2020-2021 Courses

2020-2021 ENGLISH COURSES

 

FALL COURSES

100 LEVEL: ENGL 100, 111/112, or equivalent is required for entrance to all other ENGL courses.

ENGL 100:11 Introduction to Literature and Critical Writing 
Mary McGillivray - Full Year 
Language, Myth, and Culture. This course introduces students to the critical tools and methods of literary study, including close reading and argumentative writing. Students will learn about the history of genres (e.g. poetry, drama, and the novel) and forms of literature (e.g. tragedy, realism). Texts may include the earliest writing in English to more recent works in various media. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 100 or ENGL 111/112. Six credits.

ENGL 100:12H Introduction to Literature and Critical Writing 
Joseph Khoury - Full Year 
Language, Myth, and Culture. This course introduces students to the critical tools and methods of literary study, including close reading and argumentative writing. Students will learn about the history of genres (e.g. poetry, drama, and the novel) and forms of literature (e.g. tragedy, realism). Texts may include the earliest writing in English to more recent works in various media. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 100 or ENGL 111/112. Six credits.

ENGL 111 Literature and Academic Writing 1 
This course provides students with the key skills needed to succeed at university. You will learn how to write argumentatively; how to build a question or problem from a close-reading of a literary work; how to develop that argument by presenting and analyzing evidence; how to engage in scholarly debate; how to do university-level research. Theme details below (See Winter Courses for ENGL 111:25).

ENGL 111:11 True Stories
Maureen Moynagh 
*Detailed course description to follow.

ENGL 111:12 Writing and Creativity: How Stories are Composed
Paul Marquis
*Detailed course description to follow.

ENGL 111:13 Race and Racism
Mathias Nilges
By examining a range of literary texts and framing discussions that are dedicated to the topic of race and racism, we will practice skills like logical analysis, argumentative and persuasive writing, audience-based communication, and detailed research into and treatment of complex topics, as well as “core skills” like emotional intelligence and thoughtful engagement with others. Through our analyses of literary texts, we will consider questions such as: how do the concepts of race and racism emerge and change over time? That is, how have people understood race and racism at different moments in history? (As we will see, the ways in which the terms are understood and function politically, socially or economically change fundamentally over time.) How must our discussions about race and our solutions for the problem of racism reflect the historically changing nature of racism? How are different racial groups racialized in relation to each other? What is the meaning of “whiteness,” how does whiteness give meaning to other processes of racialization, and how does whiteness function culturally, socially, and politically? How does the transition into multiculturalism affect race, racism, and racial politics? Have different kinds of immigration and immigration politics generated different racial formations and forms of racism? What is the relation between race and power, economics, the state? 

ENGL 111:14 Labyrinths of the Mind 
Earla Wilputte
The labyrinth in this course’s subtitle is a metaphor for reading, for delving more deeply into a work—be it a poem, a story, an essay—to wind our way through its intricacies, to get to its centre, its core. Over the term, we shall explore a variety of literary works for how they reveal and reflect the human mind, while we shall also use them to illustrate and develop elements of good writing. From love letters, meditations on death, essays about studying, poems about the hardness of life, short stories about robots, women going mad, men refusing to work, to the novella, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde about the monsters within us, this course will provide glimpses into other people’s minds, and take us deeper into our own.

ENGL 111:15 & 111:16 Reading Between the Lines: An Introduction to Genre & Narrative
Kailin Wright
*Detailed course description to follow.

ENGL 111:17 & 111:18 Imagined Worlds (From Camelot to Apocalypse)
Lindsay Young
*Detailed course description to follow.

ENGL 111:19 Escape by Metaphor
Douglas Smith
*Detailed course description to follow.

ENGL 112 Literature and Academic Writing II
This course follows ENGL 111. It introduces students to the study of literature by familiarizing them with literary-critical concepts and terminology, by fostering an understanding of genre and form, by teaching the fundamental skill of close-reading, and by introducing them to literary works from a range of historical periods. Prerequisite: ENGL 111. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 100 or ENGL 111/112. Three credits. Theme details below (See Winter Courses for ENGL 112:21, 112:22, 112:23 & 112:24).

ENGL 112:10 Be Yourself: Stories of Early Adulthood.
Jason Potts
It isn’t easy becoming the person you want to be. For many people, early adulthood provides them with their first chance to experiment with themselves. Freed from parents, pasts, places and people we’ve known before, early adults – university students, for example – can try on personalities, partake in new activities, explore sexualities and pursue interests in ways not available previously. But histories and personalities can often prove stickier than we might hope. And forces like families, class pressures, racism and history can often exert pressures on individuals in ways we might wish they would not. In this section we’ll close read books like Meg Wollitzer’s The Female Persuasion and Sally Rooney’s Normal People (both as a novel and a t.v. show) to examine early adulthood, in so doing showing how literature provides us with a particularly powerful way of understanding both ourselves and others.*Detailed course description to follow.

 

200 LEVEL: Prerequisite: ENGL 100, 111/112, or equivalent.

ENGL 201 Science Fiction and Fantasy
Mathias Nilges
This course will examine the history of speculative literature, including the relationship between science and narrative, the rise of ethnic science fiction and fantasy, and ways in which the future and the past might be imagined. Prerequisite: ENGL 100 or 111/112 or equivalent. Three credits. 

ENGL 207 World Masterpieces II
Joseph Khoury
This course introduces students to masterpieces in Western literature, in translation, focused on the theme of love through the ages in various literary genres. We will examine the portrayals of love, eroticism, and sexuality in various cultures and eras, and consider their aesthetic, cultural, and philosophical significance. We will look at differences in attitude towards marriage, gender, and various other social “norms” of the respective eras we will study. Three credits. 

ENGL 233 Children's Literature: 1865 to the Present
Lindsay Young
Using the landmark publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as a starting point, this course provides a critical survey of children’s literature in Britain, America, and Canada. Authors to be studied may include: Carroll, L.M. Montgomery, Maurice Sendak, Roald Dahl, R.L. Stevenson, E.B. White, and various picture books. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 233 or ENGL 234. Prerequisite: ENGL 100 or 111/112 or equivalent. Three credits.

ENGL 249 Detective Fiction and Film
Michael D’Arcy
This course examines a figure who haunts modern culture from the nineteenth century to the present—the detective. Ranging from Poe’s important nineteenth-century detective stories, to Sherlock Holmes, to present-day fiction and film, course discussions will consider why the detective develops as a cultural phenomenon in this period, how the figure of the detective changes over time, and what cultural problems detective fiction addresses. 

ENGL 254 Topics in 18th Century Literature
Earla Wilputte
This course explores the changing literary, social and cultural significance of the figure of the whore in a variety of 18th century works. Poetry, pornography, and pamphlets, as well as Hogarth’s engravings A Harlot’s Progress, Behn’s play, The Rover, and Cleland’s novel, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (a.k.a. Fanny Hill) will be studied among other works. Graphic language and content may offend some students. Prerequisite: ENGL 100 or 111/112 or equivalent. Three credits. 

ENGL 267 Introductory Creative Writing
Doug Smith
Students are introduced to the techniques of writing creatively in the genres of poetry, short stories, drama, etc.

231 Introduction to Creative Writing 
This course teaches students how to write creatively in two genres -- poetry and fiction -- in a workshop setting. Students will explore those elements of composition (imagery, dialogue, point of view, characterization, etc.) that make for interesting and challenging writing. Six credits.

ENGL 277 Shakespeare’s Subversive Poetry: A Study of his Narrative Poems, Sonnets, and Love Lyrics
Paul Marquis
Shakespeare’s poetry breaks with tradition by rejecting the formal, thematic, and mythical conventions of the past. Here we find inversions of gender roles, including aggressive and seductive heroines; lengthy and entirely empathetic portrayals of victims of sexual violence; and provocative meditations on love that have gone wildly out of control. These poems focus on the complex nature of human desire in a manner that anticipates our own plight in the modern world.

ENGL 278 Short Turns: The Short Story in Canada
Mary McGillivray
The short story is the literary form that has arguably won Canadian Literature the highest sustained international recognition both critically and popularly. This course will engage in in-depth analysis of profound expressions of the construction of the self (or selves) in the modern world. Various voices and narrative modes in dialogue with such questions will be encountered, arising in works from writers of diverse backgrounds and social strata. 

ENGL 279 - What’s Canadian about Canadian Literature?
Kailin Wright
Margaret Atwood asks “What’s Canadian about Canadian literature, and why should we be bothered?” This course tackles this question by examining a variety of forms, such as Canadian fiction, film, art, poetry,music, and drama fromthe 20th and 21st centuries. Stories define what it means to live in Canada or identify as Canadian. This class concentrates on how the stories we tell shape our own sense of who we are and where we belong. Three credits.

 

300 LEVEL COURSES: Prerequisite: ENGL 100 or 111/112 plus at least three credits at the 200 level unless otherwise noted.

ENGL 308 Milton and His Time
Joseph Khoury
This course will provide an intensive study of Milton’s life and major poems, especially Paradise Lost, and some of his polemical prose. The course will also focus on the historical and political contexts of this revolutionary age, and Milton’s contributions to the Republicanism of the era. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 308 or ENGL 312. Prerequisite: 9 credits ENGL. Three credits.

ENGL 347 Literature of Africa and the African Diaspora
Maureen Moynagh
Topic for Fall 2020: The Aftermath of Slavery and 21st Century Black Narrative

Oh, freedom!
Oh, freedom!
Oh, freedom over me!
And before I'd be a slave
I'll be buried in my grave
And go home to my Lord and be free

The aftermath of slavery, Saidiya Hartman argues, is not freedom. However longed for, however storied, freedom is still a promise, still to come. How does this structure of the aftermath manifest in 21st century narratives about slavery? How do writers (and filmmakers) approach the form of the slave narrative in their efforts to reckon with “the past that is not past” (Sharpe)? How do we think about these works’ contemporariness? That is, what about contemporary anti-blackness do these novels and films engage? How can we think about features of contemporary anti-Blackness—surveillance, Black Lives Matter, the policing of the pandemic—through the lens of slavery’s afterlives? Can we read the films Get Out and Sorry to Bother You as slave narratives? How do novels about slavery think across time and space and about time and space? We will read novels like The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black, Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, and Marlon James’s The Book of Night Women, alongside selected essays and films. Prerequisite: 9 credits of ENGL. Three credits.

English 391 Selected Topics I
Laura Estill
The topic for 2020-2021 is Literature in the Digital Age: New Tools for Old Texts. What does the Boromir meme have in common with the Sparknotes Twitter account and an audiobook from the Antigonish Public Library? All are part of how we engage with literature in a digital age. This course will consider both how and what we read in the digital age.
Topics covered will include online texts and ereading; how algorithms affect the reception of text; close and distant reading; and how databases and digital projects create arguments. Materials covered could include, for instance, looking at what texts are privileged in library search results, the nature of machine “reading,” and how digital literary projects are designed, funded, maintained, and deprecated. This course applies digital humanities practices to literary, popular, and scholarly texts in order to help students become better critical thinkers able to read and interact with our increasingly digital culture. Prerequisite: 9 credits ENGL. Three credits.

 

400 LEVEL COURSES: Normally students enrolling in a senior seminar will have third-year standing and have taken a minimum of 18 credits in English. The senior seminars are offered on a priority basis to senior Advanced Majors and Honours students in English who are required to take one 3-credit senior seminar in the Fall term, and another 3-credit senior seminar in the Winter term.  All other interested students should inquire with the departmental chair (jpotts@stfx.ca) or administrative assistant (english@stfx.ca) about availability and prerequisites.
All students seeking admission to honours and advanced major programs must consult the department chair (jpotts@stfx.ca) by March 31 of the second year to obtain approval for proposed course patterns, and again in March of the junior year for advice on thesis and senior seminar requirements.

ENGL 400 Honours Thesis
Jason Potts - Full Year
Honours students write a thesis under the supervision of a faculty thesis director. Students must meet the thesis director in March of the junior year to prepare a topic. Honours students must register for the thesis as a six-credit course in the senior year. The thesis must be submitted no later than March 31 of the senior year. See chapter 4 of the Academic Calendar. Six credits.

Senior Seminars:

ENGL 491 Selected Topics I
Laura Estill
The topic for 2020-2021 is Literature in the Digital Age: New Tools for Old Texts. What does the Boromir meme have in common with the Sparknotes Twitter account and an audiobook from the Antigonish Public Library? All are part of how we engage with literature in a digital age. This course will consider both how and what we read in the digital age.
Topics covered will include online texts and ereading; how algorithms affect the reception of text; close and distant reading; and how databases and digital projects create arguments. Materials covered could include, for instance, looking at what texts are privileged in library search results, the nature of machine “reading,” and how digital literary projects are designed, funded, maintained, and deprecated. This course applies digital humanities practices to literary, popular, and scholarly texts in order to help students become better critical thinkers able to read and interact with our increasingly digital culture. Prerequisite: 9 credits ENGL. Three credits. 

ENGL 497 Advanced Major Thesis
Jason Potts - Full Year
Advanced major students write a thesis based on work done in any 300- or 400-level class, taken in the Fall of the Senior year. See chapter 4 of the Academic Calendar.

ENGL 499 Directed Study
In consultation with the department and with approval of the chair, students may undertake a directed study program in an approved area of interest, which is not available through other course offerings. Three or six credits.


WINTER COURSES

100 LEVEL: ENGL 100, 111/112, or equivalent is required for entrance to all other ENGL courses.

ENGL 111 Literature and Academic Writing 1 
This course provides students with the key skills needed to succeed at university. You will learn how to write argumentatively; how to build a question or problem from a close-reading of a literary work; how to develop that argument by presenting and analyzing evidence; how to engage in scholarly debate; how to do university-level research. Theme details below (See Fall Courses for ENGL 111:11, 111:12, 111:13, 111:14, 111:15, 111:16, 111:17, 111:18 & 111:19).
ENGL 1

11:20 Reading and Writing in the 21st Century
Laura Estill
*Detailed course description to follow.

ENGL 112 Literature and Academic Writing II 
This course follows ENGL 111. It introduces students to the study of literature by familiarizing them with literary-critical concepts and terminology, by fostering an understanding of genre and form, by teaching the fundamental skill of close-reading, and by introducing them to literary works from a range of historical periods. Prerequisite: ENGL 111. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 100 or ENGL 111/112. Three credits. Theme details below (See Fall Courses for ENGL 112:10).

ENGL 112:21 Literature and Academic Writing II - Writing About Literature, Writing about Life
Paul Marquis
*Detailed course description to follow.

ENGL 112:22 Literature and Academic Writing II - Magic and the Fantastic
Lindsay Young
*Detailed course description to follow.

ENGL 112:23 Literature and Academic Writing II - Modern Love
Michael D’Arcy
*Detailed course description to follow.

ENGL 112:24 Literature and Academic Writing II - On Justice
Maureen Moynagh
*Detailed course description to follow.

ENGL 112:25 Literature and Academic Writing II - Magic and the Fantastic
Lindsay Young
*Detailed course description to follow.

 

200 LEVEL: Prerequisite: ENGL 100, 111/112, or equivalent.

ENGL 212 Blindness and Insight in Shakespeare’s Tragedies
Joseph Khoury
Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and The Tempest examine how the desire to know the truth leads to tragedy. Who killed old King Hamlet? Is my wife having an affair? Which of my daughters loves me most? How does one dispel the desire for vengeance over one’s oppressors? One never discovers the truth, so one acts blindly, which brings unbearable suffering. But suffering brings insight: the reader is instructed how to live with patience and equanimity.  

ENGL 215 Principles and Practices of Literary Criticism
Paul Marquis
This course builds on the skills acquired in first year English. We will broaden our understanding of what literature is and how it works. We will develop our abilities to see how different approaches to texts allow us to understand their formal, gendered, historical, political, psychological, racial and sociological impacts. And we will expand our practical skills by: enlarging our critical vocabularies; sharpening our argumentative writing abilities; and increasing our proficiency with sources and databases.

ENGL 232 Why Care about Literary Characters?
Jason Potts
Why do we develop such strong attachments to literary characters? They aren’t real. Their stories don’t continue. They don’t interact with us. And yet often keep them closer to us than people we know. In this course, we will try to sort out why characters – from Emma to Harry Potter – matter so much in both our imaginary, real and virtual lives. Three credits.

ENGL 236 Children’s Film and Television
Lindsay Young
Children’s film and television are highly lucrative and competitive fields. This course will survey landmarks in children’s media across the world, looking at questions of adaptation, suitability, merchandising-driven story, and franchising.

ENGL 259 Gender, Literature and Culture
Maureen Moynagh
What makes gender meaningful and what has literature got to do with it? How do literary works and other cultural texts (film, television, music, social media) represent and / or transform gender in a given time and place? What can such works tell us about how gender is imagined, experienced, circulated, challenged? This course will address these questions by studying selected texts and thinking about how they speak to different understandings of masculinity, femininity and non-binary identities. We will consider the extent to which literary genres and cultural forms are gendered by looking at works like Twelfth Night and Pride and Prejudice and we will consider the formal strategies writers adopt to convey or challenge gendered concepts, norms and experiences. We will look at how the intersections between gender, sexuality, race, class, and religion are handled in graphica like Persepolis and the play Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner. We will consider how cultural texts aimed at youth, like Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves and the television series Sex Education, attempt to engage with the complexities of gender’s relationship to cultural and political power. 

ENGL 261 Hollywood Film
Michael D’Arcy
This course will examine Hollywood film from its origins to the present, focusing on the period that has come to be known as the era of “classical Hollywood cinema” (1927-1960). The course will provide an introduction to film history and to the analysis of film. 

ENGL 262 Imagination, Dream and Vision in English Literature
Paul Marquis
This study of the emerging power of the imagination in English literature focuses on the importance of dreams and visions as loci or places in narratives that are invested with ethical significance. As images of the divine, sacred world diminish in stories over time, writers adopt a more a secular consciousness, exploring the creative power of the mind as it manifests itself in the dreams and visions of the modern world.

 

300 LEVEL COURSES: Prerequisite: ENGL 100 or 111/112 plus at least three credits at the 200 level unless otherwise noted.

ENGL 327 Celtic Kings, Heroes and Monsters - Medieval Ireland
Ranke de Vries
Cross-listed as CELT 327; see Celtic Studies in the Academic Calendar for more information. Three credits. 

ENGL 338 Canadian Drama 
Kailin Wright
This course will examine how Canadian drama has been (re)defining our national identity for the past four hundred years. Introducing students to theatrical forms such as vaudeville, minstrelsy, clowning, and verbatim theatre, this course will simultaneously consider issues of nationality, race, and gender.  Playwrights include Tomson Highway, Margaret Atwood, Djanet Sears, and Guillermo Verdecchia. Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 338 or ENGL 366. Prerequisite: 9 credits ENGL. Three credits.

ENGL 339 Cultural Theory and Popular Culture
Mathias Nilges
This course introduces students to the classical texts of and contemporary developments in cultural theory. The course will practically apply these theories through the study of popular culture. Students will learn the basics of cultural analysis and familiarize themselves with what theorists have come to understand as the “critique of everyday life.” Credit will be granted for only one of ENGL 339 and ENGL 318. Prerequisite: 9 credits ENGL. Three credits.

ENGL 365 Canadian Fiction
Mary McGillivray
Students will read novels and short stories, in English, to develop a sense of the thematic patterns, style, and changing narrative strategies in Canadian fiction, especially in works since 1930. Credit will only be granted for only one of ENGL 365 and 367. Prerequisite: 9 credits ENGL. Three credits.

ENGL 366 Selected Topics in Canadian Literature
Mary McGillivray
By Atlantic Shores: The Literature of Atlantic Canada. This course will look at the rich regional development of fiction and poetry in Atlantic Canada, including works by Mi’kmaq, African-Canadian, and Acadian writers (in translation where necessary). Prerequisite: 9 credits ENGL. Three credits.

ENGL 397 Selected Topics in Literature I
Michael D’Arcy
The topic for 2020-2021 is What’s Trending: Taste and Cultural Capital Now. See ENGL 492 for course information. Prerequisite: 9 credits ENGL. Three credits.

 

400 LEVEL COURSES: Normally students enrolling in a senior seminar will have third-year standing and have taken a minimum of 18 credits in English. The senior seminars are offered on a priority basis to senior Advanced Majors and Honours students in English who are required to take one 3-credit senior seminar in the Fall term, and another 3-credit senior seminar in the Winter term.  All other interested students should inquire with the departmental chair (jpotts@stfx.ca) or administrative assistant (english@stfx.ca) about availability and prerequisites.
All students seeking admission to honours and advanced major programs must consult the department chair (jpotts@stfx.ca) by March 31 of the second year to obtain approval for proposed course patterns, and again in March of the junior year for advice on thesis and senior seminar requirements.

ENGL 492 Selected Topics II
Michael D’Arcy
The topic for 2020-2021 is What’s Trending: Taste and Cultural Capital Now. What does it mean to be trending in the realm of art and culture? What is the relationship between having good taste and being up-to-date? Why is having good taste important, and how do you recognize it? These are some of the questions we’ll consider as we address the problems of taste and cultural capital in our present moment and the recent past. We’ll consider relevant literary works, popular non-fiction, and theoretical writing. Prerequisites: third-year standing and 15 credits English. Three credits.