Department of English

University of Toronto

6000 Level Courses

The Age of Anxiety: Theory, Affect, Politics
M. Ruti

Course Description:
Starting from the premise that anxiety - understood as both a personal predicament and a socially generated state - captures something fundamental about our contemporary era, this course begins with a close reading of Lacan’s recently translated seminar on anxiety (the assumption being that this translation will dictate the direction of Lacanian studies, and of some strands of critical theory, for years to come). This is followed by a consideration of critics who have chosen to read Lacan as an overtly political thinker. Our focus will be on Alain Badiou’s notion of the event - as an intrinsically anxiety-inducing occurrence - and elaborations of the concept by Slavoj Zizek, Paul Eisenstein, and Todd McGowan. The course then proceeds to contemporary queer and critical theoretical assessments of how anxiety - and other related “bad feelings” - are socially generated and therefore deeply political (demanding a political, collective rather than a personalized response). This section will focus on recent work by Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler, Ann Cvetkovich, and Sara Ahmed. The course ends with Adam Phillips’s ruminations on our anxieties about what we might be missing out on (even as we are living our lives).

Course Reading List:
Jacques Lacan, Anxiety: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book X
Slavoj Zizek, Event: A Philosophical Journey Through a Concept
Alain Badiou, Philosophy and the Event
Paul Eisenstein and Todd McGowan, Rupture: On the Emergence of the Political
Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism
Judith Butler, Dispossession: The Performative in the Political
Sara Ahmed, Willful Subjects
Ann Cvetkovich, Depression: A Public Feeling
Adam Phillips, Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life

Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
20% for participation, 20% for paper proposal. 60% for paper.

Term: S-Term (January - April 2016)
Date/Time: Monday, 10:00am - 12:00pm, 2 hours
Location:  Room
JHB 718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2015-2016 Graduate Course Timetable.

Making Faces: Identity, Performance, and the Face on Film
A. Maurice

Course Description:
In this course, we will explore the meaning of the face on screen. Much has been said about the face in cinema, with much of that discourse focusing on the close-up. This course will explore this work while also examining the historical context and material specificity of the face on screen. Beginning in the early silent era, when the close-up was becoming an accepted part of cinematic language, we will examine the numerous ways the face has created meaning on screen, as well as the numerous ways the screen image has shaped our understanding of the face. How do we read faces? Do we put too much pressure on the face as a site of profound meaning? How are coded assumptions about race and class retained in the way the face is “typed” on screen? How do makeup practices express assumptions about the face, beauty, and character? We will study films and performers that have been central to theories of the screen face, and we will also think about popular and critical reactions to the face on screen. Throughout, we will read criticism and theory that takes up the aesthetic, political, and ethical meaning of the face.

Course Reading List:
Films may include: The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1928); The Cheat (DeMille, 1915); The Phantom of the Opera (Julian,1925); Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robertson, 1920); Pandora’s Box (Pabst, 1929); The Cameraman (Keaton, 1928); Strike (Eisenstein, 1925); Borderline (MacPherson, 1930); Queen Christina (Mamoulian, 1933); Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946); Persona (Bergman, 1966); and Vivre Sa Vie (Godard, 1962). Critical texts may include work by: Georg Simmel, Henri Bergson, Walter Benjamin, Béla Bálazs, Sergei Eisenstein, Jean Epstein, Roland Barthes, Laura Mulvey, Kaja Silverman, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Aumont, Emmanuel Levinas, Tom Gunning, and Mary Ann Doane.

Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
Short Essay (5-7 pages): 20% Class Presentation: 10% Seminar Paper (20-25 pages): 70%. 

Term: S-Term (January - April 2016)
Date/Time: Thursday, 3:00pm- 6:00pm, 3 hours
Location: Room IN 313 (Innis College, 2 Sussex Avenue) 

Top of Page
Return to 2015-2016 Graduate Course Timetable.
ENG6152HF (Cancelled)
Drama After Performance
L. Switzky

The Fate of Culture in the Age of Globalization
V. Li

Course Description:
What happens to national or local cultures, to particular ways of life in an age of globalization? Euphoric versions of globalization appear to promise either cultural hybridization or an unproblematic world of multicultural possibilities, while critical versions gloomily predict the triumph of a capitalist “McWorld” in which cultural differences are reduced to homogeneity and we are all subjected to neo-liberal governmentality.

Both versions may, however, have underestimated the complex set of relations between global forces and local ways of life because they see globalization as unfolding smoothly in a linear, teleological fashion. But any discussion of cultural globalization must take into account specific sites (the national, the local, everyday space) in which cultural products are produced, received, and consumed. And if the global is linked inextricably to the local, the latter may be equally influenced, inflected, and shaped by a consciousness of the former. We are thus faced with a complex dialectic in which the two are both opposed and related to one another--a dialectic we must patiently examine without letting go of either pole. In pursuing such a dialectical enquiry, we must also attend to asymmetries of power and the uneven relationships that result from such asymmetries.

Alternatively, however, we can dismiss both the global and the local/national as contemporary social imaginaries, at once imprecise and illusory, that address our need for allegories of the present, for totalizing explanatory concepts.

We will begin by reading a number of theoretical overviews of globalization before examining how contemporary writers (and a film-maker) have responded to questions raised by our sense that there is something going on in the world that we have inadequately, perhaps, named “globalization.” 

Course Reading List (subject to availability): 
Dionne Brand, Land to Light On. Michelle Cliff, No Telephone to Heaven. Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis. Pico Iyer, The Global Soul. Hari Kunzru, Transmission. John Tomlinson, Globalization and Culture. Jia Zhang-Ke, The World (feature film). We will also be reading articles and book chapters (collected in a course reader) by Pheng Cheah, Jacques Derrida, Arif Dirlik, Mike Featherstone, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Fredric Jameson, Paul Jay, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Ella Shohat and Robert Stam.

Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
The course will be run as a seminar. Evaluation will be based on class participation (10%), weekly response papers (20%), seminar presentation/paper (20%) and a term paper (50%).

Term: F-Term (September - December 2015)
Date/Time: Wednesday, 11:00am- 1:00pm, 2 hours
Location:  Room
JHB 616 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2015-2016 Graduate Course Timetable.

Diasporic Englishes
C. Percy 

Course Description:

A survey of diasporic Englishes, with strong emphasis on lexicon, morphology, syntactical structure, and pronunciation in their distinctness from ‘standard English’. Attention will be given to the historical and cultural circumstances that have informed these transformations. While we will survey specific developments (such as, for instance, Englishes in Scotland, Canada, the Caribbean, India, and on the internet), these varieties will illustrate more general developments and dynamics of language variation in the diaspora. General topics may include concepts and terms for describing language; language contact and language change; pidgins and Creoles; the use of English as a primary language, and official second language, and an international language; globalization; language planning; issues pertaining to the codification and teaching of ‘non-standard’ Englishes; the dynamics of the Creole continuum and of language-mixing in literary and non-literary texts.

Course Reading List:
Weekly readings will be linked to Blackboard. These will include scholarly articles as well as such e-books as The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes (ed. Kirkpatrick, 2010) and The Handbook of World Englishes (ed. Kachru, Kachru and Nelson, 2006).

Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements: 
This is an introductory course. My informal lectures will be complemented by your brief reports (40%) and intelligent discussion of (5%) the week’s sociolinguistic topics. A proposal and classified/annotated bibliography (10%) and presentation (15%) on the subject of your final research paper (30%), written on a topic of relevance to your own research interests. 
Term: S-Term (January - April 2016)
Date/Time: Tuesday, 11:00am- 1:00pm, 2 hours
Location: Room
 JHB 616 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2015-2016 Graduate Course Timetable.

ENG6525HS (Cancelled)
Environmental Criticism and Postcolonial Discourse
S. Radović

Critical Animal Studies
S. Salih 

Course Description:
During this course we will make some approaches towards what Derrida has called ‘the philosophical problematic of the animal.’ Through close readings of contemporary texts (theory, fiction, documentary, auto/biography), we will address questions such as the following: How is ‘life’ divided into ‘animal’ and ‘human,’ and what are the ethico-philosophical effects of such acts of measurement and separation? What are the consequences of adding ‘species’ to race, class, gender and sexuality as an equivalent identity category? Are all these categories founded on the distinction between ‘human’ and ‘animal’? Is the preoccupation with the mobile species boundary ‘human’/‘animal,’ a principally Euro-Western one? What are the ethico-discursive consequences of drawing parallels between the subjection of nonhuman animals and that of particular groups of human animals? Indeed, should we talk in terms of ‘animal genocide’ as Derrida does? What does it mean if human freedom has as its material condition of possibility the absolute control over the lives of nonhuman others (Wolfe)? If the word ‘animal’ is an interpretive decision that carries metaphysical, ethical, juridical and political consequences, how is it possible to name, or even to think, ‘the animal’ (e.g. Derrida’s ‘l’animot’)? What would be the possible effects within cultural studies, critical theory, and literary studies, of theorizing the nonhuman animal as a subject category that is not separated from other subject categories by speciesist distinctions?

Course Reading List:
Our reading is likely to include a number of the following texts, subject to availability:
Carol J. Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat. A Feminist Vegetarian Critical Theory
Andre Bazin, ‘Death every afternoon’
J.M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals
Jacques Derrida, ‘The animal that therefore I am (more to follow)’ 
Matthew Calarco, The Question of the Animal
Peter Singer, Animal Liberation
Cass R. Sunstein and Martha C. Nussbaum (eds.), Animal Rights. Current Debates and New Directions
Cary Wolfe, Animal Rites. American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory
---. (ed.), Zoontologies. The Question of the Animal
J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace
Sue Coe, Dead Meat
Werner Herzog, Grizzly Man 

Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements: 
In-class review 10%
Abstract 10%
Conference presentation 20%
Final research paper 40%
Participation 20%

Term: F-Term (September - December 2015)
Date/Time: Monday, NOTE: NEW START & STOP TIMES 9:30am- 11:30am, 2 hours
Location:  Room
JHB 718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2015-2016 Graduate Course Timetable.

 Return to Graduate Courses main page.

Site Information:

Site Tools:

Click below for directions to the University of Toronto!

University of Toronto, St. George Campus
Map of St. George Campus
Map of Mississauga Campus
Map of Scarborough Campus