Graduate Courses

Please consult the University Calendar for a full listing of our graduate-level ENGL courses, not all of which are offered in a given year.

Fall 2023

ENGL 579 LEC A1: Gender Studies
Gender and Image in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction
C. Devereux

This course is centrally concerned with the modern representation of women and with the ways in which reproduction has shaped that representation. Course materials range across media, including print, film, television, photography and other forms of visual culture, but are organized around images of women and technologies of reproducibility such as copying, mass production, and automation. As well as looking at a range of media of reproduction, we will consider how reproductive bodies figure in the technologies and the cultural logic of reproducibility

Readings TBA

ENGL 579 LEC A2: Gender Studies
O. Okome

Robert J. C Young gives a telling example of Mahatma Gandhi’s attitude to the role of women in the fight against British rule in India and South Africa. This example restates the common ambivalence of the place of women in the colonial struggle as well as in its postcolonial aftermath. Yet, Mahatma Gandhi, Young points out, is one of the few who “actively encouraged the political participation of women, identifying… with feminist concerns.” This situation is no different from the case with Africa. The first wave of African writers, who are mostly men, wrote women as part of their individual “the national projects” but the place of women in these projects was largely symbolic as these writers deplored and framed the feminine as part of the holistic picture of the “collective oppressed,” which was then used to make the arguments for self-rule. Before long, it became apparent that this was merely a strategic balancing of gender representation in the fight against colonial rule. This initial policy of inclusion quickly gave way to that of exclusion and the gender equality tacitly promised before independence was obliterated in the euphoria of self rule. Questions around the peculiar problems of women were quickly set aside for the larger and all-consuming nationalistic fervor. In African countries where the rights of women were not trampled upon, they were largely ignored. This ambivalence, which the example of Gandhi makes obvious, was even less subtle where women were more or less confined to the role of mothers and caregivers. Their station was in the home, and their duties confined to the domestic sphere. In the literature produced in the colonial and postcolonial eras, the absence of the collective voice of women is indeed “loud” to paraphrase Omolara Ogundipe Leslie. However, by the 1970s, a small but very articulate body of African women writers, critics and scholars began to challenge the representations of women by male authors, pointing to the falsehood of these representations.

This course will undertake the study of women and their representations in a selection of male texts, paying special attention to the narrative of the ambivalent “woman subject” after which an interrogate a selection of African women’s writing (creative and critical) will be undertaken, drawing attention to how these writers respond to notion of the phallocentricism in the male authored literary texts in Africa.

Literary Text
To be provided.

Critical Texts (Tentative)

  • “New Women’s Writing in African Literature.” African Literature Today 24, 2005
  • Ponzanesi, Sandra. Paradoxes of Postcolonial Culture: Contemporary Women Writers of Indian and Afro-Italian Diaspora. New York: State University of New York Press, 2004
  • Showalter, Elaine. “Feminist Criticism in the Wilderness: Pluralism and Feminist Critique.” In Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader, (ed) London/New York: Routledge, 1988.
  • Young, Robert, J.C. Postcolonialism: A Very Short History: Oxford: Oxford University press, 2004.
  • Kohrs-Amissah, Edith. Aspects of Feminism and Gender in the Novels of Three West African Women Writers (Aidoo, Emecheta, Darko). Heidelberg: Books on African Studies, 2002.
  • Boyce Davies, Carole. “Feminist Consciousness and African Literary Criticism,” in Carole Boyce Davies and Anne Adams Graves (eds.). Ngambika: Studies of Women in African Literature. Trenton New Jersey: Africa World Press, Inc., 1986, 1-23.
  • Hudson-Weems, Clenora. Africana Womanism. Troy, Mich.: Bedford Publishers, 1993. Ogundipe-Leslie, ’Molara. Re-Creating Ourselves: African Women and Critical Transformation. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 1994.
  • Davies, Carole Boyce and Molara Ogundipe-Leslie, ed. Moving Beyond Boundaries: International Dimensions of Black Women's Writing. New York Univ. Press, 1995.
  • Egejuru, Phanuel. The Seed Yams Have Been Eaten. Heinemann Ed. Books, 1993.
  • Fishburn, Katherine. Reading Buchi Emecheta: Cross-Cultural Conversations. Greenwood Press, 1995.
  • Ogunyemi, Chikwenye Okonjo and Catharine R. Stimpson. Africa Wo/Man Palava: The Nigerian Novel by Women. Univ. of Chicago Press, 1996.

ENGL 591 LEC A1: Canadian Texts
Literary Ecologies and Habitat Study
S. Krotz

This course explores literatures in Canada “obliquely” through the innovative methods of what Laurie Ricou has termed “habitat studies.” A form of literary ecology, habitat studies expands practices of reading to engage deeply with the more-than-human communities and spaces with and in which we live. We begin, then, with Canada not as a human and cultural construct, but as a set of shared habitats in bioregions that pay no heed to geopolitical borders. Each student will be assigned an animal, plant, or feature of the topography that will become their “guide.” Over the course of the term, they will research their guide’s complex ecological significance through a diverse assemblage of texts that name, describe, and respond to it into story and song.

As we experiment with this method, we will consider the following questions: How is literature ecological, and how is ecology literary? What definitions of nature and wilderness, animal, plant, and human define our scholarly practices and relationships? How might literary ecology, conceived through habitat study, transform these notions as well as notions of literary history, reading, and place? How does this method bring Indigenous writing and thinking into conversation with settler literatures? How does it invite us to “listen,” as Ricou puts it, beyond our human languages? How have writers articulated such practices of listening? What happens when we let a species or feature of the land (instead of an author or literary movement) guide our reading, research, and perhaps even the forms of our scholarly writing? How does this highly focused yet interdisciplinary approach to literary study help us attend to the particularities of our habitats?

ENGL 681 LEC A1: Contemporary Texts
Literature and Culture of the Forever War (aka the Global War on Terror)
T. Tomsky

Since 2001, the US has reorganized world politics through its open-ended Global War on Terror. This course examines the literary and cultural forms associated with this ever shifting war and its forms of violence and neo-imperialism. We will examine a range of literature and films about Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, prisoner testimonies from Guantanamo, as well as new forms of surveillance literature and poetics, including drone poems and drone tweets. The course investigates the contribution of literature and culture to our understanding of this ‘forever war’ and the ideologies in its wake.

ENGL 693 LEC A2: Literary Genres
Fashioning Black Joy: Black Dandyism as Decolonial Practice
M. Bucknor

With the transhistorical, trans-geographical, multiple iterations of the phenomenon of the dandy figure in black cultures, can fashion be read as decolonial practice? And what is the significance of styling and dress to black masculinities, especially in the context of oppression and the debilitating effects of global capital? Is black dandyism just the legacy of colonialism and imperial hegemony or can it be linked to the ongoing and unfinished project of reconceptualizing the humanity of the black male subject? How might black men refashion their threadbare masculinities under racial capitalism, by reframing the black body as a site of pleasure rather than one of labour? Moreover, how might black dandyism signify the role of black aesthetics as elaborating a politics of black joy?

These questions and others will provide the critical energy force to animate our thinking about art and aesthetics, race, fashion, racial capitalism and gender construction. Using black dandy archives from short stories, novels, films, photography, the visual arts, music videos, magazines, fashion books from Barbados, Canada, the Congo, Nigeria, Jamaica, Trinidad, the UK and the USA, this course will focus on the relationship between styling, black male subjectivity and black joy.

In light of Zakiyyah Jackson’s advocacy for “alternative conceptions of being…produced by blackened people” (3), the course will consider the extent to which black aesthetics, especially fashion, can provide an epistemology for rethinking black male humanity and can trace a politics of black joy. We will give priority to ideas from decolonial practice, intersectionality, fashion studies, critical race studies, affect studies, studies on black (post)humanism and black masculinities.

Winter 2024

ENGL 583 LEC B1: Cultural Studies
Energy | Culture
M. Simpson

A key insight in the Energy Humanities as a burgeoning zone of inquiry holds that energy is not just brute input but also social relation: a matter of values, habits, practices, affects, and beliefs that, at first glance, might seem completely unrelated to questions of energy—a matter, that is, of culture. In this seminar we will use this insight as a point of departure in order to investigate important conceptual, historical, and methodological debates in the Energy Humanities and to study cultural materials across a range of forms and modes to learn what they might teach us about energy as social relation, thereby considering the ways in which we do, or do not, see, feel, and act in response to the simultaneously material and immaterial powers of energy to shape or indeed render culture and society. The term “render” is key here, providing a hinge between figure and matter, sign and substance, concretion and abstraction: the reckoning of energy and the energies of reckoning.

In this age of anthropogenic climate change, energy as topic and problem will necessarily foreground fossil fuels, precisely because these fuels saturate everything: the petroculture we continue to inhabit mediates all other facets of contemporary life. From this emphasis, however, we will strive to extend energy as concept and paradigm to encompass such things as bio-matter and geo-matter, attention and affect, information and data, commodity production and financial speculation, and so on. Key terms for (and so theoretical perspectives on) our endeavor will include: aesthetics; affect; materiality; temporality; mediation; capital. A prime aim in this course is to consider what happens—to imagine what could become possible—when taking up energy as focus yet also frame: as at once object and analytic.

The syllabus will prioritize readings in critical and cultural theory, but will also feature as pivots selected aesthetic materials drawn from fiction, film, photography, and performance art. While these pivots will speak most directly and self-evidently to specific topics on the syllabus, they will also serve to articulate points of connection across many topics—whether by putting concepts, issues, and debates from earlier readings in new light, or by anticipating concerns in readings to come, or both. Engaging with this range of materials will allow us to consider the ways in which and the ends to which the matter of energy as a problem of culture might inflect or even reorient the practice of critical and cultural inquiry today.

Potential critical works may include (selections from) the following:
After Oil Collective Solarities: In Search of Energy Justice (2022)
Dominic Boyer and Imre Szeman, eds. Energy Humanities: An Anthology (2017)
Amitav Ghosh The Great Derangement (2016)
The Red Nation The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save Our Earth (2021)
Imre Szeman, Jennifer Wenzel and Patricia Yaeger, eds. Fueling Culture (2017)
Essays by Hannah Appel, Carla Daggett, Jeff Diamanti, Stephanie LeMenager, Andreas Malm, Timothy Mitchell, Kyle Powys Whyte, and others

Potential pivots may include works by Ursula Biemann, Edward Burtynsky, Warren Cariou, Amy De'Ath, Jessica Johns, Liberate Tate, China Miéville, and Pablo Neruda

ENGL 586 LEC B1: American Texts
“Afterlives” of US Slavery
T. Zackodnik

Recently, Black studies and theory in the US has turned to a focus on the “afterlives of slavery” (Bergner, Best, Hartman, Weinbaum, Willoughby-Herard), a phrase coined by Saidiya Hartman that is regarded as part of afro-pessimist thought and theory. We see this turn registered multiply in concepts such as “the prison slave” (Wilderson), “the hold” (Sharpe, Hartman, Wilderson), “plantation futures” (McKittrick), “the wake” (Sharpe). It is also evident in studies of the carceral state or penal democracy as the “new” plantation (Alexander, Davis, Dillon, Gilmore, James, Mintz, Wacquant), and in calls for a “third Reconstruction” (Coates). And arguably this turn to afterlives is also there in questions of “aligning with the dead” (Rankine), as well as the characterization of Black life under the “slow violence” of a “centuries long crime wave” or lived in a “state of war” (Kelley, Moten). This notion of slavery’s afterlives also sees theorists exploring questions of how to conceptualize Blackness geographically or spatially (Lethabo-King, McKittrick), temporally (English, Mitchell), and in relation to configurations of the human, body and the flesh (Spillers, Wynter). We will explore together what the stakes are of this larger and sustained turn to unfreedom and its ruptures as not past but ongoing. This course takes the turn to slavery’s afterlives not as a given, but rather as a provocation that raises a number of related questions, not the least of which are what it might mean to focus on “Black” suffering and questions of “the human” now and how this focus may relate to some long-standing preoccupations in African American writing.

This course will consider “the afterlives” of US slavery as a concept through two main avenues of focus: theory and cultural criticism, and fiction and narrative prose. Our texts may include some of the following (or selections from them):

  • Afro-pessimism, An Introduction collected essays by Wilderson, Hartman, Sexton
  • Alexander, Michelle, The New Jim Crow
  • Bruce, La Marr Jurelle, “Mad Is a Place; or, the Slave Ship Tows the Ship of Fools”
  • Davis, Angela, Are Prisons Obsolete?
  • Best, Stephen, None Like Us: Blackness, Belonging, Aesthetic Life
  • Best, Stephen and Saidiya Hartman, “Fugitive Justice”
  • Butler, Octavia, Kindred
  • English, Daylanne, “Race, Writing, and Time”
  • Gilmore, Ruth Wilson, Golden Gulag
  • Hartman, Saidiya, Scenes of Subjection; Lose your Mother
  • ---, “Venus in Two Acts”
  • James, Joy, “Democracy and Captivity”
  • Jones Gayle, Corregidora
  • King, Tiffany Lethabo, “The Labor of (Re)reading Plantation Landscapes Fungible(ly)”
  • McKittrick, Katherine, On Demonic Ground
  • ---, “Plantation Futures”
  • ---, “Mathematics Black Life”
  • Mintz, Sidney, “The Plantationocene and Plantation Legacies Today”
  • Morrison, Toni, Beloved
  • Moten, Fred, “The Case of Blackness”
  • ---, “Blackness and Nothingness (Mysticism and the Flesh)”
  • Moten, Fred and Stefano Harney, “Politics Surrounded”
  • selections from Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements
  • Rankine, Claudia, “The Condition of Black Life is One of Mourning”
  • Reed, Ishmael, Flight to Canada
  • Sexton, Jared, “The Social Life of Social Death”
  • --, “Unbearable Blackness”
  • Sharpe, Christina, In the Wake
  • ---, Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects
  • Spillers, Hortense, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book”
  • Whitehead, Colson, Underground Railroad
  • Wideman, John Edgar, Brothers and Keepers
  • Wilderson, Frank B. “The Prison Slave as Hegemony’s (Silent) Scandal”
  • Willoughby-Herard, Tiffany, "More expendable than slaves? Racial Justice and the After-Life of Slavery"
  • Wynter, Sylvia. “Novel and History, Plot and Plantation”
  • ---, “1492: A New World View”

ENGL 680 LEC B1:
Border Aesthetics and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
L. Harrington

This course invites us to think about how borders might operate as methodologies, as procedures, systems and processes. Borders as objects have long been a focus of political geography; however literary and cultural scholars have begun to develop ways of thinking about the processes of differentiation that are performed in, at, around and through borders. In this course, foregrounding Schimanski and Wolfe’s research on border aesthetics and border poetics, we will privilege concepts such as borderscapes, border cultures, la frontera, and b/ordering words in our study of how writing and reading are acts of border crossing. In our explorations of how cultural production represents, reflects and negotiates border experience it will also be imperative to attend to the imaginative act of representation and the border work therein. We will consider a variety of literary and visual texts from Israeli, Palestinian, Israeli Arab, and diasporic writers and documentary filmmakers in our focus on the decades-long ethno-national conflict since the Partition of Palestine in 1947.

Critical texts may include (selections from):
Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus. University of Minnesota Press, 1987.
Latte Abdallah, Stéphanie, and Cédric Parizot. Israelis and Palestinians in the Shadows of the Wall: Spaces of Separation and Occupation. Routledge, 2016.
Matar, Dina and Helga Tawil-Souri, eds. Gaza as Metaphor. Hurst, 2016.
Nail, Thomas. Theory of the Border. OUP, 2017.
Parker, Noel, and Nick Vaughan-Williams, eds. Critical Border Studies: Broadening and Deepening the ‘Lines in the Sand’ Agenda. Routledge, 2013.
Perec, Georges. Species of Spaces and Other Pieces. Penguin, 1997; 2008.
Schimanski, Johan and Stephen Wolfe, eds., Border Aesthetics: Concepts and Intersections. Berghahn Books, 2017.
---, Border Poetics De-Limited. Wehrhahn Verlag, 2007.
Weizman, Eyal. Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation. Verso, 2007.

ENGL 681 LEC B1: Contemporary Texts
Reading and Popular Culture: Late 20th century and Contemporary Book Cultures
D. Fuller

Why, in a digital age, does the reading of (printed) books and the existence of a ‘bookish culture’ still matter?

This course explores the material and ideological aspects of contemporary book and reading cultures, focussing on the social location and cultural function of book reading in the 21st century. Drawing upon contemporary case studies from Canada, the United States, Australia and the UK, we will also consider how and why ‘ordinary’ people read books, how the contemporary mass media frame reading as a form of popular culture and why these practices matter – politically, socially and culturally.

Students will be encouraged to develop their own research projects within and beyond the four themed units: Reading As A Social Practice; Reading as Popular Culture; Producing Readers; Readers and Digital Media. Within each unit we will examine a selection of theories, artifacts and practices that will allow us to investigate the meanings and formations that contemporary book cultures assume. Our texts and case studies will range across media, genres and nation-states. We will also read a selection of historical analyses by book historians and theoretical texts derived from cultural studies’ work on readers and about popular culture. Through hands-on activities (e.g. an in-class reading group) and mini-research tasks (e.g. observing readers in libraries and bookshops) we will ‘test’ both theories of and popular ideas about reading and book readers as well as interrogating our own reading practices.

Texts will include:-
A Giller or GG short-listed or Canada Reads book available in paperback from 2020/1 prize lists

Theory and Criticism:-
Pierre Bourdieu ‘The Forms of Capital.’ (1986)
Extracts from: John Frow Cultural Studies and Cultural Value. (1995)
Extracts from: Janice Radway A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle-Class Desire. (1997)
Extracts from: Crystal Abidin et al Instagram (2021)
Extracts from: Browen Thomas Literature and Social Media (2021)
Extracts from: Wilkins et al Genre Worlds: Popular Fiction and Twenty-first Century Book Culture (2022)

Online media will include:-
Podcasts (e.g. Witch, Please)
Fanfiction (e.g. on Archive of Our Own and Wattpad)
Booktoks, Bookstagram and BookTube

Previous Offerings

Fall 2022

ENGL courses - Fall 2022
Course Title Instructor Time
ENGL 569 A1 Ethical Listening M. O'Driscoll T 1000-1250
ENGL 579 A1 Queer Freedom in Caribbean/Canadian Narratives M. Bucknor R 1000-1250
ENGL 583  A1 Energy|Culture M. Simpson W 1000-1250
ENGL 695  A1 Love in all its (literary) forms G. Kelly F 1000-1250
WRS 301/603 A1 Writing Centre Theory/Intro Writing Centre Prac. A. Chilewska MW 1600-1720

Winter 2023

ENGL courses - Winter 2023
Course Title Instructor Time
ENGL 567 B1 Women's Life Writing Pre-1800 K. Binhammer M 1400-1650
ENGL 569 B1 The Traumatic Event K. Ball T 1800-2100
ENGL 673 B1 The Victorian Project of Self-Help P. Sinnema F 1000-1250
ENGL 695 B1 Shakespeare and Ecological Crisis C. Sale T 1400-1650

Winter 2022

ENGL courses - Winter 2022
Course Title Instructor Time
ENGL 582 B1 Issues in the Discipline: Reading Media M. Litwack M 1400-1650
ENGL 585 B1 Indigenous Texts: The Politics of Misrecognition: the Literary Activism of William Apess C. Bracken T 1000-1250
ENGL 586 B1 American Texts: Black Geographies and the Black Geographic T. Zackodnik F 1000-1250

Spring 2022

ENGL courses - Spring 2022
Course Title Instructor Time
ENGL 407/567 A1 The Cultural Politics of Jane Austen K. Binhammer MW 1230-1520

Fall 2021

ENGL courses - Fall 2021
Course Title Instructor Time
ENGL 591 A1 Literary Ecologies and Habitat Study S. Krotz T 1000-1250
ENGL 591 A2 #metoo and Canadian Literature J. Rak R 1000-1250
ENGL 681 A1 Reading and Popular Culture: Late 20th Century and Contemporary Book Cultures D. Fuller W 1400-1650
ENGL 695 A1 The Aesthetics of Disruption: or, How to Imagine the End of Everything in Nineteenth-Century Literature E. Kent F 1000-1250

Spring 2021

ENGL courses - Spring 2021
Course Title Instructor Time
ENGL 430/695 A1 Time, Narrative, and Historiography K. Ball TR 1230-1520

Winter 2021

ENGL courses - Winter 2021
Course Title Instructor Time
ENGL 569 B1 Borders as Methodologies Louise Harrington W 1400-1650
ENGL 575 B1 The History of Information Johnathan Cohn T 1400-1650
ENGL 578 B1 Representing Science Jamie Baron F 1400-1650
ENGL 635 B1 Shakespeare and Ecological Crisis Carolyn Sale F 1000-1250

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