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400-Level Classes - 2016-2017

Honours Seminars

Please note:

  • 6 cu at the 300 level is a pre- or co- requisite for any 400-level class.
  • Honours seminars are open only to students who have been admitted to an Honours program or who have the permission of the department.
  • Honours seminars are conducted in a different manner from regular classes. Limited to 15 students each, seminars provide opportunities for students to present papers and to engage in critical discussion of literature on a regular basis. 
  • Each seminar is a PERMISSION ONLY class. After honours or other senior students participate in an advising session with a designated faculty member, the advisor will notify undergraduate co-ordinator Diana Pitoulis  to allow registration in the seminar(s). Please register for the class(es) 1-2 days after registration opens (early June).  If you have any questions or problems, please contact Seminars are first come, first served, and seats are limited.
  • This information is accurate as of March 31, 2016. Please note the University of Saskatchewan reserves the right to cancel or reschedule any classes. For the most up-to-date information, please click here.




T1  T 9:30  (Sarah Powrie)

Category 1 

In addition to being one of the most influential voices of the Western literary canon, Dante is also a philosophical thinker, tackling ethical and metaphysical problems through poetic form. Thus, his Divina Commedia resists traditional generic categories and could be described as a thought experiment about parallel worlds, a utopia/dystopia, an encomium to classical epic, a compendium of medieval philosophy, a bold expression of Renaissance self-fashioning, a meditation on human weakness, or a spiritual masterpiece with heretical motifs. This class will study selections from the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise, and will seek to situate Dante’s work within the intellectual, social and literary context of the late Middle Ages. Topics explored over the course of the term include the relationship between ethics and aesthetics, desire and knowledge, and myth and identity. This course is cross-listed with CMRS 401.3.



T1  T 1:00  (Brent Nelson)

Category 2 

John Donne wrote some of the most lurid erotic verse of late Renaissance in England as well as some of the most passionate religious poems ever composed in the English language. In his erotic poems he wrote variously in the voice of the misogynist, libertine, and devoted husband, and even as a lesbian lover; in his religious poems he wrote as assured priest, abject sinner, and restless and sometimes skeptical seeker. No other poet of the time was so diverse in poetic genre, tone, and style. In this course we will use this versatile poet to focus on the form and function of various poetic genres — the erotic and the funerary elegy, the love lyric, satire, sonnet, hymn, verse epistle, and more — and we will examine Donne’s poetic craft as he adopts and adapts these forms to engage some of the most pressing issues and questions of his time.


ENG 414.3 (02) TOPICS IN 19TH-CENTURY BRITISH LITERATURE: Literature and Revolution: 1789-1889

T2  M 9:30  (Len Findlay)

Category 3 

In this seminar we will begin by studying participant and scholarly accounts of revolution in 18th- and 19th-century Europe (with a nod to the United States and to Haiti). Once we have considered major theories and memoirs of revolution, we will then apply what we have learned to five novels in which revolution of one sort or another is prominent. The novels in question are Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, George Eliot’s Felix Holt the Radical, and Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge. The principal varieties of revolution we will investigate are political, scientific, industrial, agrarian, and sexual. We will pay close attention to how different kinds of revolution reinforce or conflict with each other.



T1  R 9:30  (William Bartley)

Category 3 

We will read the poems of Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) who, in her lifetime, was an unknown, small-town poet with a Miltonic sense of vocation, and whose greatness is as undeniable as her strangeness. We will try to accommodate the latter and to account for the former. To that end we will examine her intellectual preoccupations as we learn to find our way through the inseparable complexities and idiosyncrasies of her style—a passage illuminated by attending to her appropriations and modifications of literary tradition, to the distinctive features of her poetic personae, to her techniques of composition, and to the textual issues raised in recent scholarship. Furthermore, we will examine the ways in which Dickinson is shaped by and engages the legacies of Puritanism, the Enlightenment, and Romanticism in New England culture. In the end, we will discover (among other possibly congruent qualities — for example, as one critic says, Dickinson writes “with a brutality that could stop a truck”) a ruthlessly precise, rebellious, and profoundly incisive intelligence in critical, passionate engagement with the problems of religious belief, personal identity and love.


ENG 466.3 (01) TOPICS IN 20TH-CENTURY CANADIAN LITERATURE: Canadian Science Fiction

T1  W 9:30  (Kevin Flynn)

Category 4, Canadian 

In this course we will study a strain of Canadian literature from which Canada is largely absent: science fiction. After all, fiction contemplating the implications of technology that yokes Earth to a distant planet, or recounting the adventures of a private detective on Mars, or probing the ethics of destroying one’s android doppelganger would seem to have very little to do with what one might call the traditional concerns of Canadian literature: landscape and geography, national identity, etc. Indeed, much Canadian science fiction is not set in Canada, involves no Canadian characters and/or settings, and in fact may never mention Canada at all. This raises an obvious question: why study Canadian science fiction? We’ll attempt to answer that question by reading works of science fiction dating back to the late 19th century, and supplementing that material with readings in Canadian literary history and the history and theory of science fiction. In this context, we will consider the case of a national literature that developed into maturity at nearly the same time that science fiction enjoyed its Golden Age and itself moved into more mature and sophisticated expressions, and we will consider the possible implications for the way we think about questions of canonicity, codified literary histories, and literary value—and about how Canadian science fiction has (or has declined to) think against these.


ENG 488.3 (02): TOPICS IN GENRES AND CONTEXTS OF LITERATURE: Kissing the Text: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Fairy Tales

T2  T 1:00 (Ann Martin)

Category 4 

Fairy tales do not just feature transformations; they are themselves transformed in every moment of telling, retelling, writing, rewriting, reading, and rereading.  This course will explore the ways in which contemporary Canadian, American, and British writers use old stories to explore the shifting experiences of gendered and sexed bodies, and to consider the desires and subjectivities that arise in, through, and between these textual exchanges.  The primary works will stem from writers such as Atwood, Block, Carter, Donoghue, Gaiman, and Sexton, but secondary materials—including precursor fairy tales, additional visual texts, critical perspectives, and theoretical paradigms—will inform our readings and discussions of a constantly evolving, ever-fascinating body of literature.



T2  R 3:30-5:00  (Kathleen James-Cavan)


 “So, what are you going to do with that English degree?” If you’ve ever found yourself at a loss for an answer to this question, this course may be for you.

Internship students earn three credit units while gaining valuable experience in

  • research,
  • public relations,
  • writing for publication,
  • grant-writing,
  • editing,
  • teaching writing, and
  • promoting literacy.

Interns provide approximately 80 hours to the organization over a twelve-week period under the joint supervision of Prof. James-Cavan and a workplace supervisor. The time commitment is comparable to that expected in other honours seminars. In addition, all interns meet as a class fortnightly throughout the term. One short incident analysis, two brief journal entries, and one substantial term paper are required. There is no final written examination.

Internships are currently available with such organizations as Frontier College, Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre, PAVED Arts, the University Library, the University Learning Centre, Student Enrolment and Services Division, the Digital Research Centre, the Saskatchewan Literacy Network, Saskatoon Correctional Centre, and Sherbrooke Community Centre. Interested students should contact Prof. Kathleen James-Cavan ( in Arts 321 or the Administrative Assistant in Arts 522 for further information about how to apply for a place in this course.



T2 (Ann Martin)

The Department of English Honours Colloquium is a compulsory part of the Honours program and consists of an oral presentation of a short scholarly paper at a conference of Honours students. The paper is normally based on a paper already prepared, or in preparation, for a 300- or 400-level course. This will be a one-day event in early February. In preparing the paper for this event, students should seek the advice of a faculty member. Note that this course is required for all Honours and Double Honours students, but has no credit unit value. Students will receive informal feedback, but no formal evaluation.





TBA – May be used to fulfill English Category 5

Prerequisite: Completion of most of Minor in Digital Culture and New Media, or with permission of the instructor

This is a capstone seminar in which advanced principles of history, theory, and design are applied to a suitable interdisciplinary project in new media creation and commentary. The seminar, which builds upon the foundations established throughout the course of study, focuses on approaches to be taken in defining project objectives and scope, researching suitable contexts, and designing and implementing a new media project. Design philosophy and methods are discussed and explored in the context of the particular assignment. The course requires that the students work in groups to achieve a unified production, which may include a formal essay in addition to blogs, digital films, art, and/or soundscapes published online. Group interaction and performance are monitored throughout. The course builds on the foundation of traditional research skills, technical skills, writing skills, and critical analysis that you have learned throughout your undergraduate education, but also involves “new media” skills of collaboration, networking, negotiation, problem solving, and play to publish and interact online.


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Requirements For Essays

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