Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

Our Core Courses

Fall 2018 Courses

For all courses offered in MLCS, please see the Course Outlines page. 

  • MLCS 622 Applied Linguistics: Research Methods (Dr. Jennifer Dailey-O'Cain)

This course introduces graduate students to three areas of applied linguistics: sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, and second language acquisition. The purpose is to allow them to gain an in-depth understanding of the field in order to select a specific area of specialization for their own advanced studies. In keeping with the title of the course, special attention will be given to issues of methodology: both describing and assessing the methodologies of data collection and analysis in the studies we discuss in class, and assessing the best possible methodology (or combination of methodologies) to answer students’ questions in their own future research.

  • MLCS 630 The Disciplines of Literature (Dr. Lynn Penrod)

The resurgence of world literature is widely considered the most significant development in contemporary literary studies. Much of the focus has been on the expansion of the canon, or its “deprovincialization,” to make it truly global. However, questions about world literature must also take on the nature of national literatures, indeed of literature itself. Because of migration, the broader dissemination of texts, the increasing importance of translation studies, national literatures are becoming increasingly international in character. In this course we will examine the dynamic interplay between “world” and “national” literatures. Translation, intermedia adaptation, and the circulation of texts, the relationship between so-called peripheries and centres within a given tradition between different literary systems will be the focus of weekly discussion. All readings for the course are in English, although students are encouraged to analyze text in the language (or languages) of their choice. At the end of the course successful students will be able to make an informed contribution to scholarship on the nature and function of literature regionally, nationally, and internationally.

  • MLCS 640 Media and Cultural Studies Methodologies (Dr. Andreas Stuhlmann)

In finding and designing a MA or a PhD project, methods are often the “elephant in the room,” the topic we are reluctant to discuss. Methods are not only fundamental to the design of every academic project, they are crucial for its success. Often, an innovative method or the combination of different methods, sets an exceptional thesis, article or book apart from the pack. In this seminar, we will focus on identifying and selecting those methods from the plethora of methods within cultural and media studies that are relevant for the projects of the participants. We will start by bringing clarity of the confusing usage of terms like “method”, “methodology”, and “approach” and uncover epistemological presuppositions, before we embark on an overview of selected methods from text-based hermeneutics and semiotics to methods of folklore and ethnographic research, to discourse analysis, and deconstruction. Special emphasis will be given to the interplay and integration of different theories and methods within individual approaches. Students will build their own archive of materials, case studies and theoretical texts relevant to their own research projects, present on case studies in class, and develop a corpus of methods.

  • MLCS 650 Teaching Strategies for Postsecondary Language Instructors (Dr. Xavier Gutiérrez)

This course is designed to introduce students to a variety of issues in post-secondary teaching and learning. Based on theoretical and methodological underpinnings of instruction in higher education, we will apply these concepts in the design and completion of a variety of projects. We will develop teaching practices based on current pedagogical approaches and theories for courses on literature, film, media, etc., as well as foreign languages.

  • MLCS 651 Critical Theory I (Dr. Irene Sywenky)

This course is an in-depth study of the key literary and cultural theories from classical times to the early twentieth century from an international, cross-cultural perspective. Some of the topics examined will include rhetoric, representation, authorship, canon, nationhood, language, hermeneutics, aesthetics, subjectivity, and modernity. Critical readings will be discussed in connection with contemporary issues. Students will read primary texts.

  • MLCS 797 Academic Writing (Dr. Anne Malena)

This seminar will be run like a workshop involving both instructor and students. The class will be considered a Writing Group and you will work with alternating partners in order to familiarize yourself with as many writing styles as possible, while being encouraged to find your eventual “forever” Writing Partner. Initially you will be expected to choose a paper (term assignment, conference presentation or just some idea that you want to develop) on which you will work during the term. There is no need to arrive with this selection the first day since your first week’s tasks will help you in making a choice. Class time will be devoted to instruction, discussions about the weekly assignments and other readings and semi-formal marked presentations. Learning outcomes: You will acquire the necessary skills and confidence to write publishing quality papers as well as valuable editing skills for your own work and that of others. You will also become very familiar with various writing guides (MLA; APA; Chicago; Harvard).

  • MLCS 798 Comprehensives Colloquium (Dr. Victoria Ruétalo)

A preparation course for the comprehensive exams that will be structured to help students work with their own individualized reading lists. Through peer work, guided discussion, reflective exercises, presentations, and targeted assignments the students will be able to organize their readings, structure the information, and reflect on their work comprehensively, and manage the time leading to the exams. The course offers students a supportive environment during the stresses and challenges of the comprehensive exams.
Learning Outcomes: By the end of the course students will successfully complete the Comprehensive Exams and be ready to work on the dissertation proposal in MLCS 799.

Winter 2019 Courses

For all courses offered in MLCS, please see the Course Outlines page. Course descriptions to be updated in late Fall 2018.

  • MLCS 602 History of Translation (Dr. Lynn Penrod)

The main objective of this course is to familiarize students with the history of translation and theoretical issues associated with it. In all aspects of the course, emphasis will be placed on the contributions made by translators to the intellectual and cultural history of literature and other arts. The roles of the translator, and of translation, will be analyzed diachronically in order to gain some understanding of how translation has been practiced, perceived, and applied over the centuries. On completion of this course students will be able to (a) demonstrate an understanding of issues in translation history; (b) demonstrate an advanced knowledge in translation strategies; (c) demonstrate an awareness of issues surrounding the translation of poetry, prose, and nonliterary texts from an historical perspective.

  • MLCS 620 Applied Linguistics: Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism (Dr. Evangelia Daskalaki)

TBA This course (cross-listed as MLCS 620/LING 620) introduces students to major theories and issues in past and current research on second language acquisition and bilingualism. Through class readings and discussion, we will come to understand the complexities of being bilingual/multilingual. Four broad questions guide our discussions:
• What does learning a second language entail?
• What is needed to learn a second language?
• What factors affect success in second language learning?
• How do we research second language learning?

The course will be conducted as a seminar. Each session will be based on the critical reading and discussion of the assigned readings. The course project will involve the design of an empirical study on a student-selected topic in second language learning and bilingualism. By the end of the course, students will be able to:
• describe various theoretical approaches to second language acquisition and bilingualism, as well as evaluate their strengths and weaknesses
• identify linguistic, cognitive, psychological, social, and contextual factors that influence the learning and the use of a second language
• compare different methods used in collecting and analyzing second language data
• design an original study on second language acquisition and write a detailed research proposal

  • MLCS 621 Applied Linguistics: Language and Society (Dr. Yvonne Lam)

TBA This graduate course in Applied Linguistics explores the study of language use in society and, as such, provides an introduction to Sociolinguistics and Discourse Analysis in their present state. At the end of this course, students will have gained a broad critical overview of the field, explored a topic of their choice and developed a research proposal.

  • MLCS 652 Critical Theory II (Dr. Daniel Laforest)

TBA A varied, international and transcultural approach to the thinkers and texts in cultural studies and critical theory of the second half of the 20th Century to the present. The course will favour an open-ended approach to the canon and will showcase the new directions and contemporary questions that define the field today. Students will read primary texts. At the end of the course successful students will be able to:
• Demonstrate a general knowledge of development of theoretical trends in cultural theory.
• Engage with multiple cultural perspectives relating to such material.
• Evaluate ethical and social issues relating to the analysis of different types of texts.
• Debate and deconstruct underlying theories and how these work with different types of texts.
• Demonstrate advanced critical research and writing skills.
• Conduct research of different texts using both primary and secondary sources.
• Analyze, argue, and communicate ideas in both written and oral formats.
• Formulate research questions and evaluate the appropriateness of using relevant theoretical and methodological approaches.
• Accept constructive feedback and revise work accordingly.
• Work collaboratively in a shared environment to achieve a common goal.

  • MLCS 799 Candidacy Colloquium (Dr. Victoria Ruétalo)

This course will guide students in preparing the thesis proposal for the Candidacy Exam. Students will develop research questions and work with their corpus in small oriented workshops with the end goal of completing a working dissertation prospectus by the end of the term.


General Course Offerings

  • MLCS 600 Translation Theories
    *3 (fi 6) (either term, 3-0-0) The multiple ways in which linguistics, literary criticism, philosophy, cultural theories and feminist theories have informed the practice of translation and contributed to the production of different translation theories. In their presentations and papers, students are encouraged to use examples taken from languages with which they are familiar.

  • MLCS 601 Special Topics in Translation Studies
    *3 (fi 6) (either term, 0-3s-0) Prerequisite: consent of Department.

  • MLCS 602 History of Translation
    *3 (fi 6) (either term, 0-3s-0) An overview of the history of translation and the contributions made by translators to intellectual and cultural history. Prerequisite: consent of Department.

  • MLCS 620 Applied Linguistics: Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism
    *3 (fi 6) (either term, 0-3s-0). Major theories and issues in past and present second language acquisition research. Course is cross-listed as LING 620. Credit will only be granted for MLCS 620 or LING 620.  Prerequisite: LING 101 or equivalent and consent of Department.

  • MLCS 621 Applied Linguistics: Language and Society
    *3 (fi 6) (either term, 0-3s-0). The systematic study of language and society, including a theoretical foundation in sociolinguistics and discourse studies. Prerequisite: LING 101 or equivalent and consent of Department.

  • MLCS 622 Applied Linguistics: Research Methods
    *3 (fi 6) (either term, 0-3s-0). Introduction to qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods in applied linguistics research. Prerequisite: LING 101 or equivalent and consent of Department.

  • MLCS 630 The Disciplines of Literature
    *3 (either term, 0-3s-0) The history of the study of literature, focusing on the relation between “national” and world literature, and the links to other media and disciplines. Prerequisite: consent of Department.

  • MLCS 640 Media and Cultural Studies Methodologies
    *3 (either term, 0-3s-0) Prerequisite: consent of Department.

  • MLCS 650 Teaching Strategies for Postsecondary Language Instructors
    *3 (fi 6) (either term, 0-3s-0) Designed to help graduate teaching assistants to develop practical expertise in language instruction at the college and university levels. Prerequisite: consent of Department.

  • MLCS 651 Critical Theory I
    *3 (fi 6) (either term, 0-3s-0) Literary and cultural theory from classical times to the twentieth century from around the world. Students will read primary texts. Prerequisite: consent of Department.

  • MLCS 652 Critical Theory II
    *3 (fi 6) (either term, 0-3s-0) Literary and cultural theory in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries from around the world. Students will read primary texts. Prerequisite: consent of Department.

  • MLCS 696 Topics in Media and Cultural Studies
    *3 (either term, 0-3s-0). Prerequisite: consent of Department.

  • MLCS 795 Portfolio I
    *3 (either term, unassigned) Three individualized modules tailored to each student’s professional goals and developed by the student in conjunction with the department. This is a pass/ fail course, which is required of all students. Prerequisite: consent of Department.

  • MLCS 796 Portfolio II
    *3 (either term, unassigned) Three individualized modules tailored to each student’s professional goals and developed by the student in conjunction with the department. This is a pass/ fail course which is required of all course-based MA students.Prerequisite: consent of Department.

  • MLCS 797 Academic and Professional Writing
    *3 (either term, 0-3L-0) Preparation and instruction in academic writing. This is a pass/ fail course. Prerequisite: consent of Department. 

  • MLCS 798 Comprehensives Colloquium
    *3 (either term, unassigned) Preparation for the comprehensive exams. This is a pass/ fail course. Prerequisite: consent of Department.

  • MLCS 799 Candidacy Colloquium
    *3 (either term, unassigned) Preparation for the candidacy exam. This is a pass/ fail course. Prerequisite: consent of Department.