Spaces Available in 2020-21 Seminar Courses!

Tue. Aug. 18, 2020

If you have a grade of B or higher in at least 6 credits of English, you may email the instructor for permission to take an advanced seminar. 

Seminars are capped at 15 students and provide an opportunity for more discussion and student-led learning than larger lecture courses. 

Seminar courses are open to any qualified student who wants a more personal and interactive education, or who wishes to pursue a topic of particular interest. 

Once you have obtained the instructor's permission, you can email Honours Chair Andrew Burke, who will complete the Permission Form for you. Within 48 hours you should be able to register for the course in WebAdvisor.

For general information on 4000-level seminar courses or the 2000-level seminar in the Field of Literary and Textual Studies, please contact Andrew Burke at

FALL 2020

ENGL-4160-001 | YPTC: Witchcraft and Folklore | C. Tosenberger | W 14:30-17:15
Course Delivery: NEXUS - There will be no live lectures instead lectures will be pre-recorded and uploaded onto NEXUS. Students will participate in online discussion boards.

In this course, we will study the multiple iterations of the witch throughout history, through the medium of folk, literary, and visual representations. Of special interest is the idea of the witch as either a threat to young people (fairy tale monster, eater of babies, tormenter of teenage girls), and, conversely, the child or teenager AS witch: the use of magic as a way to (positively or negatively) destabilize existing hierarchies of power that impact young people. Through a study of Julian Goodare’s concept of the four “models” of the witch—demonological, folk, literary, and visionary—we will examine the multiple ways the witch has been framed, abused, and reclaimed.

For permission to take this course, contact

ENGL-4710-001 | Canadian Literature and Culture | D. Wolf | M 14:30-17:15
Course Delivery: Nexus+: course offered asynchronously on Nexus with several live seminar classes at the scheduled class time via Zoom (dates of live seminars to be announced on first day of class)

In Contesting Childhood: Autobiography, Trauma, Memory, Kate Douglas examines a literary trend that emerged en force in the 1990s and shows no signs of abating: the autobiography of childhood, a piece of autobiographical writing that focuses on the narration of childhood experiences. Following Douglas, in this course, we will link autobiographical studies and studies of childhood to explore a range of recently published Canadian life writing of childhood in a variety of genres (graphic narrative, biographical fiction, autobiography). We will focus on the ways in which these texts construct childhood, both reinforcing and challenging prominent ideologies and representations of the child in western societies. These autobiographies reveal as much about the present as they do about the past; thus, we will explore their connections to contemporary political debates as well as their roles as agents of cultural memory. We will consider our own roles as ethical readers and witnesses of often traumatic and controversial pasts.

For permission to take this course, contact

ENGL-4717-001 | Indigenous Literatures and Cultures: Representations of Indigenous Health (Cross-listed with GENG-7740) | P. DePasquale | F 14:30-17:15
Course Delivery: NEXUS +. Most course materials available asynchronously on NEXUS. Students are required to attend live Zoom seminars on the last Friday of September, October, and November.

This course draws inspiration from, and engages with, key ideas and concepts in the English Department’s Land Acknowledgment ( We will examine a wide range of literary and non-literary texts, most of them available on the internet, in order to learn from the knowledge and experience of Indigenous writers, artists, Elders, community workers, scholars, and others working to revitalize the health of Indigenous lands, waters, and people in Canada. Our study of representations of Indigenous land, water, and people will lead to discussions on important topics and debates in Canada today, on the subjects of land (& Land Back), water, treaties, MMIWG, the environment, self-determination & independence, identity, cultural appropriation, health, and good ways forward in our era of Climate Change, COVID-19, and ongoing police and state violence towards Black & Indigenous peoples. ENGL - 4717 fulfills the Indigenous Course Requirement (ICR).

Required Readings
The only book that students are required to purchase is Warren Cariou and Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair (eds.), Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water (Portage & Main Press, 2012), available at and other online sellers. It is highly recommended that students read this book before the course begins. Students should also budget about $40 for Indigenous film only available for purchase/rent.

For permission to take this course, contact

ENGL-4901-001 | Topics in Gender, Literature, and Culture: Queer Canada | H. Milne | T 13:00-15:45
Course Delivery: Nexus +. Class will meet in person over Zoom for 45-60 minutes once a week. Other activities will be carried out asynchronously through the use of chat/discussion features on Nexus, uploaded lectures and Power Points, assigned group work to be carried out remotely, and guided independent study.

This course explores LGBTQ2S+ fiction, poetry, film and theory in Canada. Through close readings of a variety of literary texts, we will consider the conflictual relationship that queer people have had to the Canadian nation state. We will learn about the history of state oppression and how LGBTTQ2S communities have fought back against this oppression. We will consider how the AIDS crisis and AIDS activism affected queer communities in Canada, and will learn about state censorship of LGBTTQ2S literature, art and film. We will consider how queer communities of colour and Two Spirit communities have drawn attention to intersecting forms of oppression and challenged racism within queer communities. We will also consider how Two-Spirit and QTBIPOC writers and artists have explored and celebrated their identities through writing, film, art and activism. Writers studied in this course will include: Dionne Brand, John Greyson, Tomson Highway, Daphne Marlatt, Jane Rule, Kai Cheng Thom, Vivek Shraya, and Joshua Whitehead.

For permission to take this course, contact


ENGL-2142-001 | Field of Literary and Textual Studies: Things of Beauty, Solitary Poets, and Dead Authors: Changing Conceptions of Art and Authorship | K. Ready | TH 14:30-17:15
Course Delivery: NEXUS+. Lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations, and/or recorded lectures will be made available on NEXUS throughout the semester, along with additional required course readings, assignment descriptions, and other materials. Assignments will include participation in asynchronous chat assignments for class discussion of course materials. There will also be live class discussions during the time slots reserved by the university for this course. Students will need to make themselves available on the days they are scheduled for this live class participation component.

This particular section of Field of Literary and Textual Studies (subtitled “Things of Beauty, Solitary Poets, and Dead Authors: Changing Concepts of Art and Authorship”) will explore a variety of questions related to art and authorship, drawing on both literature (poetry, drama, and fiction) and criticism that has addressed the purpose and meaning of art, the requirements for great art, and the relationship between different kinds of art, as well as questions around genius, creativity, and authorship. Course materials will range from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the twenty-first century, encompassing such intellectual and aesthetic movements as Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Aestheticism, Decadence, Modernism, and Postmodernism, with some attention paid to other critical developments such as Marxism, psychoanalysis, and gender, race, and queer politics.

For permission to take this course, contact

ENGL-4110-001| Critical Theory: COVID-19, Among Other Things | P. Melville | TH 13:00-15:45
Couse Delivery: Live Lectures – Scheduled class times will take place using an online platform. Students are expected to be available during the posted lecture times for live streaming and/or group interactions

This course aims to accomplish the dual goal of studying representative texts across the spectrum of critical and cultural theory (including Marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, and critical race theory), while at the same time reviewing and assessing theoretical responses to the current COVID-19 Global Pandemic. The course will question the role of critical theory in a time of crisis, a time that calls for two things that theory is not generally known for: quick thinking and immediate action. In the midst of an unprecedented world-wide quarantine, critical theorists and academic journals have scrambled to produce a new subgenre of theoretical discourse called the “rapid response” essay. Part of the purpose of this course will be to evaluate this new form of critical reflection, one that prioritizes timeliness and speed over extended rumination and rigor. Is the metaphor of the rapid theoretical response even appropriate? Can theory move quickly and effectively in a way that is comparable to the swift mobilization of health workers and specialists who risk their own lives in an effort to save the lives of others around the world? What happens when theory finds itself speaking too hastily, as many critics feel was the case with Italian theorist Giorgio Agamben’s inexcusable and premature dismissal of COVID-19 as an “invention” designed to justify and expand the reach of power over biological life? Examining both the missteps and various successes of rapid response theory, the course will also widen its focus at times beyond the present moment of emergency to cover other critical matters, including sexuality and gender, socialism, antiracism, Indigenous perspectives, and the Anthropocene.

Format: classes will occur as synchronized livestreams on Zoom. Please note that, with possible minor exceptions, livestreams will not be recorded/uploaded to Nexus. Attendance during the livestreams is therefore expected.

For permission to take this course, contact


ENGL-4242-001 | Medieval Literature and Culture | Z. Izydorczyk | W 14:30-17:15

For permission to take this course, contact

ENGL-4285-001 | Modernism: The Modernist Manifesto | A. Brickey | T 8:30-11:15
Course Delivery: Live Lectures. Scheduled class times will take place using Zoom. Students are expected to be available during the posted lecture times for live streaming and group interactions

In July 1914 a writer in the London Times remarked that “the art of the present day seems to be exhausting its energies in manifestos.” In this class we will take up the manifesto as an idiosyncratically modernist genre, following its impact on late nineteenth and early twentieth-century European politics and art. Together, we will trace this genre's ideological and artistic allegiances and aspirations, and consider the theoretical implications of texts that advocated militantly for change by crafting aesthetically experimental pieces of writing. Can these tracts can be best defined as non-fiction, small poems, utopian essays, social artifacts, or something else? We will consider the forms of political and aesthetic commentary this writing provokes as well as the peculiar kinds of poeticism they develop. We will think through issues of collective authorship and examine the genre’s relationship to movements such as communism, feminism, fascism, and avant-gardism. Authors will include Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, F.T. Marinetti, Nancy Cunard, Virginia Woolf, and Mina Loy. This class will be highly participatory and collaborative in nature.

For permission to take this course, contact

ENGL-4294-050 | Contemporary Lit and Cult: Graphic Remediations | C. Rifkind | F 14:30-17:15
Course Delivery: Live Lectures. Scheduled class times will take place using an online platform. Students are expected to be available during the posted lecture times for live streaming and/or group interactions

This seminar explores two-way relationships between the “graphic novel” (book-length comic) and other forms and media: photography, fine & graphic art, prose novel, film, & interactive online media. Graphic Remediations draws on concepts from comics, media, film, audience & affect studies, eg: mediation, intervisuality, intertexuality, adaptation, remediation, hypermediation, immediacy, distantiation, empathy, ethics. Genres discussed will include realism, auto/biography, documentary, fantasy, & speculative dystopias. The required texts will include (in order of reading): Shaun Tan, The Arrival; Emil Ferris, My Favourite Thing is Monsters; Octavia Butler’s prose novel, Parable of the Sower; Damian Duffy & John Ira Jennings’ graphic adaptation, Parable of the Sower; and Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor & the film adaptation directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. Shorter online texts and additional critical readings will be posted through Nexus. Students do not need any prior familiarity with comics or graphic narratives to take this course, but they do need to bring a willingness to explore the visual-verbal form of comics and a curiosity about the (sometimes comic, sometimes tragic) narratives they can convey. As part of our work, we will develop a critical vocabulary and protocols for writing academic essays and other forms of writing about comic books.

This is a seminar course based in student participation and it both encourages and expects active student engagement. Course requirements include keeping up with the readings, attending weekly discussions, and contributing actively through a variety of participatory models. Assignments include a short written analysis, an independent research project (choice of form/format, including creative options), and ongoing class contributions that may include blog posts, podcasts, creative responses, field notes, and other “un-essay” forms of creating and sharing knowledge based on the course texts.

For permission to take this course, contact

ENGL-4742-001 | Cultural Studies: Culture, Power, and Property | B. Cornellier | TH 8:30-11:15
Couse Delivery: Live Lectures – Scheduled class times will take place using an online platform. Students are expected to be available during the posted lecture times for live streaming and/or group interactions

This seminar invites students to reflect on past and current controversies about cultural appropriation and representational ethics. The course starts with a theoretical examination and a critique of the regime of property of liberal capitalism and colonialism. Students will then explore different ways this regime of property is implemented in the realm of culture, focusing on how BIPOC subjects push back against forces of extraction and appropriation. Topics may include: the origins and limits of copyright and intellectual property legislations; imperialism, museums, and cultural theft; “found footage” films and ethnographic cinema; “Indian play” and Native sports mascots; race, “free speech” and “free culture” in the era of digital and social media. 

For permission to take this course, contact