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Issues and Themes in Canadian Literature I

Marginalized Voices in Can Lit: Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality

Red leaf laying on top of an open book

Have you also wondered where and how writers with marginalized identities fit into Canadian literature? It’s an exciting time in Can Lit: many diverse voices have recently risen to prominence and popularity, and the literary canon is expanding in all directions. This course introduces a radically expanded Canadian literary landscape that attends to the challenges many contemporary marginalized writers are making to their historic exclusion from the Canadian canon.

 In this course, we will delve into the abundance of works by both prominent and lesser-known contemporary Canadian writers from marginalized backgrounds. You can expect to read a wide range of styles and forms, including poetry, drama, non-fiction, short stories, and novels. We will navigate the various intersections these diverse writers bring to the Canadian experience and we will read the texts for this course as a form of resistance to stereotype and prejudice. We will especially explore the ways contemporary Canadian writers are constructing and re-writing a national literature with their interests at the center.

Writers under discussion may include Eternity Martis, Madeleine Thien, Jesse Thistle, Desmond Cole, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Vivek Shraya and Casey Plett.


 Assessments will  include

  • Weekly participation and discussion
  • A short essay or creative project
  • Final essay or exam


  • Level 2 or above

Additional information

ENGL 284 and 285 are independent courses. Neither is a prerequisite for the other, so students may take either one, or both, as they prefer.

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153



Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.