DEPARTMENT of ENGLISH

Courses

Our courses reward creativity and curiosity—from traditional offerings in Victorian literature and Shakespearean drama to innovative classes on topics such as contemporary Canadian Indigenous culture, speculative fiction and the literary influences of hip hop.

For individual course descriptions, refer to the Academic Calendar. Not all courses are available each term. Courses must be numbered 100 and above to be used to fulfill degree requirements.

In the classroom, I try to model a kind of lively intellectual curiosity that is equal parts passion, skepticism, humour and an awareness of one’s own biases and limitations.
DAVE BUCHANAN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR

2023/24

Special topics

Special topics courses focus on specific areas of interest within a discipline. The topics are chosen based on the expertise of our instructors, and the topics usually vary from term to term.

Fall 2023

Course: CRWR 316: Topics in Literary Non-Fiction | The Lyric Essay
Term: Fall 2023
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Lisa Martin

This advanced course in writing literary non-fiction will focus on writing the lyric essay. In this course, we will ask: What makes something a lyric essay? How do the conventions of the essay genre and the conventions of the lyric mode converge in the form we call the lyric essay? Students will read a number of contemporary examples of the lyric essay and will experiment with their own approaches to the form. Over the course of the semester, students will write, workshop, and revise original work with the goal of producing a polished, long-form lyric essay or a collection of linked short-form lyric essays.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in CRWR 295.

Permission Required: No

Course: CRWR 317: Topics in Creative Writing | Creepy Shorts: The Short Horror Script
Term: Fall 2023
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Jackie Baker

In this introductory screenwriting course, students will learn about short film structure and conventions, study contemporary examples of the genre, and write, workshop, and revise their own original short horror scripts.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in CRWR 295.

Permission Required: No

Course: CRWR 317: Topics in Creative Writing | Voiceprints: Collaborative Storytelling
Term: Fall 2023
Section: AS02
Instructor: TBA

In this seminar, students will explore techniques of interviewing and shaping stories in a collaborative process. For their main project, each student will interview a member of the Edmonton Police Veterans’ Association and write, workshop and revise that member’s story, taking into account storyteller feedback. The course provides a foundation in the genres of memoir, biography and community storytelling as well as introduces best practices in interviewing, transcription and confidentiality. Students ultimately learn to shape and craft a story while reproducing the rhythms of a storyteller’s voice.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in CRWR 295.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 342: Topics in Long 18th Century | The Age of Satire
Term: Fall 2023
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Dave Buchanan

Satire, which Northrop Frye defined as an attack using wit or humor, was the dominant literary mode of the long eighteenth century, prominent in the poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction of the period. Almost all of the great figures of Augustan literature, from Swift and Pope to Behn and Montagu to Fielding and Burney, wrote some form of satire, and readers of popular pamphlets and periodicals in the 1700s couldn’t get enough of it. And despite the passage of 300 years, satire may well be the literary mode of the eighteenth-century that mostly strongly resonates with the tastes of our current one. This course will explore the various types, purposes, and impacts of satire in the long eighteenth century, as well as the debates around it, touching on subjects ranging from the Woman Question to politics, literary feuds, class tensions, marriage, and social mores of the day.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in three credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL, not including ENGL 205, ENGL 207, ENGL 211, or ENGL 297.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 383: Topics in World Literature | Tales from Ukraine: Culture and Politics
Term: Fall 2023
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Sergiy Yakovenko

The course will introduce students to a representative range of twentieth-century Ukrainian authors in translation. A site of major geopolitical shifts, Ukraine in the twentieth century never stopped being an integral part of Europe; therefore, this course aims to show how the best works of Ukrainian literature have reflected the ever-changing political and cultural reality while preserving its distinct national element and intellectual power. Students will read and discuss a selection of texts by writers as diverse as Lesia Ukrainka, Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky, Valerian Pidmohylny, and Valeriy Shevchuk. In addition, we will consider some hallmark works about historical Ukraine from other national literary traditions: Russian (Nikolai Gogol), English (Joseph Conrad), and Polish (Bruno Schulz). The selection will cross genres—short story, novella, drama—and feature themes of national identity, social status, psychological struggle, and ethical choice. The course will also include a creative writing component.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in three credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL, not including ENGL 205, ENGL 207, ENGL 211, or ENGL 297.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 389: Topics in Children’s Lit | Children of the Anthropocene
Term: Fall 2022
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Bill Thompson

This course examines the children of the Anthropocene, that most recent period of geological time defined by the impact of humanity on global ecosystems. The course will include a range of children’s and young adult authors within the framework of the Anthropocene, from L. M. Montgomery to C. S. Lewis to Lev Grossman, exploring the ways in which these authors locate their characters in relation to their impact on the natural world.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in three credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL, not including ENGL 205, ENGL 207, ENGL 211, or ENGL 297.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 401: Studies in Genres | Short Story Collections in the Academy and Literary Marketplace
Term: Fall 2023
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Sarah Copland

How does publication context—in a collection, a periodical, or an anthology, for example—affect the production and reception of short fiction? What makes a short story collection a collection? Must it have a unifying principle? What kinds of textual features might function as unifying principles? What is the relationship between the short story collection and the short story cycle? How has the short story collection developed, in the breadth and depth of its interests, forms, techniques, publication formats, practitioners, and readership over the past century? This course invites students to explore these questions via engagement with a range of modern and contemporary short story collections as well as with short story theory, genre theory, and studies in book history and print culture. Exploring these questions from a range of theoretical perspectives while reading a range of modern and contemporary short story collections will also help students to understand and respond to the form’s continuing marginalization in the academy and in the literary marketplace.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in 12 credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL courses.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 402: Studies in Authors | Rainer Werner Fassbinder & Mike Leigh
Term: Fall 2023
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Mark Smith

This seminar will explore a selection of work by two major Western European film-makers (born in 1943 and 1945 respectively), both of whom came to maturity in the late 1960s/early 1970s – Fassbinder in the time of the West German “economic miracle” and Leigh at around the same time in the U.K. Fassbinder was a prodigy who died in his late thirties after having created dozens of films. Leigh made his first full-length film at around the same time as Fassbinder but matured as an artist later (and has lived into old age). Both were playwrights as well as auteurs. The two share a progressive politics. Leigh is known for his attentiveness to working class life and to the way the boundaries and exclusions of social class were re-asserted in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain. Fassbinder was relentless in his prosecution of the residual fascisms and historical amnesia of German society in the decades after WW II. His queer sensibility – not at all well received in West Germany in the seventies and eighties – is celebrated today. And several films by both Leigh and Fassbinder have taken up the complexities of inter-racial relationships. Above all, what these two film-makers have in common, and what the course will attempt to bring into focus, is a certain literary quality – one indebted to modern writers including Chekhov, Beckett, Brecht, and Pinter. Fassbinder’s oeuvre has attracted much scholarly commentary, and a couple of book-length studies of Leigh’s work have appeared in recent years as well. Over the semester, we will watch six of Fassbinder’s films – Baal (1970), The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972), Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), Fox and His Friends (1975), The Third Generation (1979), The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979) – and six of Leigh’s – Bleak Moments (1971), Meantime (1983), Life Is Sweet (1990), Naked (1993), Secrets and Lies (1996), Another Year (2010).

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in 12 credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL courses.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 489: Literary Themes, Traditions, and Phenomena | Gothic and Politics
Term: Fall 2023
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Lana Krys

This seminar introduces students to a representative sampling of West and East European Gothic fiction. We will examine the main writers of the Gothic genre during the “long” nineteenth century, paying attention to how the movement originated in Britain and then spread across Europe, developing various offshoots (the comic Gothic, the sentimental Gothic, the psychological Gothic, and the frenetic Gothic). The course will start with the West European Gothic novel and then explore its development in the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires, tracing the manner in which the Gothic form became naturalized and filled with local monsters, horrific experiences, and haunted places related to these lands. Given that the Gothic discourse historically served as a platform for exploring social fears and anxieties that were too controversial to be addressed directly, we will look at how various taboos (social, racial, and political) as well as questions of gender, ethnicity, national culture, and nationalism manifest themselves through Gothic symbolism. We will read representative texts (by Horace Walpole, Matthew Lewis, Mary Shelley, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Prosper Mérimée, Mykola Hohol/Nikolai Gogol, and Bram Stoker, among others) and watch several films, placing the respective works in their historical and cultural contexts. In short, the seminar will explore the conventions and local manifestations of Gothic fiction, while examining the ideological uses to which the genre was put by the writers of the time.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in 12 credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL courses.

Permission Required: No

Winter 2024

Course: CRWR 315: Topics in Writing Poetry | The Return of the Sonnet
Term: Winter 2024
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Chris Hutchinson

On the recent occasion of Diane Seuss winning the Pulitzer Prize for a book of so-called “sonnets”, we will read excerpts from Seuss’s well-received book, frank: sonnets, as well as other examples of sonnets — both conventional and unconventional — from the past and present. Our primary focus will be to write and workshop our own sonnet-like poems, all the while pushing, pulling, bending, and maybe even breaking this received form for our own purposes and amusement.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in CRWR 295.

Permission Required: No

Course: CRWR 317: Topics in Creative Writing | The Writer's Material
Term: Winter 2024
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Lisa Martin

In this course, we will take an advanced look at the ways that writers find, develop, and work with their “material.” How does a writer know whether to develop an idea as a poem, short story, essay, screenplay, or song? How do different literary genres, with their conventions and expectations, help to determine and shape the work we do? In this course, we will consider the processes of generating and cultivating our own bodies of work, while drawing on the same material to experiment with writing in multiple genres. What might writing both a poem and a personal essay about the same memory teach us? Or a short story and a piece of literary journalism based on the same incident? Through discussion, reading, workshopping, reflection, and revision, each student will develop a portfolio of original work in at least two genres. In the process, students will reflect on the relationship between their material as writers and the genres they choose to write in.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in CRWR 295.

Permission Required: No

Course: CRWR 404: Advanced Seminar in Creative Writing | A Dream of Mid-late 20th Century American Poetry and Poetics
Term: Winter 2024
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Chris Hutchinson

According to Freud, poets are wishful daydreamers who “make use of an occasion of the present to construct, based on the patterns of the past, a picture of the future.” Conducted primarily as a workshop, this course will also serve as a brief introduction to a group of mid-late 20th century American poets who were prone to dreaming on the page in prescient ways. We will make use of the present moment and, based on our readings of the recent past, create and critique our own poetic visions of the future.

Prerequisites: Minimum grades of C- in 12 credits of 300-level CRWR and consent of the department.

Permission Required: Yes

How to Enrol: Students must write to the instructor (hutchinsonc5@macewan.ca) by October 15, saying why they wish to take the course and including a list of creative writing courses previously taken. Students will be notified by October 30. After October 30, applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Course: ENGL 218: Reading Gender | The Female Gothic
Term: Winter 2024
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Lana Krys

This course will explore the power of female Gothic writing in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. We will study the manner in which the Gothic literary sensibility, associated with horror, violence, mystery, eroticism, sentimental excess, ghost-haunted rooms, secret passages, and sinister settings, became a fitting mold for women writers to both expose and express a number of concerns associated with women’s dissatisfaction with patriarchy, their entrapment in domestic spheres, their fears of expected childbirth, their demands for universal suffrage, the rise of feminism, and women’s views on sexuality and the body. Exemplary texts will be considered, and the course’s survey of three centuries of Female Gothic (a term originated by Ellen Moers in 1976) will allow us to examine how women writers inquired into the horrors that arose from public mythologies related to gender and how they created space to explore hidden aspects of gender formulation.

Prerequisites: Minimum grades of C- in ENGL 102 and in three credits of university ENGL, not including ENGL 108, ENGL 111, ENGL 199, or ENGL 211.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 350: Topics in Romantic Literature | British Romantic Poetry
Term: Winter 2024
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Mark Smith

Conventionally book-ended by the French Revolution in 1789 and the beginnings of modern democratic reform in 1832, the Romantic period in Britain was a time of intense social and political upheaval. This course acquaints students with the diverse poetry of the period in relation to its complex and volatile literary, intellectual, and historical contexts.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in three credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL, not including ENGL 205, ENGL 207, ENGL 211, or ENGL 297.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 382: Topics in Literary Studies | Literature and Dysfluency: Stutter, Stammer, Block, Blurt, Repeat 
Term: Winter 2024
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Daniel Martin

This course introduces students to the emerging field of Dysfluency Studies with a particular focus on the representation and expression of stuttering, stammering, and similar forms of dysfluent speech in literature and popular culture from the nineteenth century to the present day. Students will read fiction, poetry, autobiography, and literary/critical theory that engage with and challenge the cultural, subjective, and aesthetic ‘problems’ often associated with stuttering, stammering, aphasia, echolalia, coprolalia, and other forms of dysfluency. Additionally, students will also watch a range of films and multimedia performance pieces about stuttered speech. A central goal of the course will be to interrogate how Western culture privileges fluency and marginalizes dysfluent voices. We will focus on finding personal and political agency and creative expression in dysfluent voices that are all too often marginalized or mocked as ugly, nervous, suspicious, or generally irritating.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in three credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL, not including ENGL 205, ENGL 207, ENGL 211, or ENGL 297.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 389: Topics in World Literature | Studies in Diasporic Fiction
Term: Winter 2024
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Rashmi Jyoti

This course aims to map the dimensions of diasporic literature through a range of fiction drawn from across the globe, with special focus on texts that are the subject of postcolonial critique. This course will explore how this concept has shifted over time and how diasporic fiction at the intersections of race, class, gender, migrancy, transnationalism, national identity, hybridity, belonging, resistance, and creativity has transformed our ways of understanding the possibilities of diasporic writing. The students will study the formal elements and conventions of this genre with a focus on how diasporic writers adapt this literary form to their own ideological and aesthetic purposes. The main objectives are to critically analyze these works in all their complexity and diversity, and to explore how these writers with their experience of the broader world, utilize their unique artistic modes to refract their intertwined historical, social, and cultural contexts in which the texts were created. The core texts focused on the 20th and 21st centuries texts, including novels and short fiction, will be studied from a range of critical perspectives. The students will broaden their understanding of the diasporic fiction and examine how its recent interventions impact our socio-cultural landscape today.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in three credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL, not including ENGL 205, ENGL 207, ENGL 211, or ENGL 297.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 388: Topics in Film Studies | Visions of the Posthuman
Term: Winter 2024
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Josh Toth

This course explores depictions of the “posthuman” in 20th and 21st century film. Class discussion will be guided by the following question: how do cinematic representations of posthumanity contribute to ongoing debates about human identities (racial, gendered, sexual) and humanity’s relationship to non-human others? The films studied will be as varied as the “cyborgs” and “monsters” depicted – from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Tod Browning’s Freaks to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, David Cronenberg’s The Fly, Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, and Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You. In considering such films alongside critiques of patriarchal humanism and theories of posthumanism, students will grapple with two distinct but interconnected issues: 1) the way in which the computerization and bio-manipulation of “humanity” has undermined our ability to appeal to a universal moral core, or “soul”; and 2) the way in which the growing reality of the cyborg and/or transhuman liberates us from the restrictions of “humanism” – i.e.. the philosophical position that there is an essential human quality that can be identified and thus employed as an excuse for hatred and exclusionary behavior (from misogyny, to racism, to animal cruelty).

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in three credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL, not including ENGL 205, ENGL 207, ENGL 211, or ENGL 297.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 391: Topics in Literary Theory | Ideology, Representation, Interpretation
Term: Winter 2024
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Josh Toth

This course examines influential efforts to theorize the relationship between dominant western ideologies and mimetic acts—or representational forms (both literary and visual). By engaging such efforts directly, students will consider the possibility that artist expression never escapes, even if it manages to subvert, ideological inertia. At the same time, students will look at the various ways theories of ideology and representation have informed, or run parallel to, the practice of literary production and study. A broad range of primary texts by influential philosophers and theorists will be considered (e.g., texts by Plato, Aristotle, Marx, Freud, McLuhan, Foucault, Kristeva, Jameson, Hayles, and Žižek, etc.) In the end, the course will function as both an historical survey of influential theoretical texts and an introduction to theory as a tool for productive textual analysis. Students will thus encounter and examine the various recurrent themes or problems that define “literary theory”: from the fact that all art is a “lie” to the ideological function of reproductive technologies and electronic media.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in three credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL, not including ENGL 205, ENGL 207, ENGL 211, or ENGL 297.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 391: Topics in Literary Theory | Theorizing Embodiment
Term: Winter 2024
Section: AS02
Instructor: Dr. Daniel Martin

This course introduces students to critical and theoretical approaches to the relationships between bodies, texts, and their cultural contexts. What does it mean to have a body? How do writers represent the body in poetry and prose? What are bodies composed of? What is the relationship between language and embodiment, or between language and desire? How do writers represent the body in print, or on screen? What are the differences between an individual body and a social body? How do cultural representations and metaphors of embodiment influence identity? What is cyborg embodiment? What is affect? What is a ‘normal’ body in the first place? Students explore such questions through a wide range of readings in literary and critical theory focusing on readings in psychoanalysis, deconstruction, post-structuralism, feminism and gender studies, queer theory, affect theory, disability studies, medical humanities, film/screen theory, and trans studies.

Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in three credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL, not including ENGL 205, ENGL 207, ENGL 211, or ENGL 297.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 489: Themes, Traditions, Phenomena | Building Imaginary Worlds in Fantasy and Science Fiction
Term: Winter 2023
Section: AS01
Instructor: Dr. Daniel Martin

This course seeks to explore the creation and building of imaginary worlds through a curated selection of texts and films from twentieth and twenty-first century fantasy and science fiction. According to Mark J. P. Wolf in Building Imaginary worlds: The Theory and History of Subcreation, “World-building is often something that occurs as a background activity, allowing storytelling to remain in the foreground of the audience’s experience. At times, however, world-building may overtake storytelling.” Authors and film-makers build their imaginary worlds using a variety of techniques, such that the storyworld often becomes inextricably woven into the fabric of the text. Beginning with such texts as J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Frank Herbert’s Dune, the course will explore the process of sub-creation and the ways in which these and other authors and media franchise create and build their imaginary worlds.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in 12 credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL courses.

Permission Required: No

Course: ENGL 489: Themes, Traditions, Phenomena | Interlacing and Intermediality in Beowulfiana
Term: Winter 2024
Section: AS02
Instructor: Dr. Mike Perschon

While arguably the oldest work of English literature, Beowulf continues to be reinvented in new forms, from film to comic book to board game. This course will engage in a series of comparative studies of the original Anglo-Saxon poem (albeit in translation) and modern retellings. The course will include several secondary sources in adaptation theory as well as Beowulf scholarship. In addition to several translations of the original poem including Howell D. Chickering’s scholarly edition, Seamus Heaney’s celebrated version and Maria Dahvana Headley’s revisionist translation, we will study Tolkien’s, “The Monsters and the Critics,” his ground-breaking essay on the poem; John Gardner’s Grendel, which retells the poem’s events from the monster’s perspective; the first three Alien films and the first and most recent Predator films; Michael Crichton’s historical fiction, Eaters of the Dead and its film version, The Thirteenth Warrior; Santiago Garcia and David Rubin’s graphic novel; Roger Zemeckis’ animated film; Maria Dahvana Headley’s literary novel, The Mere Wife, and the Beowulf: Age of Heroes roleplaying game.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade of C- in 12 credits of 200- or 300-level ENGL courses.

Permission Required: No