Bring Your Love of Learning

Bring Your Love of Learning to VIU English

The Department of English welcomes Love of Learning students to its courses.  Our small classes are largely discussion-based, and benefit tremendously from having participants from diverse backgrounds and life experiences.  Most courses are designed to assume little prior knowledge of a specific era or topic, as our undergraduate students are required to take courses in a wide range of periods and literary movements.   

Click here to see our “Courses” tab for more information on the wide range of courses on offer in 2019-2020.

For more information or to register, click here to visit VIU’s Love of Learning website.

Featured Courses for 2019-2020

Bring your interest in contemporary issues and culture to VIU English!  Our lively courses are designed to reflect on and foster insights into the histories and implications of our current social and political preoccupations.  We would love to have you join our conversations!

International Perspectives


ENGL 222: Travels in World Literature      Prof. Terri Doughty
Fall 2019     Mon/Wed 4-5:30      Also accessible as a Blended or Online Course     

This course is an opportunity to read some outstanding world literature in translation, by international prize-winning authors. Our focus this semester is on one of today’s urgent issues: the movement of people, whether by necessity or choice. As global power shifts and climate change alter habitats, and people increasingly migrate to escape famine, war and lack of opportunities, how will other people find ways to accept or even welcome newcomers? Literature, the expression of human experience, provides knowledge for understanding and empathy.  

We will focus on four novels that consider varied aspects of human migration and responses to it. Jenny Erpenbeck’s Go Went Gone (Germany) explores how an elderly German man begins by being curious about and then becomes a friend to refugees in his city. Shifting to the perspective of refugees, Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West (Pakistan) uses fantastic plot elements to consider whether two young lovers can maintain their relationship and find a safe place to be during the rigors of migration. The next two novels take a broader perspective. Tommy Wieringa’s These Are the Names (Netherlands) presents the points of view of migrants, those who fear the migrants, and those who are expected to police the migrants, as a policeman and small town await the coming of strange new people from the east. Finally, Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights (Poland) transcends time and place with multiple stories set across history about people traveling for a range of reasons, giving us an opportunity to reflect on different ways we might think about migration in our current culture of increasing anxiety and harder borders. 

ENGL 327: International Literature    Prof. Farah Moosa
Fall 2018     Tuesdays 6-9pm

What makes stories that speak of difficult pasts, presents, and/or futures readable? What do stories that engage with lesser known histories and cultural legacies offer a local and global readership? In this course, we will read contemporary Asian, African and Indo-African literary works that allow us to consider such questions. Texts may include Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things (India), Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West (Pakistan), and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun (Nigeria). Drawing on current debates in memory, trauma, and diaspora studies, we will discuss issues of empire, migration, displacement, class, race, gender, war, and love. As most of our texts have won major international awards, we will also think about what makes them prize worthy.

Canadian and West Coast Literature

ENGL 220: Canadian Literature in Context         Prof. Farah Moosa
Spring 2020       Tuesdays 6-9pm

A topical introduction to Canadian literature in a broader cultural context. The course explores distinctive elements of Canadian literature as well as characteristics shared with other cultures, historical and modern. ENGL 220 was formerly called ENGL 205 and ENGL 206; credit will not be granted for both courses. 

ENGL 334: Topics in Canadian Literature  Prof. Jay Ruzesky
Fall 2019   Thursdays 6-9pm

CanLit On ScreenDid you know Phyllis Webb had her own tv show? That Michael Ondaatje made films? That P.K. Page wrote filmstrips for the NFB?  We will look at the way visual media has influenced Canadian literature and the way Canadian literature has made its way on to film and tv screens.  Can lit’s association with film begins at the beginnings of film in 1897 and continues through to today’s streaming services.

ENGL 331: West Coast Literature                          Prof. Deborah Torkko
Spring 2020       Mon/Wed 2:30-4pm

British Columbia’s geography and ecology make for a distinctive region in the Pacific Northwest where geography, culture, history, and language intersect. Rugged mountains, old-growth forests, rivers, lakes, caribou ranchlands, islands, rocky coastlines, urban centres – how do writers living in and writing out of a particular region experience the influence of landscape on the narratives they write? How do those narratives shape the landscape for readers? What perspective on our province do readers acquire – real or imaginary – from the narratives they read? Our readings may include texts by George Bowering, Jack Hodgins, Theresa Kishkan, Patrick Lane, Lee Maracle, Daphne Marlatt, Ruth Ozeki, Harold Rhenisch, Ethel Wilson, Fred Wah, Rita Wong.

And so much more!  See our “Courses” tab for more about other courses being offered this year!


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