Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG425HSF L5101

ENG425H1S    L5101     M6-8
Advanced Studies Group 2: Raising the Question Mark Child in Canadian Literature

Instructor: Angelo Muredda
Office Phone: TBD
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, TBD

Brief Description of Course:
This course will examine representations of anomalous children in Canadian literature and film, considering how the figure of the different, queer, or disabled child engenders a dialogue on intergenerational responsibility, and a consideration of what it takes to raise a “question mark,” as Ian Brown says of his disabled son Walker in his memoir The Boy in the Moon. If, as Andrew Solomon has argued, we “depend on the guarantee in our children’s faces that we will not die,” what are we to make of vulnerable children “whose defining quality annihilates that fantasy immortality”? If the future is “kid stuff,” as Lee Edelman insists, what narratives do we tell about children who do not grow up in neat vertical progressions but “grow sideways,” in Kathryn Bond Stockton’s words? What kinship bonds are forged in the course of raising a disabled, queer, trans, or intersex child, and what intersubjective, economic, and political demands do such children make on either the family or the nation? We will explore these questions through our reading of a range of contemporary literary and filmic texts, and through the lens of recent work on children in disability studies and queer theory, considering the intersection of these fields.

Required Reading: Tomson Highway, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing (1989); Barbara Gowdy, We So Seldom Look On Love (1992); Ann-Marie MacDonald, Fall On Your Knees (1996); Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, Skim (2008); Kathleen Winter, Annabel (2010); Jo Walton, Among Others (2011); Judith Thompson, The Thrill (2013); Nalo Hopkinson, Sister Mine (2013); Casey Plett, A Safe Girl To Love (2014)

Selections from Elizabeth Grosz, “Intolerable Ambiguity: Freaks as/at the Limit” (1996); Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Extraordinary Bodies (1997); Harriet McBryde Johnson, “Unspeakable Conversations” (2003); Lee Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (2004); Robert McRuer, Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability (2006); Kathryn Bond Stockton, The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century (2009); Ian Brown, The Boy in the Moon: A Father’s Search for His Disabled Son (2009); Andrew Solomon, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity (2012); Alison Kafer, Feminist, Queer, Crip (2013)

Method of Evaluation: In-class and online participation (25%); seminar presentation (25%); annotated bibliography (15%); research paper (35%).

Link to ARTSCI Calendar Course Descriptions.

Link to ARTSCI 2016-17 Timetable with Room Allocations.

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Return to 2016-17 Fall-Winter Courses.

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