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Graduate Seminars Fall-Winter 2017-18

Term 1

ENG 801.3
Introduction to Textual Scholarship

Instructor: David Parkinson
Term 1, Monday, 2:30–4:50 pm

Texts do not magically appear for readers. They are the material products of the labour of people working with various technologies at specific moments in history. In this course we will become familiar with the processes, including various theories of textual criticism, by which a text becomes available to an audience. Class members will work with editions and primary source documents, practice editing, and learn how texts are made, all towards gaining a better understanding of the textual objects that make up their own research. This class is offered to graduate students across the disciplines by the Department of English at the University of Saskatchewan.

English 811.3 Topics in National and Regional Literatures
The Postmodern and the Postcolonial in Contemporary Canadian Fiction

Instructor: Wendy Roy
Term 1, Tuesday, 10:00 am–12:20 pm

This course proposes that contemporary fiction in Canada has been profoundly shaped by intersections between postmodernist techniques and postcolonial/decolonizing theoretical perspectives. Beginning with Linda Hutcheon's The Canadian Postmodern and theoretical works on the postcolonial in Canada, including essays in Cynthia Sugars's Unhomely States: Theorizing English-Canadian Postcolonialism, the course will ask whether it is possible to discover uniquely Canadian manifestations of both the postmodern and the postcolonial/decolonizing. It will then turn to a selection of Canadian novels from the 1970s to the present to examine the way that postmodernist experimentations with form have intersected with decidedly decolonizing techniques and subject matters, posing questions on subjects as diverse as historiography; the politics of gender, sexuality, and race; and EuroCanadian–First Nations relations.

ENG 843.3 Topics in Genres and Contexts
Digital Futures, Digital Cultures

Instructor: Peter Robinson
Term 1, Tuesday, 2:00 pm–4:20 pm

This course will survey the impact of the digital turn across the humanities and across our culture. Topics to be discussed will include: digital textuality and the creative arts; gaming and new models of interaction and pedagogy; the impact of mass digital environments such as social media, wikis and search engines; the digital as the enabler of division through partisan communities built on entrenched beliefs; the rise and fall of minority cultures within the internet. The focus throughout the course will be on how the digital world is reshaping how we communicate with each other, and surveying the effects of this reshaping through the arts, humanities, cultural institutions and politics.

ENG 817.3 Topics in Literary and Cultural Theory
Literary Spaces, Spatial Texts

Instructor: Joanne Leow
Term 1, Wednesday, 9:30—11:50 am

Garden, city, island, house, or street: what do we mean by "space" and how is it produced in literary texts beyond mere setting? How does one read spatially and come to dwell in literary spaces? How are power, memory, and imagination inscribed in these geographies? How might contend with the legacies of Empire and the depredations of capitalism in increasingly transnational spaces? What does it mean to achieve social justice spatially? To help us think through some of these questions, we will read a selection of spatial theorists and cultural geographers alongside a series of self-consciously spatial literary texts. Possible theoretical readings will be drawn from the work of Gaston Bachelard, Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau, Doreen Massey, David Harvey, Elizabeth Grosz, and Edward Soja. Theories of space will be put in dialogue with an eclectic selection of contemporary texts including works by Jorge Luis Borges, J.G. Ballard, China Mieville, Jamaica Kincaid, Eileen Chang, Dionne Brand, Thomas King, and Leanne Simpson. We may also consider short films and artworks. Through seminar discussions and presentations, we will work towards integrating spatial theory into a literary and critical praxis that engages with how literary spaces shape and are shaped by our everyday lives.

Term 2

ENG 805.3 Topics in Individual Authors
The Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin

Instructor: Peter Hynes
Term 2, Tuesday, 9:30–11:50 am

Few authors have done so much to enhance the artistic standing of postwar science fiction and fantasy writing as Ursula K. Le Guin. From her early fantasy series set in the imaginary archipelago of Earthsea to her recent revision of the tale of Lavinia from Virgil's Aeneid, she has enriched the standard repertoire of her chosen genres while at the same time consistently stretching their boundaries. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that even if you read no one else in the field, a knowledge of Le Guin's work would be a pretty complete education in the possibilities of SF and fantasy writing in our time.

This course is essentially a tour: we'll visit Earthsea, explore various texts set in the SF universe of the Hainish-inspired Ekumen, and settle finally on the late explorations of ancient epic in Lavinia. Our themes will range from politics—especially those issues related to imaginary ethnography, feminism and anarchism—to psychology, science, and the aesthetics of narrative. Works to be considered will include:

The Earthsea trilogy
The Left Hand of Darkness
The Dispossessed
The Lathe of Heaven
Always Coming Home
Lavinia

The class will be organized as a sequence of mini-seminars: that is, rather than doing one large talk you will be responsible for short in-class presentations every week. The written portion of the work will be a 15-20 page research paper.

ENG 817.3 Topics in Literary and Cultural Theory
Ethics of Attention, Ethics of Representation—Theory and Literature Face the 21st Century

Instructor: Cynthia Wallace
Term 2, Tuesday, 1:00–3:20 pm

What does it mean to read justly? What does literature have to do with the fraught world? Toward the end of the twentieth century, literary criticism took a turn toward the ethical. While the discipline had avoided a vocabulary of ethics or morality for several decades, these terms rose to incredible critical prominence by the dawn of the twenty-first century, as is evidenced by a spate of monographs and journal articles, including special topics issues like the 1999 PMLA volume on ethics edited by Lawrence Buell.

In this seminar we will seek, first, to trace the ethical turn: What caused it? What shape did it take? How does the turn continue to influence our professional reading practices? Is it over, and if so, where have we turned instead? As we negotiate this history, we will also seek to construct a robust literary ethics for the current day: How ought we read, write, and teach literature, and what effects should these practices have in the world?

Possible texts include articles and books by Derek Attridge, Wayne Booth, Judith Butler, Rita Felski, Andrew Gibson, Emmanuel Levinas, and Adam Zachary Newton, as well as fiction by Toni Morrison and Don DeLillo and poetry by Anne Carson and Adrienne Rich.

ENG 803.3 Topics in Literary and Cultural History
Modernism and the Fashioned Self

Instructor: Ann Martin
Term 2, Thursday, 10:00–12:20 pm

Fashion, by which what is really fantastic becomes for a moment universal, and Dandyism, which, in its own way, is an attempt to assert the absolute modernity of beauty, had, of course, their fascination for him. His mode of dressing, and the particular styles that from time to time he affected, had their marked influence on the young exquisites of the Mayfair balls and Pall Mall club windows, who copied him in everything that he did, and tried to reproduce the accidental charm of his graceful, though to him only half-serious, fopperies.

—Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

The production and reproduction of the image is central to understandings of modernism and modernity. Through a cultural studies approach to selected of Anglo-American prose and poetry from the earlier 20th century, the performative dimension of modern subjectivity will be read in relation to both modernist experimentation and the social forces that influence the crafting and circulation of identities in an increasingly industrial era. Questions that may inform our discussions: is there a metonymic relationship between the commodity and the subject? Is there a balance to be struck between the power of the gaze and the agency of the body? To what extent do modernist experimentations with style place emphasis on interiority, and how do such techniques relate to exterior markers of identity associated with class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality?

Primary texts will be paired with theoretical paradigms and/or critical materials so that we may engage with the materialism of identity in urban centres such as London, Paris, and New York as it becomes matter for the literary practitioners of the day. Course materials may include texts by Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Hope Mirrlees, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys, Dorothy L. Sayers, Nella Larsen, and Evelyn Waugh.

ENG 803.3 Topics in Literary and Cultural History
The 18th- and Early 19th-century British Novel and Theology

Instructor: Kathleen James-Cavan
Term 2, Thursday, 1:00–3:20 pm

The purpose of this course will be to provide students the critical tools to examine the relation between the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novel and their theological contexts. Literary criticism is beginning, again, to trace the lineaments of theology and literature in such recent publications as Natasha Duquette's Veiled Intent, Mark Knight and Thomas Woodman's volume of essays Biblical Religion and the Novel 1700-2000, and The Fountain Light: Studies in Romanticism and Religion, ed. Robert Barth. This will be more than a source study: we will examine the novel's engagement with and indebtedness to theological debate.

Non-credit Courses

ENG 990: Professional Development Seminar

All graduate students must register in ENG 990 in Fall and Winter terms each year.

ENG 992: MA Project

MA-Project students must register in ENG 992 in each term (Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer).

ENG 994: MA Research

MA-Thesis students must register in ENG 994 in each term (Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer).

ENG 996: PhD Research

Doctoral students must register in ENG 996 in each term (Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer).

GSR 960: Ethics and Integrity

Required non-credit online course. Click here for more information about GSR Classes.

GSR 989: Introduction to University Teaching

Non-credit course offered by the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness. Click here for more information about GSR Classes.

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