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 office co-ordinator Diana Tegenkamp 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 english.department@usask.ca Seminars are first come, first served, and seats are limited.
  • This information is accurate as of March 31, 2020. 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.

400-Level Classes

402.3 (01) Topics in Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Literature: Middle English Arthurian Literature

T2   R  1:00 (Michael Cichon) – Category 1

The January 2022 Topics in Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Literature seminar will explore Arthurian literature in Middle English.  We will work backwards from Sir Thomas Malory’s late fifteenth-century Works (what Caxtonians call Le Morte Darthur), the fourteenth-century Alliterative Morte Arthure and Stanzaic Morte Arthur, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Ywain and Gawain and Sir Percival of Galles, the Awntyrs of Arthur, and the late-twelfth/early-thirteenth century translation of Wace’s Anglo-Norman Roman de Brut by La3amon, the Brut


406.3 (01) Topics in 17th Century Literature in English: Literature of London, 1599-1649

T1  T  10:00 (Joanne Rochester) – Category 2

Even in the seventeenth century, there was not one London but many. The city, one of the largest in Europe, provided England’s first commercial literary marketplace, a chance to make a living by one’s pen, either through the theatres or the press. However, an author’s view of the city changed depending on their rank, wealth, gender, or professional identity, providing a diversity of markets and a radical range of voices.

This course will examine dramatic and non-dramatic literature written for, by and about various communities within the City of London, from the last years of Elizabeth’s reign to the onset of the English Civil War. Our main focus will be on the playhouses, from the down-market public theatres which staged nationalistic adventures celebrating virtuous prentices and heroic merchants to the darker satiric city comedies of the sophisticated private theatres, which catered to an audience of gentlemen, law students and courtiers. We will read City Comedies by Jonson, Middleton, Beaumont, Dekker, Brome and Shirley, tragicomedies and romances by Heywood, Beaumont and Fletcher and Massinger, and satiric tragedies from Webster, Middleton, Ford and others. In addition, we will look at prose works on the city by Dekker and Heywood, occasional poems by Isabella Whitney, Ben Jonson, John Taylor the Water-poet, among others, and the texts of Lord Mayor’s Shows, Guildhall banquets and other public and communal entertainments.


410.3 (01) Topics in 18th Century British Literature: What’s Novel about the Novel?

T1  T/R 2:30 (Kathleen James-Cavan) – Category 3

“It is only a novel... or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.” (Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey)

This course will begin with experiments in amatory fiction by Eliza Haywood and the rogue biography by Daniel Defoe and trace its permutations through the blockbuster rags-to-riches tale of Pamela Andrews by Samuel Richardson to parodic responses by Henry Fielding, and end with the moral comedy of Frances Burney. Along the way we will dig into some of the theories of the novel by both early and current critics. By the end of the course, you will not be ashamed to say you are reading only a novel!


418.3 (02) Topics in 19th Century Canadian Literature: Magazine Fiction in the Long Nineteenth Century in Canada

T2  T  10:00 (Wendy Roy) – Category 3

Today we think of fiction as something to be read in books, either bound in paper or in electronic form, but in the nineteenth century many Canadians read fiction mainly in newspapers and magazines. Thomas Chandler Haliburton first published his Clockmaker stories in the newspaper the Novascotian before collecting and publishing them as a book; a number of Susanna Moodie’s sketches were printed in The Victoria Magazine and The Literary Garland before they became Roughing It in the Bush, and while Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches first appeared in The Montreal Star, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables was printed serially in several magazines and newspapers only after its publication in volume form. This course will examine the phenomenon of magazine fiction in the long nineteenth century in Canada. We will consider these and other works of fiction as entertaining narratives that can also tell us about culture and society in early Canada. And we will compare their appearance in books to that in periodicals, including whether and how they were edited and illustrated and the effect on the reader of the news stories and advertisements published with them.


444.3 (01) Topics in Decolonizing and Transnational Literatures: (Post)colonial Ecocritism

T1  W  9:30 (Joanne Leow) – Category 5

How are imperialist and colonial projects deeply entwined with the environment and how is this reflected in and refracted through literary and cultural texts? What material and symbolic legacies have been left by Empire in the lands, waters, air, and lives of communities who were or continue to be colonized? In this course, we will read (post)colonial texts and theories that take up the centrality of the ecological. We will consider how narratives of development, imperialism, conquest, and the “natural” have shaped and challenged views of the environment in (post)colonies and settler colonies. Theorists and writers that we will study include Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Ann Laura Stoler, Anna Tsing, Donna Haraway, Deb Cowen, Mahasweta Devi, Patricia Grace, Robert Nixon, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Warren Cariou, Amitav Ghosh, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Leanne Simpson, and Winona Duke.


460.3 (01) Topics in 20th Century British and Irish Literature: Joseph Conrad and Modernism

T1  W  1:30 (Ludmilla Voitkovska) – Category 4

He remains one of the most complex figures of modernism, capable of spinning entertaining yarns of life at sea that turn out to explore unexpected philosophical depths. He bequeathed to modernism the sense that life must have an ultimate meaning, but one that can never be made fully explicit. At the time of spreading disillusionment with the existing models of the individual and the social, Conrad exposed European sensibilities to alternative cultures, ethics, and social structures. His treatment of imperialism reflected a growing unease at the barbarity of the colonizers’ behavior toward colonized people. Conrad’s concern with narration and epistemology reflects the struggle to convey through the medium of language the heterogeneity of modern life. Modernism has been characterized as a literature of crisis, and Conrad places crisis at the center of his narrative. According to Fredric Jameson, Conrad's writing thematizes "the emergence not merely of what will be contemporary modernism . . . but, also, still tangibly juxtaposed with it, of what will variously be called popular culture or mass culture." Conrad convinces us that the Victorian era is over, in other words, by accurately forecasting the shape of the culture to come next.


464.3 (02) Topics in 20th Century American Literature: Time, Technology, and Race

T2  W  9:30 (Jenna Hunnef) – Category 4

On “the day of two noons,” November 18, 1883, time converged with technology when clocks and watches across the United States were synchronized to improve the efficiency and reliability of train schedules. However, the standardization of time dictated by the demands of transportation technologies was not accompanied by the standardization of equal access to those technologies or to the freedom of movement that they literally and figuratively represent. From divisive temporalities that consigned Indigenous peoples to the nation’s “primitive” past while surveying their lands for the cities of the future, to the exploitative labour practices that built the railroads, to the segregation of buses, trains, and streetcars, the convergence of time and technology is inextricably bound to the United States’ history of race relations. Reading a diverse selection of poetry, stories, novels, and essays, this class will consider how this reality was reflected in the writings of Indigenous, African American, Asian American, and settler writers in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Particular attention will be paid to the synchronicities that emerge from the enjambment of these works and how they revise national fantasies of linear progress. Primary source readings may include works by Zitkála-Šá, Willa Cather, Jean Toomer, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston, Louise Erdrich, and Colson Whitehead, among others.


ENG 496.3 (02) Career Internship

T2  M  2:30 (Kathleen James-Cavan) – Non-category

“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 areas such as:

  • research
  • internal and external communications
  • writing for publication
  • grant-writing
  • editing
  • teaching writing
  • promoting literacy

Interns provide approximately 70 hours to the organization they are placed with, over a twelve-week period, and 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 every second week throughout the term. One short incident analysis, two brief journal entries, and one substantial term paper are required. There is no final examination. Internships are available with a range of organisations in Saskatoon and the University. In the past, interns have been placed with Sage Hill Writing Experience, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, PAVED Arts, Student Learning Services, the University Library, the Communications department in the College of Arts and Science, University Communications, the Saskatchewan Literacy Network, Frontier College, Saskatoon Correctional Centre, Sherbrooke Community Centre, the Department of English, and the MFA in Writing. For current ENG 496 outcomes see: https://artsandscience.usask.ca/english/undergraduates/english-career-internship.php

Interested students should contact Professor James-Cavan (kathleen.james-cavan@usask.ca) and the Undergraduate Chair: Professor Ann Martin at ann.martin@usask.ca or (after 1 July 2021) Professor Ella Ophir at e.ophir@usask.ca


ENG 497.0 (01) Honours Colloquium

T1/T2 (Ella Ophir) – Non-category

The Department of English Honours Colloquium is a required (and really great) part of the Honours program. Graduating Honours and Double Honours students prepare short scholarly papers for conference-style presentation at the Colloquium, a day-long event held in the first week of February. Presentations are normally adapted from graded (or about to be graded) essays written for 300- or 400-level courses, after consultation with the course professor or the Undergraduate Chair. Three development sessions, starting in Term 1, will provide information on the form and function of the colloquium, establish working groups, guide the process of adaptation, and review best practices for presentations as well as professional conference etiquette. Note that while this course is required for Honours and Double Honours students, it has no credit unit value. Students will receive informal feedback, but there will be no formal evaluation. Students entering the final year of the Honours program should contact the Undergraduate Chair to confirm enrolment in ENG 497: Professor Ann Martin at ann.martin@usask.ca or (after 1 July 2021) Professor Ella Ophir at e.ophir@usask.ca