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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
August 24, 2016
 
 
Canadian Excellence

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Course Offerings: 2016-17



FALL 2016


EN 600:  Research Methods, Theory, and Professionalization
Team-taught
Day/Time: Wed. 7:00 - 9:50
Location: 3-105 Woods Bldg.

EN600 is a team-taught course that introduces students to bibliographic and research methods, theoretical models, and professional skills and issues related to English and Film Studies. The course is required for all MA students, and attendance is compulsory.

Note: The student's performance in the course will be graded as either "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory." Failure to complete EN600 or to obtain a grade of "satisfactory" may result in suspension from the MA Program.  A student's final grade for the course will not be assigned as "satisfactory" until a grade of "satisfactory" has been obtained in all of the sessions.



EN604: The Victorian Novel - 1848-1860
Dr. Lynn Shakinovsky
Day/Time: Thurs. 9:30-12:20
Location: 3-105 Woods Bldg.


This course investigates selected major Victorian novels of the 1850s. As one of only two countries to evade the revolutionary wave that swept Europe, and having survived the Chartist disruptions of the 1840s, the England of the 1850s appears to be characterised by placidity, calm, and widespread social consensus. However, while the novels of the period may indeed represent the multiple ways in which mid-Victorian culture successfully resists disquietude, disturbance, and change, they also draw on tension, much of it suppressed. Through close analysis of the primary texts, as well an investigation of the economic, historiographical, and historical background of the period, this course will explore topics such mid-nineteenth century ideas of nation; domesticity; sexuality; cosmopolitanism; shifting imperial relations; migration, emigration, and immigration.




EN692s: Memory and Affect in Film and Fiction
Dr. Russell Kilbourn
Lecture: Mon. 9:30-12:20 / 3-105 Woods Bldg.
Screening: Mon. 7:00-9:50 / 3-105 Woods Bldg.

By comparing the representation of memory in film and prose fiction (e.g. through such narrative devices as the flashback), this course examines the problem of identity at the nexus of memory studies, affect theory, and abiding questions of representation. Specific identities, individual and collective, are produced, on the one hand, cinematically, in the modernist art film (in contrast to classical film narrative), and, on the other, literarily, in the 20th-century novel and short story. We focus on the convergence in film and literature of the subjective level—the representation of an individual’s perception of time, the structural and thematic role of desire, and an embodied affectivity—with the objective level of ‘realism’, whether literary or cinematic. Through a combination of formal-stylistic analysis and close attention to intertextual and intermedial relations, we will compare a selection of films and literary works within the specific medial contexts of film and prose fiction in their respective capacities to capture subjective interiority reflecting upon the past and its affective relation thereto. The goal is to better illuminate the elaboration through memory and history alike of modern, postmodern and now ‘post-representational’ notions of personal and social identity within the (largely visually determined) subjective and objective spaces of late modernity. We therefore examine a key selection of novels and films in order to distinguish between the literary and cinematic media in their respective privileging and linking of narrative and visuality. The radical differences between literary and cinematic narration are as important therefore as their all-too-apparent similarities and points of contact.



EN692w: Fantasy, the Fantastic, and the Modern Social Imagination
Dr. Ken Paradis
Lecture: Thurs. 1:30-5:20
Location: 4-106 Woods Bldg.

Over the past several hundred years story forms have struggled to keep up with shifting ideas about where reality (increasingly seen confined to the human experience of the material world accessible to the senses and their prosthetics) ends, and where something else — the intuited realm of the supernatural engaged by superstition and revealed in religion — begins, and how these two realms interact.  This sense of “reality” that coalesced in the modern period (and arguably eroded in the past half-century) was articulated, fictively, using “realist” narrative, but the other realm became the province of the imagination, mappable with narrative conventions that provided moderns not only with ways of articulating and indulging their extra-materialist intuitions, but also of imagining other ways of being and enabling speculative reflection on what often seemed the immutable social order built into reality.

In the course, we’ll explore how fantasy in the modern period — as well as variant forms such as the fantastic or magic realism — has often been theorized in the context of extensions of the imaginative resources of a given culture at a given time, a narrative form that allows cultures to imaginatively work out the implications and possibilities of their desires and fears about their world.  We’ll look at some of the stories that have defined the mode, and we’ll read some of the critics that give us insight into how it enables particular kinds of social reflection..




EN 692y: South Asian Canadian Literature
Dr. Mariam Pirbhai
Day/Time: T 9:30-12:20
Location: 3-105 Woods Bldg.

In 1985, award-winning novelist M.G. Vassanji released A Meeting of Streams: South Asian Canadian Literature, the first study devoted to Canadian writers of South Asian origin (e.g., writers from the Indian subcontinent and its diasporas). Arguing that this body of writing "does not become less Canadian because it is global," Vassanji's collection ushered in an important new perspective in Canadian literary studies. Since the 1980s, South Asian Canadian literature has continued to develop at the productive intersection between diasporic, national and global frameworks, and in light of the "hundred-year history" of South Asian migration and settlement in Canada. As an introduction to South Asian Canadian literature as a field in its own right, this course will showcase a range of established and emergent South Asian Canadian authors, playwrights and poets, such as Anita Rau Badami, Ravi Jain, Shani Mootoo, Michael Ondaatje, Shyam Selvadurai, and Padma Viswanathan. While tracing some of the major preoccupations and innovations of South Asian Canadian literature—such as Canadian metropolitan and urban narratives, the poetics and politics of memorialization and national redress, experimental dramatic forms, or gendered, religious and queer minority identities—this course invariably looks to South Asian Canadian texts and contexts to address the limits of multiculturalist, diasporic, transnational and postcolonial theories and reading practices.


WINTER 2017

EN692k: Digital Cinema
Dr. Sandra Annett
Lecture: Mon. 8:30-11:20 / 3-103 Woods Bldg.
Screening: Mon. 7:00-9:50 / 3-105 Woods Bldg.

At the intersection of film and new media studies, digital cinema poses a unique challenge for both theoretical and practical understandings of film. If classical film theory positioned film as an indexical medium that “penetrates deeply into the web” of reality (as per Walter Benjamin) or acts as the “asymptote of reality” (as per Andre Bazin), films created since the 1980s using digital imaging, editing or distribution technologies force us to confront a different set of questions. To what degree does the seamless compositing of digital images alter our perceptions of what is “real” and what is “illusion”? Are digitally-created moving images necessarily manipulative, or can self-reflexive uses of digital technologies reveal the processes of image production itself?


More practically, who can be considered the author or owner of an “original” film text when digital images may be easily altered by the director, distributors, and film fans themselves? What is to become of the actor’s craft in the era of computer-generated characters and motion capture? How does digital cinema redraw the boundaries between the avant-garde director and the amateur filmmaker, the art-house audience and the media activist?

This course provides a solid basis for addressing key theoretical and practical questions raised by digital cinema. It explores major critical writings on cinema and digitality, such as the works of Gilles Deleuze and Lev Manovich, as well as film and media texts that provide a comprehensive body of work for comparison, from Tron (1982) to Chronicle (2012). Moving from the historical precursors and early examples of digital cinema to cutting-edge contemporary forms of Computer Generated Imaging and motion-capture technology, this class provides you with an advanced-level introduction to digital cinema.


EN692q: Youth, Canadian Fiction, and the National Imaginary
Dr. Katherine Bell
Day/Time: Tues. 9:30-12:20
Location: 3-105 Woods Bldg.

This course offers a critical genealogy of youth; we will study how youth identity is shaped by historical context and we will explore the governing scripts for youth subjectivity in Canadian literature from the end of the 19th century to the present. We will analyze juvenile, YA and adult literature alongside a social history of Canadian youth, and we will draw on feminist, structural, and aesthetic theories of bildung to help us consider how the traits and developmental trajectories of our literary protagonists have been conceptualized in relation to the development of the nation. This relation between youth and the larger body politic is fraught with tension; we will consider the ethical stakes involved in portraying youth as the symbolic concentrate for modernity, and how both literary youth and their 'real' counterparts handle the sturm und drang of societal expectations and ideals. Considerations of race, region, class and sexuality will expand our understanding of the various roles youth have played, and continue to play, in the country's national imaginary.


EN692r: Canadian Literary Ecologies
Dr. Jenny Kerber
Day/Time: Thurs. 9:30-12:20
Location: 3-105 Woods Bldg.

This course will consider some of the ways that recent Canadian writing engages with questions of nature, moving beyond traditional themes of wilderness, the garrison, or survival to reflect more overtly “environmentalist” concerns related to phenomena such as pollution, extinction, and climate change. By reading works of fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry, and by incorporating insights from interdisciplinary work in history, geography, Indigenous studies, and environmental cultural studies, our discussions will tackle many of the following issues: the relationship between resource-based communities and larger global structures; the structural connections linking human domination and ecological degradation; the challenges of preserving, representing, and transmitting traditional ecological knowledge; the portrayal of human-animal interaction in light of habitat pressures and the erosion of the species barrier; the tension between national literatures and transnational environmental problems; and the potential benefits of bringing an environmental perspective to bear on the legacies of colonialism and neo-colonialism. We will also bring questions of language and form to our readings, considering how language becomes a field of ecological relations and the literary work constitutes an environment that responds to the physical world while also being a world unto itself. Among the writers whose works we will examine are Don McKay, Katherine Govier, Jeannette Armstrong, Marie Clements, Shani Mootoo, Adam Dickinson, and Douglas Coupland.


EN692v: Theoretical Imperialisms - Reading Gender, Queerness, and Sexuality in Caribbean Literature
Instructor: Dr. Kofi Campbell
Day/Time: Wed. 9:30-12:20
Location: 3-105 Woods Bldg.

This course will focus on the literary and cultural constructions of gendered, sexualized, and queer identities in Caribbean Literature. While we will engage heavily with Western feminist and queer theories, part of our task in this course will be to critique the Western biases of those theories, and to rethink them in ways more suited to a postcolonial Caribbean context. Alongside Western theorists such as Judith Butler, Anne McClintock, and Antonio Gramsci, we will read a selection of essays by Caribbean scholars, most notably some of the essays collected by Rhoda Reddock in her three seminal studies: Interrogating Caribbean Masculinity, The Making Of Feminisms in the Caribbean, and Gender and Sexuality and Implications for HIV/AIDS in Trinidad and Tobago. We will pay attention not only to how Caribbean societies attempt to construct these groups, but also to their own self-constructions.

EN691z: Women, Writing, and Work in the 19th-Century Novel
Instructor: Dr. Ada Sharpe
Lecture: Fri. 9:30-12:20
Location: 3-105 Woods Bldg.


The nineteenth century has long been associated with the flourishing of domestic romance in British literature and the concurrent rise of the domestic woman, a figure celebrated for her marital and maternal virtues within a theoretical private sphere. Much criticism has entrenched the idea that domestic womanhood as represented in nineteenth-century fiction helped consolidate an ideal of femininity defined by its exclusion from paid labour and public life. Although scholarship has paid attention to the governess in British fiction, typified by Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), scholars still tend to overlook working women and the diverse types of work women do in the nineteenth-century novel (as domestic servants, paid companions, painters, musicians, seamstresses, farmers, factory workers, rural labourers).

Invoking a broadened understanding of work that includes unpaid, informal, and domestic forms of labour, this course explores three central questions: What does work mean to the women represented in the novels under study? Individually and collectively, what do these texts contribute to the period’s broader discourses on the topic of work and/for women? For a woman writer paid for her work, what does it mean to represent work? Through primary and secondary readings, we will address issues of precarious employment and underemployment, work as calling or vocation, the theoretical erasure of women from the site of work, and the ethic of work as a core feature of the nineteenth-century heroine. Writers under study will include Jane Austen, Anne Brontë, Dinah Mulock Craik, and Elizabeth Gaskell, among others.