeanette Winterson describes her novel’s as “manipulating history.” In The Passion, reality and fantasy mix as she tells the story of Napoleon’s cook during the Russia campaigns as he comes to hate Napolean, but falls in love with a Venetian beauty. Excerpts from other novels and interviews, articles, and commentary will complement our course readings. Students will practice active reading and apply analysis to the course readings in the form of essays, journals, oral presentations, and some creative work.

HOW TO THINK (ABOUT CRIME FICTION)

This course will involve reading and thinking about crime fiction. Students will also think separately about crime and about fiction. But most of all, we will think about thinking. As we read about the methods of various detectives, whether amateur, private, or police, we will ask ourselves these and related questions: What do we think we know, and how do we think we know it? What constitutes a good argument? How can we change minds—those of others, of course, but also our own? What distinctions can we (and the detectives we will be reading about) make between belief, faith, hypothesis, conjecture, evidence, logic, probability, proof, knowledge, and so on? This course takes as a given the fact that we will be wrong about a number of different things that we believe. With this in mind, what obstacles do we face (cognitive biases, logical fallacies, social pressure, etc.) when we try to become less wrong?

ILLUSTRATIVE STORYING

Illustrative Storying examines the blend of image with text. The course explores sub-genres of illustrative storytelling, such as comics, graphic novels, manga, Japanes anime, animation, and cartoons. Expect to learn about generic conventions, literary history, reader participation and response, as well as transcultural convergences of forms. As this course is a literary course, we do literary analysis of the text. This noted the course introduces a creative component that allows students to animate their imagination.

INTRODUCTION TO MIDDLE-EASTERN LITERATURE

This course introduces the student to the literature of the Middle-East, predominately from Persian and Arabic traditions (often Islamic), but including works from various countries.  The course is a historical survey: works from the origin of Middle Eastern literature (Gilgamesh, Bible, Koran, medieval narrative poems, prose of 1001 Nights, classical lyrical poetry) are studied in the first half of the course, while the second half of the term is devoted to modern literature, predominately prose fiction.  The works are also selected in order to address a variety of themes in Middle Eastern culture, as well as questions of genre, with its unique history in Middle Eastern literature.

INTRODUCTION TO POETRY
This is a genre-based course designed to introduce students to poetry. Throughout the course we will be analysing the structural elements (rhythm, tone, rhyme and poetic devices) of various poetic genres as well as the themes they most often refer to. Our texts will include highly different styles, from the epic to the sonnet, from the free-verse poem to the performative approach used in jazz poetry. Our analysis of the poetic canon will develop around links to popular culture through the use of film, TV, and modern song lyrics. This course aims to give the student a wide angle literary perspective on the nature of poetry and on its changing forms through times and cultures.
JAPANESE LITERATURE

This class examines literary genres through readings in Japanese Literature. During the course of the semester the class explores universal genres such as Poetry, the Short Story, the Novella, the Novel, Drama as well as some genres that originate from Japan. Examples of the latter are poetic forms such as Haiku and Renga, short prose forms called “Palm-of-Hand Stories”, Prose Meditations, Kabuki and Nōh theatre as well as the cinematic form commonly called “Animé”. Evaluations are: reading tests, literary journals, in class essay examination, two essays of 1000 words. Successful students are able to identify, critically evaluate and write well organized and clearly expressed essays on the subject of genres. Student skills in reading, critical comprehension and evaluation of texts as genres are fully developed.

KEEP IT BRIEF: SHORT FICTION

“Keep It Brief” examines the diversity of short fiction forms. The course explores the conventions, literary history, and sub-genres of the short story. We look at different forms that short fiction takes, which often follow trends from their respective time periods and/or cultures. The selection of stories will also invite thinking and discussion around theoretical approaches to storytelling, plus themes pertaining to gender, sexuality, immigration, religion, and racial discrimination. The course, thus, will explore what typifies and challenges our categorization of the short story. As this course is a literary course, we do textual analysis; we do not write short stories.

LEONARD COHEN

Widely dubbed the “godfather of gloom” the “poet laureate of pessimism,” Canadian poet, novelist, and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) left behind a prolific, lasting cultural and literary legacy. In this course, we will read and listen to a wide selection of works from three genres: lyrical poems written over five decades; a romantic coming-of-age story, and excerpts from a second, more experimental novel; and songs taken from an impressive catalogue (from 1960 to the 2000s) that has inspired and continues to influence the world of folk, punk, rock, and other popular types of music. We will also attempt to situate Cohen’s poetry, fiction, and songs in their relevant historical contexts; we will compare his creative contributions to those of his contemporaries (including poets and songwriters); and we will investigate the possible reasons why his work continues to resonate so profoundly today.

LITERATURE OF YOGA

Most people consider yoga to be a form of exercise or, at best, a trendy spiritual practice. Few, however, realize that the physical aspect of yoga (asana) is only a small, albeit integral, part of the rich literary and cultural tradition that is Yoga.  The word yoga derives from the Sanskrit word “yuk” meaning “to yoke.” This idea of yoking, of bringing together and uniting, applies to the physical body, the mind and the soul. Because literature privileges direct experience over abstract concepts, it is the natural vehicle for yoga philosophy which engages with the body and the mind at once. In this course, we will both examine traditional literature on yoga and use the physical practice of yoga to inspire our own creative writing.

MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE LITERATURE

This class is devoted to the rich and strange content of Medieval and Renaissance literature. Our timeline spans from the first English poem, which was probably written in the 8th century, to the drama and poetry of the late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-centuries. The reading list provides a survey of representative genres, jokes, and topics. While we delineate our linguistic history and the literary trends of the past, we can expect some weird and wonderful encounters with lovers, knights, madmen, tyrants, faeries, monsters, and other marvels.

MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE TEXTS

Students will study two major representative texts from the medieval and early modern periods. In terms of their subject matter, they have important similarities: both are representations of aristocratic violence, featuring great men wielding power over others. In terms of genre and form, however, the texts are quite different: our first text is a medieval romance, concerned with ideals. Our second text is a tragedy, concerned with an important individual’s descent from on high; this individual is not a fictional character but a real, historical king of England who died during that epic period of violence in England’s history, the War of the Roses. What brings these two texts together in this course is our approach to them: we will examine them in light of how they, as works of literature, intersect with political, social, and cultural history, or in other words how each work is bound up with the life and thought of its own culture. Neither of these texts offers easy answers to questions about the nature of the relationship between literature – or culture, more broadly – and the ideological formations in which it is produced.

METAMORPHOSIS AND OTHERNESS

The short story is notoriously resistant to formal categorization and encompasses a wide range of modes of expression. In fact, the genre’s openness is representative of the power of literature to provide multifaceted views and experiences. We will look at subgenres of the short story that use magical, absurdist and speculative components to impart themes of metamorphosis and otherness. We will also look at realist fiction and a short story cycle that tests the formal boundaries between the short story collection and the novel. By the end of the course, students will have discovered the potential of the genre as a vehicle for literary creativity and the exploration of diverse themes.

MULTI:CULTI - AMERICAN AND CANADIAN MULTICULTURAL SHORT STORIES

Want to find out about real and weird issues in our North-American society? Join the literary journey to the world of the others amongst us as presented through fiction within the very contemporary and fairly dominant, particularly North-American genre of multicultural literature. Through the study of short stories from both sides of the border, similarities and differences in the very core of the concept of multiculturalism will be revealed. In engaging with these literary texts students are expected to acquire not only a certain familiarity with a major North-American form of literature, but also (god-willing, or inshallah) a better appreciation of it – as well as of those represented in it.

THE NEAR FUTURES OF SPECULATIVE FICTION

Margaret Atwood, author of the classic dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, has said that her novel’s stark vision of the future was based not on fantasy, but on history: “When I wrote The Handmaid’s Tale, nothing went into it that had not happened in real life, somewhere at some time.” Taking this statement as a starting point, this course will explore how the imagined futures of speculative fiction can be read as responses to the real-world problems of the past and present. In studying classic examples of the genre, students will learn what distinguishes speculative fiction from other types of science fiction, how it engages with history, and how it can offer hope for a better world despite its dark and dystopian themes.

OVID, EPIC AND ADAPTATION

The Metamorphoses, written in the first decade CE, is a highly entertaining narrative poem that describes the twisted and surreal adventures of Roman gods and goddesses. Though it is difficult to assign a specific genre to the poem, its author, Ovid, was clearly inspired by a series of classical epics, notably Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad. While drawing on the conventions of the epic genre, Ovid also adapted and challenged those conventions, writing a new sort of poem that, in turn, has inspired a whole series of later adaptations and reworkings. In this course, we will learn about the ancient epics that came before Ovid’s Metamorphoses in order to understand how, and why, Ovid overturned so many epic conventions. We will also read later adaptations of Ovid’s own poem, with particular attention to Shakespearean rewritings and to the ways in which twenty-first century authors have responded to Ovid’s problematic representations of gender and sex.

NARRATIVE

This course introduces students to the genre of narrative through an examination of two contemporary novels. As we discover each novelist’s individual ways of harnessing the form of the novel, both responding to tradition and experimenting with new formal strategies, we pay close attention to themes addressed by the contemporary novel like family, coming of age, grief and loss, suffering and trauma, and love. Each novel in this course is narrated by the central figure within the story, giving us a chance to look closely at different ways of developing first-person narratives. Above all, our close study of these novels gives us a way to understand key aspects of narrative in general, such as plot, character, and point of view.

PILLARS OF THE AMERICAN MUSICAL

In the early 20th Century, as the United States welcomed immigrants from all over the world and grew its cities (especially New York) into diverse cosmopolitan centres, a new art form emerged, a uniquely American contribution to the performing arts: The American Musical. Blending the popular entertainment of the music hall with the thematic and artistic ambitions of classical Opera, it first emerged in the 1930s with such landmarks as Porgy and Bess and Oklahoma!. It then passed through a Golden Age, an Age of Experimentation, an Age of Blockbusters, and today presses onward with genre-expanding hits such as the hip-hop-musical Hamilton. Pillars of the American Musical will focus on key plays in the early and middle periods of the 20th Century, with particular attention to the ways in which they created, through experimentation and innovation, an exciting and entirely distinct genre.

POEM, PROSE & PLAY

This course will survey the three major genres of literature. The texts will be considered both as independent works of art, as well as representative examples of a genre. Students will be required to respond to the texts and themes of the course by writing both analytically and creatively. Readings will include a 19th century Russian novel and play.

THE POETICS OF HIP HOP

This course is devoted to the rhythm, meter, figurative language, historical context, mass culture, and subculture of hip hop music. While the cultural movement of hip hop includes other arts such as breakdancing and graffiti, we will focus on the poetry of hip hop music, namely in the music’s wordplay, patterns of stress, and thematic meaning. To illustrate the course’s key prosodic and figurative concepts, we will compare hip hop poetry to other verse forms. Ideally, our comparative approach to poetry should enrich our knowledge of both hip hop and other poetic traditions. The skills taught in this course will include scanning and listening for patterns of stress, relating texts and contexts in an analytically productive way, learning how to identify and analyze the formal conventions of poetry, and developing a practice of close reading and listening.

THE POETICS OF POPULAR MUSIC

Ever since we were young we have listened and sung along to songs but how often have we stopped in the middle of doing so, ignored the melody and beat, and reflected on the words themselves to ask: what are these lyrics actually saying?

This course will consider the evolution of this lyric form by engaging the history of popular music, running from the era of professional songwriters and lyricists (the late-19th century to the 1960’s) to the singer/songwriter era (1960’s to today). Instead of listening to songs, we will read – closely – to engage with the words and consider what is being said and how the lyricists are saying it. By looking directly at literary/poetic elements, both included and excluded by songwriters, we will consider how their creative choices contribute to the distinct form that lyrics take.

READING SCIENCE AS LITERATURE

In this course, we will address the strange modern belief that science and literature have somehow gone their separate ways and that acolytes of each have no common ground between them. As we speculate on the dichotomy between these “two cultures,” we will study what writers think of the world we have created and how literature engages with the potential or actual effects of science on humanity. We will read a wide variety of texts where writers look at Science and at its inventions through a wide range of emotions: caustic sarcasm, awe at its novelty, and downright fear at its intrusion into human emotions and thoughts.

In addition to looking at the intersection between science and literature, we will also consider the texts as multifaceted works of literature that belong to a larger literary tradition and provide students with the opportunity to improve their writing skills.

ROMANTIC POETRY

This course will introduce students to the poetry of the Romantic period. Students will study the works by the canonical poets William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and William Blake while also exploring female writers, such as Letitia Landon, Charlotte Smith, and Mary Robinson. We will familiarize ourselves with Romantic concepts and themes, such as the sublime, the figure of the Romantic wanderer, and the imagination. Lectures will incorporate formal analysis and students will place the works in their social, political, and historical contexts. Looking at Romanticism as a complex movement, we will explore why the female Romantic writers were excluded from the Romantic canon and to what extent these works can be labeled ‘Romantic.’

SCIENCE AND IDEOLOGY

Ursula Le Guin’s novel The Dispossessed (1974) presents two fictional planets on which different societies develop their cultures. Capitalism and socialism reigns in different parts of Urras, whereas the population of Anarres has left Urras some generations ago to realize an anarchist society. As the scientist and protagonist Shevek travels between the two planets, he becomes aware of the discontents with social constraints in all three ideological settings. This course looks at literature that depicts scientific endeavours in contexts that permit, censor, or commission scientific inquiry according to ideological orientation. Science fiction (or literature about science) interrogates the dynamics between science and ideology and how these dynamics determine what is considered desirable and acceptable. Questions we will ask include: how does ethics influence the role we attribute to science? When do scientific results get support, and when do they come under attack? How do ideological and historical contexts influence such outcomes?

SCIENCE FICTION

Since its inception, science fiction has often been dismissed as a formulaic genre lacking the substance found in more “literary” work. However, numerous science fiction authors use stories of potential futures and faraway worlds to comment on important contemporary issues such as class conflicts, gender roles, and the nature of human identity. Even examples that can easily be written off as pure escapist fiction are worthy of attention if we use them to figure out exactly what specific issues these stories are providing an escape from. This course aims to help students identify aspects of science fiction and connect issues in the texts to contemporary realities and their own experiences. As with all English courses, another aim is to refine the reading and writing skills students will need in all future analytical work.

SCI-FI SHAKESPEARE

Science fiction and Shakespeare may seem like strange bedfellows. Yet Shakespeare’s drama has unquestionably shaped fantasy as a genre. Science fiction stories have variously reimagined, remixed, and retold the bard’s plays for new audiences. For example, Isaac Asimov literalizes Ben Jonson’s praise of Shakespeare, as “not of an age but for all time,” by making him a time-traveler. This course invites students to revisit popular science fiction through the lens of Shakespearean drama, and vice versa, in order to develop new readings. The class will centre on two tragedies – Hamlet and Macbeth – alongside Star Trek, Dr.Who, and X-men.

SHAKESPEAREAN DRAMA

In this course students will begin by learning the basics of Shakespearean drama (including correct terminology), then quickly move on to examine Shakespeare’s dramatic art in two genres: comedy and tragedy. By the end of the course, students will be able to discuss the genres, themes, characters and poetic qualities of Shakespeare’s plays, both as texts to be read and as works of theatre to be seen and heard.

SHAKESPEAREAN TRAGEDY

In this course we read two plays by Shakespeare. Each is a tragedy, representing the descent, from on high, of a great individual. Each is a story about the wielding of power: its temptations, its responsibilities, and its consequences. Students will have a chance to view film adaptations of these plays, but they confront Shakespeare in the original language, which is dense with imagery and other poetic devices. As well as reading each play text, students will read a textbook, The Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare, whose content will be the subject of a number of comprehension tests.

SHORT FICTION

Short fiction is attractive to writers for the same reason it is attractive to students: it is short. Women, the working-class and members of racialized minorities have found the short story form attractive for this reason as well: unlike a novel, a short story writer still has room for a day job. Partly because it is short, and partly because it attracts writers of marginalized groups, short fiction has traditionally been viewed as a less-important genre than the novel or the poem, the perception being that short fiction requires less planning and careful thought than the novel and less careful attention to language than poetry. Another perspective is that the short story is a beautiful synthesis of the poem and the novel. While the practice of storytelling is ancient, the short story is one of our most modern literary forms, and this is reflected by its internal diversity. As students will discover, short fiction is as deviant, moral, debased and dignified as our modern lives.

SHORT FICTION

The short story is notoriously resistant to formal categorization and encompasses a wide range of modes of expression. In fact, the genre’s openness is representative of the power of literature to provide multifaceted views and experiences. We will look at subgenres of the short story that use magical, absurdist and speculative components to impart themes of metamorphosis and otherness. We will also look at realist fiction and a short story cycle that tests the formal boundaries between the short story collection and the novel. By the end of the course, students will have discovered the potential of the genre as a vehicle for literary creativity and the exploration of diverse themes.

THE SHORT STORY - BETWEEN TRADITION AND INNOVATION

This class will introduce you to a variety of traditional and innovative short stories. We will attend to the particular formal elements that make a story appealing and incite an emotional response from readers. In the process, we will meet people, ideas, different ethnic communities, and have a glance at the process of writing itself. From Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” to Kate Chopin’s “The Storm,” from Woody Allens’s “The Kugelmass Episode” to Joyce Carol Oates’ “How I Contemplated the World…” we will encounter numerous characters and their experiences, and be introduced to new ways of thinking about what we call reality. By the end of this course, we will have discovered the potential of the short story as a vehicle for literary creativity and the exploration of what it means to be human.

SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS

If we continue our personal growth throughout life, we may find ourselves recognizing and integrating our “dark side”; transforming our lives to make room for our highest potentials; and progressing to ever wider and deeper perspectives on our religious tradition, whatever that tradition may be. This course, through the genres of memoir, fantasy novel, short stories, and poems, offers visions of these spiritual journeys.

STRANGER THAN FICTION - NON-FICTION & MEMOIR

Most writing is non-fiction. Every day, we share our experiences, convey information and express our thoughts in writing. ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ will introduce a variety of non-fiction with a range of rhetorical modes that will inform, persuade, inspire, challenge and entertain. Students will analyze a long autobiographical text and also produce a short piece of creative ‘life writing’ of their own. Through reading and writing about these non-fiction texts, students will be encouraged to consider topical issues, appreciate other viewpoints and explore and question the bigger world around them and their place in it.

STUDIES IN CONTEMPORARY NON-FICTION

The aim of this course is to examine the value of “truthfulness” in works of contemporary non-fiction. During the first half of the semester, we will focus on the rhetorical techniques of deliberately and indirectly provocative journalistic essays (involving feminism, race and identity, sexual politics, socio-economics and class – to name a few.) In the latter half of the term, we turn to the non-fiction genre of the Memoir and address questions such as: What does the current popularity of memoirs reflect about society? How is truthfulness judged? How are “great” memoirs determined, as opposed to poor ones?

STUDIES IN THE NOVEL: DON QUIXOTE

Many readers and writers suggest that Michel de Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote, the first part of which was published in 1605, was the first truly “modern” novel. This claim invites a number of interesting questions. What, exactly, is a “novel”? How does it differ from a memoir, a collection of stories, or a work of history? And what do we mean when we call a work of literature “modern”? How does Cervantes’ novel – one that is often funny but sometimes tragic, one that test the limits “fiction” and that explores the elasticity of narrative – exemplify the idea of modernity? In this course, we will combine a close study of Don Quixote with a series of readings that investigate the nature of the novel as a genre and its role in literary history.

STUDIES IN MIXED FORMS

Shakespeare’s plays, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, medieval romance, monsters, the poetics of hip hop: these are all mixed forms that fascinate and perplex their audiences. In this course, we will study the mixed literary form, with reference to other hybrid forms such as mixed martial arts and composite creatures (e.g., chimeras, harpies, manticores). With attention to the conventional classifications of poetry, drama, and prose—which are further divided into sub-genres—we will investigate the origins, functions, and value of genre classification. Is genre a natural kind, for example, or is it established through social negotiation? We will also consider the relative strengths and weaknesses of mixed forms, which are regarded variously as creative brilliance, on the one hand, and as wayward and even wicked, on the other hand.

THE STUDY OF POETRY

This course will introduce students to the study and analysis of poetry. We will survey a broad range of poetic texts, examining the characteristics particular to each genre. Students will learn to identify the techniques that poets employ and will work to develop a critical approach to reading and writing about poetry.

SUITES

The word ‘suite’ refers to a series of objects which are somehow ‘in agreement or harmony’.‖An album, for instance, forms a suite: each song stands alone as a piece of art, but all songs on an album, when strung together in a specific order, create an overall mood or tone. In this course, we will consider the suite as a literary form. We will study suites of texts – poems, stories and songs – and endeavour to understand their formal and thematic continuities.

SUPERHEROES AND THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

This course looks at the language of visual story telling as a persuasive and dramatic art form. Through the lens of the superhero in comics and graphic novels, we will talk about how formal structures of these media evoke themes related to nationalism, race, gender and justice. We will pay special attention to the effects of sequential art narrative and ask how this form has acquired its own status in an establishment that first rejected it as “low” art.

THE SWORD AND SORCERY OF ROBERT E. HOWARD

In his short life Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) wrote hundreds of pulp fiction stories in a variety of genres. His most famous stories were those he wrote in a genre he was one of the founders of, Fantasy. More specifically, he pioneered a sub-genre of Fantasy known as Sword and Sorcery. In his tales of adventure written during the Great Depression and the time when Fascism was gathering strength in Europe, we find a raw, powerful reaction to the disillusionment with civilization that followed World War I. In some sense, Howard’s aggressive and exultant fiction was part of the dynamic that would lead the world to World War II.

TEEN SPIRIT

Young adult fiction is a hot new genre on the literary market. Focusing on the lives of adolescents, these books cover a gamut of themes: drugs, war, love, suicide, music. In this course, we will explore the genre. What makes it so successful? How do authors combine strong story telling techniques with accessible but interesting language to lure young readers? How do authors use form, voice and metaphor in innovative ways? Students will perform creative as well as academic writing in this course.

THEATRE WORKSHOP: ENGLISH

The all-round, all-in-one, magic theatre course for all horses. This course is ideal for students studying or just plain interested in theatre: Theatre Workshop students, Professional Theatre students, scientists who really want to go on the stage etc. Designed to meet the requirements of students in the Professional Theatre Program and those enrolled in the Theatre Workshop, Theatre English accommodates students in all stages of the CEGEP English curriculum. All students work together on theatrical projects, while doing other assignments specific to their college level. In Theatre Workshop English, students can expect to develop facility in reading, watching and interpreting a variety of texts (dramatic, fictional, poetic, and cinematic) as well as improving written and oral expression in English. The Final Showcase offers an opportunity for dramatic writing to students in the Playwright Stream and group performance to all participants.

TRAUMA AND 'THE MODERN TRAGIC'

Blended Learning PERIOD OF EXPLORATION

“How can we define the concept of the “modern tragic”? What exactly is “trauma,” and what do trauma and “the tragic” have in common? This class will look at various definitions of trauma through an exploration of the main currents of twentieth-century modern tragedy.”

This course will be delivered in a blended-learning format. Some class activities, lectures and/or discussions will be online and some in person, on campus. A webcam and microphone are required as well as a computer and reliable internet connection.

TRUTH AND TRUTH-TELLING

The aim of this course is to examine various works of contemporary American non-fiction and raise critical questions about them. During the first half of the semester, we will focus on a range of journalistic essays (evoking issues of feminism, race and identity, sexual politics, class) and examine the ways in which the authors respectively craft their arguments to produce reliable or “truthful” essays. In the latter half of the term, we will hazard the arena of “creative non-fiction”—that is, the Memoir—and among other issues, investigate why there seems to be an explosion of Memoirs today.

URBAN LANDSCAPES IN THE NOVEL

This course explores the relationship between the city, its artistic community and the ways in which writers narrate the constant mutability of the urban landscapes in the novel genre. We will study three novels — Kellough’s Accordeon, Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies — set in three very different geographical and temporal settings: the Montréal of the future, the London of the 1920s and the Brooklyn of the 1980s. These texts will allow us to consider how these authors managed to grasp and reproduce the vibrant reality of the cities they chose to depict, from Montréal to Paris, to Brooklyn (as a borough of New York, but also as its own, separate urban context). The city will be seen as a microcosm, a hybridized community, a landscape that proceeds at heightened speed and where social conflicts often appear more evidently.

WAR & PEACE

What happens when a work like War and Peace is translated from one artistic medium to another? Is the translation from the cultural and linguistic milieu of the nineteenth century to our own a fruitful one or does a film adaptation commit a certain aesthetic violence? To what extent does the medium of film allow for the range of historical and literary expression contained in the original work? Is an adaptation always secondary and derivative or is it more a reflection of a deeply human desire to retell and recast stories? In this course we will read (selections of) War and Peace and we will watch film adaptations of the text from Vidor (1956) to Bondarchuk (1966) to Conroy (1972). We will also consider some scholarly articles on adaptation that should help you sound rather clever when your aunt asks you what you thought of the latest Hunger Games or Harry Potter film.

WAYS OF RELATING TO NATURE

This course focuses on inspiring, life-enhancing ways that humans can relate to nature (animals, plants, earth, and the universe itself).  These positive ways of relating to nature will be explored through the different genres of poetry, children’s literature, natural history essays, and various forms of expository prose.

WHAT'S SO FUNNY? - (THE GENRE OF COMEDY)

Students will learn to recognize the universal (generic) as well as the historically and culturally specific features of comedy.  The principle texts of this course are plays, video adaptations of which will also be studied.  We begin with Greek comedy, examining the origins and fundamental generic features of comedy.  Then we will study medieval texts and consider the influence of Christian myth on the comic genre (and vice versa).  A play by Shakespeare forms the centrepiece of the course and much time will be devoted to reading and analyzing this work.  We then skip ahead to the peculiarly ironic treatment of comedy in modern literature, represented by Beckett.  Other texts will include modern criticism of comedy, which will form the basis of presentations.

WRITING BY WOMEN

This course is designed to introduce students to works written by women in English from the Renaissance to the present. Our historical approach will allow us to examine women’s efforts to disentangle their voice from the voices of others and to express creatively their experience of relationships, their bodies, and their sense of self. The central idea of this course is that women’s literature has its own identity as a literary genre. Through the reading of representative works, from fiction to non-fiction, from poetry to plays, we will investigate how their formal properties (point of view, imagery/metaphor, structure, etc.) relate to the social and historical concerns with which our women writers engage. This focus will invite the exploration and application of feminist perspectives on literature in discussion and written work.

WRITING TUTORS
This course has been designed for students who have demonstrated a high level of proficiency in their own writing and who are interested in sharing their knowledge with other students through tutoring. The course aims to heighten awareness of the complexities of the writing process, as well as to provide an important service to students who wish to develop as writers. Students will also have the opportunity to study literature at an enriched level. Therefore, the course will be run as a seminar where students are responsible for encouraging discussion for a reading that they have chosen to study in more depth.
ZOMBIES – OUR ROTTEN SELVES

In “Zombies: Our Rotten Selves,” we will trace the development of the zombie genre from its (North American) beginnings in pseudo-anthropological travel-writing about Haiti to its more recent manifestations in contemporary films and video games. We will discuss the significance of the zombie’s transformation from individual slaves to the rage-infected hordes typical of the contemporary vision of the zombie apocalypse. To fully appreciate the prevalence and popularity of the genre, we will be looking at a wide variety of texts and media: travel-writing, short stories, academic articles, a novel, a graphic novel, film, television, and even a video-game. Ultimately, the goal of the course will be to answer, as best we can, the following questions: What do zombies represent? What can they teach us about human nature? About historical and cultural anxieties? What makes zombies scary? What makes the genre so popular? Where can the genre go from here?


LITERARY THEMES

Prerequisite: 603-101

These courses examine how literature interprets the human condition. Formal analysis (looking at the organization of a work) provides many insights about a literary work, but we can also ask questions about perspective, attitudes, assumptions and social settings. To this end, in these courses students should learn to recognize a work’s literary themes, cultural context and value system. To pass these courses students are expected to write a 1,000 word essay that meets specific criteria.

18TH AND 19TH CENTURY LITERATURE

This course explores the prevailing ideas and themes associated with the neo-classical Enlightenment and with the Romantic period, i.e. the literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Emphasis is on the genres of poetry and the novel, British and American writing, a thematic approach to the readings and on the thinking and writing strategies of the College Program. This course will examine the various means of literary interpretation and critical expression. We maintain coherence through this somewhat eclectic survey by focusing on the form and technique of poetry and the novel, the relations between Europe and the Americas, issues of gender, colonial and geo-political history, nature, selfhood and subjectivity, discovery, symbolism, realism, reason and the imagination. The revolutionary political context is important. Typical authors & texts include: Alexander Pope’s mock epic “The Rape of the Lock” and Voltaire’s satirical novel, “Candide” exemplify the 18th century and enlightenment ideas; the 19th century is reflected in the work of the British Romantic poets (Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley & Keats) – which we will study more comprehensively – as well as Whitman and Dickinson in America; we look at Hawthorne’s rather gothic novel, “The Scarlett Letter” (or another American novella) at the end of the course. Students will learn to appreciate the period studied in its own right and in relation to our own time. As well, considerable emphasis will be placed upon development and improvement of critical skills needed for thinking and writing about literature at the college level.

ADAPTING SHAKESPEARE

William Shakespeare, like most playwrights of his era, borrowed many of his ideas from other writers. It is sometimes helpful to think of his plays not as wholly original creations, but, instead, as insightful adaptations, or imitations, of older texts. Since his death in 1616, his plays have, in turn, been adapted into new works by a whole series of artists, who have used Shakespeare’s plays as a way of examining their own cultures and historical moments. In this class, we will study Shakespeare’s own plays alongside the texts from which he drew his inspiration. We will then examine a series of later adaptations, paying careful attention to the ways in which the themes in his plays are re-articulated, problematized, and re-contextualized by later writers.

ANIMALS AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Human beings are part of nature, but only recently in the West have we come to see the need for a less antagonistic relationship to our environment. Unlike Aboriginal societies, Western civilization has been based on subduing the natural world and those things symbolically associated with it – specifically, women, animals and non-white humans. Christianity supports Man’s dominion over the natural world; capitalism reduces the natural world’s significance to profit. However, global warming and climate change are forcing us to reconsider our priorities. Scientists, philosophers, and artists are all key to a movement towards a more ecological worldview. In this course, we will look at how animals and the environment are represented in literature, philosophy and popular culture and how animal rights discourse, eco-feminism and environmentalism are born.

THE ANTHIHERO IN LITERATURE

This course is designed to allow students to consider the importance of the anti-hero in contemporary literature. We will focus on literature and essays, exploring these texts through the lens of literary analysis and highlighting the biographical and historical frameworks in which these pieces of literature were created.

FROM THE BEAT TO THE HIPSTER IDENTITY IN LITERATURE

This course will consider how a very specific type of independent, anti-establishment, cultivated and spiritual identity, iconized by the artists belonging to the Beat Generation in 1950s America became a thematic constant in their fictional and poetic works, as well as an example of what the USA had to offer at the time as an alternative type of youth. Slowly, the Beat identity was trans-formed into the hipster model of the 21st century, an image of revolutionary youngsters, focused on avant-garde and obscure forms of art, while also politically and environmentally active. In the case of the hipster phenomenon, as had happened for the Beats, the literary world started mirroring this new youth model in a series of texts based on the themes of hipster identity and style.
Our course will be focused on chosen literary works (a novella, a memoir, and a series of short stories, essays and poems) dedicated to these two types of identitary archetypes, as well as on the ways in which the Beat authors and literary characters inspired the hipster reality and fictional heroes. We will also question the reasons why, in both cases, the terms Beat and hipster were initially coined as positive labels, but were soon used by the media to identify more superficial, immature and vacuous forms of alternative youth culture.

BEING ALIVE:THE MUSICAL THEATRE OF STEPHEN SONDHEIM

Stephen Sondheim is the most important writer of American Musical Theatre, as well as one of the most important contemporary writers of any sort of theatre. It was he who first rejected The Musical’s simplistic, stereotypical plots, characters, and themes, and began to dramatize human psychology in all its complexity and ambiguity. This course will focus on Sondheim’s middle and late plays, with particular emphasis on how he uses language, staging, and music to create rich, complex characters, whose passions, confusions, anxieties, and ambivalences are so much at the heart of human experience.

THE BELLE ÉPOQUE – LITERATURE IN ITS SOCIO-CULTURAL CONTEXT

Literature can be enjoyed across temporal and geographic distances, just think of the Odyssey, or the Bible. However, taking a step closer to where literary works were conceived, a whole new web of significance opens up to our eyes through an intricately complex and bewildering world of unexpected connections. It is in this spirit of discovery that we will approach the exquisitely rich literature of turn-of-the-century Central Europe: a place of many tongues and a time of heightened intellectual effervescence. The first officially multicultural state in the world, Austro-Hungary, created in the same year as the Canadian Confederation, was the birth place of many new disciplines of learning. Art and literature flourished despite an archaically conservative imperial and royal aristocracy that ruled with the help of an army of informers and a burgeoning bureaucracy. This course will examine the extent to which literature reflects, bends, shapes, in short, is symbiotically linked to the socio-cultural context within which it is conceived, performed, and ultimately consumed.

THE BIG PICTURE – LITERATURE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

In this course we will study fictional and non-fictional texts that explore themes of power, justice, and equality in society. In the process we will practice two important skills pertinent to the exploration of these themes: we will read, attentively, critically, and thoughtfully, in order to develop our awareness of the complex forces that act upon individuals in society; and we will write, meaningfully, convincingly, and creatively, in order to exercise some of the shaping and influencing power that we as individuals also possess.

BODIES OF LITERATURE

We tend to think about the body as separate from the soul – the true essence of a person – but there are many ways in which the state of our bodies directly impacts our moods, abilities, and even identities. This course looks at the theme of embodiment in literature, and how we define ourselves according (or in opposition) to our corporeal limitations. We will also consider how the intangible experience of being human can itself be embodied, or given substance, through works of literature.

"BRAIN DRAIN" & THE "AMERICAN DREAM”: ASIAN-AMERICAN/CANADIAN PERSPECTIVES

For decades, the “American Dream” has appealed to people from developing nations. We can see this acutely in the exodus of “skilled” and “unskilled” workers and international students leaving their countries for better opportunities in places like the US, Canada, and the UK. In this course, we will tackle how social and family dynamics are redefined due to and in spite of absent parental figure(s) and children. We will question various written, auditory, and visual narratives to see how the “American Dream” has been championed and demonized. We will unpack how it variously liberates and traumatizes its participants.

CANADIAN CROSSINGS

It has been said that the best way to get to know a country is to read its literature. In this class, we will attempt to get to know Canada in a more intimate way by reading literature that depicts the experiences of some of Canada’s minority populations: First Nations, immigrants, French Canadians, and others. In doing so, we will uncover some of Canada’s history and social fabric that is absent from the high school curriculum. We will also discuss issues of concern to Canadians of all races and religions. We’ll ultimately look at the issue of what it means to be Canadian: is there such a thing as a singular Canadian identity? Can Canada itself be defined or is it ever changing? We’ll deal with all genres: fiction, poetry, drama, cartoons and whatever else comes up.

CONTEMPLATIVE AND SPIRITUAL WRITING

Across history and cultures, the notion that the universe is guided by a loving presence, and that it is the human project to realize this on a deeply personal level, provides the basis for much writing. Contemplative practices have long used literary expression to connect to the divine, offering an alternative to consumerist culture. In this class, students will read a broad sampling of poetic, reflective and philosophical texts and develop a preliminary understanding of contemplative literature and its alternative conceptions of the Self. As much as possible, class will be held outdoors where many contemplative writers find their inspiration. Students registering in this course should enjoy being outside and be willing to periodically unplug from their devices.

CONTEMPORARY CANADIAN LITERATURE

This course focuses on literature produced by both emerging and established Canadian writers from the twentieth century to today. Central to this course are questions of place and identity. Students will be expected to respond and to explore their responses on the path towards cultivating a greater understanding of Canadian literature as it exists today.

CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE LITERATURE

This class examines literary themes through readings of Contemporary Japanese Literature. The class looks at universal social, psychological and philosophical themes. Students learn to identify the universal themes as well as themes such as: the human cost of war, the status of women in society, isolation and loneliness, existentialism, social injustice, the supernatural and paranormal, anti-establishment and anarchy etc. Evaluations are: reading tests, literary journals, in class essay examination, two essays of 1000 words. Successful students are able to identify, critically evaluate and write well organized and clearly expressed essays. Student skills in reading, critical comprehension and evaluation of themes are fully developed.

COYOTE DREAMS

The course attempts to explore a few examples of stories by Native writers in order to look more closely at the place of mythology in native storytelling and its role as a source of spiritual strength. Through the study of original myths as well as stories by contemporary writers, such as Louise Erdrich, Thomas King and Leslie Marmon Silko, the students will learn about the history and present-day realities of Aboriginal peoples of North America.

CRIMINAL MINDS

This course explores the literary portrayal of crime and deviance. The first unit examines tales of murder and depravity written by the master of the macabre Edgar Allan Poe and discusses the questions these stories probe about deviance and its connection to human “nature”. Students will then profile one of modern Europe’s most infamous inmates and social deviants, the Marquis de Sade, and read a play about the state of freedom in western culture, inspired by the historical Sade and set in an asylum for the criminally insane. The second unit focuses on Henry Miller’s novel Tropic of Cancer which was criminalized in the United States for a period of 27 years. In this unit, we will consider connections between obscenity and truth, censorship and cultural value systems. The course concludes with Hunter S. Thompson’s work Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream. Thompson’s novel, a cult hit set amidst the drug culture of the 1960s, is an experiment in journalism that draws parallels between the illegal consumption of narcotics in America and the legal and heavily promoted consumption of material goods in the same country.

DOING SHAKESPEARE
In Doing Shakespeare, students will study Shakespeare‘s plays not only in the customary academic sense of reading, interpreting and writing about them, but also through performing them for themselves and for each other. For fifteen weeks, by becoming not only Shakespeare‘s audience but also his actors, students will learn about the meeting of page and stage that makes his plays so alive even four hundred years after they were first performed.
DUST AND THE WARDROBE

Although many contemporary children do not recognize the religious content in C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, they are imbued with themes common to the Abrahamic religions, especially Christianity. Both the books and the film adaptations are examples of religious allegory, the ancient and powerful marriage between religious doctrine and literary appeal. Similarly, Philip Pullman’s highly-acclaimed, young-adult trilogy, His Dark Materials, is also allegory; but Pullman is one of Lewis’ most outspoken critics. In fact, to some extent His Dark Materials is Pullman’s atheist response to Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. In this course, students will read works either or both authors as well as view film adaptations of their works and films that address similar themes. Students will use critical thinking to consider themes that touch on universal questions of mythology, religion, philosophy, cosmology, Platonism, even the General Theory of Relativity and the more recent hypothesis of multiverses. Students will also consider how these stories reflect the sociocultural and religious influences and biases of the authors.

DYSTOPIA

This course offers an introduction to the genre of science fiction, with special attention to the theme of dystopia. We will study texts that pose important questions about current scientific, social, technological, and cultural practices by extending these practices into the future, in believable, speculative ways, and looking at their implications: authors invite us to think about trends like genetic modification or biotechnology by extrapolating from current conditions and urging readers to confront potential consequences of these trends. These ‘what-if’ scenarios meditate in unsettling and provoking ways on questions about human happiness, human nature, and human societies.

THE ECOLOGICAL IMAGINATION

This course will examine the development of nature writing in North America through a variety of literary genres (poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction) as well as introduce students to the field of ecocriticism. The course readings will develop a historical perspective on nature writing in order to sharpen students’ responses to contemporary issues and texts.

THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT

Imagining the end of the world has been a central preoccupation of Western culture for over two thousand years. This course briefly looks at the main source of the apocalyptic tradition, the book of Revelation, and then considers at a few modern apocalyptic poems, before moving on to an apocalyptic novel, probably Fahrenheit 451, and then finishing with several short stories.

ENGINEERING

In inventing and realizing structures, technologies, machines or public works, engineering claims hold on imagining the material future. But, what happens when those imagined futures do not turn out as expected, are not as benign as predicted? Or, why with little or no knowledge of the outcomes, do we persist in rushing into the unknowable, unleashing the unthinkable? In this class, we examine the way writers engineer their own responses to technical innovation and wonder what kinds of future we, as a collective humanity, wish to build and inhabit.

FEAST OF FOOLS

In medieval Europe, the Feast of Fools was a topsy-turvy moment of allowed disorder: what was low became high, and what was high became low. This feast was sanctioned by society because it allowed frustrations that had built up over time to be released, if only for a fleeting moment. How is it that breaking all the rules can sometimes strengthen those very rules? In this course, by examining texts which highlight either the figure of the Fool or the moment of the Feast, we will attempt to answer this question.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Students of this course will explore the thematic and metaphorical use of food in literature. Food, or its absence, has been an effective tool to express the significance of relationships, cultural history, family tradition, women’s issues, political dissent, and personal memory. By studying a variety of authors and their “food literature”, students will discover how food can serve as an important theme in creative expression.

FROM APES TO ANDROIDS

In this course, students will read and respond to a broad selection of speculative fiction, beginning with H.G. Wells and ending with more contemporary authors. The goal will be to engage critically with the literary theme of human transformation as imagined by a wide variety of science fiction and fantasy authors. Beginning with those who were writing in response to Charles Darwin’s theories on evolution and ending with transhumanist responses to new and emerging technologies, together we will consider various answers to some of the biggest questions related to human identity: Where do we come from? Where are we going? What does it mean to be human? Are we savage or civilized? As our identities become increasingly intertwined with various technologies, do we risk losing touch with our animal nature? When it comes down to it, are we apes or androids? And, ultimately, how meaningful is this distinction?

GENERATIONAL STORIES

In this course, we will explore fictional, poetic, dramatic, graphic, and nonfiction works that both foreground relationships between individuals from different generations and purport (or have been purported to) offer representations of specific generations (like the Great War’s “Lost Generation”) that are often considered especially distinct.

THE GLORY AND THE DREAM: ENLIGHTENMENT AND ROMANTICISM

This course will examine the various means of literary interpretation and critical expression through the study of 18th and 19th century literature. We maintain coherence through this somewhat eclectic survey, by focusing on the form and technique of poetry and short fiction, the relations between Europe and the Americas, issues of gender, colonial and geo-political history, nature, selfhood and subjectivity, discovery, symbolism, reason and the imagination. The revolutionary political context is important. Voltaire’s satirical novel “Candide” exemplifies the 18th century and enlightenment ideas; the 19th century is reflected in the work of the British Romantic poets as well as Whitman and Dickinson in America; we look at American Romantic short stories at the end of the course. Students will learn to appreciate the period studied in its own right and in relation to our own time.

THE GOTHIC
While the Gothic is traditionally associated with images of darkness, death, and decay, it also serves as a means through which individuals can challenge dominant social views and address cultural anxieties. In this course we will examine literature, art, and film from the period spanning the mid-18th Century to the present, and consider how writers and artists define and use the concept of the Gothic to address concerns specific to their own time.
HOCKEY IS EVERYTHING

Hockey is a powerful unifying force for the Canadian nation. Hockey is more than a sport; it is another national language – it is a way for Canadians to know themselves and to define themselves. Hockey is so much a part of the Canadian soul that it arises again and again in our national literature.

HOMEWARD BOUND: HOMER’S ODYSSEY

Considered one of the building blocks of Western culture, Homer’s Odyssey—a sprawling adventure full of twists and turns, populated by spiteful gods, a one-eyed giant, frightful sea creatures, monstrous cannibals, magical Sirens, a sorceress who turns men into pigs, and zombie-like spirits of the dead, among other unforgettable characters—continues to challenge, fascinate, and inspire readers almost three millennia after its initial appearance. Students will get the chance to read this epic poem closely, and they will address several questions: What is “myth”? What role did hero myths on the Greek-speaking world? Who was “Homer” and when was Odyssey “composed”? What do we know about Homer’s cultural, geographical, and social world? What makes this poem “epic”? Among some of the themes students will explore are the yearning for adventure, administration of justice, restoration of order, honour and glory, respect for the gods, coming of age, family ties, vengeance, memory, war, individuality, storytelling, hospitality, and loyalty. Students will also investigate the possible reasons why Homer’s ancient poem continues to resonate so profoundly today.

HOPEPUNK, IMAGINING BETTER WORLDS

“The opposite of grimdark is hopepunk. Pass it on.” – Alexandra Rowland

Sometimes the rebellion is in just holding on. In this course, we will examine themes of hope, survival, and radical kindness in literary works and media. In particular, we will look at facets of hopepunk and the way texts can imagine new futures in which their characters can push back and push onwards, always striving for a better world. Hopepunk, itself, is a term created to describe fictions and stories in which characters are faced with the bleakest scenarios yet choose goodness, kindness, and radical hope as an act of purposeful resistance. The texts in this course take root in fantasy and sci-fi, but branch off in a number of surprising directions. This is not the course that will convince

you that everything is fine. However, it might be the course to convince you to keep going anyway.

HUMANITY AND OTHERNESS IN SCIENCE FICTION

This course offers an introduction to ideas in science fiction about humanity. SF stories are full of encounters with others (monsters, aliens, robots, etc.) and full of encounters with new technology that prompt questions about what makes us human. We will read and watch some of these stories that challenge us to think harder about what makes us human.

IF ONLY THEY COULD SPEAK: ANIMALS IN LITERATURE

Do animals feel? Do they think? How do they experience the world? These questions have fascinated certain humans for as long as they have had contact with other species. From hunter to vegan, animal researchers to sanctuary keepers, there is no shortage of opinion on the ethical questions concerning the role and rights of animals. Looking as far back as shamans and their totems, or the shapeshifters of Greek mythology, there is a rich tradition of human attempts to cross the divide and assume the nature of wild creatures. Through the centuries writer and poets have tried to imagine our world through the eyes of animals, and it is these texts that we will explore and enjoy in this course.

IMAGINARY HOMELANDS – DIASPORA LITERATURE

Students will read short stories and a novel by multicultural writers in Canada and in the U.S. We look at communities of people living in one country yet acknowledging that “the old country” always has some claim on their loyalty and emotions. These newly arrived protagonists are initiated into a diverse culture through knowledge, experience, or both, often by a process of disillusionment. Understanding comes after the dropping of preconceptions, a destruction of a false sense of security, or in some way the loss of innocence. Belonging to a minority culture brings added complications to such a development. In the process, we learn the importance of memory as a product of the creative imagination, the importance of a collective identity and the ever present search for one’s own self-identity.

THE INCREDIBLE STORY: MAGIC REALISM

The course “The Incredible Story: Magic Realism” looks at the place of magic and marvellous in our lives and in literature and art. Through the study of the mythological source of literature as well as stories and a novel by Native Canadian and American, Latin American, African and European authors, we will learn to appreciate different ways of seeing and speaking about the world, the world around us and the world inside us.

IN COLD BLOOD: TRUE CRIME WRITING IN AMERICA

Why are we drawn to true crime stories? Is it because they frighten us? Revolt us? Is it the journey to figure out “whodunit”? Do they make us feel smarter? Do they make us feel useful, without getting up from our armchairs? Do we love these stories (and documentaries, websites, and podcasts) because they give us certain power over the worst thing that could happen? No matter the reason, the crime narrative creates an artful distance between reader and real subject that gives us the leisure to imagine we can figure out bad guy and good guy, and tell right and wrong. We will examine these ideas through a lineage of true crime narratives– beginning with Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and ending with Serial, an investigative podcast from NPR—and along the way we’ll unpack the useful tools used by reporters and writers who create the hair-raising, engaging crime story.

INTRODUCTION TO CANADIAN POETRY

Poetry can be seen as an aesthetic expression that, in some ways, challenges our more conventional modes of communication. From its content to its idiosyncratic form, to the ways in which it is distributed, produced, and performed, poetry demands an active and imaginative engagement on the part of its audience, resisting a cultural drift towards more passive forms of consumption. In Canada, and throughout its history, poets have been assimilating and spearheading new directions in poetic expression. By making a more-or-less chronological investigation into some of the poetry produced in the 20th and 21st centuries in Canada, this course aims to introduce students to the range and character of the country’s poetic imagination.

KIDS IN AMERICA

An American and modern invention, the teenager is an essential figure in American literature. In this class, we will study the cultural context that gave rise to this figure and reflect on how the social construct of “adolescence” engages various themes, such as sexuality and gender, power, independence, rebellion, violence, and racism. We may also look at different archetypal representations of teenagers, such as the gang member, the cheerleader, or the mall rat.

LGBTQ Literature

What is the relevance of sexual orientation and gender identity outside the bedroom? Does our private life matter when it comes to our public life? What can literature teach us about these questions? This is exactly what we will attempt to discover in this class. Reading three coming of age novels and one short story featuring gay, lesbian, or queer characters, we will reflect on how gender and sexuality affect or shape the stories we tell about who we are, how we interact with others, and how we participate in the public sphere.

LITERARY THEMES

In this course, students will develop their skills in critical thinking and critical reading by studying a particular literary theme as it is represented in texts taken from a variety of genres and historical periods. Students will also learn to improve their writing and speaking skills.

LITERARY FREAKS AND THE GROTESQUE

Tropes of the grotesque in literature take many forms: Melville’s unproductive scrivener, Flannery O’Connor’s Misfit, Angela Carter’s shapeshifting werewolves, Gogol’s social-climbing nose, and Kafka’s terrified and terrifying bug, among many others. These characters are united through the way that they embody ideas of metamorphosis and otherness, and fear and empathy, acting as boundary-riders or shape-shifters. This course will explore the grotesque as a concept that can agitate the rigid hierarchical systems that permeate culture. The stories and novellas featured on this syllabus resist and interrogate binary thinking as a mode of power and control, and invite new forms of knowledge and methods of reading. Through the exploration of different literary genres and histories, students will become familiar with the thematic significance of these “abnormal” heroes.

LITERATURE OF CONTAGION

Despite how new and unprecedented COVID-19 is to most of us, humanity has been living through pandemics and plagues since before recorded history. In the era of the written word, many literary texts make contagion their subject matter. The fear and panic that these texts portray are important cathartic outlets when faced with the unknown, and also help us remember that none of this is new. Often characterized as the great leveler, a virus, for the most part, does not discriminate when infecting a host. However, what plagues reveal about humanity is the great inequality that permeates all cultures. They also reveal a great breadth of human empathy and hopefulness of spirit. People hunkered down in their homes in perilous times turn to stories and literature to help bring comfort and solace, which act as ballast against endemic fear. Even when other humans are dangerous to us, we still long for human connection. In this course we will read texts that deal with plague, epidemic and contagion. We will explore different literary genres, including the novella, novel, short story, drama, and types of essay. We will look at the literature of contagion and literature as contagion to think about the ways in which humans deal with calamity, and how calamity can inspire innovation and togetherness. Furthermore, the metaphor of literature as virus will be explored as we think about the infectious nature of emotion as expressed through literature.

THE LITERATURE OF PACIFISM

Peace in the world begins with inner peace. This course will examine the spectrum of strategies that have evolved with individuals, as well as nation states, in order to achieve that elusive goal: peace. Technology continues to create more problems than it solves, promoting a destructive culture of consumerism and militarism. Will future generations have nothing to hold onto but a handheld? Can non-material values survive? This course will tackle those difficult questions.

THE LITERATURE OF THE SIXTIES

The Earth looked very small in the sky to the first astronauts of the Apollo Program as they hopped around on the moon in 1969. Now, we have all looked at our tiny Earth vicariously through their eyes. The Canadian media guru, Marshall McLuhan, invented the idea of the Global Village, which symbolically describes humanity’s altered sense of itself in the aftermath of Apollo. Only some of it was explicitly concerned with space, but the literature of the sixties in general reflects the transformation of perspective that was occurring at that time.

LOSS AND DISCOVERY

We will read from a selection of short stories, poetry, and a novel, and focus our attention on how these works portray different kinds of human loss—loss of a loved one, of course, but also loss of one’s dreams, illusions, past, identity, innocence, and so on. Loss can be transformative and revelatory, forcing the discovery of new knowledge—for better or for worse—about the self, the nature of the world, the human condition. As we explore themes in the course texts students will also develop critical skills for interpreting and writing about literature.

LOVE IN SHAKESPEARE
In this course, students will study a sample of the work of William Shakespeare, focusing on the theme of love. In order to get as rounded a view as possible of this complex idea and experience in Shakespeare, students will read at least two plays, as well as a selection of poetry (sonnets and “The Phoenix and the Turtle”). Thus the significance of genre is also addressed in this course.
MAGIC AND WITCHCRAFT

Witches, warlocks, and wizards have fascinated the popular imagination from the “burning times” to the present day. In this course, students will encounter a range of texts – both fictional and historical – dealing with the theme of magic.  We will explore how the representation of magic in literature has changed over five centuries by pairing famous works such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Miller’s The Crucible, Grimm’s Fairy-tales, and excerpts from Rowling’s Harry Potter series with contextual readings from witch trial accounts, grimoires, and anthropological criticism.  Warning: this class may not be for the faint of heart!

MAGIC LETTERS

In a time where texting and emoticons are replacing well thought out and deeply introspective forms of communication, a return to, and a respect for, the roots of writing will intensify the meaning and experience of life. Magic Letters is a course that incorporates calligraphy and the mailing of letters, and students must be proactive in purchasing the supplies needed for the class that are not available in the bookstore. The cost of the class in terms of books and supplies (ca. 150$), indicates the level of commitment that the student registering for this course is expected to bring. Interested students who find the course cost a financial difficulty are asked to contact the teacher.

MAGIC WEB

The long nineteenth century in and around Britain was a time of artistic, scientific, political and technological revolution. The artists who wrote, painted, designed, composed, and crafted during this period shaped their age. Some embraced technology, while others advocated a return to more traditional art forms. This class looks at the connections between literature and the other arts in the Victorian era and beyond. Students will learn about intersections between poetry, fiction, non-fiction, painting, photography, architecture, and theatre. Exploring how artists’ views of art shifted over time, the class will help students appreciate this rich and vibrant period.

MODERN DRAMA: FROM THE SURREAL TO THE ABSURD

When the first few surrealist and absurdist plays appeared on the stage, spectators and critics were mystified. Radically deconstructing the notion of a well-made play, Beckett, Pirandello, Artaud, and Strindberg employed highly experimental dramatic techniques. Raising existential questions, their works thematize the struggle to impose meaning onto the ashes of the two world wars, and their characters often find themselves alienated in a surreal world without a story. Starting with Andre Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto and Martin Esslin’s critical essay The Theatre of the Absurd, this course focuses on the main currents of twentieth-century modern drama. We will explore the surrealist elements of The Theatre of the Absurd and examine the significant influence the surrealist and absurdist playwrights had on numerous postmodern neo-absurdist dramatists, such as Marina Carr and Dominic Champagne. The emphasis of the course will be on close reading. Students will acquaint themselves with theatrical techniques and terminology, such as metatheatre, subtext, and the deconstruction of the fourth wall while placing the works in their aesthetic, social, and political contexts. We will analyze the plays primarily as dramatic texts rather than performance works. Attendance at the video viewings is; however, mandatory. We will go to two local shows / theatre installations over the course of the semester. Overall, the goal of the course is to learn the distinguishing dramatic and aesthetic features of surrealist and absurdist drama. We will also devote a significant amount of time in class to play-reading, acting, and creative writing. Finally, the course will address various essay writing techniques with an emphasis on revision and editing in order to work towards more sophisticated forms of expression.

MONSTER-MAKING: TALES OF HORROR

In this course, students will examine the themes in classic and contemporary horror literature. Students will be exposed to the work of Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, John Keats, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Truman Capote, Daphne DuMaurier, Karen Russell, Joyce Carol Oates, and Robert Kirkman.

MULTI-ETHNIC AMERICAN LITERATURE AND RACIALISM

In this course we will read African American, Native American, and Asian American authors. How do these writers evoke racial or ethnic belonging? In Toni Morrison’s short story “Recitatif,” the race of Twyla and Roberta remains debatable, at least for the most part of the story. Nevertheless, readers often assume that they have identified the race of both characters. How does her short story comment on racial stereotypes? How do texts activate and question our presumptions about race? To which effect? Charles Johnson’s volume of cartoons, Black Humor, is a pun on blackness and black as a style of humor. Is humor an appropriate way to address questions of race? How does race as a category relate to other categories such as class and gender? Some have asserted that race does not really exist. Do we agree? What are the origins of race as a criteria, and how has its meaning changed over time and how does literature reflect or promote this change? In the course of this semester, we will discuss these and other questions as we read the works of multi-ethnic writers and critics.

MUSIC AND LITERATURE

This course explores the theme of music in literature. Listening and writing exercises involving words and lyrical sounds will help students to develop an educated ear. Students will question their own tastes. How much of their reading and listening habits are controlled by mass-media tastemakers? How much by peer pressure? And how much by their own level of verbal and musical literacy? The answer may be found in the magic of music and literature and this course!

THE NORTH IN RUSSIAN AND CANADIAN LITERATURE

This course will invite us to look at northern literatures (mainly Russian and Canadian) both as students of literature and as citizens of the north. Is the north a geographical place or a cultural construct? Is its definition historically contingent? How have writers thought about the north and to what extent has the notion of being ‘northern’ produced a distinctive national flavour?
Over the semester, we discuss the images that northern literature evokes in both Canada and Russia. Are the images crisp and vivid? Are they complex or distorted? Is there such a thing as Northern literature and, if so, what defines it? The course is divided into three sections: nature, first peoples and nation-building. We will allow ourselves to explore texts from anthropology, sociology, history and ecology as well as literary texts. Through our exploration of the personal, cultural, and national dimensions of selected works of Russian and Canadian literature, we will be mapping out a shared knowledge of this place we commonly call the North.

NORTHERN WISH: IDEAS OF THE CANADIAN NORTH

In this course, students will explore Canada’s imaginary northern landscape and consider its role as a mythic backdrop for the formation of national identity. Students will be exposed to a variety of texts — literary, filmic, and more – and will have the opportunity to consider where the settler myth of the north converges and diverges with the perspectives of the indigenous peoples who have long lived there.

OBSESSIONS WITH THE SELF

This is a theme-based course designed to introduce students to the literature of self-knowledge and self-discovery.  We will begin our exploration by looking at the classic play of self-discovery and self-delusion: Oedipus Rex.  Our journey then takes a more philosophical twist as we explore the ideas of Buddhism before delving into the story of Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.  Finally, 20th century narcissism awaits us in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.  Throughout the course we will be making links to popular culture through the use of film, TV, and modern song lyrics.  This course aims to give the student a wide angle literary perspective on the notions underlying self-knowledge, as well as the skills to analyze and understand texts from a range of genres.

THE OCCULT IN EARLY MODERN LITERATURE

This course is devoted to sixteenth and seventeenth-century literature that features magic, alchemy, witchcraft, and other aspects of the occult. While unified by their witchy and strange content, the readings are characterized by different generic conventions, styles of language, and varying early modern cultural contexts. Our main objects of study are early modern poems and plays, but we will also make reference to news broadsides and other non-literary texts that feature faeries, monsters, cunning women, and other occult figures.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

How is a story affected by its narrator, especially when that narrator is a child? This is the main question this course will address. The books we will read deal with adult themes – race, death, immigration, abuse, war, love – yet the people telling us the stories are under the age of ten. How does that child’s eye view affect what we are told and how we are let in to the story? Fiction with child narrators is fascinating in the dramatic irony created by the naivety and innocence of the narrator in juxtaposition to the severity of the subject matter. This course will explore that irony and much more through the reading of four novels with child narrators.

PERSPECTIVES FROM IMAGINARY PLACES
Authors and filmmakers frequently use symbolism, imaginary places and altered realities to present their audiences with a specific perspective on the human experience and the nature of the universe. This has been the case since early men and women pondered the most fundamental questions about human existence while looking up at the vastness of sky and stars above earth and sea and then created stories of sky gods and earth goddesses to communicate their conceptions of answers to the unknown. Likewise, the authors of literature covered in this course employ imagination, metaphor and allegory to elaborate philosophical, religious, spiritual and political subjects from the vantage point of imaginary places that do not conform to the natural laws of our world.
PHOTOGRAPHIC NARRATIVES

How did photography become a literary theme after its invention in the 19th century? How did this visual art start increasingly impacting on writers and their works? Why did so many novelists start focusing on photography in both their fictional and critical writings? This course is aimed at suggesting multiple answers to these complex questions, by following the mutual influences that these two arts exchanged since their first encounter. Several famous writers, in fact, were also photographers, such as Lewis Carroll, Eudora Welty and Allen Ginsberg, while numerous others included photography as a central topic of their novels, poems and essays.  Our course will consider a variety of texts, including a novel (J. M. Coetzee’s Slow Man), a narrative and photographic memoir (Anne Liebovitz’s At Work), a selection of essays, short stories and poems (by S. Sontag, R. Barthes, H. G. Wells, and P. Larkin, among others) and a documentary (Finding Vivian Maier). These different texts will allow us to notice the increasing presence of photography in contemporary literature and culture, and the ways in which this theme has been used to show the changeable nature of human memories, as well as the importance of visual elements in our most intimate personal narratives.

POSTCOLONIAL THEMES IN SCIENCE FICTION

This course will serve as an introduction to a variety of postcolonial themes as they are explored and developed by authors working in speculative fiction. Such themes may include xenophobia, imperialism, hegemony, centre/margin, and othering, among others. In keeping with its focus on science fiction, the course will examine the role of technology (whether real or imaginary) in the domination of one culture over another. In addition, the class will pay special attention to how the convenient figure of the alien allows authors to engage in representations that might otherwise be considered racist. In the words of Nalo Hopkinson, editor of So Long Been Dreaming, an anthology of postcolonial science fiction, this course will examine stories that “take the meme of colonizing the natives, and from, the experience of the colonizee, critique it.”

THE QUEST

In this course we will look at the themes that are dealt with in a few representative quest narratives. Elements such as the hero figure, landscape and moral codes will be analyzed. The course will also give students the opportunity to further develop their writing skills.

RACE, CLASS, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY

BLENDED LEARNING

Race, class, gender, and sexuality not only shape our identities, but also the stories we tell about ourselves. In this class, we explore the stories that emerge when authors place marginalized people at the centre of the narrative, both from historical and contemporary perspectives. We may focus, for example, on how poor, gay men of colour thrive and fall in love in urban environments; or on how feminist writers describe the experience of poverty of women during the Great Depression; or on how young, queer Asian-Canadians deal with isolation and social media. As we read these stories, we may notice also that these characters invite us to reconsider the meaning of power and survival. To ensure that students have adequate time to reflect on and write about these issues, the course is delivered in a blended learning format.

This course will be delivered in a blended-learning format. Some class activities, lectures and/or discussions will be online and some in person, on campus. A webcam and microphone are required as well as a computer and reliable internet connection.

REBELS AND MISFITS

For as long as we have had storytellers, human beings have been fascinated with the lives of rebels and misfits, people who either refuse or fail to conform to the social expectations of their time. This course will look at what this refusal to accept and/or inability to conform to social norms says about the society itself. How do social norms change? How do we make them change? And why do we enjoy hearing about people who challenge these norms, even if they are norms which meet our more objective approval?

RENAISSANCE GREATEST HITS

The early modern period, typically defined as dating from 1485-1660, has been heralded as a golden age of English literature. This era witnessed not only the reinvention of the sonnet, the birth of humanism, the Protestant reformation, the overturning of monarchies (Tudor and Stuart), and the emergence of such literary giants as Marlowe, Sidney, and Shakespeare but, further, it also represented an exciting juncture of new frontiers, new science, and new world exploration. Within the span of a few decades, many of the Renaissance’s “greatest hits” were produced and exulted. This course will focus on select writings from this period – covering poetry, prose, and drama – in order to develop close reading tools and critical thinking. Together, we will question how these famous works reflect a culture in flux that in many ways anticipates our own modern experience.

THE ROMANTIC IMAGINATION

This course will introduce students to poetry and fiction of the Romantic age (1800s), a vibrant historical period of cultural change that continues to inspire, shape, and challenge our modern and contemporary appreciation of art, music, and literature. The literature covered will serve to highlight several themes that have helped to define the Romantic imagination: emotional intensity; philosophical and spiritual devotion to nature; individualism and introspection; and a fixation on horror and the irrational; among others. Our primary focus will be to develop close reading and interpretation skills, and to learn to detect and appreciate the larger levels of meanings (thematic significance) in the literary texts covered.

SATAN IN LITERATURE AND ART

While Satan has long served as a religious symbol of ultimate evil, as a figure in literature, film, and art his role is far more complex. In this course, we will examine representations of the devil from the Old Testament to the present, with our goal being to better understand how his ever-changing appearance and nature reflect the concerns of different groups, eras, and ideologies.

SATIRE OLD AND NEW

The impulse to ridicule the follies of humanity dates back thousands years and extends to cultures all over the world. The satiric tradition has never been stronger than it is right now as South Park, The Simpsons, and The Daily Show are among the most popular shows on television, and many of the videos on youtube.com seem to be satirical parodies of one kind or another. Most students, then, have already experienced a broad range of popular satire. This course extends and deepens their basic understanding of satiric functions, techniques, and problems by examining both contemporary and classic examples of the form.

SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY

BLENDED LEARNING

This course considers how Shakespeare’s themes and ideas have been adapted in contemporary literature. Our texts include a representative play by Shakespeare, The Tempest, and Ian McEwan’s novel about artificial intelligence, Machines Like Me. McEwan’s novel makes implicit and explicit reference to The Tempest, echoing its thematic content and posing similar questions about the ethics of scientific knowledge. In addition to studying the adaptation of Shakespeare’s themes, we might consider such concepts as homage, parody, pastiche, allusion, and intertextuality.

This course is a blended learning course. Around 60% of the course (36 hours) will be delivered in person; around 40% (24 hours) will take place asynchronously, involving prerecorded lectures and online activities.

SHAKESPEAREAN BODIES

Dead bodies certainly pile up at the end of many Shakespearean tragedies, Titus Andronicus and Hamlet providing the most obvious examples, but how – we will consider – does the “live” body endure through the words of the plays?  This course invites students to bring the text to life by reading aloud, using professional theatre rehearsal techniques, rhythm games, and literary analysis of our physical and sensory responses to the works. Studying three plays with a focus on corporeality (Titus, Hamlet, and Macbeth), this class will introduce students to embodied reading.

SHAKESPEARE, GENDER AND PERFORMANCE

When William Shakespeare’s plays were first performed, near the end of the 16th century, all of the roles were given to male actors.  At this period in history, women were prohibited from acting on the theatrical stage. Though this may seem strange to us, early-modern audiences accepted it as a common practice. This raises a number of interesting questions: what, exactly, is the difference between “being” a man or a woman, and “acting” like a man or a woman? To what extent is gender based on biology, and to what extent is it based on culturally constructed ideas of behaviour and performance?  And to what extent have these ideas changed over time? These questions were important to Shakespeare, whose plays frequently featured cross-dressing and other gender-bending motifs. They are also important to modern, twenty-first century readers; they are questions at the core of current conversations about feminism, queer identity, and transgender rights. In this class, we will study a series of Shakespearean plays that query the stability of strict categories of “maleness” and “femaleness,” while also thinking about how these plays relate to contemporary discussions about gender.

SHAKESPEAREAN FAMILIES

In this course students will begin by learning the basics of Shakespearean drama, then quickly move on to examine Shakespeare’s dramatization of family relations in two or three plays. We will be especially interested in studying the various conflicts and renegotiations that take place between family members (and sometimes friends) as children pass into adulthood. Especially important will be romantic love, and the tension it creates with other relationships. Readings will be supplemented with viewings of the plays in performance.

SHAKESPEARE AND THE WORLD OF ART

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is arguably the world’s most celebrated dramatist, even today. Why? Scholars such as Harold Bloom have hailed Shakespeare as “the inventor of the human” through his soliloquies and psychological depth of characterization. Students often find his plots more relatable or understandable than those of Dekker, Middleton, or Marlowe due to Shakespeare’s use of fewer classical allusions. That said, in many ways, Shakespeare is at home amongst his contemporaries and is a product of his specific time and place, namely: Golden Age England. Yet, Shakespeare also escapes the bounds of his own era. Indeed, he was praised in the First Folio by his friend and rival, Ben Jonson, as “not of an age but for all time.” This course fulfills the objectives of the “Arts and Sciences 103” by tracing the shock waves Shakespeare’s plays have sent through the wider world of art. Considering paintings, architecture, cuisine, exploration, fashion, music, theatre, ballet, opera, contemporary film, and domestic objects inspired by or adapted from Shakespeare, this class uses one early modern dramatist as a lens through which to refract, and to reflect upon, artistic movements over the subsequent four hundred years.

SPORT LIT - MORE THAN JUST A PHYSICAL EDUCATION

This course focuses on the theme of sport in literature. Through works of fiction (poetry, short story, novel, play, and film) and non-fiction (news stories, autobiography, and documentary) the course will examine the role that sport plays in defining one’s self, and how sport provides a forum for issues that extend beyond the boundaries of the field, the track, the court, the rink, the pool, or the ring. Additionally, students will work individually and collaboratively to analyze and discuss the significance of literary and rhetorical devices employed by authors, poets, playwrights, and directors to convey their message to their intended audience. Ultimately the goal of this course is to foster students’ abilities to think, speak, and write critically.

STORIES IN THE STEPMOTHER TONGUE

So much can be learned about your own backyard seen from an outsider’s perspective: things that appear insignificant to you turn out to be wildly important from the point of view of someone who has recently arrived in your neighbourhood. It is, of course, the cultural baggage that makes all the difference. The astonishment the encounter engenders cuts both ways, in that the person’s own background may appear to them as somewhat skewed as they come into contact with the weird and wonderful realities of their new environment. The stories in this class center around the cultural aha-experience that comes from reading texts written in English by authors of another linguistic (and cultural) background, authors for whom English is but their step-mother tongue. It also proves to students that having different cultural backgrounds (old and new) may not only not be a handicap, but quite the contrary; it may actually increase the ability to produce well-crafted, well-structured, and highly relevant stories.

THE WORLD OF WILLIAM SAROYAN

This course is an introduction to the work of William Saroyan (1908-1981), a self-taught Armenian-American author who achieved critical acclaim as one of America’s most successful and influential writers of short stories, novels, and plays. A recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1940 and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle award for his play, The Time of Your Life, as well as an Academy Award for Best Story for the film adaptation of his novel The Human Comedy, Saroyan’s talent for lively characterization, melodramatic storylines, and stylistic innovation entertained millions of readers and influenced such writers as Jack Kerouac, Kurt Vonnegut, and Charles Bukowski. Students in this class will get the chance to discover and explore the work of this significant literary figure who author/actor Stephen Fry has called “one of the most underrated writers of the [twentieth] century.”

TERRIBLE WORLDS

This course explores instances of hopelessness in fiction, focusing especially on post-apocalyptic and dystopian texts. Some causes for despair we may look at include the inevitability of pain and death, the lack of objective meaning, the uncertainty of reality, and the inescapability of oppressive power structures. By analyzing an assortment of melancholy fiction in relation to such movements and schools of thought as postmodernism, existentialism, nihilism, and absurdism, students will not only come to understand why the contemporary world can be a meaningless, dizzying, and often terrifying place, but will also find reasons to face it.

TEXTS, TEXTILES, CONTEXTS

Weaving, spinning, and other textile arts have long served as metaphors for storytelling: a storyteller “spins” a tale, we follow the “thread” of a narrative, a good story is referred to as a “yarn,” and so on. Similarly, the expressive and identity-conferring function of clothing can be likened to language, particularly the artful, ornamented language of poetry and fiction. In this course, we will take a close look at this pattern of figuration and at the literary representation of textiles and clothing. Our course work includes literary analysis, historical research, and possibly hands-on lessons in the textile arts, through which we might consider the relationship between artisanal and intellectual production. The different forms of knowledge with which we’ll work—historical, practical, narrative, figurative, theoretical—are meant to enrich our understanding and appreciation of the assigned poetry, fiction, and early modern drama.

THEATRE WORKSHOP: ENGLISH

The all-round, all-in-one, magic theatre course for all horses. This course is ideal for students studying or just plain interested in theatre: Theatre Workshop students, Professional Theatre students, scientists who really want to go on the stage etc. Designed to meet the requirements of students in the Professional Theatre Program and those enrolled in the Theatre Workshop, Theatre English accommodates students in all stages of the CEGEP English curriculum. All students work together on theatrical projects, while doing other assignments specific to their college level. In Theatre Workshop English, students can expect to develop facility in reading, watching and interpreting a variety of texts (dramatic, fictional, poetic, and cinematic) as well as improving written and oral expression in English. The Final Showcase offers an opportunity for dramatic writing to students in the Playwright Stream and group performance to all participants.

THEMES IN MODERN POETRY

In this course, students will study a wide variety of poetry by different modern poets, mostly English, though some translations will be studied. The objective of the course is to de-mystify the whole genre, overcoming the supposed ‘difficulty’ of poetry. This is done, partly, by considering poems which are both authentic literary achievements and popular at the same time; as well, historical contextualization will help. Coherence in the course is maintained by thematic modules.

TIME TRAVEL

Time is one element that we seek to control. We lose track of it, waste it, and try to have more of it. Time is elusive and yet constant and unchanging. What if you could harness time and make it work for you? Imagine bending time and shaping it to enable you to have more control over past, present and future events. Would changing the past create alternative futures or a completely different future? Or would time correct itself always coming back to a pre-determined line?  Could time travelers eliminate themselves from their own future by changing the past?  Would traveling to the future affect the present?

THE TRADITION OF TRAVEL

The ancients travelled – some told stories of their mythic ancestors’ journeys – and so do we. This urge to travel, to describe what one sees and feels, has animated men and women of all cultures and eras. This course surveys the tradition of travel in various literary genres, and explores how travel works as metaphor: for curiosity, escape, idealized self-renewal, pleasure, the pursuit of self-knowledge, and survival.

TRAUMA AND WITNESS

This course will further develop the skills essential for effective reading and writing about literature though the critical, analytical study of an array of texts which explore the interrelated themes of trauma and witness. Students will consider the treatment of these themes across an array of fiction and non-fiction genres including memoir, film, drama, novel, and graphic novel, and will consider the diverse aspects of these themes as well as the various ethical facets and implications of both theme and genre choice.

UNDERDOGS AND UNLIKELY HEROES

This course will explore the theme of underdogs and unlikely heroes in literature. How do characters who are seemingly ill-equipped, undervalued, and invisible to others, transform into leaders, victors, and symbols of empowerment? Through our studies and discussions this semester, we will explore how writers use these underdogs and unlikely heroes to embody strength, inspire change, and challenge our vision of heroism.

UPPITY WOMEN

As an adjective, “uppity” is pejorative, and has been traditionally used to label or malign a person for not accepting his or her lower social status. In this course, we will take a critical distance from this adjective, investigating the cultural assumptions and social hierarchies that are always behind the use of this word. An “uppity woman”, specifically, is one who does not conform to social expectations. She may deny the assumption that she is inferior, rebel against accepted standards of behavior, and, as we will see, is often disciplined as a result.

VIOLENCE IN LITERATURE

Despite what many might like to think, it is clear that the Western world is still far from being an entirely peaceful place. For instance, many of us believe that violence must sometimes be used to enforce laws and protect human rights. Although we may consider the former uses of violence unfortunate necessities, many of us still enjoy watching contact sports and even the more explicit forms of violence seen in action or horror films. Sometimes, however, the violence found in fiction is so gruesome that it is not easily accepted, let alone enjoyed. Figuring out what authors hope to accomplish by depicting acts of extreme violence will be one of our main goals. In order to reach some conclusions, we will examine a variety of texts containing such forms of violence. Each work will be considered in relation to its appropriate cultural and historical context.

WAR ALL THE TIME

War has always been with us. Writers have described the horror, sometimes after they’ve added to it. War is a common theme in poetry, stories, diaries, non-fiction, novels, plays: writers have tuned every literary genre to its call. This course explores the different ways in which writers react to war; how genre shapes that response; how war writing becomes mythic.

WEREWOLVES!

Not as darkly mysterious as vampires; not as tragically misunderstood as Frankenstein’s monster; not as silently menacing as mummies; werewolves occupy a strange in-between space in the popular imagination. In this course we will examine folklore, film, and literature documenting the werewolf experience. In doing so, we will outline the ways in which these narratives serve an important social function in addressing the issues and concerns of their respective times, places, and cultures.

WHO SAYS THINGS LIKE THAT?: ANIMALS NARRATING HUMAN LIVES

In this course, we take a turn toward the animal-kind. Caught up in the drama of events and the appeal of compelling characters, often we tend to overlook who is telling the story. But point of view is crucial to grasping and grappling with the questions, and thereby the themes, raised by the story. We learn (and soon forget) the warnings we attach to narrators: first person is unreliable; limited third person gives us access only to a few characters’ thoughts; and omniscient narrators may have access to all thoughts, but they may be a bit lofty in their perspective of the characters. So, what happens, then, when the person other-than-human is narrating events, aiming its sights on and giving insight into the human (and other animal) characters? How does seeing the world through the eyes of the other-than-human narrator help us to examine what it means to be human(e), particularly when events and attitudes are conspiring to make humans behave, well, less than human.

WORDS OF WAR: LITERATURE OF MILITARY EXPERIENCE

The experience of soldiers has been represented to us in many forms but do we really have a solid, let alone truthful, understanding of what soldiers actually do? What is their function – as they see it – and how do they cope with the heavy burden of carrying out their tasks? Or, as most soldiers start out close to the age you are now, maybe a better question to consider is: “What would you do in a similar situation?” By looking at prose, poetry, non-fiction, memoirs, cartoons, correspondence , paintings, songs, photography, films and propaganda, we will consider issues of bravery and cowardice, violence and compassion, leading and following, a world without women, brotherhood/maleness, faith and despair and appearance vs. reality.

THE WRITER'S CRAFT - CREATIVE WRITING

This course emphasizes knowledge and skills related to the craft of literary writing. Students will analyse literature in three genres: poetry, graphic fiction, and fiction.  They will then apply their understanding of this analysis in a workshop approach to produce pieces of their own in the above genres; identify and use techniques required for the writing of literature; and identify effective ways to improve the quality of their writing. They will also complete a major assignment as part of a creative (chapbook) or analytical independent study project (literary analytical essay); investigate opportunities for publication; and plan and produce a vernissage to showcase their end-of-semester achievements.

WRITERS FROM THE OTHER EUROPE

This course introduces students to 20th- and 21st-century writers from Eastern and Central Europe. We will look at differences in writing style, from black humour to magic realism. Short fiction, novella, novel, essays, poetry, drawings, film—all are part of the course. We will examine how writers in these different genres have reacted to the two World Wars, the creation of the Eastern Bloc, the so-called end of communism and the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia. Contemporary political events will also be a focus of class discussion.

WRITING TUTORS

This course has been designed for students who have demonstrated a high level of proficiency in their own writing and who are interested in sharing their knowledge with other students through tutoring. The course aims to heighten awareness of the complexities of the writing process, as well as to provide an important service to students who wish to develop as writers. Students will also have the opportunity to study literature at an enriched level. Therefore, the course will be run as a seminar where students are responsible for encouraging discussion for a reading that they have chosen to study in more depth.


FORMS OF DISCOURSE

Prerequisite: 603-101

These courses enable students to communicate in forms of discourse appropriate to one or more fields of study. Students learn to recognize appropriate forms and conventions of communication and the organization of various types of discourse. They also learn to develop their own ideas into arguments and theses, and to organize, revise and edit their work. To pass the course students must write a 1000-word essay that meets specific criteria.

ADAPTATION

In this course, we look at the practice of adaptation: adaptation of fictional stories, poems, and graphic novels. We may also examine adaptations of biographies, memoirs, and autobiographies. With the proliferation of multimedia, the lure and commonplace of adaptation has increased (just take the explosion of super hero comics to film, as one such example). We rarely question this impulse to rework the original through another, or sometimes the same, medium–a “re-mediation” of the same ideas. Adaptation further draws attention to how new productions re-emphasize the original’s relevance and opens debate about the “new” versions loyalty to the original or whether the adaptations are creative, original works in their own right.

ALL THE TRUTH ABOUT BUGS AND REBELS

In this course students will become familiar with contemporary literary/social theory and will learn how to apply these diverse approaches to writers of the 20th century. Also the students will learn to argue their position effectively in a research paper.

The course will focus on the application of current contemporary theory to texts of the 20th century that will be selected by the instructor. The central theoretical frameworks that we will apply to the selected writers are: 1) formalist approaches that elicit insights from a close reading of the text, 2) Marxist, psychological, feminist, and postcolonial perspectives that have as a main source of knowledge fields outside of literature.

The literary texts are centered on the theme of the conflict between an individual and society in its various forms. Post-colonial perspectives will be discussed in considerable detail by looking at the texts and contexts of Africa and North America, and at the end of the course we will read “Days of Destruction Days of Revolt” by Chris Hedges and Joe Saccco.

AMERICAN PROTEST LITERATURE

In this course we will read texts from different protest movements, spanning such diverse historical moments as the American Revolution, abolition of slavery, civil rights, Women’s rights, gay rights, and antiwar protest. The texts include a wide variety of genres—pamphlets, letters, speeches, legal documents, poems, short stories, excerpts from novels, photographs, posters—and are written in a variety of tones and styles, voicing the opinions of those in power as well as the disenfranchised. Readings will be complemented by selected screenings of related films of different genres. Throughout this course we will answer questions regarding the way discourse affects the lives of people by either creating openings for free expression of opinion and life style, or by curtailing such possibilities. Questions we will seek to answer include who speaks, with which kind of authorization and motivation, to whom, in which form and style, and to which effect!

AN ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION

Education is a topic relevant to all students regardless of program of study. Through works of fiction and non-fiction we will consider the relevance and role of education in the past, present, and future of our individual and our collective growth. In addition to writing a Narrative Essay, students will engage in critical reflection, oral discussion, debate, and research on a variety of educational topics related to Quebec, Canada, and the world. The course will culminate in a final research project – one that draws on each student’s unique interests and expertise in their chosen field.

TRICKSTERS IN ART, LITERATURE AND ACTIVISM
A “prank” in this course will be defined by its creative possibilities as an art form, a playful trick whose aim is to break the rigid boundaries of convention and create something new. Amoral, ambiguous, sometimes criminal, the prankster is an adventurous saboteur of the status quo, whose best work exposes the truth—just as any good work of art will. The course will examine the figure of the prankster and his/her exploits in representative examples from literature, visual arts, music, politics, performance, and media, past and present. Students will be expected to research pranksters whose projects intersect with the students’ own fields of study or personal interests. Among the many examples that might illustrate our subject, the mythological tricksters Hermes (Roman Mercury), Coyote and Raven (Native American tricksters), eighteenth century satirist Jonathan Swift, Dadaist Marcel Duchamp, feminist artists Guerrilla Girls, culture jammers The Yes Men, punk collective Pussy Riot, and contemporary fictional character Tyler Durden (Fight Club) would all qualify as “pranksters” for study in the course.
BIG ISSUES

No matter what field you are in professionally, there are issues that are central to our existence as social beings. By examining four core topics: racism, feminism, gay rights, and the existence of a higher power, this course strives to give students the practical and theoretical tools with which to engage this issues now and in their future. We will be examining a variety of non-literary texts, from both ends of the spectrum, on each of these topics. Understanding these forms of discourse from the viewpoint of persuasion, the construction of argument, and rhetoric, students will develop strong written and critical thinking skills on some of the key issues central to our existence, whether we are plumbers or politicians.

THE CITY & LITERATURE

This course focuses on the representation of the City through a variety of discourses and diverse themes and contexts including, most broadly, historical, ideological, social, political, and cultural.  Recently the course has looked at two (apparently) very different cities: Beirut and Venice. Major themes and issues include: war, tourism, memory, history, gender roles, public space, eroticism & romance, evil, ideology, religion and racism; major texts and genres include: Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice (drama), Waltz with Bashir (animated documentary film) Rawi Hage’s DeNiro’s Game (novel), longer stories by Henry James and Thomas Mann, as well as various short stories, essays, and excerpts from non-fiction prose (historical, & theoretical).

COLLECTIVE MEMORY AND RECONCILIATION

Every nation has its own share of collective memories, be those of trauma, national pride or sacrifice. As each individual has his own version of these events that have transpired, often, however, such individual recollections are overtaken by the official version of stories that make up a nation’s cultural history. Consequently, later generations grow up imbued with these stories to an extent that these, then, become their own personal memories, even if they have never partaken in these events. These memories, therefore, become “the prism through which we negotiate the past” (Paula Hamilton). These memories are, also, what shape national cultures and influence their current status in relation to other nations. An important part of the discussion will also be directed towards the reconciliation process that is so crucial for victims of trauma. Students will read three novels about three historical time frames/events that have permanently etched the cultural memories of three different groups of people.

CONTEMPORARY WOMEN'S WRITING

This course focuses on literature written by diverse women from the twentieth century to today. Students will read a variety of forms and acquaint themselves with exciting and important voices of women writers that have shaped our contemporary literary and cultural landscapes.

FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT

No matter which field of study or career path you follow, you will need to present your ideas in a convincing manner. Convincing Words teaches rhetoric, that is, the art of using spoken, written, or other forms of discourse to inform, motivate, or, most importantly, persuade an audience. Drawing from the tradition of classical rhetoric, the course considers such topics as finding and developing arguments, avoiding logical fallacies, and suiting the style to the occasion. The objective is to prepare students to perform rhetorical analysis not just on obviously persuasive texts such as essays and op-ed pieces but also on literary texts and, more generally, on cultural productions such as advertisements. Students will also use their newly-acquired knowledge of rhetoric to identify and analyze the discourse appropriate to their fields of study as well as to produce their own rhetorically convincing views on controversies in these fields.

CREATIVE NONFICTION

Storytelling is an ancient art form, one that is essential to every culture. Through narrative, we learn about one another and share useful and even vital information. In your previous courses, you have been exposed to literature that deals primarily with fictional worlds, works created to express emotional or political truths rather than to represent the world of fact. In this course, however, we will focus on stories that purport to be true in a literal sense – those that fall under the umbrella of creative nonfiction. Because of its focus on literal truth, on educating and entertaining the reader, creative nonfiction is particularly well suited to bridging the gaps between various academic disciplines. In this course, students will study the various forms of creative non-fiction – such as memoir, literary journalism, travel writing and the personal essay – as they have been adapted to various fields of study. In addition to writing an academic essay, students will be invited to produce their own work of creative nonfiction, one that draws on the expertise they now have in their chosen field of study.

CREATIVE WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Most people’s introduction to story and narrative comes in childhood, through children’s books. Who doesn’t remember first reading Arthur, Winnie-the-Pooh or Madeleine, and then later on discovering Captain Underpants, Ramona, Harry Potter, and Katniss Everdeen? Writing for children is NOT easy: the stories have to be accessible, engaging, playful, thoughtful, and original. In this course, students will learn about three genres: picture books, junior novels and young adult novels. We will do creative writing exercises in small groups or solo, and explore the elements of fiction relevant to each genre. Students will do three major assignments, one for each genre, and hopefully, through these, rediscover the magic of story.

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

When Crime and Punishment was first published, it restored Dostoevsky’s reputation and his finances. It also fed a ferocious philosophical argument about the definition of crime and the appropriateness of punishment. The course will explore Crime and Punishment as a political pamphlet, as a social document, as a psychological study, and as a theological plea. We will use our study of the novel to talk about perceptions of crime and the ways in which society chooses to mete out punishment. Students are encouraged to explore contemporary issues of criminal justice that arise from our discussion of the novel.

CULTURAL ICONS FROM AUSTRIA-HUNGARY

On the crossroads between both East and West, and North and South, the once mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire was a political formation of chance, intrigue and mostly compromise. Born out of sheer necessity, namely the desire of the ruling elite to be able to hang onto power without popular support, it nevertheless managed to waltz into a golden age of unsurpassed intellectual production.
This course will deal with a wide range of material relating to a significant moment in intellectual history. Texts will be provided from the many different disciplines that emerged in Central Europe at the turn of the C20, such as psychology, sociology, ethnomusicology, analytical philosophy, phenomenology, nuclear and theoretical physics, telecommunications, applied electricity, microbiology, photojournalism, industrial design, avantgarde aesthetics, and of course, literature. Through their writings students will be introduced to the game-changing cultural icons of Austria-Hungary, learning to take in, analyze, and appreciate some of the modern world’s most challenging minds in their original environment.

DOCUMENTING BARBARISM

As the Canadian poet/novelist Anne Michaels aptly puts it, “History is amoral: events occurred. But memory is moral; what we conscientiously remember is what our conscience remembers.” This is an ethical challenge often taken up by writers who aim to humanize the past by placing the narrative focus upon personal and collective trauma. Our course will focus on multidisciplinary forms of discourse used in the representation of two documented 20th century events that continue to challenge our preconceived notions of civilized humanity: The WWI genocide of the Armenians, which former American President Theodor Roosevelt called the “greatest crime of the war”; and the WWII genocide of the Jews, which claimed the lives of two thirds of the Jewish population in Europe. The course readings will urge us to address several interconnected questions: How can novelists and filmmakers and artists hope to depict that which continues to defy adequate representation? What moral and philosophical challenges do poets and writers of fiction and memoirs face when artistic license is used to grant a voice to those who have been, in reality, forever rendered silent? How do artists, writers, and filmmakers show the ways in which the emotional and psychological wounds of one generation affect further generations and offspring of survivors of historical trauma? Several of the following forms of discourse may be used: fiction, poetry, the graphic novel, documentary, feature film, and/or memoir, among others.

DOING SHAKESPEARE

In Doing Shakespeare, students will study Shakespeare‘s plays not only in the customary academic sense of reading, interpreting and writing about them, but also through performing them for themselves and for each other. For fifteen weeks, by becoming not only Shakespeare‘s audience but also his actors, students will learn about the meeting of page and stage that makes his plays so alive even four hundred years after they were first performed.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: THE DOPPELGANGER

We will be studying the idea of monstrous transformations. Literature and popular culture are littered with these symbolic metamorphoses and we will examine the literary, social and psychological reasons that trigger these transformations. First, we will begin with perhaps one of the most famous allegories of good and evil in Western literature, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Then we will move on to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” a story of a disturbing descent into madness by a young woman suffering from postpartum depression. We will then examine the work of Joyce Carol Oates through her short story “Haunted” and her novella Beasts-both works examine the boundaries between the human and non-human. From there, we will dip into the world of popular culture as we examine filmic versions of the same themes. As we watch these films, we will also read essays that explore different theoretical models for interpreting the idea of the metamorphosis. These metamorphoses are often terrifying, yet often strangely satisfying to those who undergo them. They represent what Sigmund Freud termed as the “uncanny,” simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar.

EARLY CELTIC LITERATURES

This course surveys in translation the great myths and legends of the Celtic peoples in the Middle Ages. Particular works for study are the heroic legends compiled in the Old Irish epic cycle Táin bó Cúailnge (The Cattle-Raid of Cooley) and the proto-Arthurian tales collected in the Middle Welsh Mabinogion. We will also read short lyric poetry and prose hagiographies, that is, the miraculous lives of saints. Theoretical importance will be placed on the role of minority literatures and national identity, and student presentations will focus on archaeological and socio-political contexts for these fabled stories.

EFFECTIVE ALTRUISM: HOW TO DEAL WITH GOOD WELL

This course is about a relatively recent philosophical and social movement called Effective Altruism. There are two parts to EA: Effectiveness is about efficiency, optimization, achieving one’s goals. Altruism is about doing good, changing the world for the better, having a net positive impact. When we combine the two, we can see that Effective Altruists such as Peter Singer, William McAskill and Toby Ord want to figure out how to do the most amount of good with the limited resources available to individuals and societies. Many, perhaps most of us, would agree that we have a moral obligation to give back, to donate to charity, to help others, to leave the world better than we found it. Our naïve and sometimes sentimental intuitions about how best to achieve these goals, however, are often simply wrong, sometimes deeply wrong. With this in mind, Effective Altruists have used a combination of science, reason, and moral philosophy to identify three broad areas of particular ethical importance, as well as the most effective interventions in each: Human Suffering, Animal Suffering, and Existential Risk. In this course, we will explore all three areas, using a mix of fiction, philosophy, personal introspection, and goal setting to consider how we can best use our time, energy and money to address these problems. By the end of the course, I hope to convince you that doing good, and doing it well, is not just a moral obligation, but the foundation for a rewarding and meaningful life.

EKPHRASIS

Is an image worth a thousand words? Might one word conjure a thousand pictures? In this course on ekphrasis— the rhetorical device by which verbal representation is used to convey visual representation—we pursue these and other questions about the interplay of the verbal and the visual. Our texts include different kinds of ekphrastic writing— fiction and nonfiction—and the visual artworks that were their inspiration. Literature that has itself inspired visual artwork also appears on our reading list. This range of texts gives us a good basis for considering the extent to which a verbal composition is a speaking picture and a painting a soundless poem.

ENVIRONMENTAL VISIONS

In this course, we look at representations of and discourses surrounding human relationships with the biophysical environment, not only as sites of oppression and environmental crises but also as literal and symbolic expressions of difference, survival, artistry, and innovation. We will examine how, in surprising as well as predictable ways, perception affects thinking about environmental issues. Some of the topics we may cover in this course are natural and human-made crises, natural resources, waste, nature versus environmentalist writings, species endangerment/extinction, climate change, and apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic/dystopian wastelands. What will emerge over the course of this class are how attitudes toward the environment emerge too often as socially and ethically impoverished and negligent ways of living, thinking, and interacting with others. (*This course counts as credit toward the Environmental Studies Certificate.*)

FEMINISM NOW

This course proposes to reexamine attitudes towards the f-word – “feminism.” Although for some students “feminism” has fallen into ill-repute or simply declined into irrelevance, recent world events and widely-received public statements concerning the importance and value of feminist discourse offer an opportunity for us to rethink and reclaim the term.  Students in this course are invited to consider how feminism is relevant and significant, to everyone, in today’s world. By focussing on work by contemporary writers and speakers, students will develop their own working definition of “feminism” to use in analyzing current world issues and cultural productions. They will come away from the course having learned how to view the world through a feminist lens and with an understanding of why this is a valuable critical perspective, one that may lead them to explore further ways of becoming a force for positive change.

FORMS OF DISCOURSE

Through an examination of three popular genres (crime fiction, science fiction and horror), students will be introduced to some of the major branches of philosophy (epistemology, metaphysics and ethics). This course will by no means provide a thorough survey of these topics. Instead, by taking a close look at genre fiction through a philosophical lens, students will be encouraged to recognize that philosophy is such an all-encompassing discipline that one or more of its sub-disciplines can easily be applied to investigations of pop culture and/or the students’ own fields of study.

FORMS OF DISCOURSE

This course will introduce the student to the critical thinking skills involved in reading fiction and non-fiction prose.

FUTURES, PAST AND PRESENT

Because of its inherently speculative nature, science fiction engages with many different forms of discourse. Writers, filmmakers and other creators of dystopic futures ask us to imagine environmental catastrophes, totalitarian governments, radical inequalities, and robots run amok. Those visionaries of a more utopic bent fantasize about the end of hunger, disease, and even mortality, and about the creation of new, egalitarian societies in which we truly are free to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Pessimistic scifi speaks to a culture’s anxiety about the future; optimistic scifi speaks to a culture’s dreams, its aspirations. In either case, to paraphrase Frederic Jameson, science fiction plays a complicated temporal trick: It enables us to imagine its creators’ presents as the pasts of their invented futures. By doing so, we can defamiliarize the very idea of the present and thus gain critical insight into the hopes and fears of a given time and place. Beginning with excerpts from the pioneering work of H.G. Wells, and ending with more contemporary science fiction, this course will ask students to consider what some of the most imaginative scifi of the last hundred and twenty years can tell us about the cultural contexts in which it was created and about our own future past, the present.

GENDER, SEXUALITY, AND REBELLION

In this course, we will explore a variety of narratives (stories, poems, historical accounts, news articles, films, twitter discourse, and so on) written by and about trans and queer (LGBTQ+) individuals. We will examine the ways these topics have been articulated, explored, and conveyed throughout history and in our contemporary moment, how our ideas around gender and sexuality have (or haven’t!) changed, and the ways trans and queer authors have and continue to push and rebel against the norms, speaking their “unspeakable loves” and fighting on in the face of oppression. All the while, we will also be paying particular attention to the various literary and rhetorical devices that authors use to help them share their experiences or views.

Knowledge of and familiarity with trans and queer experiences is not required before taking this course. We fully acknowledge that everyone starts somewhere. What is required, however, is a attitude of kindness, openness, and understanding when faced with stories about marginalized individuals and experiences.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS – NATURE AND THE HUMAN CONDITION

This course examines the relationship between nature and identity (personal and national) in American literature from the 19th and the 20th century. The course begins in pre-Civil War America and explores the environmental imagination of three innovative writers: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman. The course then transitions to the 20th century and considers pre-and-post World War II America from the perspective of three rebellious, counter-cultural voices, namely Henry Miller, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. In this unit, we will explore the way these writers use travel (physical and spiritual) to expand and elevate their understanding (awareness) of the “self” and the environment. In the final unit of the course, we will consider the themes connected to nature, travel and identity explored in the first two units but from a more conventional stance by reading James Dickey’s “best-selling” novel Deliverance. Here, we will look at the way the author manipulates (sub)urban anxieties connected to nature (the wilderness), environmental destruction and codes of gender and sexuality to create suspense and terrorize the reader. We will also explore connections between suburban leisure, boredom, violence and environmental destruction.

GREEN CITIES

The greatest challenge of our century is human cohabitation with nature. More specifically, the need for environmental consciousness. Indeed, planetary overpopulation is fuelling an unprecedented urban sprawl, which is eating up green spaces at an alarming rate. Through the study of various aspects of this dilemma from an architectural, scientific, sociological, geographical, and cultural point of view, we will try to identify solutions that may, if not reverse the trend, but at least diminish the threat to our survival as inhabitants of one and the same planet by fostering the emergence of environmental consciousness. Along with this preoccupation we will also strive to master techniques of speaking and writing as specified in the ministerial objectives of an English B-block course.

HISTORY OF THE BOOK

In literary studies, we place great value on interpretation and analysis. We derive meaning from texts by reading and re-reading, often with incredible attention to detail, the words and sentences printed on a page. But we sometimes forget that, by the time a text reaches our eyes, it is already the product of a series of interpretations and mediations: it has already been analyzed by editors or adapted by translators, and it has already been manually manipulated by scribes, printers or graphic designers. By some measures, the text is as much a product of the material conditions under which it was produced as it is a product of the author’s mind. In this class, we will consider the relationship between works of literature and their materiality. By utilizing discourses arising from various fields (literature, history, design, economics, sociology), we will examine the place of scribes in the medieval period, the role of printers and booksellers in the early-modern period, the role of censors in the 19th century, and the rise of digital media in the 20th century.

THE HOLOCAUST

This class studies the Holocaust through its various aspects, historical, social and literary. The class looks at the historical origins, development, implementation, articulation and, ultimately the destruction of the “Final Solution of the Jewish Problem.” This class is intended as the fourth and final English core course. Students are expected to be serious, conscientious and dedicated to the study of this subject.
The Holocaust was so vast as to engage every social institution as well as professional discipline all dedicated for the sole purpose of the extermination of the Jews of Europe. The class looks at the stages that allowed for this to occur and the involvement of the Political, Engineering, Medical, Commercial, Economic, Logistical, and other professions in attempting to articulate this event. Evaluations are: a journal of the various materials presented in class, role playing exercises, reading tests, essays of 1000 words that deal with specific aspects of the Holocaust. A presentation in conjunction with a class on Genocide is held in the Agora in the final weeks of the semester. Successful students are able to understand how even applied to their chosen profession and hopefully to make sure that it does not happen again.

THE HONEST TRUTH

Honesty and integrity are traits most people claim to value and nurture within themselves and others; however, when faced with dishonesty in the fields of politics, marketing, education, medicine, or law, how does one find or define “the honest truth?”  Students of this course will examine issues of honesty/dishonesty within a variety of disciplines and will seek to understand how unethical behaviour affects us all.  By analysing the role of honesty and personal integrity in works of fiction, as well as nonfiction, students will be able to gain a better understanding and recognition of the reasons why people lie, how it affects us, and if it is possible to be truly honest with ourselves and others.

HYBRID AND CROSS-GENRE LITERATURE

This course focuses on literary works that cross traditional boundaries of genre and borrow techniques and forms from multiple artistic areas: poetry, fiction, cinema, music, performance, and visual art. Students will explore the uses, methods, and expectations of multiple genres, while developing an understanding of the cross-pollination between the written word and other art forms.

JOURNALISM 1

Journalism 1 introduces you to the techniques, tools & technical language needed to create strong journalistic content.  In this course you will learn skills necessary in communicating in print & electronic media with emphasis on writing, but also including interviewing, observing, & reporting. In editorial teams, you will work together to become intelligent consumers of the mass media & learn to master, among other techniques, the elements of lead writing, inverted pyramid structure, news story construction,  & appropriate newspaper style.

JOURNALISM: THE NEWS AS MUSE

This course will offer marketable skills to students who are interested in journalism as a career. It will also help to develop writing expertise in specific fields of study by focusing upon the creative aspects of the news as “muse” (source of inspiration).

THE KENNEDY ERA AND BEYOND

This course will examine how the successes and tragedies of Camelot influenced American art and culture within the sixties and beyond it. We will take a comprehensive look at the role the Kennedy family played in a decade which contained a Civil Rights movement, a missile crisis, a war, a feminist revolution, space travel and other scientific advancements, exploding ghettos, as well as important changes in literature, art, and music. The course will emphasize the relationship between the formal elements of art, poetry, drama, fiction and the ideas being addressed in the social, political, and biographical texts of this era. Using analytical skills emphasized in class, students will form a better understanding of both literary and expository texts from this important time period.

LADY BRAINS

This course explores women writers’ depiction of mental illness through novels, short stories, memoirs, and historical sources. By reading how female writers in the 19th and 20th centuries have engaged with hysteria, anorexia, depression, and other mental health issues, we will try to discover how women describe the experience of being women in societies where neither that experience nor the expression of their feelings is valued, and how they confront the discourses and institutions that define them and pin them down.
Note: Students should be advised that the course touches on potentially difficult subjects such as suicide and eating disorders.

LET’S GO! WHY PEOPLE MOVE FROM PLACE TO PLACE

The ancients travelled – some told stories of their mythic ancestors’ journeys – and so do we. This urge to travel, to describe what one sees and feels, has animated men and women of all cultures and eras. However, “travel” can also mean migration: the need to move, to escape economic and social hardship; war; and persecution. When the Cold War ended, migration increased: people sought (and still seek) a place where they and their children might have a better life. Thus, this course surveys the ways men and women have written about migration and travel, and how these modes of movement become metaphors: for curiosity, desperation, escape, hope, knowledge, need, pleasure, and self-renewal.

LITERARY THEORY

A knowledge of literary theory is a necessary part of being a creative and insightful literary critic. In this course students will become familiar with contemporary literary theory and its critical vocabularies and will learn how to apply these diverse approaches to major writers of the twentieth century. By describing features shared by the most effective critics, this course will attempt to give students a sound theoretical basis for their own reading and writing. Students will also be encouraged to consider the frameworks most applicable to their chosen program of study.

LITERATURE AND THE CITY

BLENDED LEARNING

The course explores the relationship between the city, its artistic community and the ways in which writers, scholars and journals write about the city, using a series of highly different discourses to try and narrate the constant mutability of the urban landscapes. The city will be seen as a microcosm, a hybridized community, a landscape that proceeds at heightened speed and where social conflicts often appear more evidently. We will consider how cities belonging to different areas of the world require specific forms of discourse to be fully rep- resented. We will see how the literary and visual styles used by our selected writers have changed through time in order to mirror the evolution of the urban world they describe.

This course will be delivered in a blended-learning format. Some class activities, lectures and/or discussions will be online and some in person, on campus. A webcam and microphone are required as well as a computer and reliable internet connection.

LITERATURE OF LATIN AMERICA

Latin America is a complicated place; its history is equally so. There are many countries, ethnicities, and languages; also, a split exists between urban and village culture. Furthermore, various indigenous (and sometimes isolated) peoples live in the region: they have survived a history of European colonialism, especially of Spanish and Portugese.
Impressively, in Latin America’s pre- and recorded history, its peoples have produced great art—especially literature. These writings are fantastical, political, realist, satiric, and comic. In this course, students will see how these styles surface in literary genres such as memoir; short fiction; poetry; the novel and novella. Also, students will watch Latin American films, and meet various guest speakers. Finally: Latin America is a region often tagged as “macho” or “patriarchal”; this course offers students a range of female authors; of Latina voices.

MAD SCIENCE

Why is it that some types of science are revered while others are “mad”? What makes a mad scientist? This upper-level course will address these questions and others as we work together to read scientific innovations (from leeches to quantum mechanics) through the lens of art. Centering on select texts that reflect changing attitudes toward science through the ages.– including excerpts from the Laputa episode in Gulliver’s Travels, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and James Watson’s Double Helix– this class explores the productive overlap between science and literature as forms of discourse.

MAGIC LETTERS

Letters are not only the basic components of the written word, but they are the most intimate and honest form of written communication between people. A focus on letters, in both senses of the word, promises a deeper appreciation for the magic of the written word.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE: VOLUNTEERING IN THE COMMUNITY

This course, which suits students who are reliable and mature and able to work independently, has two components: a weekly placement volunteering with a West-Island community organization; and coursework on topics that relate to community building and engagement. Students must be present in class for the first two weeks of the semester when the instructor will explain important information about the subsequent thirteen weeks. By engaging in weekly volunteering activities that target a specific community need, students will learn more about their own compassionate strengths – and civic potential as caregivers – in the broader context of the community.

MATERIAL WORLD, IN A

We live in an atmosphere more and more geared toward consumerism. As Aldous Huxley predicted in Brave New World, people in the industrialized world have come to worship material goods above all else. For many, the end goal of contemporary life is not to be intelligent or virtuous, but to be materialistically endowed. The pursuit of pleasure preoccupies us more than the pursuit of truth or wisdom. In this course we will take a long, critical look at our consumerist society. Are we drowning in materialism? Is product worship getting out of hand? Is advertising cleverly controlling us? Has our sense that we have the right to be pampered and continually stimulated made us incapable of deeper feelings? We will read Brave New World to see how some of these very same questions were explored by Huxley seventy years ago. As Huxley himself once declared, “The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.” We’ll also read Feed to see if that might be true.

THE METAMORPHIC SELF

One of the most fundamental elements in literary criticism is the study of character. Literary critics examine the ways in which characters develop throughout a narrative and the strategies authors use to dramatize these changes. A character might start off young and naïve, and become, as one would expect, older and wiser. Or, like Gregor Samsa in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, someone can wake up one morning to find he’s been turned into a giant bug. Any transformation is possible. In this course, we will consider the inherently unstable nature of identity in order to ask some central questions that our texts raise. What can we learn from the changes that these characters undergo? How do such changes open up new possibilities for thought and feeling? And what does it mean to be a “self” if we are always shifting, never remaining the same for even a moment, but always in the midst of becoming different?

METAMORPHOSIS AND TRANSFORMATION

The course will introduce students to a number of literary works and nonfiction texts that focus on metamorphosis and transformation. The nonfiction discourse (religious, historical, philosophical, linguistic, sociological, anthropological) will help us make sense of the literary works.

THE MODERNISTS

This course examines French and American Modernist literature. More specifically, the course explores the intersection between personal experience and literary and artistic experimentation within the Modernist genre. Students will read works of fiction and non-fiction focusing on the representation of gender and sexuality, the role of Paris and the experience of war, themes of displacement and marginalization, and the experimentation with language, including obscenity, as a vehicle for both artistic expression and cultural critique.

NATURE: THE CUTTING EDGE

This course focuses on positive relationships between humans and nature, as these relationships are presented in expository prose and poetry related to environmental studies. The emphasis is on understanding cutting edge imaginative visions, principles, metaphors, and approaches that students can apply to their personal and professional lives.

NORSE MYTH AND VIKING SAGA

This course surveys in translation the great myths and historical settlements of the early Norse people. We will read the poetic mythology of the Nine Worlds of the Edda and the early novel prose of the Icelandic Sagas.

PASSAGES

A person goes through many significant transitions in life: learning to walk, starting school, moving house, getting married or divorced, finding the first job or retiring from the work force. Most students taking this course will soon be graduating from CEGEP, another example of a significant passage. These experiences are all occasions for special excitement and/or anxiety; they offer a great chance for creative change. This course will encourage awareness of your present transition(s) in the context of others typically experienced in the life of an individual.

POETRY AND MODERN ART

Ekphrasis is a classical term for describing in detail a work of visual art. An ekphrastic poem is a poem that has been inspired or stimulated by a visual work of art—in order to breathe new life into it—and these are the kind of poems we will be studying this semester (as well as some visual art and media, including film and photography, inspired by poetry). This kind of interdisciplinary creative work and collaboration has ancient beginnings, but after exploring these beginnings, we will focus most of our attention on the ways contemporary poets and artists relate to and interpret each other through their different mediums.

PUBLIC SPACES - LITERATURE AND THE URBAN EXPERIENCE

Like literary texts, the public spaces we inhabit can be read, deconstructed and analyzed. Students in this course will examine every day urban spaces and pose questions about how they influence our lives. What makes one space public and another private? How are cities designed to encourage civic participation? How do we react to the many stranger we encounter on the street, and how do we learn to live in a crowd? The course will make use of literary texts, sociological studies, visual media, and treatises on urban planning.

PUNK LITERATURE

This course follows the Punk movement in music, visual arts, experimental fiction, and confessional poetry and journals from the mid-60s of grimy New York, to the violent flare of the Sex Pistols in the late 70s, to alternative rock and the breakout of grunge in the 90s. In particular, the course considers the extreme aesthetics of political rebellion, of breaking gender codes, and of the self-destructive drives of the major artists of the era.

REVISIONS

Revision literally means seeing again. This course explores what happens when literary works are seen again through different perspectives, media, and time periods. We will examine how readers, writers, fans, and interpreters, in telling the same story in a different ways, open up new ways of seeing both the original work and its adaptation. We will study revisions through a range of poetry, novels, television, film, vlogs, and more. At the end of the course, students will be invited to attempt to creatively revise a text of their choice.

RHETORIC

This course is devoted to the art of rhetoric, which is to say the use of verbal expression to persuade, motivate, and inspire an audience. An analysis of a text’s rhetoric aims to identify the ways in which a writer manipulates words to produce a particular response in an implied audience. While this form of analysis has its basis in the classical practices of antiquity, we will devote most of our attention to the modern applications of rhetoric in recent compositions. We will also put our theoretical knowledge of rhetoric to practice in a series of in-class and take-home writing exercises. In addition to studying rhetorical terminology and strategy, we will consider such issues as the relationship between rhetoric and poetics, rhetorical gesture, and the rhetorical capacity of images.

SATIRE AND CRITICAL THINKING

Satire has developed as a genre of literature used to empower those who do not generally have any ‘real’ power within society. Laughter and mirth belong to everybody and therefore become symbolic of the unyielding and unending potential of the common people, who form the majority, to rise up and overthrow those who oppress them. Therefore, satire, with its indomitable weapon of laughter, is a form of social critique and protest. By exploring the different traditions of satire in Western literature, students will trace the history and many-pronged attacks of this form of social critique. This will lead to a study of rhetorical modes (logic, ethos, pathos) and the means available to writers to be convincing. This course will look at the history of satire in literature from Rabelais and Shakespeare, to contemporary writers such as O’Connor and Wallace. Students will analyze works of fiction and non-fiction and will develop an understanding of the methods writers use to directly or indirectly persuade and enlighten their readers.

SCIENCE AND OTHER FORMS OF KNOWLEDGE

Science has shaped human history. In turn, history has shaped the development of science. This course is devoted to the history of science and the science of history, which is to say the relationship—which has been both fraught and fruitful— between scientific forms of knowledge and other forms of knowledge. We will trace the history of science through the emergence of ideas (e.g., natural philosophy, the great chain of being, enlightenment rationalism, the theories of natural selection and evolution, particle physics, genetics); through major figures (e.g., Aristotle, the Islamic scholars of the 7th century, Galileo, Newton, Linnaeus, Darwin, Einstein, Watson and Crick); and through influential technologies and practices, some of which have their origins in the handiwork of artisans and artists rather than in the thought content of philosophers. We will also study scientific theory and method, mainly through readings on the philosophy of science.

THE SIXTIES EXPLOSION

This course is designed to help students acquire techniques of research, note taking, debating, outlining and essay writing by discovering salient aspects of the last century’s most dynamic and influential decade: the 1960s. Through the study of various aspects of the time, such as its history (issues relating to the Kennedy administration, the civil rights movement, etc.), politics (student protests, the cold war), scientific (in particular, the space race), artistic (pop art), and musical achievement (the move from acoustic to electric guitar), and inimitable mass events (notably Woodstock and Expo 67), we will try to identify the golden age of the century, while mastering the practice of the technical aspects of the course, as described above.

SPECULATIVE FICTION AND CRITICAL THEORY

To the uninitiated, speculative fiction may seem to have little connection to our contemporary existence. After all, stories of monsters, magic, and incredibly advanced machinery are inherently distanced from reality. However, if readers know what to look for, speculative fiction can offer a great deal of insight into real and immediate issues in our society. This course introduces students to various critical lenses through the analysis of texts and films in the speculative fiction genre. Some lenses we may consider include feminism, queer theory, new historicism, Marxism, postcolonialism, and ecocriticism. Over the course of the semester, students will gain a greater awareness of societal issues and learn analytical skills they can apply to any artistic work they may encounter.

SOLITUDE

This course explores the idea of solitude in literature. We will look at how solitude, which is often thought of as indescribable, seeks its articulation in various forms of verbal and visual art. Beginning with the very act of reading and writing, you will be encouraged to make connections between course material and your very existence.

THE STORYTELLER

This course explores the oral tradition of storytelling from its earliest known forms to the modern era. The class will look at (and listen to) epic stories from diverse cultures with a view towards finding commonality in structure and the association of stories with social identity. Guest speakers will be invited to class and students will be encouraged to tell their own stories in the manner of the storyteller.

SUBURBIA: WASTELAND OR WONDERLAND

While a suburb is a (largely) residential area located outside of, but in proximity to, a larger urban centre, Suburbia as a concept is much more difficult to define. In this course we will examine various literary, artistic, and documentary representations of the suburban landscape with the goal of better understanding the criticism and praise directed towards it, and the changing nature of what constitutes Suburbia in the first place.

TEACHING ENGLISH IN CHINA

The English Department’s new cross-cultural study course is born out of the understanding that languages are inseparable from the cultures where they are used as daily means of communication. The course aims to prepare students against the culture shock they might experience travelling abroad while also making them aware of the need to approach learning another language, or teaching English with an attitude that is sensitive to specific cultural notions – all this through the example of teaching English in China. Successfully passing the ‘Cross Cultural Primer’ course has a potential to land students an opportunity to gain foreign experience through remunerated employment abroad.

THEATRE WORKSHOP: ENGLISH

The all-round, all-in-one, magic theatre course for all horses. This course is ideal for students studying or just plain interested in theatre: Theatre Workshop students, Professional Theatre students, scientists who really want to go on the stage etc. Designed to meet the requirements of students in the Professional Theatre Program and those enrolled in the Theatre Workshop, Theatre English accommodates students in all stages of the CEGEP English curriculum. All students work together on theatrical projects, while doing other assignments specific to their college level. In Theatre Workshop English, students can expect to develop facility in reading, watching and interpreting a variety of texts (dramatic, fictional, poetic, and cinematic) as well as improving written and oral expression in English. The Final Showcase offers an opportunity for dramatic writing to students in the Playwright Stream and group performance to all participants.

TRAUMA STUDIES AND LITERATURE

How do writers respond to trauma, trauma that cannot be articulated in words? They often use representations of the body and silence as voices with which to speak back to traumatic memories. Stressing the interconnectedness between mind and body in relation to the workings of trauma, this course will examine various representations and narratives of individual and collective trauma. Trauma is not an event—it is a condition that is created and recreated through narration and repetition, and, more specifically, through reenactments of the original traumatic memories. The course aims to foster a broad interrogative dialogue between trauma studies, psychoanalysis, and literary criticism while studying various genres of literature, including drama and poetry.

UNDER THE INFLUENCE

The subject of drinking is filled with inconsistencies and ambiguities: it both opens your mind and closes it; it eases communication and also shuts it down. It’s both good and bad, light and dark – and almost always at the very same time. By considering prose, non-fiction, poems, songs, movies and other forms, this course explores issues such as the quest for identity, the search for transcendence and escape, heroism (both real and imagined), the act of storytelling, gender, youth, and sexuality.

VIOLENT MASCULINITY: FROM THE HEROIC TO THE HORRIFIC

This course examines the long-standing connection between violence and masculinity depicted in fiction. We will trace the progression of violent masculinity from its heroic origins in ancient myth to the problematic and often horrific examples present in more recent works. As we go through the material we will focus on a few guiding questions: What do men, fictional or otherwise, hope to gain by using violence? Do they gain it? Do these texts advocate or repudiate the idea that violence is an essential part of being a man? How do the various uses of violence presented reflect how different societies viewed masculinity?

VISIONS OF WASTELANDS

In this course, we look at representations of and discourses surrounding human relationships with the biophysical environment, not only as sites of oppression and environmental crises but also as literal and symbolic expressions of difference, survival, artistry, and innovation. We will examine how, in surprising as well as predictable ways, perception affects thinking about environmental issues. Some of the topics we may cover in this course are natural and human-made crises, natural resources, waste, nature versus environmentalist writings, species endangerment/extinction, climate change, and apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic/dystopian wastelands. What will emerge over the course of this class are how attitudes toward the environment emerge too often as socially and ethically impoverished and negligent ways of living, thinking, and interacting with others. What then are the counter-discourses, those that reject attitudes that lock us in fear, apathy, fatigue, hopelessness, or blame? With this question in mind, we will look toward creative approaches that compel people to rally and act on behalf of the environment. (*This course counts as credit toward the Environmental Studies Certificate.*)

THE WRITER'S CRAFT - CREATIVE WRITING

This course emphasizes knowledge and skills related to the craft of literary writing. Students will analyse literature in three genres: poetry, graphic fiction, and fiction.  They will then apply their understanding of this analysis in a workshop approach to produce pieces of their own in the above genres; identify and use techniques required for the writing of literature; and identify effective ways to improve the quality of their writing. They will also complete a major assignment as part of a creative (chapbook) or analytical independent study project (literary analytical essay); investigate opportunities for publication; and plan a vernissage to showcase their end-of-semester achievements.

WRITING ABOUT CYCLING

In this course, we will look at various types of writing on the topic of bicycles: fictional, scientific, cultural, historical, political, and personal. The major project in the course will be a research paper about some aspect of cycling. For this assignment, students will have the opportunity, if they wish, to approach the topic from a point-of-view that is informed by their program.

WRITING TUTORS

This course trains students who are strong in English language skills to become Writing tutors in the Writing Centre. Students will receive training to learn strategies for effective tutoring and much of the learning in the course will come from the practical experience of tutoring, which may take place in the classroom or face-to-face in the Writing Centre. Students will also have the opportunity to study literature at an enriched level. Therefore, the course will be run as a seminar where students are responsible for encouraging discussion for a reading that they have chosen to study in more depth. This course is open to students who have received grades of 85% or more in English. Students must be recommended by an English teacher in order to register for this course.


Preparatory English Courses

The following course is required for students whose placement test results indicate that they will experience difficulty passing their introductory English course.

Students who demonstrate a need for a second language course will be placed in Preparation for College English (603-003-50).

Second language and Anglophone students whose test results indicate that their language skills need more attention will be encouraged to register for Effective Reading and Writing (603-003-50) which is offered in both summer and fall.

Although this is a credit course, it cannot be taken as English credits.

603-003-50 | PREPARATION FOR COLLEGE ENGLISH

This course is required for students whose placement test results indicate that they will experience difficulty passing their introductory English course.

“Preparation for College English” teaches basic reading, writing and speaking abilities to bring students up to entry-level and prepare them for English 101.

“Preparation for College English” will help you improve your skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening in English. Through reading and responding to short texts, discussing ideas, and writing college-level essays, you will strengthen the critical thinking and analytical writing skills necessary to succeed in college courses. The course also introduces you to the study of literary texts that you will encounter in subsequent English courses.

Although this is a credit course, it cannot be taken as English credits.


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