Department of English

DEPARTMENT OF

English Language and Literature

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IMPORTANT

In-person, on-campus courses 2021–2022

We plan to offer as many of our courses as possible in person in 2021–2022. We will offer a small number of remote options (courses identified in the list below) at every level for students who are unable to return to campus, but we are planning to hold the majority of our courses in person. That said, we are subject to the requirements stipulated by KFL&A Public Health; if they impose restrictions, we may be forced to move more of our offerings online. 

For information and updates regarding Fall Planning and Return to Campus please visit the Queen’s University Return to Campus website and the Faculty of Arts & Science Fall 2021 Return to Campus webpage
 

English Undergraduate Course Offerings

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

Descriptions of the courses to be offered in the 2021-22 academic year are available below. These descriptions provide an idea of the readings and assignments for which students will be responsible.

Note: ENGL 100 is a prerequisite for all English degrees. With the exception of ENGL 290, there are no prerequisites for ENGL 206-297 and non-ENGL students may enrol themselves in these courses.


For registration concerns, call 343-363-2140. This line is being monitored Mon-Fri, 8:30-noon and 2-4:30 (EDT). If the line is busy, please leave a short message including your name, telephone number, and 8-digit student ID and your call will be returned as soon as possible.


Remote 2021-22 ENGL Courses

ENGL 215 full year
ENGL 276 fall
ENGL 290-001 fall
ENGL 292 full year
ENGL 326 full year
ENGL 471 fall
ENGL 487 fall
ENGL 496-001 fall
ENGL 496-002 fall
ENGL 497 winter

 

***4th Year Advanced Course Selection has begun.***

If you're a 4th year ENGL Major or Medial and you didn't receive an emailed link to the online ACS form, please send your full name and student number to the Undergraduate Program Assistant, Cynthia Collins (cc98@queensu.ca).

 

2021-22 Course Descriptions

100-Level Courses

 

ENGL 100 001/6.0 Introduction to Literary Study

Term: full year

Mode: remote lecture; in-person tutorial. (Tutorial 010 will be offered remotely for those students who are registered with Arts & Science as being required to study remotely in the fall.)

Instructor: Scott-Morgan Straker

Description: This course introduces students to the university-level study of literature. By the end of it students should be able to answer the following questions: what is literature and what is it for? What is the point of studying it, as opposed to just reading it? What do literary critics do when they study texts, and how does what they do differ from casual reading? Are some interpretations more valid than others, and if so, how do we decide? Above all, what techniques do literary texts use to make meaning?

The course devotes roughly equal time to each of the three major forms of writing—poetry, prose, and drama—relying on short selections from mostly contemporary authors from Canada and around the world. Each week will be devoted to a basic element of literary art—things like plot structure, characterization, narration, situation and setting, style and tone, form, genre, rhetoric, figurative language, and many others—with short readings chosen to illustrate the different ways in which these elements can be deployed, and the effects they can produce. Students will learn a set of terms and concepts that will help them to analyse literary texts in a systematic way, and to write about them with precision.

A series of short written assignments provide the opportunity to develop their academic writing skills. Topics covered will include analytical paragraphs (claim-evidence-analysis), strong introductory paragraphs with assertive thesis statements, the logical organization and clear expression of ideas, the effective use of evidence, and the responsible documentation of sources.

Requirements: Each term, students will be responsible for participation in weekly tutorials, two short written assignments, and an exam.

Method of instruction: There will be no in-person lectures; instead, course content will be delivered asynchronously in the form of text and short videos. There will be weekly, in-person tutorials, at which attendance is mandatory; at least one tutorial will be offered remotely, for the benefit of students unable to come to Kingston. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to attend weekly drop-in Zoom meetings with the instructor; these meetings are purely optional, unlike tutorials. 

Note: This course involves two lectures and one tutorial per week. Students must enrol in the same section and the same tutorial for the entire year. Enrolment preference is given to first-year students.  Also offered as an online course; first-year on-campus Arts students are excluded from the online section.

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ENGL 161 001/3.0 Modern Prose Fiction I

The Elements of Fiction

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor:  Robert G. May 

Description: The periodic table of the elements provides a visual representation of the chemical elements that are the basic building blocks of matter. But did you know that literary critics also use “elements” to talk about literary works? The Elements of Fiction are the basic building blocks of fiction: plot, conflict, character, setting, viewpoint, language, tone, and theme. Like the elements in the periodic table, the Elements of Fiction have discernible characteristics and interrelationships. Each of the Elements of Fiction has a specific role to play in revealing the deeper themes and meanings of fictional works. By studying works of fiction with the Elements of Fiction, literary critics can uncover the richness and variety of fictional works. In ENGL 161/3.0, we will study the Elements of Fiction by applying them to a selection of some of the most influential works of modern prose fiction. We will study a diverse range of short-fiction authors, including Charlotte Perkins Gilman, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Chinua Achebe, Haruki Murakami, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, and others.

Requirements (subject to change): Evaluation methods include Essays, Quizzes, online Discussion Forums, Class Participation, and a Final Examination.

Note: Enrolment is limited to students not registered in an ENGL Plan. This course cannot be counted toward an ENGL Plan nor used as a prerequisite for upper-year ENGL courses.

PREREQUISITE: Level 2 or above, or permission of the Department.
EXCLUSION:
ENGL 160/6.0

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ENGL 162 001/3.0 Modern Prose Fiction II 

Pathways Through Fiction

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor:  Robert G. May 

Description: How do you get from Point “A” to Point “B”? Do you take the most direct pathway, to save time and energy? Or do you take a more circuitous pathway, to see the sights and take your chances? When literary critics read works of fiction, they too take pathways, sometimes known as critical approaches. Depending on the critical approach they use—or the pathway they follow—the same literary work can take on a variety of new and unexpected meanings. In ENGL 162/3.0, we will study some of the most influential pathways through fiction, such as formalist criticism, reader-response criticism, gender criticism, sociological criticism, ecological criticism, postmodernist criticism, and more. We will study a diverse range of short-fiction authors, including Thomas King, Octavia Butler, Rohinton Mistry, Kazuo Ishiguro, Sherman Alexie, Madeleine Thien, and others.

Requirements (subject to change): Evaluation methods include Essays, Quizzes, online Discussion Forums, Class Participation, and a Final Examination.

Note: Enrolment is limited to students not registered in an ENGL Plan. This course cannot be counted toward an ENGL Plan nor used as a prerequisite for upper-year ENGL courses.

PREREQUISITE: Level 2 or above, or permission of the Department.
EXCLUSION:
ENGL 160/6.0

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200-Level Courses

 

200-level courses are subdivided into broad Surveys (English 201–229) and courses in genre (230–249), authors in context (250–269), issues and themes (270–289), and theory and criticism (291–299).

The prerequisite for the following courses is Level 2 and above: ENGL 218, ENGL 222, ENGL 231, ENGL 237, ENGL 245, ENGL 274, ENGL 276, ENGL 277, ENGL 296 and ENGL 297. 

The prerequisite for the following courses is ENGL 100: ENGL 200, ENGL 215, ENGL 223, ENGL 259, ENGL 281. 

The prerequisite for ENGL 290 is ENGL 100 and registration in an ENGL Major or Medial. 

 

ENGL 200 001/6.0 History of Literature in English

Term: full year

Mode: in person

Instructors: Leslie Ritchie (fall), Asha Varadharajan (winter)

Description: This core survey course introduces students to the history of literature in the English language, from early writings from the Anglo-Saxon period in the British Isles to contemporary works from around the English-speaking world. Organized around works representative of major periods, movements, and places in literary history (e.g., medieval, Victorian, American, post-colonial), and supplemented by historical information and documents, the course traces developments in the definition of English as a literary language, the status and role of the writer in society, the decolonization of canon and culture, and the ways in which literary texts are produced and circulate, as each relates and contributes to the understanding of individual texts.

Requirements: Fall - 1 essay (35%); 3 quizzes (20%); 1 term exam (45%). Winter - 1 multi-media project (35%); 3 quizzes (20%); 1 term exam (45%) 

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ENGL 200 700/6.0 History of Literature in English (ASO)

Term: full year

Mode: online

Instructor: Leslie Ritchie 

Description: This core survey course introduces students to the history of literature in the English language, from early writings from the Anglo-Saxon period in the British Isles to contemporary works from around the English-speaking world. Organized around works representative of major periods, movements, and places in literary history (e.g., medieval, Victorian, American, post-colonial), and supplemented by historical information and documents, the course traces developments in the definition of English as a literary language, the status and role of the writer in society, and the ways in which literary texts are produced and circulate, as each relates and contributes to the understanding of individual texts. *Please note that this section of ENGL 200/700 is a distance education course intended for off-campus students; students in Kingston should register for the on-campus section of the course.

Requirements: 2 essays, best 5 of 6 period quizzes, 1 interactive discussion question per term, exam at the end of each of fall and winter term 

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ENGL 215 001/6.0 Canadian Literature

Term: full year

Mode: remote; some synchronous aspects

Instructor: Robert May

Description: How does one young office worker’s decision to bake a cake in the shape of a woman restore her sanity? What happens when an Indigenous man says goodbye to his family and his reserve to seek his fortune in Toronto? Why are the telephone poles in one small Ontario town as tall and wide as a ship’s mast? How do you kill a man with a matchbox?* ENGL 215/6.0 is a survey of Canadian literature in English from the Confederation period to the present day. Through the study of representative works of Canadian poetry, prose, and drama, students will trace the development of Canadian literature from its origins as an outgrowth of British literature to its establishment as a discrete national literature with its own distinct voice, traditions, and stories. We will study a variety of literary genres, such as poetry, short stories, novels, and plays. We will study a diversity of Canadian authors, including Leonard Cohen, Mordecai Richler, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Tomson Highway, Brad Fraser, Thomas King, and others.

*We will answer these and other questions when we study Margaret Atwood’s The Edible Woman, Basil Johnston’s Moose Meat and Wild Rice, Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, and Duncan Campbell Scott’s In the Village of Viger!

Requirements: Evaluation methods include Essays, online Discussion Forums, and a Final Examination.

Note: This course is open to all students in second year or above.

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ENGL 218 001/3.0 Introduction to Indigenous Literatures in Canada (ASO)

NOTE: this course is being offered and will appear in SOLUS before registration begins in August.

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Heather Macfarlane

Description: This course will demonstrate the capacity of literature to confront expectations about Indigenous cultures and experience. We will examine novels, traditional stories, poetry, short stories and plays from various time periods, written by Métis, Inuit and First Nations authors, and examine how each uses distinct aesthetics and literary techniques to create art and express culture and politics. With the goal of developing a broader understanding of the powerful anti-colonial sentiment at the core of Indigenous cultural production, the course will also consider the texts in the light of Indigenous-authored criticism. Participants will examine textual and theoretical approaches to topics such as colonialism and resistance, storytelling and orality, traditional and contemporary stories, land and language, residential schools and “reconciliation,” sexuality and gender, spirituality, community and nationhood. The course will also consider the role that Indigenous literatures play in shaping both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perceptions of identity.

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ENGL 223 001/3.0 Selected Women Writers (post-1900)

Politics of Womanhood in American Literature, Drama, and Music

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: Molly Labenski

Description: The twentieth-century American literary canon is often dominated by notable (white) male authors such as William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Kurt Vonnegut. That situation is changing, however, and this course introduces a radically expanded American literary history that attends to the “feminine” challenge to such exclusion and neglect. We will delve into the richness and abundance of works by both prominent and lesser-known American women writers. This course will explore short novels, poetry, drama, non-fiction, and music through a lens that includes but is not limited to the (determined and indeterminate) gender of the writer. We will navigate and critique the societal expectations that burden women in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age and explore these texts as forms of resistance. Assessments may include weekly participation, a short essay, and a longer essay or final creative project. Writers and artists of discussion may include Zora Neale Hurston, Carson McCullers, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lorraine Hansberry, Toni Morrison, Adrienne Rich, Maxine Hong Kingston, Roxane Gay, Beyoncé, and Taylor Swift.

Note: This course is open to all students in second year or above.

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ENGL 234 001/3.0 The Short Story in English

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”: Ghosts in Victorian Short Fiction

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Alyce Soulodre

Description: Victorian short fiction was haunted by many spectres. Increasing scientific and technological developments led to a rising interest in spiritualism and the occult or pseudoscientific practices, such as séances. Victorian interest in the afterlife and ghostly apparitions permeated mystery and horror fiction, and the short story boomed as an apt format for brief, spine-tingling tales. Much short horror or mystery fiction depicts haunting or ghostly entities, exploring the uncanny and uneasy distinction between reality and the supernatural. This course will examine these ghostly figures in the context of the period’s debates around science and superstition, as well as discourses of class, gender, race, and empire. Course texts may include stories by authors such as Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, M.R. James, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Margaret Oliphant, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Oscar Wilde.  

Note: This course is open to all students in second year or above.

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ENGL 237 700/3.0 Children's Literature (ASO)

Term: fall

Mode: online

Instructor: Heather Evans

This course takes as its focus the history of children's literature in Britain from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, with an emphasis on nineteenth-century works for children.

The first half of the course concentrates on texts included in the anthology From Instruction to Delight and on John Bunyan's seventeenth-century allegory The Pilgrim's Progress, and is designed to survey the development of a literature shaped specifically for children from its beginnings to the Golden Age of the nursery in the mid-nineteenth century.

In the second half of the course, we will sample novels and novellas representative of various genres including animal stories, fantasy, and historical fiction. Central to our study will be an examination of the construction of childhood across the centuries, consideration of the intersections and relationships between literature, politics, philosophy, commerce, religion, economics, art, and other cultural sites, and an investigation of the dynamic between literature written for adult audiences and books read by children.

As we work through our course we will interrogate hackneyed clichés and popular assumptions such as that the primary function of books read by children (past or present) is to stimulate the imagination of the child, that children's literature is simplistic, conservative, or moral, and that children are naturally sweet, innocent little angels.

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ENGL 258 001/3.0 Jacobean Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s Political Romances

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: Owen Kane

Description: After the coronation of James I in 1603, the London playhouses stopped performing history plays and began to offer romances. This course explores the political importance of Shakespeare’s zany, incomplete, and genre-bending tragicomedic romances. We will consider how these plays use spectacular effects, magically colliding storylines, incredulity-stretching displacements of things and people, and world-building to imagine wondrous new forms of political society, ethical behaviour, communal belonging, and social organization. We will also examine the literary category of romance itself and its importance to popular culture and creative writing in Shakespeare’s time and in our own, and what that means for thinking about the romance genre as a form of political imagination and persuasion.

Course Readings: By William Shakespeare Pericles (1608), Cymbeline (1610), The Winter’s Tale (1611), The Tempest (1611)

Note: This course is open to all students in second year or above.

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ENGL 273 001/3.0 Literature and the Fantastic

Martian Fiction

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Sean Rhoads

Description: The planet Mars, visible in the night sky throughout human history, has long been a source of inspiration, mystery, and allure. This course examines “Martian Fiction” of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries, and reveals the shifting place of the Red Planet as a source of foreign terror, exotic romance, troubling colonialism, environmental escape, and everything in between. Critical readings will consider Mars in literary history, as a potential frontier world, and the scientific possibilities of terraforming in the face of Earth’s anthropogenic environmental decline. After taking a voyage to Mars with an excerpt from Kim Stanley Robinson’s renowned Mars trilogy, we will proceed chronologically from the early fantastic works of authors like H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs through the “Golden Age of Science Fiction” with texts by C.L. Moore and Ray Bradbury and finally concluding with post-Mariner contemporary depictions of the Red Planet by authors like Andy Weir and James S.A. Corey. This course features readings of short stories, chapter excerpts, and three novels (Burroughs’s A Princess of Mars, Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, and Weir’s The Martian), as well as independent viewings of movies and documentaries. Please note: This is a “blended” course that will meet in-person once a week with the remaining material covered remotely.

Note: This course is open to all students in second year or above.

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ENGL 276 001/3.0 Literature and the Environment

Term: fall

Mode: remote; some synchronous aspects

Instructor: Jordana Mendicino

Description: In the age of ever-worsening global environmental crises—where science is often denied and corporations’ bottom lines seem to be worthy of more protection than life itself—the fields of environmental literature and ecocriticism create spaces to explore the impacts ecological destruction on both the microcosmic and macrocosmic levels. By examining the ways capitalism and colonialism merge and work together to create a “perfect storm” wherein the land, water, and even human lives are sacrificed daily, literature allows us to explore ecological potentiality, futurity, and the consequences of ongoing environmental destruction. Through a focus on literary responses to environmental violence, and by paying special attention to the Indigenous Knowledges and voices currently leading many of these discussions, this course will examine the ways in which literature—such as Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, Linda Hogan’s Solar Storms, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake—respond to the increasing threat of irreversible environmental destruction. By focalizing these larger ecocritical conversations and theories through the individual, the relationship between literature and the environment have become more urgent than any previous time in human history. Our course will examine the ways in which literature confronts these ecological crises, specifically the current water crisis, flowing through (pun intended) several different genres and cultural frameworks in order to better understand the lands we live on and how we can best mobilize to protect them.

Note: This course is open to all students in second year or above.

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ENGL 277 001/3.0 Literature and Gender

(Re)Writing Muslim Girlhood in YA fiction    

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Safa Moussoud

Description:Since 9/11 and the ongoing ‘war on terror’, narratives by and about Muslim women have been increasingly commodified, circulated and uncritically consumed, particularly in the West. As part of this process, a proliferation of books promising to take the Western reader ‘behind’ or ‘beyond’ the veil of Muslim society and ‘demystify’ the lives of Muslim women have been fodder for a fetishistic voyeurism rooted in the Orientalist and Western feminist preoccupation with ‘unveiling’ Muslim women’s bodies and lives.

- Jasmine Zine (Muslim Canadian Sociologist)

The highly politicized discussions surrounding Islam in the West have generated widely accepted misconceptions regarding Muslim women. Seen as objects in need of “rescue” from patriarchal oppression by white feminists, Muslim women have been utilized to illustrate Islam’s “incompatibility” with the Western world. As a result, Muslim women are often talked about but not to. In response, Muslim authors strategically engage with popular literature such as YA fiction to address mainstream depictions of Muslim women. Over the last two decades, the boundaries of young adult novels have expanded, and their authors have begun to explore topics such as bullying, substance abuse, gender and sexuality, disability, and race and discrimination. YA fiction quickly became a genre that discusses timely and relevant social and cultural issues and demonstrates how these complexities intersect in the coming-of-age journeys of adolescents and young adults.

Contemporary Muslim writers take advantage of the commercial popularity of young adult literature and explore the lives of young Muslim women who are coming of age at a time of heightened Islamophobia. This course will examine the emerging body of YA fiction written by Muslim authors. We will discuss how the ongoing war on terror and memory of 9/11 shape the identities of young Muslim women and complicate notions of belonging within the family, religion, and nation. Our objective is to examine the popularity of the YA genre and critically assess its effectiveness in discussing themes relevant to the lives of young Muslims. We will also expand our understanding of feminism and explore other modalities of feminism, such as intersectional feminism, transnational feminism, and postcolonial feminism.  

Note: This course is open to all students in second year or above.

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ENGL 290 001/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation

Charles Dickens’s Bleak House

Term: fall

Mode: remote; synchronous

Instructor: Heather Evans

Description: In 1946 Geoffrey Tillotson described Bleak House as “the finest literary work the nineteenth century produced in England.”  While Tillotson’s claim may be debateable, according to Harry Blamires in 1987, “there is now something close to critical agreement that Bleak House is Dickens’s most complex and memorable single achievement.”  What the critical assessment of the novel is in the twenty-first century is ours to discover as we work our way through what is certainly one of, if not the longest of Dickens’s novels, a work that famously immortalized the infamously impenetrable and seemingly unresolvable legal case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, raised the spectre of spontaneous human combustion in the popular imagination of the nineteenth century, inaugurated the genre of the detective novel, and introduced readers to a tremendous cast of colourful characters who are variously mad, macabre, morose, and magnificent.  We will begin our study of Dickens’s work by considering short selections from Sketches by Boz that demonstrate on a small scale the empathy and keen observation of the people and architecture (social and physical) of Victorian England that Dickens brought on a much grander scale to Bleak House.  Our study will then take us step by step through the nineteen monthly parts of the original serial publication of the novel in 1852-53.  Our journey through Dickens’s often dark and deplorably dingy London and his irrepressibly sympathetic exploration of human fallibility will provide opportunity to develop close reading, research, and critical interpretation skills.

Requirements: One essay, a final exam, regular attendance and active class participation; may also include written online discussion forum posts and a seminar presentation. Attendance at no less than 70% of the live Zoom classes (i.e. seventeen of twenty-four sessions) is required to pass the course.

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ENGL 290 002/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation

Milton’s Paradise Lost

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: Christopher Fanning

Description: This course offers a close reading of the 12 books of Milton’s 1674 epic in the context of critical statements on the poem. 

Course goals: to develop skills in analyzing poetry, assessing and applying criticism, expressing ideas about literature in written and oral formats.

Text: the Norton Critical Edition of Paradise Lost, ed., Gordon Teskey, 2nd edition, 2020; online resources. 

Requirements: class participation, a presentation (as a member of a team), short essay on a passage from Book 9, longer final essay, including an annotated bibliography, a 2-hour final exam

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ENGL 290 003/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation

"(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue": Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: Asha Varadharajan

Description: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye invites intimacy by denying readers "safe harbors." Our aim, by deploying tried and true methods (deconstructive, narratological, psychoanalytic, feminist) of literary interpretation, will be to explore, communicate, and respect the enigma that is Morrison's first and finest novel.  While the course is designed to develop a sophisticated grasp of literary vocabulary and critical methodology, we will undertake a careful examination of the relations between text and socio-historical contexts, as well as the function of intertexts such as the Hollywood film Imitation of Life (1934 and 1959 versions).  The date of the novel's publication (1970), and Morrison's stature as a Nobel Prize winning author, make The Bluest Eye the ideal framework within which to ponder contemporary debates about the fact and dream of blackness.

Requirements: The course will feature the best of both worlds–a combination of in-person pedagogy and curated online activities and assessments. Grades will be based on individual and group participation, short writing assignments with creative and/or multi-media options, and a final exam.    

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ENGL 290 001/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation

Lyrical Ballads    

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Mark Jones

Description: Lyrical Ballads (published anonymously by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1798, then expanded and reissued under Wordsworth’s name in 1800) is the most famous collection of English poetry to be published in the Romantic period.  Announced as an “experiment” to challenge entrenched critical assumptions, and fitted in 1800 with an aggressively provocative Preface, it still stands as a watershed in modern poetics and has often been used to mark the beginning of British Romanticism.  This section of ENGL 290 explores Lyrical Ballads, its artistic purposes, and its reception while introducing students to terms and concepts relevant to the critical discussion of poetry. As a seminar in which discussion is led almost entirely by students, the course proceeds on the assumption that good critical discussion depends on knowing what to ask. It seeks, accordingly, to teach critical topics and methods of questioning. The reading list focuses on the best known poems in both the 1798 and 1800 editions of Lyrical Ballads, from Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” to Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” and “Michael.”

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

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ENGL 290 002/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation

Reading Tolkien Reading Beowulf

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Ruth Wehlau

Description: Beowulf deals with themes of heroism, violence, and loss while relating the story of the hero’s life and his battles against three monsters. The course will involve close readings of Beowulf, as well as an investigation of the significance of the poem to the medievalist and fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien. We will pay special attention to the notion of the monster and the monstrous in Beowulf and in Tolkien’s work. The latter part of the course will revolve around Tolkien’s own novel, The Two Towers (the second in The Lord of the Rings trilogy); although we will concentrate on only one novel, familiarity with the entire trilogy is recommended. Beowulf will be read in translation.

Classes will consist of lecture, close reading and discussion. 

Requirements: Class participation, Oral presentation, Research report, Short Exercise on translation, Essay, Exam

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ENGL 292 001/6.0 Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory

Term: full year

Mode: remote; synchronous

Instructor: Angela Facundo

Description: This course establishes a foundational capacity to read, talk about, and write about critical and literary theory. We will examine the tension between theories of subjectivity and theories of reading as they developed in relation to one another. In this course, we will study authors who instruct their readers on how to interpret art while arguing about its value, its relation to “truth,” and the role it plays in society. Gradually, we will examine the structure of language itself, how it mediates culture, how it constitutes the subject, and what power has to do with it. The way we pay attention to literature, the way we organize our understanding of it, impacts the ways in which subjects become intelligible in the world and relate to one another. 

The course begins with the expectation that students will have little to no previous exposure to theory. We will explore not only the contents of the material but also how to read the texts themselves as well as how to place theory in conversation with literary analyses.

Requirements: essays, online attendance and participation, take-home midterm and final exams.

Note: This course is open to all students in second year or above.

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300-Level Courses

 

To take 300-level English courses, one must:

  • be enrolled in an ENGL BAH program (Medial or Major) and
  • have successfully completed ENGL 200/6.0 and ENGL 290/3.0

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

 

ENGL 326 001/6.0 Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama 

Term: full year

Mode: remote; synchronous

Instructor: Marta Straznicky

Description: This course will approach the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries as theatrical texts. In the fall term, we will focus on revenge tragedies written by Kyd, Shakespeare, Middleton, and Webster; in the winter term, we will focus on the plays of Thomas Middleton, specifically his city comedies and two of his most famous tragedies. We will explore all these plays in relation to the sites for which they were written and where they were initially performed, including the Rose, the Globe, the Blackfriars, Middle Temple, and Cockpit theatres. With these sites in mind, we will learn about rehearsal practices, staging conventions, the professional organization of acting companies and their repertory system, the social and economic status of theatregoers, the collaborative relationship between playing companies and the book trade, and the various ways in which non-theatrical institutions such as the monarchy and the church influenced what was and what could be staged in London. A major aim of the course is to help you develop your skills as a reader of plays, to learn, in addition to analyzing such things as character, theme, style, and narrative structure, how to construct historically informed interpretations of theatrical vocabulary, the language of space, and the subjective experience of early modern spectators.

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ENGL 330 001/6.0 Restoration & 18th-Century Literature

Term: full year

Mode: blended online/in person

Instructor: Christopher Fanning

Description: This course surveys the variety of writing produced by men and women between 1660 and 1800, paying attention to the development of poetic forms and other characteristic modes of literary expression and exploring the philosophical and social-cultural ideals and realities of the period.  Questions to be considered: How did the period itself view literature and literary history?  Who should write poetry and what are the appropriate topics and forms of literature?  What is the nature of authorship in a print culture?  What aesthetic, social and political concerns are reflected in the characteristic discourses of the period--satire, sensibility, and the sublime?

This course will be offered in a blended online/on campus format, with lecture material presented on OnQ and seminar-style tutorial groups meeting in the classroom.

Texts (available in both hard copy and electronic formats) will include: DeMaria, ed. British Literature 1640-1789: An Anthology 4th edition (Blackwell); Defoe, Moll Flanders (Broadview)

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

Term: full year

Mode: in person

Instructor: Brooke Cameron

Description: What is the relationship between literature and national identity, or nationhood? More specifically, how does literature participate in the formation of a country’s sense of self, its citizens, its cultural values and norms, as well as its role and even borders on the global stage? This course will look at the role of literature, specifically the novel, in defining “Britishness” in the nineteenth-century. We will ask how literature played a key role in defining – and sometimes, policing and expanding – the borders of empire during this period. And we will consider who is therefore considered part of, as well as excluded from, this construction of nationhood; after all, this is a century marked by social and political upheaval that completely redefined what it meant to be a gendered, classed, and racialized individual. For this reason, our study of the nineteenth-century novel will strive for an equal consideration of content and context, as well as a mix of different novel genres (from historical fiction and social problem novels to sensation fiction and Gothic horror) to help us better understand the many variations and innovations in narratives meant to explore what it means to be British in the nineteenth century. Possible authors we might look to in pursuit of these conversations include, Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan), Mary Prince, Jane Austen, the Brontës, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, George Egerton, Amy Levy, Bram Stoker, Mary Ann Shadd, and Pauline Johnson.  

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ENGL 357 001/6.0 19th-Century British Literature and Visual Culture

Term: full year

Mode: blended online/in person

Instructor: Heather Evans

Description: “[What] is the use of a book,” muses Alice before her tumble down the rabbit-hole into Wonderland, “without pictures or conversations?”  While Alice may be reflecting specifically on her experiences with books designed for young readers, her question evokes a widespread fascination in nineteenth-century society with book illustrations and other visual media.  The expansion of spaces of exhibition and what Kate Flint refers to as “technologies of spectatorship,” including museums and galleries, periodicals and advertisements, commercial venues, and illustrated journalism, contributed to a burgeoning written commentary designed to educate an increasingly literate, affluent, and democratic readership about how to engage with, interpret, and evaluate what they saw.  Our course will explore the intersections between what was seen and what was said, beginning with a consideration of the tradition of ekphrasis inherited from the Romantics, and moving through poems, novels, short stories, and non-fiction that is variously concerned with what is seen (or in some cases veiled and perilously hidden from view) in nineteenth-century culture.  Throughout the year, our study of poems, short prose, and novels will allow us to investigate the dynamic interplay between literature and visual media, including painting, arts and crafts, sculpture and monuments, book and periodical illustration, advertising, architecture, clothing and interior decor, commodity culture, photography, and the human body as itself an object shaped by and subject to scrutiny, as we endeavour to satisfy our own twenty-first-century fascination with showing, exposing, and viewing ourselves, each other, and our world.

This course will be offered in a blended format combining remotely delivered lectures and on-campus class discussions.

Requirements: Course requirements are likely to include one or two essays per term, regular attendance and participation, short written assignments and/or online discussion posts, and a final exam.  Attendance at no less than 70% of onsite and online classes is required to pass the course.

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ENGL 369 001/6.0 Modern and Contemporary Prose Fiction

Term: full year

Mode: in person

Instructor: Yaël Schlick

Description: This course will focus on the historical dimension of the contemporary novel.  We will explore historical fiction, the novel’s engagement with the problematics of history, and the interplay between the personal and the historical in recent fiction writing.  Works for this course are chosen to represent a broad historical and geographical range, and the historical contexts of works will be studied in detail.  Our international group of authors—from the U.K., South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina, Israel, Spain, the U.S., Nigeria, and Germany—includes Pat Barker, J.M. Coetzee, Lloyd Jones, Manuel Puig, A. B. Yehoshua, Javier Cercas, Jonathan Safran Foer, Teju Cole, Jenny Erpenbeck, and Deborah Levy.

Requirements: several essays, a final exam, participation, and in-class assignments.

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ENGL 375 001/6.0 American Literature    

Term: full year

Mode: in person

Instructor: Molly Wallace

Description: In his poem, “Let America Be America Again,” Langston Hughes voices the spirit that arguably would come to characterize much of the literature and culture of the United States in the latter half of the twentieth century: “O, let America be America again— / The land that never has been yet— / And yet must be.” If the post-WWII era has been characterized by increasing consolidation of US power internationally, it has also been characterized by a fracturing of US politics from within. From Civil Rights and feminism to anti-nuclear and environmental politics, from Stonewall to Seattle to Black Lives Matter, activists have attempted to hold “America” to its political and social promises. This course provides a survey of the ways in which US literature has not only registered the effects of these social movements but also has, in some instances, inspired them. Throughout the course we explore how literature has encoded its social context; how artists have balanced aesthetics and politics, form and content; and to what extent political art has enacted social change.  

Requirements: Students will read, analyze, and respond critically to texts in class discussions, essays, and a final exam.

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400-Level Courses 

 

To take 400-level English courses, one must:

  • be enrolled in an ENGL BAH program (Medial or Major) and
  • have successfully completed ENGL 200/6.0 and ENGL 290/3.0.

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

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

 

ENGL 411 001-7/3.0 7 Topics in Medieval Literature I – Jews and Muslims

The Imaginary Other: Jews and Muslims in Middle English Literature

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: Ruth Wehlau

Description: This course investigates a darker side of the medieval imaginary through an examination of the parodic, and often grotesque, portrayals of Jews and Muslims found in some medieval English texts. Although there were few Muslims and Jews in England during the later Middle Ages, portrayals of these groups functioned like medieval memes, constructing both groups as racial and religious others and laying the groundwork for images still circulating today. We will read plays and romances that deal with both these groups, including the Croxton Play of the Sacrament, Chaucer’s Prioress’s Tale, The Siege of Jerusalem, Mandeville’s Travels, The Sultan of Babylon, and The King of Tars, as well as earlier narratives. Our aim is to analyze the ways in which Jews and Muslims were configured as Others, and the recurring motifs that allowed the concepts to be passed on over the years. Most texts will be read in Middle English; students will be introduced to Middle English grammar and pronunciation in the class. Classes will consist of lecture, discussion and close readings.

Requirements: Class participation, Oral presentation, Research report, Essay, Exam

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ENGL 411 001-5/3.0 5 Topics in Medieval Literature I – Medieval and Tudor Popular Literature

Robin Hood to Romance

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Ruth Wehlau

Description: Popular culture in late medieval England included a variety of literary genres for the entertainment of common people. Most notable are the romances and ballads featuring the adventures of outlaw heroes such as Robin Hood, or chivalric heroes such as Gawain and other knights of King Arthur’s court. This course will examine a selection of these and other popular genres, with an eye to their social context; we will examine the role of orality and performance in  popular culture, paying special attention to the carnivalesque inversions of authority found in  literature and in popular festivals of the period. During the course students will be able to workshop some of the texts in class, and will be expected to prepare (but not memorize) a text (or part of a text) for performance. All texts will be read in Middle English; students will be introduced to Middle English grammar and pronunciation in the class. 

Classes will consist of lecture and discussion

Requirements: Class participation, Oral presentation, Research report, Short Performance, Essay, Exam

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ENGL 421 001-5/3.0 Topics in Renaissance Literature I – Shakespeare and Film

Celluloid Shakespeare

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: Asha Varadharajan

Description: Laurence Olivier described Shakespeare's plays as "frustrated cinema."  Olivier's quip will guide our encounter with international cinematic adaptations of Shakespeare's plays.  We will examine the theory and practice of adaptation to determine how and why the films of our choice adapt, revere, flip, translate, convert, perform, and deterritorialize Shakespeare's plays.  What happens in the shift from page to stage to screen and from word to image?  How would concepts of textuality, performance, and adaptation account for shifts from an auratic to a hyperreal Shakespeare? What is the significance of the shifts from blackface to black, manwomanly to womanmanly, and from difference to universalism? Our aim is to comprehend why the Bard, like the Force, is always with us, traversing the divide between geographies and histories, and between elite and popular imaginations.

Requirements: The course will blend and curate in-person and remote activities and assessments to take advantage of the opportunities for learning both offer. We will engage in inventive forms of assigned participation, group seminar presentations, and devise a major project in which students can choose between the conventional term paper and a creative hybrid in which they display musical, performance, cinematic, digital, or screenwriting skills to challenge, complement or supplement the adaptations they have encountered.

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ENGL 422 001-5/3.0 Topics in Renaissance Literature II – “Shakespeare’s Problem Plays”

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Elizabeth Hanson

Description: “Problem play” was a designation an early 20th century critic gave to a few of Shakespeare’s plays that reminded him of the work of nineteenth century playwrights such a Henrik Ibsen. Those nineteenth century plays engaged with contemporary social problems in a manner that defied generic classification, undermining the mythic undercurrents that genres carry. The “problem play” rides on “relevance” to the contemporary social world. In this course we will engage in a slow and careful reading of three Shakespeare plays that can function this way in our moment: Measure for Measure (sexual harassment and assault), Merchant of Venice (anti-Semitism and homoeroticism), and Othello (racism and gender-based violence). We will both confront the way these plays handle these startlingly “relevant” issues and explore the limitations of such a presentist perspective as a critical approach to these plays. 

Requirements: In addition to the plays, students will read literary criticism, historical documents, and literary and social theory. The final project will be the performance of a scene, and a paper reflecting on the process.

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ENGL 441 001-3/3.0 Topics in Romanticism I – Poetry and Poetics of Percy Bysshe Shelley

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Mark Jones

Description: This is an introductory seminar in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s major poetry and poetics.  It surveys Shelley’s career from the early Queen Mab to The Triumph of Life, which was left unfinished when Shelley drowned at age 29.  The syllabus combines lyrical poetry and longer works such as Alastor, The Cenci, Prometheus Unbound, Adonais, and the “Defence of Poetry.”  Emphasis is on close and intertextual reading and on relations with Regency period politics.  As a seminar in which discussion is led almost entirely by students, this course proceeds on the assumption that good critical discussion depends on knowing what to ask. It seeks, accordingly, to teach critical topics and methods of questioning.

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

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ENGL 451 001-6/3.0 Topics in Victorian Literature I – Decadents, Dandies and New Women

Decadents & Dandies, New Women, and Literary Aesthetes  

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: Brooke Cameron

Description: The late-Victorian era is a period of marked cultural instability in terms of both sexual norms and gender roles. This course will consider three key literary movements that helped to pioneer new and often radical representation of the gendered body and desire:  1) Aestheticism, including works by Michael Field and Arthur Symons, 2) Decadence, including works by Oscar Wilde and Max Beerbohm, and 3) and the New Woman, including works by Sarah Grand and George Egerton. We will look at how the Aesthete’s philosophy of “art for art’s sake” sought to liberate pleasurable sexual experience from old or outmoded notions of utility and Victorian morality. We will also explore the Dandy’s fascination with perverse or so-called “degenerate” subjects and libidinal modes. Our third unit will map the wide range among New Woman novels and themes, comparing for example, liberal feminists’ arguments in favour of women’s economic and/or legal equality with women’s eugenic writings on free love or state-supported motherhood.  While working through these texts and themes, we will pay close attention to the relationship between art and social/cultural discourses more broadly; scholarly criticism and select interdisciplinary readings will help us to read these literary works as situated within and responding to their respective historical and cultural contexts.

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ENGL 451 001-1/3.0 Topics in Victorian Literature I – Gastronomy and Food in 19th-Century Literature

At Table with the Victorians

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Heather Evans

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

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

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

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: Heather Macfarlane

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

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ENGL 466 001-8/3.0 Topics in Modern/Contemporary Canadian Literature I – Racism in Canadian YA Fiction

Racism, Islamophobia, and Violence against Indigenous Peoples in YA Literature Written in Canada

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Petra Fachinger

Description: Over the last two decades, young adult fiction has been offering increasingly complex narrative representations of adolescent identity in a Canada that has become more and more ethnically and racially diverse. We will examine a number of YA novels for their literary quality and their representation of racism, Islamophobia, and violence against Indigenous Peoples. Do the texts do justice to the complexity of the issues that they address? How do the texts discuss Canadian society? How do they attempt to assist the (teenage) reader to develop cultural, social, and emotional competence and promote critical reflection and social justice activism? What distinguishes YA fiction from adult fiction? Why and how do some texts have crossover appeal? What role does the author’s choice of genre (contemporary realism, fantasy, graphic novel, dystopian novel) play in addressing anti-racism and social justice?

Requirements: The seminar will likely blend in-person and remote activities. Course requirements are likely to include regular and engaged attendance, short written assignments, one short individual presentation, and one final seminar paper. 
 

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ENGL 466 002-10/3.0 Topics in Modern/Contemporary Canadian Literature I – The Scotiabank Giller Prize and Literary Prize Culture

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Sam McKegney

Description: What is “literary value”? How and by whom is it determined in specific historical moments and cultural milieus? And what are the processes of production and consumption in which it is embedded? This seminar will explore ideological notions of “literary value” alongside institutional processes of “canon formation” through intensive analysis of the five works short-listed for the current year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize—the richest prize in Canadian letters. 

As literary critic James English argues, “the prize is cultural practice in its quintessential contemporary form,” and it is precisely this contemporary entanglement of commercial and aesthetic logics at work in bestowing literary prizes that we will focus on in this course. Marshalling students critical and creative acumen, we will debate the relative value and significance of the five short-listed works both on their own (literary) terms and in relation to such concepts as symbolic capital, cultural consecration, and the national/global production of literary canons. Students will consider what makes art meaningful, impactful, and worthy of recognition in a variety of registers, while developing understandings of the politics and economics of contemporary publishing and prize culture. As we will likely all be reading these works for the first time, there will be no authorized experts in the room; rather we will work collectively and collaboratively to generate understandings in a dynamic seminar format.

Requirements: Course requirements are likely to include regular attendance and engaged participation; short individual presentations or a larger group presentation; short written assignments; and preparation for a Zoom interview with the Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury. The course will culminate in the Queen’s University Scotiabank Giller Prize Event, which will bring the winning author to campus and will be planned, organized, and administered entirely by the students of this class.

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ENGL 467 001-4/3.0 Topics in Modern/Contemporary Canadian Literature II – The Literary Road Trip

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Heather Macfarlane

Description: Canada is often characterized by its geography, and its history is one of movement and migration. The road narrative combines both history and geography through movement over land, making it a powerful and significant genre in literature written in Canada. In this course we will examine road trip narratives produced from the 1960s onward in order to demonstrate their nation-building significance in Anglo-Canadian, French-Canadian, Indigenous and diaspora traditions. What characterizes the road genre, and what does it tell us about these communities? We will look at gender, culture, counter-culture, genre, community and nationhood in a series of novels, short stories and films produced by writers from each of the groups in question.

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ENGL 471 001-1/3.0 Topics in Modern/Contemporary American Literature I – African American Literature and Culture

#BlackGirlMagic

Term: fall

Mode: remote; synchronous

Instructor: Kristin Moriah

Description: What is #BlackGirlMagic and how has it shaped Black literature? To answer these questions, we will investigate depictions of Black girlhood in Black literature and contextualize the rise of the field of Black Girlhood Studies by reading a diverse set of novels including but not limited to Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970); Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982); Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other (2019) and Francesca Ekwuyasi’s Butter Honey Pig Bread (2020). We will analyze these texts using Black feminist methodologies as articulated by theorists like bell hooks, Hortense Spillers, Hazel Carby, and Katherine McKittrick. 

Requirements: Course requirements include class participation, a class presentation and a scholarly research essay.

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

Indigenous YA Literature Written in Canada

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: Petra Fachinger

Description: In this seminar we will discuss a range of contemporary YA novels by Indigenous authors of various backgrounds written in Canada. The novels feature adolescent experiences and appeal to teenage readers. Indigenous YA literature deviates from mainstream generic convention in that the protagonist’s coming of age is represented as a communal experience. Accordingly, the texts focus on (re)connecting with Indigenous culture and spirituality and healing from the effects of colonial violence. Although all of the novels share certain features, we will pay close attention to nation specific differences. Remote class visits by Indigenous writers, scholars, and local community members will open doors to meaningful engagement with the course materials.

Requirements: The seminar will likely blend in-person and remote activities. Course requirements are likely to include regular and engaged attendance, short written assignments, one short individual presentation, and one final seminar paper. 
 

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ENGL 486 002-9/3.0 Group III: Special Topics I – Literature in the Anthropocene

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: Molly Wallace

Description: Mass migration, epic floods, mega-storms, extinctions, scorching fires, drought, plague... Is this a description of some kind of apocalyptic speculative fiction?! No! (Well, yes, but also...) Welcome to the Anthropocene, the geological epoch in which human beings have become the dominant driver of ecological change. This course will introduce you to the concept of the Anthropocene, primarily through its popular renditions in the media. We will then explore some of the primary concerns of the era through the literary texts that, whether explicitly naming the Anthropocene or not, directly contemplate the political, cultural, ethical, and ecological implications of this moment. Texts may include: Karen Tei Yamashita, Through the Arc of the Rain Forest; Amitav Ghosh, Gun Island; Adam Dickinson, Anatomic; Ross Gay, Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude; Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass; and others.

Requirements: regular and active participation; several short response papers; one longer paper (including some secondary research); final exam.

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ENGL 486 001-3/3.0 Group III: Special Topics I – Graphic Novel: History & Trauma

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Heather Evans

Description: The Graphic Novel: Visualizing History and Bearing Witness to Trauma. “It is rare for a new genre to appear in any art form,” remarks Stephen E. Tabachnick in an essay on pedagogy, yet “[with] the emergence of the graphic or comic book novel, precisely that phenomenon has been happening before the excited gaze of [readers] of both literature and the visual arts.”  This course will provide students with an opportunity to explore and to apply to this relatively new literary form the close reading and critical analytical skills they have become accustomed to applying to more familiar genres.  Framed loosely by a consideration of the history of the genre, we will interrogate the relationships between the graphic novel and other forms of sequential art.  Given that the development of the graphic novel by writers such as Will Eisner, Art Spiegelman, Joe Sacco, Marjane Satrapi, and Alan Moore has coincided with growing representation in literature of troubling social phenomena, our course will especially focus on ways that the genre gives voice to personal trauma such as mental illness, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and loss, and bears witness to such cultural trauma as racism, revolution, war, and genocide.  

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

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ENGL 486 002-4/3.0 Group III: Special Topics I – CliFi: Climate Fiction 

The Climate Crisis in Literature Written in Canada

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Petra Fachinger

Description: This seminar will be concerned with contemporary Canadian and Indigenous texts that discuss the physical, political, social, and cultural impacts of climate change on specific Canadian regions and populations. While the focus will be on the Canadian context, as the current crisis affects Canada in unique ways, we will consider diverse and wide-ranging responses to the experience of climate change in a variety of modes and genres, including the novel, poetry, and drama. As the texts demonstrate, the discussion of climate emergency cannot be separated from issues of social and racial justice. The texts ultimately appeal for a necessary cultural shift in an attempt to renew a world in peril.

Requirements: The seminar will likely blend in-person and remote activities. Course requirements are likely to include regular and engaged attendance, short written assignments, one short individual presentation, and one final seminar paper. 
 

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ENGL 486 003-8/3.0 Group III: Special Topics I – Pulp Fiction

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Glenn Willmott

Description: This course descends into the lurid world of pulp fiction in the early twentieth century, where we will explore the historical emergence of sensation genres such as crime, horror, science fiction, and fantasy adventure as outlandish experiments with normative ways of thinking about self and society. We’ll fall into the clutches of mad scientists, muscled barbarians, woman robots, tentacled monsters, femme fatales, private dicks and other denizens of a barely restrained, rarely woke modern imagination.

Requirements: Evaluation is likely to be based on weekly short reading responses (25%), one or more collaborative projects (pass/fail), a mid-term essay (25%), a final essay or creative research project (30%), and a final examination (20%).

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ENGL 487 001-8/3.0 Group III: Special Topics II – Modernisms: 1914-1942

British and American Literary Modernisms 1914-1942

Term: fall 

Mode: remote; synchronous

Instructor: Gabrielle McIntire

Description: By the mid-1910s what we know as literary modernisms were well underway and reaching a mature phase just as the First World War was beginning. With the nineteenth century and its legacy of Victorian mores receding quickly, writers were more determined than ever to experiment with literary forms, styles, and subjects to reinvigorate aesthetic goals in an effort to “make it new”—to borrow Ezra Pound’s famous phrase. Together we will explore the question of what it meant to write both “modernism” and “modernity” in British and American poetry and fiction from roughly 1914-1942. We will refine our close reading skills, become sharper critical readers of both fiction and poetry, and pay careful attention to genre and poetics as we simultaneously consider important shifts in cultural, racial, political, technological, and gender configurations.

Requirements: Engaged participation and attendance; presentation; group work; short written posts to OnQ; final essay.

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ENGL 491 001-1/3.0 Topics in Literary Interpretation I – Autobiography and Life Writing

Keeping a Diary: Time, Self, and Writing

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Marta Straznicky

Description: This course will explore the diary and other forms of chronologically-ordered life writing and the many critical and theoretical issues raised by the genre: Why do people ‘keep’ diaries? Who writes diaries, and who reads them? How do diaries organize time? What emotional work is done in diaries? What discourses find their way into diaries, and what discourses do not? Is there a role for orality in diary keeping? What forms and practices of dating are used in diary writing? What materials and methods are used? How are diaries categorized, preserved, archived, and studied? We will read selections from a core set of diaries (Samuel Pepys, Dorothy Wordsworth, Henry David Thoreau, and Virginia Woolf) and the whole of Anne Frank’s diary alongside theoretical texts. We will also read at least one work of diary fiction. You will have an opportunity to work on digital diaries as well as manuscript diaries held at Queen’s Archives. The main objective of the course is to build a framework for engaging critically and creatively with diaries in print, manuscript, and online media.

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ENGL 496 001-4/3.0 Topics in Literary Criticism and Theory I – What is Close Reading?

Term: fall

Mode: remote; synchronous

Instructor: Angela Facundo

Description: The central distinguishing practice of the English discipline – “close reading” – is far from having a stable definition or method. This course explores the ways that literary scholars have developed and applied theories of “close reading” as they define it. We will examine a series of debates, from the attitude, for example, that the text stands alone, in isolation of its historical moment, to the argument that the text is only understandable from its historical context. We will also study the discipline’s oscillating preference between “surface” and “depth” in interpretive methods. The goal is for students to understand and adopt a more pliable relationship to how we pay close attention to the literary text. 

Students who take this course will have previous exposure to theory, having taken at least an introductory survey and would ideally already own the Norton Anthology of Criticism and Theory.

Requirements: essays, attendance and participation, presentation, take-home midterm exam.

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ENGL 496 002-5/3.0 Topics in Literary Criticism and Theory I – Psychoanalysis and Culture

Term: fall

Mode: remote; synchronous

Instructor: Angela Facundo

Description: Since its inception, psychoanalysis has experienced an oscillating and ambivalent reception, but its impact on culture is unequivocal. This course explores concepts elaborated by Freud in a series of texts that span his career, including Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), Civilization and Its Discontents (1930), and “Mourning and Melancholia” (1918). We will then trace how psychoanalysts after Freud evolve these concepts. The course will explore intersections between psychoanalysis and twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature, visual art, and film. How do aesthetic artifacts romanticize the unconscious? How do they evolve from the project of representing the “unconscious meaning” of repressed material to the insistence that the unconscious is the absolute refusal of meaning altogether? How do the drives and sexuality figure into formal aesthetic techniques? We will explore themes such as repetition, rupture, eroticism, horror, and abjection. In our texts, we will see both psychoanalytically-inflected culture and explicit representations of clinical psychoanalysis.
Students who take this course will have previous exposure to theory, having taken at least an introductory survey. They will be familiar with the difficulty of theoretical prose and will be prepared to read longer excerpts of theoretical texts.

Requirements: essays, attendance and participation, presentation, take-home midterm exam. 

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ENGL 497 001-2/3.0 Topics in Literary Criticism and Theory II – Queer Theory

Term: winter

Mode: remote; synchronous

Instructor: Angela Facundo

Description: What does sex have to do with interpretation? With art? With politics? With thought itself? Sex, the sexual, sexuality—whatever you want to call it—pervades political, relational, conceptual, psychical, and everyday life. As a result, the field of queer theory is a site of hotly contested concepts and agendas. Our course explores this hotbed of debate: both the (canonical) history of queer theory’s development as well as its current state. Many theorists grapple with both the definition and agenda of the concept, “queer.” Our course will continue this difficult work by exploring queer theory through a variety of splits: between identity politics and a desire to undo identity, between the masculine and feminine, between psychoanalytic theory and activism. Some themes we will talk about include the drive, discourse, and commodity culture. While, for some scholars, queer theory is an object to think about, for others, it is an object to think with. Finally, we will explore queer theory’s relationship to literary study. 

Students who take this course will have previous exposure to theory, having taken at least an introductory survey. They will be familiar with the difficulty of theoretical prose and will be prepared to read longer excerpts of theoretical texts.

Requirements: essays, attendance and participation, presentation, midterm exam.

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ENGL 590 001/3.0 Senior Essay

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

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Creative Writing

 

CWRI 271 001/3.0 Writing the City

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: Laura Murray

Description: Millions of stories begin with arrival in a city, full of trepidation or hope or maybe both. Millions of other stories position readers as the new arrivals, offering us a virtual urban experience as we navigate characters and spaces, dangers and pleasures. Across literary genres and periods, the city is not just a setting, but also one of the most ubiquitous characters, with streets—arteries—pulsing with life-blood. Cities are thrilling. Cities are deadening. They serve as emblems both of collective potential and collective crisis. All in all, then, the choices are endless for literary texts for us to read in this course, and I am confident that even the most rural of you will have lots to write about on the subject. Over the term, we will read a range of texts including journalism, songs, comics, and blogs, recent literature by writers such as Alicia Elliott and Bryan Washington, and classic literature by writers such as Italo Calvino, Gwendolyn Brooks, Virginia Woolf, and William Wordsworth. We will read with a view to developing our own voices, perspectives, and styles as writers in a range of genres. Throughout the term students will undertake many short critical and creative exercises to be shared and workshopped in class; at the end of the course each student will undertake a more substantial writing project in a medium or genre of their choice.  

Requirements: Attendance & participation, short critical responses and creative experiments, final project.

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CWRI 272 001/3.0 Writing Memoir

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Robert May

Description: Why does one Toronto professor leave money in random places throughout the streets of Athens? How does an everyday trip to an Eaton’s department store empower a Vancouver man to come to terms with the death of his best friend? What do the police want to question one young woman about when she wakes up outside a military dormitory on her nineteenth birthday? Why does a nattily dressed stranger on his bicycle suddenly shout out to no one in particular the word “Yes!”? CWRI 277/3.0 is a study of the memoir, one of the most popular creative non-fiction subgenres. Through a reading of representative works of Canadian memoir (drawn from Luanne Armstrong and Zoë Landale’s Slice Me Some Truth anthology) and an examination of one of the best known manuals on writing creative non-fiction and memoir (Lee Gutkind’s You Can’t Make This Stuff Up), students will learn memoirists’ techniques such as balancing objective and subjective truth, performing research and immersion, developing compelling scenes, composing effective “hooks,” generating believable dialogue, and more. We will study a diversity of Canadian memoirists, including Fiona Timwei Lam, Shelley A. Leedahl, Myrna Kostash, Wayne Grady, Evelyn Lau, Mark Kingwell, and others. As a final project, students will compose their own work of memoir for publication in a collected class anthology.

*We will answer these and other questions when we study Susan Glickman’s “Found Money,” Stephen Osborne’s “The Man Who Stole Christmas,” Ayelet Tsabari’s “You and What Army,” and Jane Silcott’s “Natty Man”!

Requirements: Evaluation methods include Quizzes, online Discussion Forums, Class Participation, and a final Writing Project completed in stages.

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CWRI 295 001/3.0 Creative Writing I    (FULL)

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: This course will be taught by the new professor of Black Creative Writing and Cultural Production. The Department is currently interviewing candidates for this position and the selected member of the illustrious short-list will be announced before registration begins in August.

Description: A practical examination of creative writing skills, focused on the writing workshop. The student may concentrate on short fiction or poetry, or a combination of the two, throughout the term.

Prerequisite: Permission of the department. Admission is based on writing samples. Email your student number and a non-rhyming poem or short story, to EnglishDept@queensu.ca. Be sure to identify the course for which you are applying in your email. Early submission is encouraged. The instructor will be accepting submissions until the course is filled. Successful applicants will be notified by the instructor.

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CWRI 295 700/3.0 Creative Writing I  (ASO)  APPLY NOW!

Term: winter

Mode: online

Instructor: TBA

Description: This online creative writing course is an introduction to the art of composing fiction and poetry. Students submit independent creative work to the instructor and to their classmates for feedback and read and respond to their classmates' writing. All writings and course materials are shared electronically via website and email. The course is designed to help students write regularly and to enjoy writing. By sharing work in progress, students learn from and support one another and develop critical judgment. They also practice computer and internet skills and become comfortable working online.

This is a limited-enrolment courses for which students may not pre-register. Admission is by permission of the Department based on assessment of writing samples. Early submission is encouraged.

The online postings of student writing will be the primary texts for this course.

Prerequisite: Permission of the department. Admission is based on writing samples. Email your student number and a non-rhyming poem or short story, to EnglishDept@queensu.ca. Be sure to identify the course for which you are applying in your email. Early submission is encouraged. The instructor will be accepting submissions until the course is filled. Successful applicants will be notified by the instructor.

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CWRI 393 001/3.0 Intermediate Writing in Prose    

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: TBA

Description: A workshop course focusing on the writing and editing of short fiction, novels, and memoir. Students attempt several different approaches to the writing of creative prose, as well as the process of publication in both magazine and book formats.

Prerequisite: CWRI 295 and permission of the department. Admission is based on writing samples. Email your student number and a non-rhyming poem or short story, to EnglishDept@queensu.ca. Be sure to identify the course for which you are applying in your email. Early submission is encouraged. The instructor will be accepting submissions until the course is filled. Successful applicants will be notified by the instructor.

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CWRI 393 001/3.0 Intermediate Writing in Prose

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: This course will be taught by the new professor of Black Creative Writing and Cultural Production. The Department is currently interviewing candidates for this position and the selected member of the illustrious short-list will be announced before registration begins in August.

Description: A workshop course focusing on the writing and editing of short fiction, novels, and memoir. Students attempt several different approaches to the writing of creative prose, as well as the process of publication in both magazine and book formats.

Prerequisite: CWRI 295 and permission of the department. Admission is based on writing samples. Email your student number and a non-rhyming poem or short story, to EnglishDept@queensu.ca. Be sure to identify the course for which you are applying in your email. Early submission is encouraged. The instructor will be accepting submissions until the course is filled. Successful applicants will be notified by the instructor.

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CWRI 394 001/3.0 Intermediate Writing in Poetry

poetry and culture

Term: winter

Mode: in person

Instructor: Armand Garnet Ruffo

Description: Three Hour Workshop. This course offers students the opportunity to write, read, and workshop their own original poetry. It will draw upon the work of a wide range of acclaimed poets from a variety of cultures to open possibilities for emerging poets to explore.  Students will be encouraged to think critically about their poetry and accordingly will be asked to write a short analytical “frame” for each poem, considering “how the poem works”. Because of the workshop structure of the course, it is essential that all students attend class regularly and participate fully.  Students will leave the course with the “tools” to write publishable poems.  (Each student will be asked to bring one book of poetry by a contemporary award-winning poet to class.)

Prerequisite: Permission of the Instructor. Students should have taken at least one other CWRI course.  Email five poems in a variety of themes and styles to the instructor (armand.ruffo@queensu.ca).  Make sure to identify the course number.  The instructor will be accepting submissions until the course is filled. Successful applicants will be notified by the instructor.

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CWRI 397 001/3.0 The Literary Screenplay

adaptation

Term: fall

Mode: in person

Instructor: Armand Garnet Ruffo

Description: Three Hour Workshop.  This course offers students an opportunity to learn the craft of writing for dramatic film.  It is intended for the motivated student who has some prior knowledge of working in film or writing fiction. The class will be structured as both an academic seminar and a writing workshop.  Students will analyse the process of adapting fiction to film while working on a literary adaptation.  Hence, students will select one literary work of fiction to adapt throughout the course.  Because of the seminar and workshop structure of the course, it is essential that all students attend class regularly and participate fully. Students will leave the course with a solid foundation for writing their own original screenplay.

Prerequisite: CWRI 295 or permission of the Instructor.  Students should have taken at least one other CWRI course. For students who have not already taken CWRI 295, email a short story, a short film, a short stage play, or up to five prose poems to the instructor (armand.ruffo@queensu.ca) for permission to enrol. Make sure to identify the course number. The instructor will be accepting submissions until the course is filled. Successful applicants will be notified by the instructor.

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