Bring Your Love of Learning

Bring Your Love of Learning to VIU English

Are you curious about some aspect of literature, film, or culture and want to learn more about it, without the need for exams or credit? None of these courses requires previous knowledge or expertise in its subject matter, and every one of them offers an engaging way to inform yourself about a specific topic, era, or field of interest.

  • Click here for more information from VIU’s Love of Learning website.
  • Click here to see our “Courses” tab for information on the wide range of English courses on offer in 2020-2021

Bring your love of on-line learning to our Fall courses

All of our courses for the fall of 2020 will be offered online. You can experience the entire course with access to a reasonably current computer or tablet and a reliable, modestly fast Internet connection. 

Course content will be delivered entirely through text, audio, and video files. And you’ll be able to connect with your classmates and instructors, through discussion forums and virtual face-to-face meetings. 

Featured Courses for 2020-2021

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!

Indigenous Literature

ENGL 117 (Dawn Thompson; Fall 2020) University Writing and Research: Indigenous Focus

Most of us pay scant attention to how language shapes our thoughts and perceptions, and thus our realities. Our readings for this course consist of essays on language and its effects on world views, and because this course has an Indigenous focus, most of them will look at Indigenous languages and cultures in relation to the views of mainstream Canadian society. The more practical goal of this course is to help you to develop the critical reading, thinking, and writing skills appropriate for university writing and beyond.  Through the critical study of selected essays and the practice of research and writing skills, this course is designed to help you become more competent writers in any setting: academic, professional, or personal.

ENGL 221 (Nelson Gray; Fall 2020) North American Indigenous Literature 

In some of the finest stories, plays, and poetry of our era, Indigenous authors are creatively confronting the abuses of colonization, affirming Indigenous identities, and telling compelling stories of courage, healing, and transformation. In this course, we’ll be reading texts, viewing film and video, listening to music and interviews, and considering works by some outstanding Indigenous writers. We'll also be enhancing our discussions with input from North American Indigenous Elders. Be prepared for some creative, cross-cultural, community-building conversations. 

ENGL 332 (Paul Watkins; Spring 2021): Topics in Indigenous Literatures 

The stories we tell matter, and Canada’s story is often about the country’s strained relationship with Indigenous people. In English 332, we will engage with Indigenous literatures (published in Canada) in fiction, poetry, art, comics, literary theory, film, and music (including folk, throat singing, “powwow-step,” and hip-hop). While many of these stories deal with the lasting effects of Canada’s colonial past, they are also about healing, reconciliation, resurgence, and hope. Remaining attentive to contemporary injustices and Indigenous resistance movements, we will consider how these texts are engaged with the communities from which they arise and to whom they respond; and there will be a visit from at least one of the authors from the course readings. The hope in this course is to open up spaces that challenge the colonization that affects us all, whether we are aware of it or not. 


Academic Research and Writing

ENGL 203 (Clay Armstrong; Fall 2020): Intermediate Academic Writing

An exploration of compositional technique through detailed attention to writing. This course makes use of distinctive themes and linked readings. Students write diverse short papers, discussing them in seminar and workshop formats. 

ENGL 315 (Deb Torkko; Spring 2021): Advanced Workshop in Composition 

This workshop invites students to develop their capacity to write clear academic prose that is a delight to read and a delight to write. We will explore imaginative and practical ways to stretch the traditional forms of academic writing and explore how a writer’s grammatical and stylistic choices can create rhetorical effect and display a creative, discerning mind at work. In the words of Stephen Pinker, we will remind ourselves of the reasons to strive for good style: to enhance the spreading of ideas, exemplify attention to detail, and to add to the beauty of the world.  

Canadian Literature 

ENGL 220 (Dawn Thompson; Spring 2021): Canadian Literature in Context  

This land is arguably the primary context for all literatures in Canada, and today many of our relationships to this land are fraught. Climate change, Indigenous land back movements, and protests regarding land use and resource extraction are compelling reasons to examine the diverse cultural contexts that shape those relationships and to learn more about, and from, each other. Readings in this course will be a balance of Indigenous and settler literature, allowing us to consider different relationships to this land: Indigenous, English and French colonial, but also those of settlers from other colonized and colonizing nations; urban relationships; oral stories that come from the land itself; and histories of literature that reflect and shape our relationships.  Some of the texts we will read include Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water, Alistair McLeod’s No Great Mischief, Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Café, Cherie Dimaline’s  Marrow Thieves, as well as selected poems and short stories. 

ENGL 335 (Farah Moosa; Fall 2021): Survey of Canadian Literature 

A broad historical survey of Canadian fiction, drama, and/or poetry. This course will include an examination of cultural and theoretical contexts.

Global Issues

ENGL 325 (Lynn Wytenbroek; Fall 2020): Topics in Environmental Literature 

Literature that celebrates the natural world has been around for centuries. More recently, though, literature is showing an increasing concern about the state of the environment. This course will look at poetry, fiction, non-fiction prose and film, primarily from the 20th and 21st centuries, that reflects the growing concern about our environment and that, in some cases, simply celebrates the wonder of nature as a reminder of what we are fighting to preserve. Selected texts may include selections from Thoreau’s Walden, Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and McKibben’s Eaarth, and novels such as Anderson’s Feed and Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees.

ENGL 326 (Toni Smith; Fall 2020): Topics in Globalization and Culture  

Petrocultures: Oil, Culture, and Literature

How to transition out of a fossil-fuel driven world economy is a central problem of our age, but the oil industry has been shaping cultures, nations, households, identities, and ecosystems for more than a century.  Authors from oil-shaped countries—including our own—have written extensively about the complexity of life in petro-nations, where colonialism, neo-colonialism, capitalism, labour, race, gender, culture, and class all intertwine with conflicts over land and water. Join us to explore novels and other cultural texts from from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria, the US, and Canada.  

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


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