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, 2019. 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

ENG 404.3 (01) TOPICS IN 16th CENTURY LITERATURE IN ENGLISH RENAISSANCE PASTORAL

T1 F 10:30 (Danila Sokolov) – Category 2

This seminar will read a variety of early modern texts written in the genre of pastoral, broadly defined: Edmund Spenser’s Shepheardes Calender and selections from Book VI of The Faerie Queene, Sir Philip Sidney’s Lady of May and Arcadia, the pastoral verse of Barnabe Googe, Christopher Marlowe, Richard Barnfield, Walter Raleigh, and Ben Jonson, and the pastoral drama of William Shakespeare. We will look at how sixteenth-century writers respond to the foundational texts of the European pastoral tradition (Theocritus and Virgil) in order to consider a wide range of complex issues that occupy their own age. Through the conventional, idealized figures of the shepherd and the shepherdess, they explore such themes as humans’ relationships with nature; the distinction of the country and the city; wealth and poverty; love and friendship; same-sex desire; political and religious conflict; loss and redemption; and the origins and functions of poetry. Critical readings will be drawn from recent scholarship on early modern pastoral and will reflect a range of theoretical approaches (Marxism, historicism, queer theory, ecocriticism, posthumanism).


ENG 410.3 (02) TOPICS IN 18th CENTURY LITERATURE IN ENGLISH EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY LITERARY BODIES: REPRESENTATION AND INTERSECTIONS OF GENDER, RACE, DISABILITY, AND CLASS

T2 T 10:00 (Kathleen James-Cavan) – Category 3

“Nothing so true as what you once let fall, / ‘Most Women have no Characters at all.’”

So said Alexander Pope in “EPISTLE II. To a Lady. Of the Characters of WOMEN” in 1743. By placing in conversation representative female and male writers of the eighteenth century in such varied genres as drama, the novel, poetry, and life writing, this course will consider the many ways the concept of gender performance was constructed and deconstructed, contested, and problematized, and how it intersected with such concepts as disability, race, and class. Author pairs include Aphra Behn and Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood and Henry Fielding, Alexander Pope and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, James Boswell and Hester Lynch Piozzi, and Jane Austen and Samuel Richardson.

“All I ask, is the Priviledge for my Masculine Part the Poet in me, (if any such you will allow me) to tread in those successful Paths my Predecessors have so long thriv’d in.”
                                                                                                                                                         (Aphra Behn “Preface” to The Lucky Chance 1687)


ENG 418.3 (02) TOPICS IN 19th CENTURY CANADIAN LITERATURE

HAUNTED SPACES, UNSETTLED TEXTS

T2 W 12:30 (Jeanette Lynes) – Category 3, Canadian

In recent years, scholars have reanimated our readings of early Canadian texts in exciting ways through the lenses of postcolonialism, transnationalism, and spiritualism. Typical tropes around ‘nature’ and ‘identity’ have been unsettled, inviting us to explore earlier Canadian texts as ‘haunted,’ discursive threads stitched into our contemporary cultural era. Drawing on fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, this course explores topics such as the valences of a ‘haunted’ text, the gothic as a colonial construct, the Spiritualist turn, the gendered spectral, the relationship between the mystical and the avant-garde, the role of place – what Roger Luckhurst terms “the situated gothic” – and others. We will consider work by canonical authors such as Susanna Moodie, Isabella Valancy Crawford, and E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake), and selected writings by the Confederation Poets, as well as lesser-known texts such as Flora MacDonald’s novel Mary Melville: The Psychic (1900).


ENG 420.3 (01) TOPICS IN MEDIEVAL GENRES

EXTREME MEDIEVAL POETRY

T1 T 10:00 (Peter Robinson) – Category 1

A remarkable feature of Medieval Literature is the occurrence, across many medieval literatures, of poems of extreme complexity in metrical technique (use of internal and end-rhyme, assonance, and alliteration), sometimes (as in skaldic poetry) accompanied by elaborate semantic word-play. In this course we will explore instances of such extreme medieval literature, with a focus on two areas: Old Norse skaldic poetry and Middle English poetry in the work of the “Pearl poet” and of the “Wakefield master.” We will also look, by way of comparison, at modern instances of such “extreme poetry,” for example in the work of Gerard Manley Hopkins. A knowledge of Old Norse and/or Old English will be a considerable advantage in the course, but is not essential, as sufficient help will be given to allow readers without that knowledge to understand the poems studied.


ENG 464.3 (02) TOPICS IN 20th CENTURY AMERICAN LITERATURE

THE AMERICAN GOTHIC

T2 F 10:30 (Lindsey Banco) – Category 4

Beginning with a look at the early gothic tradition in American literature, then following it into its enormous popularity in the nineteenth century and through the multitude of forms it takes—including the contemporary horror novel and film—in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, this course investigates the American gothic’s key questions, its primary thematic issues, and its recurring stylistic tropes. In examining the gothic’s central anxieties, students will seek ways that terror, the irrational, and the supernatural relate to national identity. What does being American have to do with transgressing the boundaries between good and evil, safety and danger, sane and insane, and human and non- (or in-) human? What do incarnations of the American gothic tell us about those very categories? What do violence, racial and gender anxiety, and regional hauntings tell us about America? Students are forewarned that the American gothic is sometimes disturbing, frightening, or violent; thus, some of the material in this course may be as well.


ENG 484.3 (61) TOPICS IN WOMEN’S LITERATURE

WOMEN WRITERS AND ACTIVISM

T1 W 12:30 (Cynthia Wallace) – Non-category

Can literature do anything in the world? In Empathy and the Novel (2007), Suzanne Keen argues that there is insufficient proof that literature incites its readers to act for positive social change. While those who claim it does often point to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, it’s telling that this single example is so frequently cited: why aren’t there more? But Elizabeth Ammons in Brave New Worlds: How Literature Will Save the Planet (2010) does cite more, raising the question of whether there really isn’t much evidence of literature’s ethico-political effects or whether we’re just not paying attention. In this course we will seek to pay attention. Specifically, we will attend to women’s literary writing that invites activist engagement, considering not only literary activism in feminist movements but also Civil Rights, anti-war, ecological, and Indigenous land-rights movements. Possible readings include texts by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Adrienne Rich, Denise Levertov, Ana Castillo, Gloria Anzaldúa, Lee Maracle, and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.


ENG 496.3 (02): CAREER INTERNSHIP

T2 M 3:30 (Yin Liu) – 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:

  • 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. Liu 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 a range of organisations in the wider Saskatoon community and work units at 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, Student Enrolment and Services Division, the Saskatchewan Literacy Network, Frontier College, Saskatoon Correctional Centre, Sherbrooke Community Centre, and the Department of English / MFA in Writing. Interested students should contact Prof. Yin Liu (yin.liu@usask.ca) or Prof. Ann Martin (ann.martin@usask.ca) for further information about how to apply for an internship position.


ENG 497.0 (01) HONOURS COLLOQUIUM

T1T2 (Ella Ophir) – Non-category

The Department of English Honours Colloquium is a compulsory (and really great) part of the Honours program and consists of an oral presentation of a short scholarly paper at a conference of Honours students. The presented paper is normally based on an essay that has already been submitted and graded, or is about to be submitted and graded, for a 300- or 400-level course. Three development sessions starting in first term will guide your adaptation of the source essay. As well as providing information on the form and function of the colloquium, we’ll be organizing working groups in these sessions and discussing tips and best practices for presentation techniques. Students are also expected to seek the advice of a faculty member. The Honours Colloquium itself is typically a day-long event, this year on Friday 7 February 2020 at the Diefenbaker Centre. Note that, while this course is required for all Honours and Double Honours students, it has no credit unit value, and while students will receive informal feedback, there will be no formal evaluation.