Department of English

University of Toronto

6000 Series Course Descriptions

ENG6011HS
Love and Desire in a Time of Crisis
D. Seitler

Course Description:
The place of queer and feminist theory in the critical humanities, where they each index the ethical urgency born of historically shifting structural inequalities, has always been an aesthetico-political one. Each, that is, has been concerned with key questions and debates over the relation between art and life, cultural forms and the organization of the social word. Following Neel Ahuja's proposal that U.S. queer theory, emerging, as it did, within an epidemic, has "always been a theory of extinctions" and Audre Lorde's understanding of late-capitalist culture as "a system that robs our work of its erotic value, its erotic power and life appeal and fulfillment," this course seeks to explore the role-at times disciplinary at others disobedient-that love and sex and desire plays in politics and fiction in moments of crisis. Focusing on American fiction and poetry from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, alongside contemporary queer and feminist theory, we will explore the ethical potential and the political pitfalls of deployments of sex, love, and desire in literature and culture. How, we will ask, can these practices, feelings, and psychic experiences be posited as an ethical horizon amidst the devastations, discriminations, and other slow violences of the contemporary world?

Course Reading List:
TBA

Course Method of Evaluation and Requirements:
Midterm 25% Final Paper 40% Presentation 15% Participation 20%  

Term: S-Term (Spring or Second Term: January - April 2019)
Date/Time: Tuesdays, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB 617 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

 

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ENG6049HS
Intersections/Interventions: Diaspora Studies Today
S. Kamboureli


Course Description:
The surge of studies about diaspora has seen some fundamental shifts in recent years that invite a reconsideration of the spatial and temporal paradigms that have determined the field's formation. From having been concerned with where diasporic subjects come from, these days diaspora studies scholarship often revolves around the question of whose land diasporic subjects have come to. What are the implications of this shift and what has brought it about? And what has happened in the interim? Has the expansion of the semantic domain of diaspora, which now includes a broad range of subjects (refugees, asylum seekers, labour migrants, transnational subjects, cyber diasporas, setter cultures), made the field so capacious that even social networks across geographical divides become diasporic sites? Is this expansion cause for celebration or do these appropriations of the term diaspora signal a dilution of its imperial and colonial genealogies? These are the questions that will frame this course. With particular attention to the methodologies that have shaped diaspora studies since the 1990s, we will consider a selection of theoretical and critical works, which we will bring into dialogue with diaspora in Canada, our case study, and a small selection of Canadian diasporic literary texts.

Course Reading List (Tentative):
Sukanya Banerjee, et. al., eds. New Routes for Diaspora Studies (Selections)
Khachig Tololyan, "The Contemporary Discourse of Diaspora Studies"
Mark Rifkin, "Indigenizing Agamben"
James Clifford, "Diasporas"
Ato Quayson, "Introduction: Area Studies, Diaspora Studies, and Critical Pedagogies"
Rey Chow, Writing Diaspora (Selections)
R. Radhakrishnan, Diasporic Mediations (selections)
Paul Gilroy, Black Atlantic (Selections)
Robin Cohen, Global Diasporas (Selections)
Avtar Brah, Cartographies of Diaspora (Selections)
Sudesh Mishra, Diaspora Criticism (Selections)
Jana Evans Braziel and Anita Mannur, "Nation, Migration, Globalization: Points of Contention in Diaspora Studies"
Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, "Rewriting the African Diaspora: Beyond the Black Atlantic"
Christine Kim, et. al. eds. Cultural Grammars of Nation, Diaspora and Indigeneity in Canada (Selections)
Larissa Lai, "Epistemologies of Respect"
Literary Texts:
SKY Lee, Disappearing Moon Cafe
Rawi Hage, De Niro's Game
Dionne Brand, What we All Long For

Course Methods of Evaluation and Requirements:
TBA

Term: S-Term (Spring or Second Term: January - April 2019)
Date/Time: Thursdays, 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm, 3 hours
Location: Room JHB 718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)



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ENG6159HS
Poststructuralist Poetics
A. Slater


Course Description:
Post-structuralism is often misunderstood as an "anti-structuralism." While from Derrida's 1966 Johns Hopkins address onwards, poststructuralism does frequently adopt adversarial stances in relation to various thinkers of the structuralist project, on careful scrutiny, the differences between tenets, methods, and goals of the these two intellectual epochs may appear less compelling or enduring than their critical continuities. This course will explore one important commonality between structuralism and poststructuralism: the centrality of a "poetics" to these respective programmes. Poetics here encompasses both a demystified analysis of the methods through which literary texts are constructed as well as the unique domain of poetry as a literary genre. From Saussure's hypograms through Derrida's hedgehog and Agamben's troubadours, we will track the genealogy of how poetry--becoming both limit case and privileged example for post-romantic theories of signification--offers a line of passage from structuralist to post-structuralist poetics. We will look at how poets themselves participate in and respond to the immense influence of poststructuralism within the Euro-American academy, especially in work associated with or inspired by Language Poetry (Scalapino, Bernstein, Mackey, Howe, Mouré, Prynne, Mullen, Kim).

Course Reading List:
SELECTIONS from Saussure, Words upon Words Derrida, Writing and Difference and "Che cos'e la poesia?" Agamben, The End of the Poem Macheray, A Theory of Literary Production Riffaterre, The Semiotics of Poetry Culler, Structuralist Poetics Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language Barthes, S/Z and Writing Degree Zero Jakobson, Language in Literature Lyotard, The Differend Foucault, The Order of Things Johnson, A World of Difference poetry and essays by: Leslie Scalapino, Charles Bernstein, Nathaniel Mackey, Susan Howe, Erin Mouré, J.H. Prynne, Harryette Mullen, Myung-Mi Kim

Course Methods of Evaluation and Requirements:
Class Participation (with attendance) 15%; Presentation 15%; Mid-semester paper (short) 20%; Peer Feedback Assignments 10%; Final paper (conference length) 40%.

Term: S-Term (Spring or Second Term: January - April 2019)
Date/Time: Mondays, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB 617 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)



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ENG6171HS
Writing a Journal Article
C. Schmitt

Note: This course is restricted to English PhD and PhDU students.

Course Description:
Writing publishable work: without doubt the single most important ability for success in the academy but rarely explicitly taught in graduate school. This course teaches it. Students will choose the best paper (or the paper they judge to have the most potential) from their first-term coursework. Via workshopping and in response to feedback from their peers and the instructor, they will take that paper through a series of expansions and revisions to produce, by term's end, a polished article. The final assignment will be to submit that article to a journal to be considered for publication. Along the way students will locate fitting venues for their work; identify and emulate successful aspects of recently published articles they consider the best in their field; evaluate academic writing for its style as well as its argument (recognizing that, in the humanities at least, the two are inseparable); and develop habits that enable them regularly to write and revise. Above all, they will come to think of themselves as writers: people for whom writing is not a sporadic activity driven by deadlines but a quotidian part of who they are and what they do.

Course Reading List:
Our vade mecum for the term will be Eric Hayot's marvelous Elements of Academic Style, supplemented by Joseph Williams, Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace; Wendy Laura Belcher, Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks; Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones; and Suzanne Akbari, ed., How We Write. We will also scrutinize examples of the most powerful academic writing the instructor can find (TBA, but likely suspects include work by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Fredric Jameson, Catherine Gallagher, and D. A. Miller). Additional readings will be selected by the students-those "recently published articles they consider the best in their field" referred to in the course description. And of course students will read their own and each other's writing, the real centrepiece of the course.

Course Methods of Evaluation and Requirements:
A series of writing and revising assignments including an introduction (15%); a section treating other critics or theorists (15%); a section marshaling textual evidence (15%); a conclusion (15%); and the complete, polished article itself (40%). 

Term: S-Term (Spring or Second Term: January - April 2019)
Date/Time: Mondays, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB 718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)



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ENG6362HS
History and Structure of the English Language: Post-1500
L. Magnusson


Course Description: (Please note the updated Course Description, Reading List, Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements)
This course surveys the linguistic and cultural history of the English language from the late fifteenth century until the present day. It reviews representative developments in vocabulary, spelling, grammar, pronunciation, and the codification of English in dictionaries and grammars. Themes for seminar discussion and research papers may include such topics as the processes and implications of language change; standardization and prescriptivism; the functions of English, French, and Latin in and beyond Britain; language contact, pidgins and creoles; colonization, empire, and global Englishes; the literary use of English (standard and non-standard varieties) by native and non-native speakers; the linguistic effects of printing, news media, the internet, and technology generally.

Research deploying large digital corpora is changing the stories and histories of English, and the course will allow students to experiment with social and cultural microhistories of words and linguistic forms with the aid of available corpora and of digital searching methods. It will engage with theories of language evolution, variation, and change. Students will be encouraged to consider how to bridge historical linguistics and literature and how to bring knowledge of the English language into their literary studies.

There is no prerequisite required for this course. 

Course Reading List:
For a basic outline, we'll read the new text, This Language, A River: A History of English, by K. Aaron Smith and Susan Kim (Broadview Press, 2017), selected chapters; for discussion, we'll engage with a gathering of shorter readings, most of them available through the University of Toronto Library online.

Course Method of Evaluation and Requirements:
The course will be conducted primarily as a seminar, with brief lecture segments and some quizzes on unfamiliar material. To explore the material as fully as possible and to practice professional skills, seminar member will engage in a "try-out seminar" to present or experiment with new material or unfamiliar resources (25%) and will present research on a chosen final topic for the course in both a colloquium presentation and written paper format (written version 12-15 pages, preceded by a proposal, 45% total). Quizzes and short reading responses will account for 20% and class participation for 10%.

Term: S-Term (Spring or Second Term: January - April 2019)
Date/Time: Mondays, 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm, 3 hours
Location: Room JHB 616 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)



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ENG6510HF
Creative Nonfiction
M. Cobb


Course Description:
This course will be preoccupied with the dynamics and implications of nonfiction writing that uses literary stylistics to advance compelling arguments. We'll ask why creative prose can be so effective in reaching large audiences. We'll wonder how the affective qualities of more literary-minded pose provide provoking contrasts to the established conventions of academic argumentation. We'll wonder if creative nonfiction is less "rigorous" than scholarly "rigor." We'll also consider why those who write on race, gender, class, and/or sexuality have often found the literary register more useful, inviting, and necessary.

Course Reading List:
Truman Capote, In Cold Blood James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son Susan Sontag, Under the Sign of Saturn Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider Gloria Anzaldua, Boderlands/La Frontera Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictee Alison Bechdel, Fun Home Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts Hilton Als, White Girls

Course Method of Evaluation and Requirements:
Active, lively seminar participation, with the hope of learning skills geared toward contributing to an intellectual community and conversation beyond the seminar room (20%). One conference paper-style class presentation at the end of the class (35%). One fifteen to twenty-page research paper, clearly demonstrating the following: a) knowledge of a field of primary and secondary sources; b) the intellectual questions that make the writing of the paper necessary; c) writing and argumentation that has publishable promise (45%). Lateness penalty: one letter grade per one week of lateness.

Term: F-Term (Fall or First Term: September - December 2018)
Date/Time: Mondays, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, 2 hours
Location: Room UC F204 (
University College, 15 King's College Circle)



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ENG6517HS (NEW COURSE ADDED)
Walter Benjamin and His Contemporaries
I. Balfour

Course Description:
This course engages selected major texts by Walter Benjamin of import for literary and cultural theory and criticism.  Of particular interest will be to track how Benjamin conceives of and understands history, language, critique, and translation and the consequences that follow from that. Benjamin’s various models and performances of practical criticism, including especially historical materialism, will be assessed for their claims and as kinds of writing. Benjamin will be read partially in conjunction with other key figures of his time and ilk, principally Theodor Adorno. We will also consider some important readings of Benjamin by the likes of Hannah Arendt, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, Fredric Jameson, et al.

Course Reading List:
Readings from among the following: “Theses on the Concept of History”; “The Task of the Translator”; “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technical Reproducibility”; “On Some Motifs in Baudelaire”; “Elective Affinities,” “The Author as Producer,” “What is Epic Theater”; “Critique of Violence,” “Allegory and Trauerspiel,” selections from One-Way Street, “Capitalism as Religion”.

Course Methods of Evaluation and Requirements:
Requirements: One class presentation of 15 minutes (25%); one major paper of approximately 5000 words (50%); seminar participation (15%); one 500-word account of the text under class discussion to be submitted the day of the class (5%); one 500-word account of a critical text about Benjamin’s writing (5%).

Term: S-Term (Spring or Second Term: January - April 2019)
Date/Time: Thursdays, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB 718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)


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ENG6526HS
Postcolonial Poetry
N. ten Kortenaar


Course Description:
Much of the best poetry in English today comes from the Caribbean and the reason is simple: the distance between the spoken and the written languages generates an energy that poets harness to renew English. By contrast, poetry in English from Africa and the India must deal with the elite nature of a school-taught national language that is not a vernacular. A cosmopolitan language can still do many things, however, including convey interiority, personal expression, the lyrical, the metaphorical, and the abstract. We shall examine the poetry produced in the Caribbean, Africa, and India. Poets to be studied may include Kamau Brathwaite, Derek Walcott, Lorna Goodison, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Dennis Scott, Aimé Césaire, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Wole Soyinka, Okot p'Bitek, Dennis Brutus, Gadeda Baderoon, anure Ojaide, Niyi Osundare, Agha, Shahid Ali, Rukmini Bhaya Nair, Tabish Khair, Dom Moraes. We shall look at various genres, including epic, ghazal, and lyric. We shall examine issues of language and subject matter, speaker and audience.

Course Reading List:
TBA

Course Methods of Evaluation and Requirements:
Class Participation 20%
(including weekly preparation, and provision of one glossary)
Seminar  10%
Essays 70%

Option 1:
First Essay (3000 words: due Mar 7) 35%
Second Essay on different topic (3000 words: due April 20) 35%

Option 2:
First Essay (3000 words: due Mar 7) 20%
Second Essay building on first (6000 words: due April 20) 50%

Option 3
Essay (6000 words: due April 20) 70%

Term: S-Term (Spring or Second Term: January - April 2019)
Date/Time: Wednesdays, 9:00 am - 11:00 am, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB 718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)



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ENG6533HS
The Art of Mourning COURSE CANCELLED 
M.Ruti

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ENG6552HF
Law and Literature
S. Stern


Course Description:
O.W. Holmes: "The life of the law has not been logic but experience."
O.Wilde: "Experience is the name we give to our past mistakes."
Each week we will read several articles, along with several short stories and novels during the term. We will begin with a consideration of some of the questions and criticisms that scholars have recently raised as they have sought to justify or reorient the field. We will then look at some of the specific problems connecting law and literature at various points since the Renaissance. After a more intensive look at current theoretical debates, we will take up various problems at the intersection of law and literature: legal fictions, forms of legal writing and explanation, and the regulation of literature through copyright law. Next we will focus on two legal problems that have also occupied literary thinkers: the problem of criminal responsibility and literature's ability to document human thought and motives, and the question of privacy in criminal law, tort law, and fiction. We will end by considering possible future directions for law and literature. The course requirements will include a final paper and two or three response papers for presentation in class.

Course Reading List:
Each unit includes some required readings and a number of suggested sources for students who are interested in doing further research in a particular area.
Some of the questions we will discuss include:
How does literature use or respond to legal structures, themes, and analytical techniques, and vice versa?
How does literature portray legal institutions and processes?
What can literature bring to the performance of legal tasks, including legal narrative?
To what extent can literary critical accounts of narrative structure and coherence explain the role of narrative in law, and where do these accounts fall short?
What is achieved and what is missed by positing literature as law's "other" (e.g., as the imaginative and ethical alternative to legal rules and constraints)?

Course Methods of Evaluation and Requirements:
Two or three one- to two-page comment papers on assigned readings (to be used in class discussions of those readings) (cumulatively 20%); class participation (measured by regular attendance and contribution to class discussion) (20%); and a term paper of about 15 pages, on a topic to be approved in advance (60%).

Term: F-Term (Fall or First Term: September - December 2018)
Date/Time: CHANGED DAY/TIME:  Mondays, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm, 2 hours
Location: CHANGED BUILDING AND CLASSROOM:  Room FL 219 (John Willis Classroom) Flavelle Building 78 Queen's Park



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