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400-Level Classes - 2014-2015

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 administrative assistant Nadine Penner 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.
  • 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.



ENG 402.3 (01) : TOPICS IN ANGLO-SAXON AND MEDIEVAL LITERATURE: The Saga of Burnt Njal and the Icelandic Conversion Period

T1  M 1:00 (Richard Harris)

Category 1

In this half-class (also offered as a graduate seminar) we will learn to read Old Icelandic by working with graded reading selections in the original from texts describing the early collision of the dynamic heathen culture of the Norsemen with Christianity, in Iceland but also on the continent. The new and alien religion of the White Christ makes its steady way up from the South, its sometimes violent missionaries and oppressively supportive converted kings cutting harsh swaths through traditional North Germanic culture not altogether consonant with the traditionally received Gospel message. Old Icelandic literature shows interest in the subsequent influences of Christianity on the Icelandic people, once nominally converted to this foreign religion, studying the range of spiritual sensitivity and the stages of perception by which its teachings came to a strangely reluctant and defiantly qualified acceptance among the population. In Modern English translation we will read Njal's saga, a narrative much concerned with the growing influence of Christianity on Icelandic society in the thirteenth as well as in the eleventh century.


ENG 402.3 (02) : TOPICS IN ANGLO-SAXON AND MEDIEVAL LITERATURE: Medieval Texts in Original and Adaptation 

T2  M 1:00 (Peter Robinson)

Category 1

This course asks: how do we read texts from the medieval age? The course will focus on medieval English literature, from Beowulf to Malory, moving in two directions at once: two directions pointing in completely opposite directions, with the tension between the two shaping this course. The first direction is backward, and as if through a microscope: we will look as closely as we can at particular texts, particular manuscripts, particular original materials, asking: who made them? why? for whom? what do they contain? what is their history? The second direction is forward, and as if through the other end of the microscope: we will look at modern adaptations and representations, especially in the digital era, of these same medieval materials. We will ask how changes in material culture affect every aspect of how we communicate, and we will survey the shifts from oral to written culture, from manuscript to print, and then from print to digital, examining how stories such as Beowulf or King Arthur are transformed as they move from medium to medium. This course is designed to be complementary to ENG 420.3, taught in Term 1. Some materials (e.g. the Canterbury Tales) will be examined in both courses, but from different perspectives.


ENG 406.3 (62) : TOPICS IN 17TH-CENTURY LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: The Fashioned Self: Birth of the English Gentleman and Gentlewoman

T2  T 9:30 (Arul Kumaran)

Category 2

The code of conduct known in medieval times as “courtesy” slowly transformed into the notion of “civility” over the sixteenth century and, later, into “civil behavior” from the seventeenth century onwards. This course will study how this code of civil behavior gave birth to the idea of the “English Gentleman and Gentlewoman” by looking at some of the most famous conduct manuals of the seventeenth century, such as King James I’s Basilikon Doron, Henry Peacham’s The Complete Gentleman and Gentlewoman, and Richard Brathwaite’s The English Gentleman, as well as other, not-so-obvious self-fashioning texts such as Thomas Deloney’s Jack of Newberry, romance narratives by some of the University Wits, some of Shakespeare’s comedic characters, Jonson’s city comedies, and some late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century popular pamphlets. We will consider, among other things, how gentleman/woman-making was a strategy for projection of power and how the newly empowered middle classes sought to acquire and project power by adopting forms of self-fashioning originally prescribed for and practiced by the aristocratic and ruling classes. 


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

T2  R 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 420.3 (01) / CMRS 401.3 (01) : MEDIEVAL GENRES: Representing the Past in the Digital Age

T1  T 1:00  (Peter Robinson)

Category 1

This course will examine instances, techniques, and implications of the digital turn in our representation and understanding of the past. We will look at outstanding cases of representation of the past in digital form, in terms of particular objects (Codex Sinaiticus; the Hengwrt Chaucer; the Bayeux Tapestry; medieval Books of Hours) and in terms of large-scale digital libraries (the Perseus Project; Early English Books Online). The course will address questions of remediation: to what extent are our perceptions of the past, and indeed the past itself, altered by the digital medium? How does this change understanding; how does it impact on our access to, and participation with, the past? The course will also look at the technologies behind these digital forms: text encoding systems and digitization methodologies, such as those of Google Books, and at the rise of new forms of scholarship derived from and enabled by the digital medium — in particular, the advent of crowd sourcing methodologies and their impact on scholarly editing. The course will also introduce fundamental digital tools used to make websites, and give students the opportunity to use these to make their own web pages relating to texts or other objects from the past. The course will draw substantially on materials and examples relating to medieval English literature, as well as the classical and renaissance periods. This course is designed to be complementary to ENG 402.3, taught in Term 2. Some materials (e.g. the Canterbury Tales) will be examined in both courses, but from different perspectives.


ENG 446.3 (01) : TOPICS IN GENRES AND CONTEXTS OF MODERN LITERATURE: Representations of the City in Indigenous North American Literatures

T1  R 3:30 (Nancy Van Styvendale)

Category 4

Following from Renya Ramirez’s notion of the city as “Native Hub,” this course theorizes the representation of urban spaces and identities in the literary works of Indigenous writers from both Canada and the United States. While the city has sometimes been constructed as a site of alienation and loss for Indigenous peoples, it is also a gathering place, a place that brings together peoples, politics, cultures, and traditions, establishing new relationships and catalyzing social change. This course provides students with a solid foundation in concepts and theories central to the study of Indigenous literatures in general (such as nationalism, regionalism, relationalism, feminism and others), while honing in on the material conditions, policies and practices that shape urban experience and its expression in literary texts. We will look at the Termination and Relocation policies that shaped migrations to the city in the 60s and 70s, and analyze articulations of both dispossession and resiliency that continue to characterize the urban experience, highlighting the movement between and interconnectedness of reserves/rural areas and cities. Students will have the opportunity to participate in local Indigenous community- and arts-based organizations as part of their coursework. Readings may include works from the following authors: N. Scott Momaday, Jeannette Armstrong, James Welch, Sherman Alexie, Richard Wagamese, Tomson Highway, and Cherie Dimaline.


ENG 462.3 (02) : TOPICS IN 20TH CENTURY BRITISH LITERATURE: Basil Bunting and British poetry since the 1960s

T2  W 1:00 (Hilary Clark)

Category 4

This course will focus on British poets since the 1960s who, relative to a fairly recognizable mainstream, have been seen as or have positioned themselves as "other." Starting with Bunting's long poem Briggflatts (1965) and some of his Odes, we will explore a poetics reaching back to Pound, and poets represented in Peter Quartermain’s and Ian Caddel’s important anthology Other: British and Irish Poetry since 1970. 


ENG 466.3 (01) : TOPICS IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY CANADIAN LITERATURE: Representing Society and Social Change in Western Canadian Fiction

T1  W 1:00 (Francis Zichy)

Category 4, Canadian

In this seminar we will examine a number of Western Canadian novels and short stories under the major heading of the creative response to social change from the first decade of the twentieth century to the late 1970s. Among the topics to be addressed: shifting relations between farm and town; developments in gender construction and gender relations; challenges to traditional ideas of marriage and the family; the challenge to religion and emerging forms of spirituality; shifting definitions of class and class relations; various representations of Indigenous people. We will, then, read these Western Canadian novels and short stories as imaginative responses to rapidly changing social life in Western Canada from the early years of the twentieth century through the late 1970s. Readings include: Robert Stead, Grain; Sinclair Ross, As For Me and My House; Robert Kroetsch, The Studhorse Man; Guy Vanderhaeghe, Man Descending.



T2  R 3:30-5:00 pm (Lisa Vargo)


“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. Lisa Vargo 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 Sage Hill Writing Experience, Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre, the Saskatchewan Literacy Network, the University Library, the University Learning Centre, Student Enrolment and Services Division, the International Student and Study Abroad Centre, Saskatoon Correctional Centre, and Sherbrooke Community Centre. Other placements are planned as well.

Interested students should contact Prof. Lisa Vargo ( for further information on available internships and how to apply.



T2 (Wendy Roy)

The Department of English Honours Colloquium is now a compulsory part of the Honours program. The Colloquium 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- or two-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.





T2  T 1:00 (Allison Muri)

Category 5

(Course offered by the ICCC)

Prerequesite: Completion of the majority of the Minor in Digital Culture and New Media

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 is monitored throughout. When possible, guest lectures from various industrial and other representatives will be provided to enhance the student's design experience. In this course, we will practice some of the roles and activities of participatory culture. 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.


Advising & Resources

100-Level Classes Fall & Winter

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300-Level Classes Fall & Winter

400-Level Classes Fall & Winter

Spring & Summer Courses

Undergraduate Society

Scholarships & Awards

Requirements For Essays

Course Handbook