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 2017-2018.

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

Featured Courses for 2018-2019

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!


ENGL 222: Travels in World Literature    
Prof. Melissa Stephens
Fall 2018 | Mon/Wed 10-11:30am

Mobile Subjects: From migrant labour to sex trafficking, climate change to travel bans, policing and surveillance to cosmopolitanism and tourism, what are the rights, risks and restrictions involved in travel? What determines how freely and safely we can move locally and globally?


ENGL 327: International Literature          
Prof. Terri Doughty
Fall 2018 | Tues/Thurs 4-5:30pm

Memory and History in European LiteratureEurope seems, at the moment, to be mired in a renewal of competing nationalisms and competing national histories. Memory, whether collective or personal, seems more important than ever in shaping how people understand their relations with others and their sense of their place in the world. Join us to explore the treatment of memory in European literature of the twenty-first century in translation.  


ENGL 231: Speculative Fiction                   
Prof. Paul Watkins
Fall 2018 | Mon/Wed 4-5:30pm

Possible Futures: Resistance & Reimagining in Speculative FictionSpeculative fiction has offered visions of different possible futures and realities to people who are marginalized and oppressed. Whether cyber-punk or Afro-futurism, join us to discuss books and films that revise the past or imagine a better world for women and people of colour, from novels by Ursula K. LeGuin and Octavia E. Butler to contemporary films like Get Out and Black Panther.


ENGL 220: Canadian Literature in Context   
Prof. Paul Watkins
Spring 2019 | Tues/Thurs 11:30-1pm

The New CanLit:Join us to read and discuss recent works of Canadian literature that amplify Indigenous writers, Black writers, and writers of colour as foundational to the new CanLit.  Explore questions of historicity, gender, race, as well as form and production, as we cross disciplinary and media boundaries in fiction, poetry, art, comics, film, and music.  The course will involve author visits and a creative intervention project.


ENGL 274: Traditions and Transformations        
Prof. Melissa Stephens
Spring 2019 |Tuesdays 6-9pm

Black Futures: From the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement to contemporary writer Ta-Nahisi Coates and artist Janelle Monae, this course examines how technologies impact the vitality of Black lives in literary, cultural, intellectual and philosophical narratives of Black resistance, revolution, fugitivity, modernity, liberation, and freedom.


ENGL 325: Literature and the Environment        
Prof. Nelson Gray
Fall 2018 | Wednesdays 6-9pm

Scenes from the AnthropoceneSome plays take pains to enact and affirm our connections to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the way in which our social relationships interact with and impinge on our ecological ones. Join playwright and VIU professor Nelson Gray to learn more about ecocriticism—the study of what literature can tell us about our relationship to the natural world—through plays and films like Chantal Bilodeau’s Silaand Marie Clements’ Burning Vision.  


ENGL 332: Topics in Indigenous Literature         
Profs. D. Thompson/L. Cranmer
Spring 2019 | Tuesdays 1-4pm

Healing in and through Indigenous LiteratureJoin Dawn Thompson and honoured guest, co-teacher Laura Cranmer, recently retired from the Department of Indigenous/Xwulmuxw Studies,to explore the concept of healing in indigenous culture: healing as survivance; healing as ceremony; healing as resurgence. The class will also consider healing through narrative, poetry, and drama and through reading, writing, listening, and speaking for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who engage with these texts.  Join us for a special opportunity to learn more about reconciliation and healing through story and storytelling. 


ENGL 280: Book Club                                            
Prof. Toni Smith
Spring 2019 | Mon/Wed 4-5:30pm

Our Book Club course is for anyone who might enjoy an experience of reading and talking about books in a classroom community that caters to our more spontaneous relationship with literature and popular culture. Not bordered by analyses of genre or period, this course invites us to celebrate the pleasures of reading, explore its dangers, or delight in the companionship of voices on the page and in the room.

This year’s offering is A Feast of Words: Food in Literature.

Eating—as a central aspect of human life—has long preoccupied writers and readers, operating as a metaphor for consuming, for culture and belonging, and for relationships with the natural world.  Eating as a bodily function has also made relationships with food a regular device for exploring relationships and challenges for the human body.  Join us to read works from a variety of times and places that write about food in creative ways, from Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, to Atwood’s The Edible Woman, to Timothy Taylor’s Stanley Park, and more.

And so much more!  See our “Courses” tab for more detail on these and other course offerings.


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