Upper-Level Courses 2020-2021

For most upper-level courses, the prerequisite is six credits of second-year English, third-year standing, or by permission of the instructor.  Prerequisites for individual courses may be found here.

Fall 2020

CourseCourse DescriptionDegree RequirementProfessor
 300
Backgrounds to English Literature      Literature and Traditions, Pre-1700Doughty
 325
Topics in Environmental LiteratureLiterature and CultureWytenbroek
 326
Topics in Globalization and CultureLiterature and CultureSmith
 328
Gender and Sexuality in LiteratureLiterature and CultureStephens
 329
Topics in Children's and Young Adult Literature 
Literature and CultureGrafton 
 335
Survey of Canadian LiteratureLiterature and CultureMoosa
 348
Topics in 18th-Century Literature Literature and Traditions, 1700-1900Atkinson
 390
Topics in Word and ImageWord and ImageHagan
 480
Research MethodsLiterature and CriticismLane 

Spring 2021

CourseCourse DescriptionDegree RequirementProfessor
 314
Modern Critical TheoryLiterature and CultureStephens
 315
Advanced Workshop in CompositionLiterature and WritingTorkko 
 330
Topics in Speculative Narrative Literature and CultureAtkinson
 332
Topics in Indigenous LiteraturesLiterature and CultureWatkins
 342
Topics in Renaissance Literature 
Literature and Traditions, Pre-1700Crover
 350
Topics in 19th-Century Literature Literature and Traditions, 1700-1900Doughty 
 352
Topics in 20th- and 21st-Century Literature Literature and TraditionsArmstrong 
 396
Literature and FilmWord and ImageWyntenbroek  

NOTE: Any course descriptions or reading lists here are tentativeCheck back for updates.

Course Descriptions: Fall 2020

ENGL 300: BACKGROUNDS TO ENGLISH LITERATURE

Professor Terri Doughty

Blended Delivery Format; Available Entirely Online

What do Tolkien, Marvel Comics, J. K. Rowling, and heavy metal music have in common? They have all found inspiration in Norse mythology, which continues to inform literary and popular culture today. In this course, we will read the main source material for Norse mythology, the prose and poetic eddas, with some consideration of connections with early English literature; study the connection between the rediscovery of Norse literature and culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the forging of English national identity; and finally explore contemporary fiction by Neil Gaiman and A. S. Byatt that reworks Norse mythology to address issues related to cultural transformation, fluidity of identity, free will, fate, and war.

 


ENGL 325: TOPICS IN ENVIRONMENTAL LITERATURE

Professor Lynn Wytenbroek 

 

Literature that celebrates the natural world has been around for centuries. More recently, though, much literature with an environmental theme 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 reflect the growing concern about our environment and some that 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 andMcKibben’s Eaarth, and novels such as Anderson’s Feed and Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees.


ENGL 326: TOPICS IN GLOBALIZATION AND CULTURE 

Professor Toni Smith

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 these issues through novels from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria, the US, and Canada.  


ENGL 328: GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN LITERATURE 

Professor Melissa Stephens

English 328 will use an intersectional lens through which to examine written and visual narratives of gender and sexuality, focusing on race and class diversity, as well as LGBTQ2 experiences. We will explore theories of agency, trauma, affect, and desire in relation to topics such as reproduction and parenting, childhood and adolescence, education, and political activism. 


ENGL 329: TOPICS IN CHILDREN'S AND YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE

Professor Janet Grafton

A study of texts written primarily for children and young adults. Topics may include picture books, fairy tales, the child in nature, the changing constructions of childhood/adolescence, censorship, crossover literature, and others.  


ENGL 335: SURVEY OF CANADIAN LITERATURE 

Professor Farah Moosa 

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


ENGL 348: TOPICS IN 18TH-CENTURY LITERATURE 

Professor Anna Atkinson

Women’s narratives of captivity

The 18th century saw the sudden rise of the trope of captivity in women’s writing. Frequently, it went along with the trope of travel (and was, in fact, one of the ways of solving the problem of getting a female character to change locations), and Nancy Armstrong and Leonard Tennenhouse argue that it was the first truly American genre—perhaps the only genre that America gave literature. From the “real life” experiences of Mary Rowlandson and Hannah Dustan, to fictionalizations such as Françoise de Graffigny’s Lettres d’une Peruvienne, to classics such as Clarissa, the tension between victimization and moral authority is nearly electric. That said, it is important to note that captivity went both ways, and we will likely take a critical look at what became the story of Pocahontas; we may venture outside of the 18th century at the end of the narrative to make sure that Indigenous voices are heard, possibly in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Gardens in the Dunes.


ENGL 390: TOPICS IN WORD AND IMAGE

Professor Sandra Hagan

A study of the relationship between words and images within literary texts. Topics may include graphic narratives, comic books, manga, picturebooks, illustrated fiction and poetry, illuminated manuscripts, photographs, and other image-based approaches.


ENGL 480: RESEARCH METHODS 

Professor Richard Lane

An opportunity to enhance research skills, explore a variety of literary critical approaches and their theoretical foundations, and consider the impact of digital technologies on our discipline. May include proposal writing, rhetorical issues, varieties of collaboration, information literacy, and scholarly communication.


Course Descriptions: Spring 2021

ENGL 314: MODERN CRITICAL THEORY  

Professor Melissa Stephens

A survey of literary theory including Russian Formalism, Structuralism, New Criticism, Marxism, Feminism, Post-Colonialism, Post-Structuralism, and others. Each theory may be examined for its assumptions, applications, and textual strategies. This course will introduce the tools of criticism and a wide range of critical dispositions. ENGL 314 was formerly called ENGL 321; credit will not be granted for both courses. 


ENGL 315: ADVANCED WORKSHOP IN COMPOSITION

Professor Deborah Torkko

An opportunity to refine skills in writing nonfiction prose through discussion, practice, group learning, editing, and revising. Workshops include examination of the nature of the assignment, the makeup of the audience, the effectiveness of prose models, and the role of advanced language resources.


ENGL 330: TOPICS IN SPECULATIVE NARRATIVE 

Professor Anna Atkinson

The Last Myth, by Matthew Barret Gross and Mel Gilles, opens with the line, "In America, everyone believes in the apocalypse. The only question is whether Jesus or global warming will get here first.” The argument of the book is that American apocalyptic thinking has everything to do with America’s Puritan roots, but other writers (such as John Michael Greer) see symptoms that are more closely linked to industrial capitalism, and even the invention of the concept of history. In either case, it’s important to note that “apocalypse” does not mean “the end of the world,” but instead speaks to some truth that is revealed. Thus, when speculative fiction accesses apocalyptic imagery and narratives, the best works do so not to attempt to predict the future, but rather to reveal something critical about the present. This course will examine how this manifests in such cheerful classics as A Canticle for Leibowitz and The Sheep Look Up. It will also take on apocalyptic visionings more specifically tied to contemporary environmental and resource-based issues such as LeGuin’s The Word for World is Forest,  possibly Susan Collins’s Hunger Games series, Pacigalupi’s Ship Breaker and Coupland’s Player One.


ENGL 332: TOPICS IN INDIGENOUS LITERATURES 

Professor Paul Watkins


ENGL 342: TOPICS IN RENAISSANCE LITERATURE 

Professor Sarah Crover

Renaissance Conversions

1550 to 1660 in England, or the period known as the English Renaissance, was an age of radical upheaval. Exploration of the Americas; the emerging protestant faith; new technologies and the resultant reconfiguration of both urban and natural environments; and the rise of the scientific method were sweeping away the world as it had been, and leaving uncertain possible realities in its wake. In this course, we will consider texts that foreground conversions – of bodies, of minds/souls, of space – and the questions these conversions raise about identity and the nature and staying power of transformation. In the course of our study, we will consider questions such as what was the relationship between art and transformation? How did theories of race or gender shape perceptions about the likelihood of a “true” conversion? How did rapidly obsolescing theories of alchemical transformation continue to inflect later Renaissance scientific and philosophical thought? Did converted spaces (reclaimed riverbanks, drained fens) retain elements of their former character? Possible texts may include selections from Sidney’s Defence of PosesieLanyer’s Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum, Bacon’s Novum Organum Scientiarum, Herbert’s Psalms, Spenser’s Faerie Queeneand More’s Utopia, as well as Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, and selected books from Milton’s Paradise Lost

 


ENGL 350: TOPICS IN 19TH-CENTURY LITERATURE 

Professor Terri Doughty

Blended Delivery Format; Available Entirely Online

Our focus this semester will be on gender and subjectivity in Victorian poetry. For male early Victorian poets looking to find a voice outside of Romanticism and for female Victorian poets looking to find a voice within the poetic tradition, the issue of subjectivity was paramount.   We will explore how male poets use forms such as the dramatic monologue to mask subjectivity or to explore deviant states of mind. We will also look at how female poets experiment with different genres and voices as they become speaking subjects rather than objects in poems (and visual arts). Some of the poets we will read will include Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, and Augusta Webster. 

 


ENGL 352: TOPICS IN 20TH- AND 21ST-CENTURY LITERATURE 

Professor Clay Armstrong 

A study of 20th- and 21st-century literature and its contexts. Topics may include narrative and nation, dystopias, transculturalism, modernism, Celtic Renaissance, human rights, cultures of resistance, and others. Focus may be on a specific author, genre, theme, or region.


ENGL 396: LITERATURE AND FILM

Professor Lynn Wyntenbroek

A study of the interrelationships between literature and film. Focus may be on a particular author, director, genre, theme, or region.


Generic course descriptions for all English courses are in the VIU Program and Course Calendar.

 

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